A bit of a shakeup in the French comics world. Stéphane Beaujean, the well-liked director of the FIBD or Angoulême comics festival, announced he was stepping down on Thursday. A statement from the festival noted that he looking to do more in the “publishing sector, and sure enough the next day it was announced he was joining Dupuis as editorial director:
Stéphane Beaujean, who started his career as a bookseller and comic book critic (he founded the quarterly magazine Ka Boom in 2012), was for four years artistic director of the International Comic Strip Festival of Angoulême (FIBD). His departure from the FIBD was made public on Thursday, March 19, drawing unanimous tributes for his programming and in particular for the welcome he gave to creators from Asia and the United States.
Beaujean fills the position formerly held by Sergio Honorez, who is joining Belvision. As editorial director, he’ll “Reconnect with a creation of comics rooted in Europe but turned to readers around the world, to meet the challenge of reading and regain market share.“
(All of these quotes via Google translate, sorry.)
Dupuis is huge, venerable comics publisher that was acquired by Media Participations a few years ago. They publish such classics as Spirou, Lucky Luke, the Smurfs, and a lot of contemporary hits as well, so this is a big job – but the reaction to his hiring was very positive, from what I’ve seen.
As director, Beaujean definitely cleaned up a lot of the mess that the Angoulême festival had blundered into in recent years, and he was a fantastic curator – the Wally Wood exhibit that he curated at this year’s festival was breathtaking. As mentioned above, he helped make the festival much more truly international. Given the traditional love of drama surrounding Angoulême – and the current challenges to large gatherings – whoever takes over after him has big shoes to fill.