There is a land I'd like to tell you about. It's a land where comics and graphic novels flow like colourful, stapled and papery water. A land where over 4800 new comic books were published last year alone. Where national comic sales topped 40 million. Where individual book sales of 300,000 copies weren't the stuff of fevered dreams, but a cool reality enjoyed by a good number of creators. Where passion for quality and quantity is matched by a living wage and a professional, structured industry.
I am talking, of course, about FRANCE!
Terre du libre, à la maison du courageux!
From late 2005 to spring 2007 I lived in France simply drinking in the immense volume of comic material on offer. But it still wasn't until a recent trip to Brittany that I was made aware of just how accepted and available this wonderful storytelling medium has become. See fig 1 below.
This is me gurning away beside the BD section in a NEWSAGENTS ('Tabac' for those with a continental leaning) in the tiny fishing village of Douarnenez. A town about the size of Falmouth. A small place. Very small. And just LOOK AT ALL THOSE BOOKS! Wow...
Today, dear France, I salute you ... you're one more reason why comics have never been so much fun!