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'I hope men who read us question their behavior'

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By Joanna Gill  & Gregoire Lory
'I hope men who read us question their behavior'

Brussels is the de facto capital of the Comic Book. And each year thousands of visitors gather for a festival dedicated to all things cartoon. But its not just for laughs, the fictional characters offer the opportunity to discuss the sometimes painful reality of our societies. This year, organisers have given pride of place to female artists to discuss women's rights. The latest comic book by Aude Mer milliod uses the art form to talk about abortion.

"It is an excellent medium for getting across ideas of sociology or activism, because it allows a lot of graphic possibilities to convey ideas or images that are sometimes a little abstract. So yes it works well, and it's really expanding, there's more and more, it talks about the body or family or about the history of activism precisely, so it's expanding," Aude Mermilliod tells our reporter.

Upcoming artists are finding a large audience for their work. Juliette Boutant is co-author of the new volume of 'The Crocodiles' where the male harassers take the form of reptiles. And she sees more and more men reading her comics.

"We have about 40% of readers who are men, so its great !!! It allows women to speak up and express themselves and be visible and support each other. But it also allows, I hope, men who read us to perhaps question their behavior," explains Juliette Boutant, co-author "Les crocodiles" volume 2.

It's a trend reflected in the the aisles of the conference, where female graphic artists talk of their experiences reflected in the pages of a comic strip.