Among European comics, comic book series made primarily in France and Belgium — also known as BD
, from their French name bande dessinée
("drawn strip") — are a huge industry by themselves (3rd largest in the world, after U.S. Comic Books
and Japanese Manga
) and have produced many great classics. They are also quite distinct from their American and Japanese counterparts (though cultural co-mingling has reduced those a bit, especially concerning manga; their extremely high popularity since the early 90's has forced the industry to adapt a bit to survive).
First, the mainstream and intellectual perception of the medium is in stark contrast to that of the U.S.; in Europe, comics are called "le Neuvième Art", the Ninth Art. The influence of French-language comics in Europe has spread this concept to other national comics industries, such as those of Great Britain, Spain and Italy (and South America, to a lesser degree), to a noticeable extent. The lack of any truly constraining Comics Code
or puritan Moral Guardians
-enforced laws allowed creators and publishers to use more mature themes and concepts in their works, and to later move away from purely children's stories to more adult-oriented works in the The Sixties
virtually seamlessly (the fact that it was a more permissive time than The Fifties
probably helped). While youth-oriented comics are still a major part of the industry, many are perennial Long Runners
and/or are rife with Parental Bonus
, and there is little to no social stigma attached to being a fan or a collector. In fact, it is almost impossible to find a house in France that doesn't have a bunch of comics on a shelf somewhere.
The publishing methods and format is distinct from that in the U.S. Volumes, called "albums", are usually at A4 size (21cm x 30cmnote
, the slightly-larger European equivalent of "letter-sized" 8.5'' x 11'' paper), hardbound and normally between 40 and 60 pages long. New albums in a series typically appear at a rate of one per year. Really prolific series can go up to three or four albums a year. However, it isn't unheard of for some authors (especially those who are prone to a Cast of Snowflakes
and/or Scenery Porn
) to need several years for a new album. This rarely seems to put off fans of a series.
Like manga, many titles are first pre-published piece by piece in the publisher's comics magazine
, mostly those aimed at children and teens. In those, one-page funnies blur the lines between comicbooks and Newspaper Comics
See also Belgian Comics
, comics strictly made in Belgium.
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French-Belgian comic book series:
Franco-Belgian comic creators: