With the pandemic locking people in their homes, people began to take up new and interesting hobbies. In France, there was a rise in comic book readers during the lockdown. This reader rise was thought to be due to the pandemic, but many French readers have found themselves sticking with comic books.
The Rise of Comic Books
France’s recent comic book boom is partly due to the pandemic ironically breathing life into the genre. This is largely thanks to France’s Culture Pass, which gave teenagers roughly $350 to spend on artistic and cultural practices. Most teenagers decided to spend their money on comic books and manga. The comic book world assumed this wasn’t a permanent growth, but to their surprise, it has been. More recently, there has been an increase in non-fiction comic book sales, with one in four books sold in France being comic books.
The steady growth of comic book readers in France is thanks to the culture of Bande dessinée, which refers to French-Belgian comics that started in the 1900s. These early comics were typically only a page long and didn’t feature speech bubbles, instead choosing to place captions and dialogue beneath the panels. These comics were typically published in magazines until comic books themselves began being published.
France’s love of comic books doesn’t stop there. Since 1974, the Angoulême comic festival has been hosted every year in France to celebrate comic books. The four-day festival brings in 200,000 people and is the second-largest comic book festival in the world. This festival shows the role that comic books play in their culture. The future of this genre in France is looking to continue its growth as the major form of reading.
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