This year’s Comic Strip Festival will once again be an electrifying event for comic fans in Brussels. As part of the event, the Balloon’s Day Parade will bring the streets of the capital to life and will include a new Toto balloon. The International Pavilion will take you on a journey through comics and beyond.
Since it was founded in 2010, the Comic Strip Festival has evolved into an unmissable event for all comic fans. Whether you’re old, young, an enthusiast or a comics expert, everyone has the same passion and comes together each year to get an autograph or enjoy the many activities on offer.
As there are no borders for comics, the International Pavilion will be showcasing gems from far-flung corners of the world to the most adventurous visitors. And, as is traditional, on Sunday 15 September, the Balloon’s Day Parade will take over the streets of the capital and take you on a journey into the world of famous comic characters. You won’t be able to escape it by the middle of the afternoon.
Balloon’s Day Parade
On Sunday 15 September, the Balloon’s Day Parade will process through the streets of Brussels for nearly three hours. As part of this year’s parade, a new balloon featuring the design of Toto and the famous Citroën 2CV belonging to Boule’s parents will have the great honour of being part of the procession.
From 10 am, the amazing spectacle of the balloons being inflated on Place des Palais will begin. During the afternoon, the balloons will be inflated on Place des Palais and will depart from there. Spirou, Tintin, the Cat, the Smurf, Boule, Blurk, Gaston and their new friend will set off on their route along the main streets of Brussels.
Delights await comic fans in Brussels Park, where they will be able to enjoy many special events being put on for the Comic Strip Festival there.
If you are interested in being a balloon handler, the Balloon’s Day Parade is currently looking for volunteers to take part in the parade between 3 pm and 6 pm. Volunteers can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The International Pavilion
While Belgium is particularly proud of its comics heritage, many other countries have an impressive track record too. Many foreign cultural representations from these countries are on display in the International Pavilion, giving visitors the opportunity to discover their works and enjoy a wonderful cultural exchange.
Algiers-Brussels- Havana-Moscow (Maison Autrique)
Maison Autrique is putting on an exhibition on the theme of its new publication “Kronikas 3” and signing sessions by Brussels, Algerian, Cuban and Russian authors (Etienne Schréder, Jeroen Janssen, Nawel Louerrad, Aleksei Kapninskii, Izquierdo, Lysbeth Daumont-Robles and more). The exhibition gives you an imaginary detailed picture of the heritage of the cities where the invited authors live.
The Kronikas experience is supported by the Brussels-Capital Region / Brussels International. This imaginary detailed picture of Brussels, Algiers, Havana and Moscow has been a great success. Maison Autrique brings you the third phase of this project, joined by a growing number of comic authors from far-flung countries for you to discover in the International Pavilion at the Comic Strip Festival.
Egypt (TokTok Mag)
The first edition of TokTok magazine was published in January 2011, during a time of social uprising. The quarterly magazine reflects everyday life in Egypt, from comic to tragic. TokTok Mag showcases original pictures, limited-edition posters, magazines in Arabic and “bests of” in French.
Colombia – (IFA LABORATORY-ARTS LAB BRUSSELS)
The Colombian-Belgian production brings together two groups of teenagers, one from Molenbeek-St-Jean in Belgium and another from Ciudad Bolivar in Colombia, as well as the illustrators Xavier Löwenthal and Sindy Elefante. These districts from both sides of the Atlantic have both similarities and differences, and both are affected by stigmatisation. They set out to encourage collective reflection on perception, new perspectives and a demand for a new narrative.
Italy (Lucca Comics & Games by LUCCA CREA srl & the Italian Institute of Culture)
Lucca Comics & Games returns to the Comic Strip Festival to bring you a range of talented Italian artists. Add some Italian comics to your collection too, with the collaboration with the Brussels bookshop Piola Libri.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom
What’s the added value of the EU? What are the advantages of the European Union? These are the types of questions that the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom asks during the Animate Europe international comic competition. Come and discover the work of the five finalists, whose works are as diverse in their artistic style as they are in their approach and story.
South Korea (The Brussels Korean Cultural Centre)
Over the weekend, you will be able to enjoy an exhibition of Korean comics by the authors LEE Doo-Ho, KIM Hanjo, CHOI Jae-Hoon and LEE Yoon-Hee. These authors will be holding signing sessions. You will also be able to watch a video clip for the group BTS, made with illustrations by the author CHOI Jae-Hoon.
Webtoon workshops will also be put on for you. Webtoons (a portmanteau of the words ‘web’ and ‘cartoon’) are a new form of digital comic. Visitors will be able to make an episode of their own online comic at these webtoon workshops.
Alifbata (Arabic comic)
ALIFBATA is a Marseille-based publisher which specialises in translating and publishing comics from the Arab world. This year, it welcomes the author Barrack Rima and Art for Ness to its stand and displays original illustrations by artists from the Maghreb and the Middle East, which are available for sale signed and numbered.
Democratic Republic of Congo
A number of Congolese authors have made the journey to come and discuss Congolese comics and their evolution since the socio-political crisis. This is an opportunity to come and meet these artists, talk to them and discover their work.
Réunion Island (publications from Bulles dans l’Océan)
Bulles dans l’Océan is an independent publisher founded 9 years ago which is committed to promoting promising young authors from the Indian Ocean. Come and discover the works of these artists who have come straight from these little corners of paradise and meet them during signing sessions. Their series will also be available in Flemish for the first time.
For the 10th Comic Strip Festival, the Goethe-Institut Brüssel German language school brings you the German comic creator Flix, who is a big fan of Spirou, and his album Spirou in Berlin. He is the first German artist to draw an issue of this legendary Belgian series. He will make appearances in order to showcase Spirou in Berlin on Friday 13 September and Saturday 14 September.
Czech Republic (Brussels Czech Centre)
Visitors are invited to discover the history of Czech comics. Behind the Iron Curtain, authors spent a lot of time developing their own particular style there. In this exhibition, “A Century of Czech Comics”, the public will discover improbable sci-fi heroes, former presidents who have become carnivorous dinosaurs and even scouts in search of adventure.
Sterling Books, the independent English bookshop in Brussels, brings you a selection of their wide range of English-language comics as part of the Comic Strip Festival, such as Daniel Clowes, Alan Moore, Joe Sacco and Posy Simmonds, The Walking Dead, DC, Marvel and more.
EUNIC (The European National Institutes for Culture) Brussels members: Portugal, Estonia, the Basque Country, Hungary, Poland, Finland, Lithuania and Israel
EUNIC member states invite the public to discover the comic heritage of their countries. In addition to a joint exhibition, talks and signing sessions, each country will put on workshops.
Camões, Portugal (The Institute of Cooperation and Language, I.P. – Portugal)
Meet Asisko Urmeneta, an incredibly talented and funny artist. Humour is at the heart of his work, which is written in Basque and its dialects.
Lithuania (The Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in the Kingdom of Belgium)
Lithuanian artist Akvilė Magicdust describes her work as a reflection of Northern Europe’s restrained mood with shades of tropical colours. She will be at the festival, just like Lina Itagaki and Jurga Vilé, who will come and exhibit their work. They have both collaborated, among others, on the graphic novel “Siberian Haiku”, which tells the story of Jurga Vilé’s father and his deportation to Siberia when he was a child.
Poland (The Polish Institute)
Discover the depth of talent found in Polish artists over the entire weekend by coming to meet as many as four different artists, whose work is just as varied as it is rich in content! One of them is Marek Oleksicki, who has worked on a number of video projects and story-boards, as well as adverts, magazine covers and posters.
Hungary (The Balassi Institute – Cultural Service of the Hungarian Embassy)
The Hungarian artists at the festival are real standard-bearers in their country. Between the work of Attila Futaki, the author of graphic novels which have become New-York Times bestsellers, and the appearance by Levente Németh, who will come to showcase his new historic comic, visitors will not be disappointed. Visitors will also be able to meet János Mészáros, winner of the Napút Publishing prize in 2018, or the multi-talented author Lajos Farkas.
Estonia (The Permanent Representation of Estonia to the EU)
Many Estonian artists will make appearances at the festival in order to showcase their work. Whether it’s an animated-film maker, a cartoonist, a blogger or someone else, they’ll have many things for you to discover.
The Basque Country (The Etxepare Basque Institute)
The public will be able to discover the work of the artist Asisko Urmeneta, which features comics, illustrations and caricature. This talented artist won the Basque Country Creativity Prize for the quality of his artwork, his commitment to the Basque Country and his work to promote culture.
Finland (The Finnish Cultural Institute for Benelux)
The Finnish artists H-P Lehkonen and Eelis “Nilukka” Torvinen will make appearances in order to showcase their projects and work. It’s a great excuse to immerse yourself in the world of these two talented professionals!
Israel (The Embassy of Israel in Belgium and Luxembourg)
Didier Pasamonik will be at the festival.. This Belgian editor, journalist and curator has also written a number of essays on caricature, comics and popular culture. In addition to all of his activities, he also teaches at the Shoah Memorial in Paris.