Tooned up: Belgian Comic Strip Art comes to Lahore

Published: April 20, 2017


LAHORE: An exhibition to highlight the manner in which Belgian comic strip heroes have continued to fascinate people was inaugurated at a local hotel on Tuesday.

The exhibition titled Belgian Comic Strip Art shows the covers of over 50 of the most famous comic strip books from the country. It will remain on display till May 2.

Belgium Comic Strip Centre (BCSC) General Director Jean Auquier said comic strip art is a real institution in his nation. “It is natural for most people to house a collection or to maintain a library dedicated to comic strip art,” he said in a message to the audience.

According to Auquier, more than half of the books published and produced in Belgium are comics. “Graphic artists and script writers, almost 1,000 in number, have transformed Belgium into the kingdom of comic strip art for almost a century, he added.

“The names of Hergé, Vandersteen, Peyo, Franquin or Morris spontaneously evoke characters like Tintin and Snowy, Bob and Bobette or Bessy, the Smurfs, Gaston Lagaffe and Lucky Luke. Together with their numerous colleagues based in Belgium, they have brought about a real cultural revolution,” he added.

Auquier said these paper heroes now form parts of daily life. “It has become both a medium of artistic expression and the ingredient of an actual cultural industry,” he said.

All of these genres and styles have one thing in common; the quality of the graphics and the spellbinding energy of the very best stories, he said.  Auquier added some comics gained a cult status and were parodied or hijacked a thousand times over. “Highlights of Belgian Comic Strip Art can only provide a mere glimpse.”

“Since our reading habits have changed, this has only strengthened the close bond that exists between readers and the artists,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2017.

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