I love Angouleme. I really do. It's one of my favorite comics' festivals, and unlike any other I know of. The simple fact that it takes over an entire French town makes it unique in and of itself. A whole town! You step off the train and you can't help but feel the love that's bestowed upon our beloved graphic story-telling medium over the course of these next five days.
Walking into Gare Montparnasse in Paris to catch the TGV to Angouleme is just like walking into JFK to board aplane to San Diego Comic Con... it's a who's who of European comic creators. I was there with Olivier Jalabert from Soleil and we ran into all kinds of folks heading to the con; Olivier Vatine, Nic Kermidas, Theirry from Delcourt, and even Eric Powell, who I'd surprisingly never met before. The party started there as beers were bought and the train was boarded.
Oliver got us upgraded to first class (score!) and we ended up sitting with Diane and Jean-Jean Launier, who run the amazing contemporary art gallery Arludik in Paris. After apologizing for not attending last night's Ronnie Del Carmen/Enrico Casarosa/Tadahiro Uesugi show opening, we settled in for a wonderful chat about international comics and art and the two hour train ride flew by. Jean-Jacques also does some work for Fox France and they're starting their Watchmen promotion in Angouleme this weekend, so we scored Watchmen bandanas from him. Watchmen's called Les Gardiens here. (Random aside: Disney's Bolt has been changed to Volt.)
One of the other things that separates Angouleme from other cons is that it's sponsored by French car company Citroen, and they provide the show with a fleet of cars and drivers to move the con guests around town, every after late nights of drinking! It was a quick drive to my hotel, the Mercure Nord, which has recently been remodeled, much to my liking. Very art deco now, but not small and dainty and uncomfortable like some places. This cool room has a big bed, new modern bathroom, flat screen TV, free wireless, two sofas... all very classy.
I also received my Angouleme BD 2009 Welcome Folder which made me giddy.
As DRAIN was released in French and seems to be selling rather well, this is my first time here as an actual "auteur" and I feel all special. They made sure to bring in plenty copies for me to sign over the next four days.
I still can't believe I'm signing here. As an actual creator! Alongside the big guns of European comics!! It still makes my head spin thinking about it...
That's it for now as I have to run to a welcome dinner, but I'll definitely be posting more news and photos all weekend long! Stay tuned...