Abby Denson, creator of Dolltopia, writes for Bleeding Cool, reporting from the world’s largest comic convention, Angoulême, happening now!
Hi folks, this is a report from Abby – I do a dessert comics blog, so you may notice a bit of food details in here along with the comics details!
Angoulême Day 0
Tim Fish and I met at CDG airport Wednesday morning, we narrowly beat a winter storm and arrived on time. I ran into Calista Brill from First Second on the plane, nice surprise! I wasn’t really expecting to see other comics folks on the flight over as seems to happen so often when flying from New York to San Diego Con.
We made our way into Paris together via the RER to the metro. Then Tim and I met Xavier in a soggy Paris at Montparnasse Cafe. We had a petit déjeuner (breakfast) of croissants, coffee, and orange juice. I did not sleep on the flight so the coffee was a welcome wake-up!
Refreshed, we set out to Montparnasse station where we met up with table-mate Jeff Suon, the ride from Paris to Angoulême is about two and half hours. We chatted and caught up since last year, showing each other our sketchbooks and goofing around.
When we arrived at the station our hostess (we are all staying together at a guest house) picked up our luggage and books in her car and drove to the tent (a walkable, but steep uphill climb from the station). Her car could only fit the books, so we walked up to meet her at the top.
Angoulême is a comic book town, all of the street signs are shaped like word bubbles and various buildings have comic art painted on the side! It also has extremely picturesque views from its high vantage point.
Similar to a Mardi Gras style King Cake it had a toy baked inside (but instead of a baby Jesus it was a little shoe). Tim got the slice with a shoe and then the waitress put a gold paper crown on him (which he wore for quite a while after). King for the day!
We headed to the tent with King Tim and unloaded our many boxes of books to the booth. The tent was mainly empty with a few other booths setting up early.
The security staff was super helpful to us at this point, so kudos to them! After we had our boxes situated we took the long and windy downhill walk back to the house we are staying at. On the way, I was excited to see that the local market was festooned with Junko Mizuno posters for the underground manga exhibit, very cool! The walk seemed very long and cold after the long flight and train ride with no sleep, but I persevered!
After taking showers and a rest at the house we taxied back to town and met at Cafe Chaud, a cool bar that was decorated inside with comics pages hanging from the ceiling. We met up with Diogo, Xavier, and Jean-Paul there.
From there we went to the nearby restaurant La Calandrine (which also had comic art on the walls) where we had a melted cheese adventure! We ordered wine, fondue and also raclette, which was new to me. Raclette consists of various meats, potatoes, and vegetables, and a giant half-wheel of cheese strapped into a contraption that melts it bit by bit onto a small plate below and then the melted cheese is combined with the other ingredients. Like fondue, it is a group food experience and we had a lot of fun trying to keep the cheese from getting everywhere and getting it on to our plates in time. It also tasted great! UK cartoonists David Ziggy Green joined us there too, so our party was growing and raging a this point.
We shared a fantastic crème brûlée for dessert and, energized by the waves of melted cheese, our gang walked back to the house where I got some much needed sleep!
Angoulême Day 1
I slept in a bit (after being up 2 days in a row I figured it was the best idea) and was pleased to see that today was a beautiful sunny day. We made our way past the nearby BD Museum (BD means comics in French btw) and got the free shuttle bus up to the town center. I arrived at the booth for my signing with David and enjoyed talking to the attendees and seeing our friends from last year like Sean Azzopardi and Oliver Lambden from the B.A.S.TA.R.D.S., a UK comic group. Jose Villarubia also arrived with artist Miran Kim, lots of talent here! This is apprently the Pro day, so we expect more crowds later in the week.
That’s it so far…