Brussels claims to be the comic book capital of the world, and has some impressive stats to back it up: the most comic book shops of any metro area, and Belgian comics are well-known across the globe. To celebrate their love of these printed treasures, over the years, the city has commissioned artists to depict these stories all across the city. Let’s take a look at some of these stories and murals, shall we?
A Short Introduction to Belgian Comics
The history of the first comics is actually riddled with controversy, so I’ll try to keep this short and as neutral as possible: In Flanders (northern Belgium), the children’s magazine Mannekensblad (Children’s Journal) appeared in 1911 with some of the first recognized comics by most experts. The first big hit for Belgian comics was in 1929 with The Adventures of Tin Tin, the red-haired globetrotter. From there, in the 1930s, there was a big explosion of talent making comics, introducing another set of hits including Lucky Luke in 1936 and Spirou in 1939.
Other popular comic series from Belgium include The Smurfs (1958), Asterix (1959), and Ric Hochet (the mid-1950s). While in recent years their popularity has waned, possibly in part due to the rise of Japanese manga, the comics remain very popular and cherished in their native Belgium.
A Few Select Murals
Let’s be honest: If I saw a mural, I snapped a pic, but I didn’t go out of my way to trace the entire trail. Sadly, my time in the city was limited, and there were other sites and amusements (and foods!) I wanted to try, so check out this gallery of my findings! I missed the Smurfs mural, but I did manage to get a nice, eclectic collection of images for you all to enjoy. The caption of each picture gives a brief description of the comic portrayed in the mural. Happy reading!
What are your favorite comics? Where do you think the comic capital of the world is? Let us know in the comments below!