Homeland of comic strip heroes, Brussels in Belgium surprises you with an itinerary of colourfully-painted walls
Brussels is the birthplace of Tintin and Spirou, the worthy forerunners of many generations of comic book heroes. The Smurfs, Lucky Luke and the Daltons Blake and Mortimer, Largo Winch and The Cat were also born here. So, it’s only natural that, in Brussels, comic strip is everywhere: events, museums, shops, bookshops, galleries and street gables all celebrate the 9th art, which is an integral part of its cultural genetic make-up. But comic strip can also be found in places where you least expect it: railway and metro stations and balloons filled with creativity and conviviality burst into the scene.
A must-do in the city is a comic-strip trail. As you come across forty or more monumental frescoes, you’ll get to know these legendary characters and their talented authors. This one-of-it’s-kind walk won’t disappoint the comic-strip fan in you!
Here are a few I spotted during my trail in Brussels:
Broussaille was the very first comic strip mural in July 1991. Brussels author Frank Pe does not deny that Broussaille is an alter ego. Both city boys are sensitive souls, curious nature lovers and avid dreamers. In their philosophical vision, they see fauns, whales flying over the grey city and giant turtles crossing the street.
Where: Plattesteen, 1000 Brussels
During the First World War, Victor Sackville travels the world as a spy for his Majesty the King of England. Where he can, the immpecably-dressed gentleman does anything he can to disrupt the enemy’s plans. The meticulous clear drawings are by Belgian artist Francis Carin.
Where: Rue du Marche au Charbon 60, 1000 Brussels
A villain threatens Nadine with a large knife. How fortunate that inspector Bourdon and especially Ric Hochet happen to be nearby. Over the course of 78 albums, the shrewd journalist with a Porsche and a somewhat limited wardrobe outwits the biggest charltans and most dangerous lunatics. Artist Tibet and writer Duchateauare are also the duo behind Chick Bill.
Where: Rue du Bon Secours 9, 1000 Brussels
Flower power! Olivier Rameau holds out his hand to the sensual Colombe Tiredaile. In their utopian world, you pay not with money but with tears of joy, songs, laughter or a big kiss. Cartoonist Dany and writer Greg produced this poetic fantasy series in the crazy days of 1968.
Where: Rue du Chene 9, 1000 Brussels
In 2011, Steven Spielberg came up with an effervescent animated film about Tintin. The most famous Belgian hero is the brainchild of Herge, the pen name of Brussels author Georges Prosper Remi, one of the truly great comic strip authors. The scene depicted is from calculus Affair.
Where: Rue de L’etuve, 1000 Brussels
HOP ON A SEGWAY
If you’re too lazy to walk all the way, hop on a Segway and find out more about comic strips in Brussels with a local guide. This fun, environmentally friendly, two-wheeled motor-powered vehicle is quite easy to use. And then you’ll know why Brussels is called the comic strip capital of the world!
During your comic trail, you’ll come across a host of bookshops and galleries that offer a wide choice of comic souvenirs. If you’re a loyal Tintin fan, you certainly can’t return without a Tintin keychain, mug or diary!