Belgian comics help mend a city and increase tourism
The year after the horror of terrorist bombings in March 2016, the number of tourists to Brussels dropped by 40%. A significant effort was made to shore up the tourism industry, and one initiative, which has proven successful, appealed to fans of Belgian caricatures, animated books and comics. A self-guided walking tour with a detailed booklet gave Sara and me a chance to revisit classics from our (and the boys’) childhoods and to ‘meet’ some new characters!
Do you have a favourite Belgian character?
Top Ten Walls We Visited
1. Out in the Street – Ralf König is the designer of this urban fresco dedicated to LGBT diversity. Apparently it’s the only one of its kind in Europe, and unfortunately has succumbed to some disapproving graffiti ‘artist’….
2. Broussaille – Frank Pé created this as the first of Brussels’ murals in 1991. These two characters appeared in comic strips in 1978, and then in a book in 1984.
3. Asterix, Obelix and the Gang following Dogmatix on an Attack – Uderzo – The first Asterix cartoon appeared in Pilote Magazine in 1959, and sales of the comic books has now surpassed 350 million worldwide.
4. Ducobu – Story: Zidrou; Drawn by: Godi – This mural is found on the outside wall of a school on Rue des Six Jetons. “Ducobu spends most of his time inventing ingenious tricks to help him cheat…Let’s hope that Ducobu does not become a role model for the many pupils who pass this mural every day!”
5. Victor Sackville – Francis Carin – The Belgian James Bond?!
6. Flower Garden – Brecht Evens – A massive (4,200 sq ft) mural is situated in a part of Brussels which exemplifies the diverse range of Bruxellois, and as such, Evens has blended East and West in this colourful tapestry.
7. Cori the Cabin Boy – Bob de Moor – As a side gig to his work with Hergé on Tintin, de Moor created Cori and took him on high adventures in six books through the 1950’s and then the 1980’s.
8. Lucky Luke – Morris – A favourite in our house when the boys were growing up, resulting in Sara’s first foray into the art world. This mural typifies the ongoing antics of Les Daltons and their inevitable corralling by Lucky Luke, who can draw his trusty gun faster than his shadow!
9. Nick’s Dreams – Hermann – A fantastic depiction of Nick and the animal friends in his Dreamworld. This series was meant by Hermann as a tribute to Windsor McKay, the American comic pioneer who sent Little Nemo off to explore the world of dreams.
And saving the best for last…..
10. Tintin – Hergé – This frame of Belgium’s most famous and recognizable character is taken from “The Calculus Affair” – the 18th adventure in the series which still sells over 230 million copies every year in 80 different languages. A remarkable success!
Those were ten of the ones we saw as the light waned and we headed back to our apartment in Ghent…
And with 50 more murals to see, tag! – you’re it!