|One of Angoulême's
Ultimately, however, the Festival is so unique in scale and scope that even a deeply flawed Angoulême remains something to see. As long as the event continues to attract publishers and artists from all corners, the Festival will remain a mandatory destination for anyone able to make the trip. Only Angoulême attracts a group of individuals from which this year's Platinum Age Comics meeting could spontaneously arise, and only the CNBDI could draw Martin Vaughn-James out to discuss his graphic work in a comics context. "Basically, Angoulême is a big Disney World about comics," says Beaty. "It's not a serious festival, but it's a mammoth festival so everyone feels that they should go. It's a lot like San Diego in that way." But while the San Diego Comic-Con has surrendered itself over to a broad cross-section of commercial concerns, including movies, video games, collectibles, and the like, Angoulême, at least, remains focused on comics. Where Angoulême is commercial, it is commercial about comics; where Angoulême exhibits bad taste, it exhibits bad taste in comics — so far. Whether the Festival committee's planned expansion will obliterate that dubious saving grace remains to be seen. But even in failure, Angoulême must be spectacular.
[Correction: The date of the Grand Prix announcement given on page 10 was edited post-publication for accuracy. —Ed.
Gracious thanks to Bart Beaty and Robert Beerbohm, without whose generous participation this piece would have greatly suffered. Much of the factual information in this article was taken from the following websites:
The Festival's official website
General news websites:
The Comic Book Award Almanac:
Frommer's Travel Guide:
Platinum Age Comics mailing list: