But the whole French graphic novel thing jumped to the front of my mind when, coincidentally, Shaun Tan won the Angouleme International Comics Festival Prize for La Ou Vont Nos Peres. Although we probably know it best as The Arrival. So yay, Shaun.
Today I read the Angouleme Comics Festival is 'the largest and most significant comics festival in the world. (So says Bart Beaty in Unpopular Culture, transforming the European comic book in the 1990s). So you might say that to win such a award is the comic universe equivalent of the Booker Prize. Or Le Tour de France.
Anyway, I got thinking that I might like to go there to find out how the French do things and why it is that la bande dessinee maintains such a broad audience. Why is it that comic books are seemingly not viewed as the preserve of pimple squeezing dweebs, would-be manga cultists or indie hipsters? Hey, maybe the French really do look down the Gallic conk at comic book readers. But what the heck, the industry is large, diverse and ever-changing. Not without its problems I'm sure but big and complex.
At least I hope so. Because this week I learned the good people at the Copyright Agency Limited have provided me with a little money to travel to Angouleme in January 2011 to attend the festival. So yay, CAL. I would love to go this January, but the year's gap gives me time to plan and set up other activities. And save some euros. And keep learning the language.