After New York, I hopped across the ocean to Angoulême, France, for the International Comics Festival. I'd never been to the castle town, and was under the impression that this would be like other comic conventions, where one large building is designated as the place for vendors, exhibitions, etc.
Nope. The entire town stops what it's doing for 4 days to celebrate comic art.
The whole town.
As it turns out, they just like comics here. Everyone I met was an artist or an arts appreciator. Comics weren't the favorite pastime for some people in the town, but no one seemed to think they were pointless. No one seemed to think any artistic endeavor was pointless. Of course, this country also has universal health care and proper sex education, so...
...but I digress (Psst!).
The festival featured exhibitions across town, huge vendor tents, films (Last Man!), and exhaustion from walking up and down as many hills as humanly possible. Those castle-builders weren't kidding about security - they made it as tiring to walk to the top as they could.
Since I'm horrible with directions, I got myself lost 5 times in 4 days. That's just how I roll, I guess. But overall, it was a great time. I bought way too many (and yet, not enough) comics from the crazy talented individuals there.
I got to hang out with an African collective whose members hailed from several countries, and met some cool LGBTQ+ folx from the city. I'm still in France, in another city (Bondy) for the week. I'm still accepting portrait commissions for $35 to pay for daily expenses. If you're feeling generous, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. $10 from each portrait goes to the ACLU.