Angoulême International Comics Festival 2017
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26-29 January, 2017
The 44th Festival International de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême, France, will run from January 26-29th, 2017. The most important comics festival in Europe, this year it will join forces with Angoulême’s comics museum to host an exhibition of American cartoonist Will Eisner’s work for the 100th-year anniversary of his birth.
Eisner, considered one of the world’s seminal comics and graphic novelists, won the 1975 Grand Prix in Angoulême and was a frequent visitor to the festival. In the US, each year prestigious awards bearing his name are given to American comics for creative achievement.
The exhibition at the comics museum, spread over 400 m2 of space, will highlight Eisner’s penchant for urban settings, beginning with New York in the 1940s, followed by his partnership with Jerry Iger in the 1930s and their establishment as one of the first comics packagers. In 1940 Eisner created The Spirit, an urban crime-fighter series that ran as a syndicated strip in newspapers, revolutionizing the comics genre. The exhibition will explore the genesis of The Spirit’s character and its graphic inspiration. It will also cover a period in Eisner’s life when, after being drafted into the army during World War II, he founded the American Visual Corporation, which published pictorial instruction books for companies and government agencies. In the 1970s Eisner returned to comics, and began to explore what he called “graphic novels”. A section of the exhibit will be dedicated to Eisner’s subsequent graphic novels that began with his four-part pen and ink semi-autobiographical work, A Contract with God, which captured the world of immigrant life in New York City in the 1930s. Eisner’s career spanned almost 70 years, from the beginnings of the comic strip to digital comics.
Considered the “father” of the graphic novel, Angoulême’s exhibit, which will open at the same time as the comics festival, will run until October 2017 and promises to be a rare treat for lovers of the comic and graphic novel form.