Angouleme 2012

Thanks to Moolah from the National Arts Council and the Singapore International Foundation, a bunch of us Singapore based comics creators (myself, Gone Case” creators Dave Chua and Koh Hong Teng, “Resident Tourist True Blue SingaporeanTroy Chin Croy Tin and our editor Joyce Sim)  got to travel to the Angouleme Comics Fest 2012.

After a 13 hour flight and a 3 hour train journey we finally arrive at Angouleme!

We were doing a home-stay, and our host Virgine had four cats and was a big fan of Garfield.

The city itself was quaint, crumbly,  charming…  with the festival split up into various tents and locations near the city centre…

Of these the “Noveau Monde” tent was maybe the most interesting, filled with  independent publishers; more zines, mini comics and small press books than you could shake a stick at. Fortunately most of it was in French, so I didn’t feel too big a need to buy everything in sight.

Elsewhere there was a showcase of Taiwanese Comics…

Where I discovered the weird and wonderful art of Fish Wang. Shades of Carlos Nine, and I am now trying to hunt down his comics! (the ones at the exhibition were for display only)

Meanwhile there were a couple of signing/dedicace sessions for the French editions of Malinky Robot and Wonderland.

There were lots of talks being held too, including this one with ol’ Charles Burns. Early comers to his talk helped fill out attendance to our own panel on Singapore Comics :p

Somewhere along the line we met up with Joe Keatinge and his pal Marcel and wandered around Angouleme looking for a restaurant that would take us in on a crowded Saturday night.

I offered Herge some Malinky Robot comics.

But best of all were the original comic pages on display at the BD Museum! From Windsor McKay…

…to George Herriman…

…Milton Caniff….

… to Bill Watterson (!) …

… Daniel Clowes…

..and even Ricard McGuire’s seminal “Here“. Along with: Carl Barks, Harvey Kurtzman, Chalres Schulz, Will Eisner, Jack Kirby and more!

Art Spiegelman was the main guest this year, and there was a big exhibition of this works at a converted cathedral (i think). Maus took centre stage of course, and Spiegelman himself… well… didn’t seem anywhere as neurotic as you’d imagine from his comics.

After Angouleme we went to Paris for a day and a bit, with a signing session at Univers BD squeezed in.

…where a drawing in someone else’s sketchbook was as close as we’d get to seeing Chris Ware himself; he’d been due for an appearance at Angouleme, but was absent for reasons unknown.

Several Exciting Adventures later, we headed back to Charles De Gaulle airport, and back to Singaporeland, where the warmth wraps around you , like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron. Or as the French put it:

C’est La Vie, Mercy Boocoo.

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