Wow, Angoulême! It’s almost impossible to describe and sum up the wonderful experience I had. I only know I want to go back every year if I can!
My trip was partly organized by Tim Fish, who aside from being wildly talented, has always been a great friend to me and a fun traveling companion on my comics adventures. So, thanks Tim! Many thanks also go to Xavier Lancel (publisher of French comics magazine, Scarce) who organized the logistics for us so we could participate in the LGBT BD booth and LGBT BD Round Table organized by Jean-Paul Jennequin. I love you guys! (BTW, BD stands for bande dessinée or “comics” in French).
(Paige Braddock and I at the train station, and most photos on this post are by the lovely and talented Jeff Suon. I lost that beret a few days later, sob!)
I flew into CDG Airport and went directly from there to Paris where I met up with our merry group; Tim, Paige Braddock, her companions Evelyn and Susan, Jeff Suon and Xavier. From there we went to grab a train to Angoulême!
On the train we ended up next to Oliver Lambden, part of the B.A.S.T.A.R.D.S. (“British Artists Standing Tall And Reaching Distant Shores”) comic group from the UK. We all ended up hitting it off and hanging out together for most of the show. Plus, my fave comic of the show (The Most Natural Thing In The World) is by their member Francesca Cassavetti.
Once we arrived in the station we made our way up to the event space to drop off our books (up a steep hill on cobblestones ^_^).
Angoulême is a picturesque French town in the Southwest with gorgeous old buildings, cobbled streets, Remparts (walls surrounding the city), and a fantastic panoramic view.
Me with the panorama!
There are comic characters painted in various corners and walls of the city and the street signs look like word balloons!
For the festival there are large red balloons suspended in nets hanging over all the main streets and large tents with red openings featuring the festival’s cute black cat mascot all over the place.
After getting settled at my homestay (a charming old fashioned French mansion in a suburb of Angoulême) we got back to the city for a fun dinner! Most people arrange homestays for the festival since there are not nearly enough hotels for all of the attendees.
The Pro Lounge was where I ended up checking my e-mail each day and enjoying the complimentary drinks and apples.
It was super luxurious inside the lovely Town Hall building!
The next morning we got to the tent for setup. (above “before” photo by Jeff).
(Jean-Paul setting up)
(Tim, Jeff, and Xavier)
The LGBT BD booth was at the same table as Tim Fish and Scarce Magazine, so we all got to sit together and take turns if we needed breaks or wanted to wander around.
Much to my happy surprise I ended up selling out of all my books! I didn’t bring a huge amount since it was my first time there, and most attendees read French, but it was a thrill for sure! I was helped along by some preparations. 1) I had flyers with French explanations about my books handy to give to the interested people (thanks to Xavier’s and Tim’s help!). Also, Jean-Paul helped me with some handy phrases in French: “Please look inside.”, “This explains the books in French” (when handing them a flyer), and so on. If I saw somebody picking up or looking into the books, I started with a “Bonjour!” and “Parlez-vous l’Anglais?” and depending on how their English was, proceeded from there. The Dolltopia postcards were a hit and lots of people took them. Once the books were gone, several people asked for sketches. So, plenty to do at the booth!
BD fans checking out our books!
Saturday we were on the LGBT BD Round Table, with Patrick, myself, Tim Fish, Paige Braddock, and Xavier in the background) Jean-Paul moderated and was to the right of us.
The Theatre was packed!
A pleasant surprise was running into Stephen Silver, designer of Kim Possible. Since I wrote a few Kim Possible stories for Disney Adventures a while back I had to say hello. He was very nice!
One of the major exhibits was of One Piece at the Manga Building. Pretty cool!
There weren’t many people dressed up, but there were street performers around, like this lady on stilts!
I was so sad to leave and will be back soon I hope!
I also got to eat plenty of great food especially cheese, chocolate, and pastries. You can pop over to my City Sweet Tooth blog for those details! ^_^