Opened in 1989, the Comics Art Museum Brussels in the Zandstraat / Rue du Sable in Brussels is run by the Belgian Comic Strips Center. The museum in Victor Horta‘s Art Nouveau Waucquez Warehouse not only tells the (hi)story of comic strips it also gives an elaborate explanation of the industry.
The museum is grand. I visited in January 2021, in full coronavirus pandemic. So there’s was a fixed route to follow. Not everything was accessible. When writing this blogpost, I discovered there’s also a Documentation Center and a Reading Room. The reading room was / is closed due to coronavirus countermeasures.
The museum is quite large. The permanent exhibition comprises of two floors. On the third floor there are temporary exhibitions.
I could discern four major topics in the museum:
- the (early) history of comic strips;
- how comics were and are made;
- genres of comic strips;
- in-depth analyses of individual comic series.
Hergé with his Tintin and Jo, Zette & Jocko series; Billy & Buddy (Boule et Bill, Bollie en Billie), The Smurfs and Midam‘s Kid Paddle.
Being alone and corona being a kill-joy, my visit was somewhat short. I’ll give it another go when things go back to more normal.
I liked how elaborate the story of comic strips and comic strips production is, but I missed any – except Boerke – reference to the Flemish comic strip tradition. Comic strips are a very Belgian phenomenon, but there are clear differences between the Francophone and the Flemish schools of doing things. Spike and Suzy (UK) also known as Willy and Wanda in the USA (Suske en Wiske) were no-where to be seen.
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