We don’t mean to belittle this sobering story with a funny headline, but…well we did it anyway. However, it seems that Angoulême, France, cradle of the greatest , biggest comics convention of them all, a town-spanning festival where well over 200,000 people gather just to watch Seth tie his shoes, is having the same kind of townie drama some other shows have. Tom Spurgeon has the story with this quote from Angoulêmeologist Bart Beaty:

I am so not privy to the high stakes negotiations that would take place between the town and the Festival, that I am almost tempted to just keep my mouth shut and listen to the signals. The essential problem for the moment seems to be the idea that Angouleme does not want to take on the cost (400,000 Euros) of erecting the tents and the security barriers that allow the Festival to function. Like every other government in the world, they’re faced with declining tax revenues and a financial crisis. This has led them to question whether or not the city really derives that much economic benefit from the Festival, and the suggestion that the costs of erecting tents so that publishers can sell comics should be borne by the publishers. There is also concern moving forward about future funding for the Festival for 2011-2013.

It is sad to see commerce rear its head in one of the few places that celebrated comics as an art form first, but, you know, baby needs new escargot.


  1. It’s debatable whether Angouleme is the world’s largest comic con. I wrote this for a blog several years ago (which accounts for the lower-than-current estimate of San Diego attendees):[p]

    “Officially Angouleme’s attendance is about 200,000 people, about twice as many as San Diego’s Comic Con International, North America’s largest comics convention. But the way they count attendees in Angouleme, come to find out, is a bit odd.[p]

    “If you attend one day in Angouleme, you count as one attendee. If you attend two days, you count as two. Three days, you count as three. And so on. That doesn’t seem quite right. My informal estimate of actual warm bodies attending the Angouleme Festival is closer to 80,000.[p]

    “The San Diego Comic Con counts attendance by actual tickets sold. Exhibitors and professionals are included, but that seems reasonable in a count of warm bodies actually attending. Since San Diego’s attendance is close to 100,000, I’d say that San Diego has Angouleme beat.[p]

    “In [i]size,[/i] at least.”

  2. Angoulême would slowly die without the Festival. Heidi, if you like, I can send you information on the 2nd LGBT-themed comics, creators and fans meeting that will take place like last year.
    The idea came from Tim Fish 2 years ago. Tim will have a booth again this year (like us, SCARCE magazine). And there gonna be also a LGBT-themed comics/creators booth with people like…well it’s a surprise, I can give the information! :p

  3. I have been to 3 or 4 Angouleme festivals, and it would be a shame if they had to cancel it next year or if it ended entirely. You can’t really compare it to San Diego because Angouleme is all about comics, or bande dessinee. It even has supplements and daily reports in the national newspapers and television.

    I was talking to a 10 year old one year, who told me her entire class traveled 6 hours on the bus just to spend the day there.

  4. Yes, one of the good thing of the Angouleme festival is that we do not have to suffer all this mass-media propaganda about all those shitty comics adaptation movies that you have at your Comicons.