The International Comics Fest / by Jaz Malone

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 train station. This guy just stays here forever, I guess.

The train station. This guy just stays here forever, I guess.

The whole town.

The window of a hair salon.

The window of a hair salon.

Everyone.

Straight-up castle town comics takeover.

Straight-up castle town comics takeover.

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...

Condom vending machines on the street!

Condom vending machines on the street!

...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. 

One long series of hills.

One long series of hills.

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.

Aw yiss, look at all dem comic booths

Aw yiss, look at all dem comic booths

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 jazimated@gmail.com. $10 from each portrait goes to the ACLU.