"Brussels is well known by all people for being the capital of Europe, for its delicious waffles, its marvelous chocolate, its cultural diversity... But we should also know that this city is the world capital of comic books. If Tokio is the world's reference for manga culture, Brussels is the same for the bande dessinée".
THE COMIC BOOK IN BELGIUM AND BRUSSELS
Why is the comic book so important in Brussels and Belgium? The key of this 9th art is the fact that great authors as Hergé, whose most famous creation is Tintin; or Peyo, the creator of The Smurfs; were born in this city. But we don't just talk about Tintin or The Smurfs: also Lucky Luke, Marsupilami, Spirou and Fantasio are Belgian.
As a result of these great creations, the bande dessinée, the comic book in French, has had a very important develop and marketing in the city of Brussels. Thus, we find the Belgian Comic Strip Center (Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée) and also The Comic Book Route, where we can see 40 wall paintings on the facades of different buildings, representing the most important characters of the Belgian bande dessinée.
HISTORY OF THE COMIC BOOK ROUTE
We have to take a look to the late 80's and early 90's in Brussels in order to talk about the origins of this route. Many of the buildings in the city center in these years needed an important restauration. In 1991 it was proposed to paint the walls with original scenes from the comic books, after the demolition of some buildings in different parts of the city. Also, in this way, the history and the value of the comic book were highlighted.
THE COMIC BOOK ROUTE
Today we find 40 wall paintings in Brussels. The murals representing Tintin, Gomer Goof, the gauls Asterix and Obelix, Lucky Luke, Spirou... will permit us diving completely in this 9th art.
This route could be divided in two distinct areas within Brussels, the city center and Laeken, the area close to the Atomium. Most of this walls (the most important, anyway) are placed in the city center, only 10 of these paintings are situated in Laeken. Moreover, the city center route is the most famous today.
Due to the importance of this route, there are continuous restauration works to improve the quality of these murals. This is also a very living route, because with the passing of the years new paintings have been created. In 2010 the "Comic Wall XIII" was inaugurated in the Rue Philippe de Champagne, for example.
During our Brussels Free Walking Tour we will see some of these murals, among them one of the most famous representing Tintin, the Captain Haddock and Snowy.
We will recommend you to visit some of the most famous wall paintings:
Tintin Mural Painting: we could say that this is the most visited, and it represents the main character of the comic book in Brussels. In addition, it is really close to the emblematic Manneken Pis. During our Free Walking Tour we will see this wall.
Address: Rue de l'Etuve, 1000 Brussels.
Lucky Luke Mural Painting: one of the most recognized characters of the comic book, we can also found it in the city center.
Address: Rue de la Buanderie 40, 1000 Brussels.
If you want to know where are the rest of the murals paintings and see a map of the Comic Book Route, just click here.