Comic Books Are Surprisingly on the Rise in France

During the pandemic, France saw a rise in comic book readers. Read on to learn how comics have reached a new high through young readers and non-fiction comic books!

Book Culture Book News Comics & Graphic Novels Pop Culture
person drawing comic book explosion with capitalized boom in the center.

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.

Kids reading a comic book with interested expressions.
IMAGE VIA CANVA

Cultural Reading

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.

Common area of the Angoulême comic book festival.
IMAGE VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

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.


Check out more book news here!

Browse our Comics, Manga, and Graphic Novels shelf on Bookshop here!

FEATURED IMAGE VIA BOOKSTR / BRANDON SMITH