The Franco-Belgian comics industry is divided into various styles. A few of the widely popular styles include Alternative, Animation, and SF Contemporaine. Of course, Ligne Clare “Clear Line,” Realiste, Nouveau Realiste, and Marcielle School are impossible to miss.
In 2009, the industry was worth around €330 million as it sold 40 million comic albums a year. One of the more recent big factors that kickstarted the industry’s success is the École Européenne Supérieure de l’image (Regional School of Fine Arts in Angoulême), which was established in 1983. Angoulême provides majors in comic theory and practice and is also home to the Museum of Cartoons or the la Cité Internationale de la Bande Dessinée et de l’image.
The museum showcases Bande Dessinées in their original printed conditions. It also has an extensive library of other comic books and hosts exhibitions. Moreover, the museum is an event lobby for the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée (Festival of Comics), one of the largest comic conventions after the U.S.A.’s San Diego Comic Con and Japan’s Doujinshi comics. The festival was founded in 1973 and now attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors.
Apart from Angoulême, the Louvre and other artistic institutions in France also exhibit Bande Dessinéess. In March 2011, the Foundation Cartier exhibited Moebius, the alias of Jean Giraud, Bande Dessinées comics. Moebius is a significant influence on science fiction adult Bande Dessinées comics especially in the 1970s, most well-known for the science fiction comic Arzach.
Presently, France joins the list of the biggest European comic book markets, along with Germany, Italy, and Spain. France also has the most number of publishers. Furthermore, the Belgium comics market produces at most 2,000 titles per year. Yes, a variety of comics coming out of Belgium and France prove the ceaseless demand for Bande Dessinée comic book translation.
The Franco-Belgian market for comic books succeeds through good Franco-Belgian comic book translation. Just like how Bande Dessinées first penetrated other markets, comic book translation best reaches audiences beyond France and Belgium. What is it with Bande Dessinées that attracts comic book enthusiasts and which Bande Dessinées pioneered the industry’s popularity?