The Angouleme International Comics Festival put the spotlight on Spanish and Swedish works this year. Ever-popular, more than 200,000 fans visited the festival.
Claude de Saint-Vincent, the president of Dargaud, a comic book publisher, said: “More than 50 million comic books have been sold. The cartoon market in 2011 was nearly 700 million euros. And the comic strip market is growing again this year.”
And stories in the news are also finding their way into cartoons. Christophe Blain and Guy Delisle are two of the authors leading the way. Guy Delisle is from Quebec but spends a lot of time abroad. His latest book, ‘Chroniques de Jérusalem’, won the main prize at the festival.
He said: “My weakness is thinking that when I learn new things, it’s going to interest other people too, so I want to put them into a cartoon. I knew that in one or two pages I could explain about the East and the West of Jerusalem, Temple Mount, lots of things. I feel like when I re-read my notes the reader is with me and I’m taking them down little backstreets and to the corner of the street and saying, ‘Look, there’s a really amazing thing there’.”
Journalistic comics exist in all kinds of subject areas, even real war reporting by Joe Sacco. There is commentary on the editing of Libération newspaper by Mathieu Sapin and the daily life of a top chef by Christophe Blain, who is also the author of ‘Quai d’Orsay’ a two-part comic book about Dominique de Villepin when he was at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Blain said: “We all notice funny and quirky things about each other, but each in our own way. We don’t all have the same sense of humour, the same way of drawing things. It’s an author’s vision.”
Cartoons used to be a minority interest, usually thought of as frivolous and inventive, often dealing with fantasy worlds. But today, cartoonists are turning their ruthless gaze towards what is happening in the real world.
Angouleme: Strip show with a difference