January 28, 2012
Conversational Euro-Comics: Bart Beaty In Angouleme 03
By Bart Beaty
Bit of a strange mix here on the banks of the Charente. On the one hand, a lot of things feel different, not the least because the Hotel Mercure
refused to admit patrons after 2:00 AM. Scenes of dozens of cartoonists being turned away from the only open bar caused a lot to proclaim only semi-ironically that FIBD has lost its soul. It's just one of a number if cosmetic changes that seem so striking to longtime visitors.
On the other hand, there really is very little to report after two days. A mellow, enjoyable festival with good weather and few people. Crowds are noticeably down from recent years. Very noticeably.
No consensus breakthrough book. Expected hits are hits (new Brecht Evens
!) but nothing shocks the system. Tout le monde
loves the Spiegelman shows, with nary a dissenting voice.
A few seams are showing. Guests not present for panels, panels booked for rooms that are too small (good luck getting a seat for the RAW
panel, booked in a closet), and ridiculous lines for the Fred
exhibition at Hotel St Simon
. I've been turned away from that four times and the wait is currently 45 minutes.
But that's nitpicking. This had been one of my favorite festivals, possibly because of -- rather than despite -- the lack of a big crowd.
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posted 3:30 pm PST
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