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The Official Bryan Talbot fanpage / Articles / Conventions

Convention Report: Erlangen 2002


Often described as "Germany’s Angoulême", the 10th Erlangen Comic Festival took place 30th May — 2nd June, the same time as comparable events in Switzerland and Holland, the Paris Book Fair and Bristol’s Comics 2002.

Erlangen, much of which seems to be owned by Seimens, has an air of wealth and the streets look scrubbed clean, with no evidence of vandalism, graffiti or homelessness in sight.

Although smaller than Angoulême with its estimated quarter of a million attendees each year, Erlangen is the biggest German festival, held every two years and attracting around forty thousand visitors to this modern Bavarian university city close to Nuremberg.

The emphasis here is on European comics, unlike the smaller festival at Essen which has a bias towards American material. Nevertheless, among the hundreds of publishers and retailers’ booths, American comics were well represented with even a huge picture of Spider Jerusalem from Transmetropolitan (a very popular title here) welcoming the visitors to the Heinrich-Lades-Halle, the large conference centre in the heart of the city.

Like Angoulême on a smaller scale, the festival is a cultural event celebrated all over the city, with exhibitions in public buildings, comic displays in shop windows and banners and posters in the streets. During the festival, the square outside the conference centre was filled with dealers’ stalls selling back issues, books and toys.

The main art exhibition space was in the centre itself, with hundreds of original comic pages on display and a large son et lumière presentation that featured the work of the principle guest, François Schuiten. Other, smaller displays were ranged about the centre, including one of strips from Liberty Meadows by Frank Cho.

The souvenir booklet lists dozens of guests, many of whom spent hours sketching and signing copies of their albums. The creators present included Schuiten himself (splitting his time between here and the Swiss festival), Jose Munoz, Serpieri, Herrman, Matthias Schultheiss, André Taymans and Frank Giroud. I seemed to be not just the only Brit guest but also the only Brit present.

With areas dedicated to Manga, erotic comics and the Small Press, a "Comicfilmfest" and a continuous programme of talks, slide-shows and panels on both European and American works, the festival was multifaceted and well organised. Such is the level of multilinguism here that my BAD RAT talk to over a hundred attendees needed no translator.

Friday night saw the festival party, featuring The Beat Brothers, a German band whose renditions of, mainly Beatles, 60s hits were uncannily note-for-note authentic.

The packed Markgrafentheater, a large and splendidly baroque music hall, hosted the festivities on the Saturday evening. These included a performance of Ristorante Immortale by the Flöz company, a mixture of mime, music and slapstick performed by the cartoon-masked troupe ( I know that sounds dreadful but it was actually very funny and was a big hit at the Edinburgh Fringe last year) and, introduced by the Mayor of Erlangen, the presentation of the Max-und-Moritz Awards.

With the present state of the comic industry in the US and, especially, in the UK, it’s a pleasure to visit such a major European comic festival and see the buoyancy of the market there and the undiminished enthusiasm for the medium.

Bryan Talbot

Also check out the report on the Brazil, Kemi and Milan festivals, or return to the articles page.

There are some pictures of Bryan at Erlangen at in the galleries on the official site

The design and content of this page and this entire website is copyright 1999, 2006 by James Robertson: all images are copyright 1999, 2006 by Bryan Talbot