Not just a city of waffles, the EU, and good beer, Brussels is famous for its love for comic books. Since the early '90s, walls across the city have been decorated with characters from popular comics and their authors, and tourists are getting more and more curious about them.
The comic strip route in Brussels is a path composed of comic book murals which deck the walls of several buildings in the inner city. The large comic strip murals show motifs of the most famous and popular Belgian comics, such as Tin Tin, Gaston, Lucky Luke, and others.
The project began on the initiative of the local authorities of the city of Brussels in collaboration with the Belgian Comic Strip Center. In the beginning, the project was only intended to embellish the empty walls and gables of the city’s buildings. It then became an opportunity to remember that many well-known comic artists around the world are linked to Belgium’s capital, which also claims to be the capital of comic books.
Today, the Brussels Comic Book Route offers more than 50 mural paintings, most of them located in the city center. Following the trail, the Comic Book Route is a good way to discover the capital and even penetrate neighborhoods that are not yet crowded with tourists.
Broussaille was the first comic book wall to be painted, based on an original project of the Belgian comic book artist Frank Pé. With a surface of about 35 square metres, the mural painting was inaugurated in July 1991 at the intersection of two central streets, Marché au Charbon and Teinturiers. Close to the Broussaille wall, there is a wall illustrated with a scene from the Opera of Death, the first comic of the Code Zimmerman series, created by Francis Carin.
Franquin’s famous creation, Gaston Lagaffe, smiles down from a tall and narrow side wall of the building at Rue de l’Ecuyer. The wall was painted in February 2007, and it shows the famous hero having fun. This comic character made his debut on February 28, 1957 in Spirou magazine. Gaston was the first anti-hero and the most socially critical clown in Franco-Belgian comic strips.
Only a few steps from Manneken Pis, there is one of the most colorful comic book murals in Brussels, which attracts a lot of attention. In the fantasy series Olivier Rameau, created in 1968, in which Mr. Relevant experiences a world full of fantasy and dreams.
A thorough exploration of all the comic book-related gems in Brussels can take hours or even days. The Brussels tourist association Pro Velo organizes a bike tour starting at the Bicycle Riders House.There are many comic book shops and even comic book museums where you can find answers to all you want to know about the tradition of comic strips in Belgium. For more info check Visit Brussels, and do not skip even a small part of the tour when you come to Brussels. It will reveal a part of the city which is not yet too popular but certainly worth experiencing.
Photos: Autor’s Archive
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