Arts & Entertainment

Brussels’ comic book route turns 30

By Clara Gámez

Brussels, May 8 (EFE).- Belgium, along with France, is a historical hub of comic book production in Europe and this cultural trademark is reflected in its capital city in the form of large murals dedicated to some of its most famous fictional exports like Tintin, the Smurfs and Lucky Luke.

The Brussels Comic Book Route, which this year is marking its 30th anniversary, first came into fruition thanks to former councilor Michel Van Roye, who wanted to breathe new life into the city’s facades, many of which were looking forlorn or had been hidden behind advertisements.

“This desire to renovate the city… to revitalize the neighborhoods, led bit by bit to the establishment of this comic book route,” Arnaud Pinxteren, the current councilor of urban renovation, told Efe.

The first murals that went up in 1991 were a hit with Brussels residents, who have been closely involved in the project. There are now around 60 murals dotted around the city.

Many include references to the neighborhoods they adorn.

A mural in the style of the comic book Léonard, for example, shows a caricature of Leonardo Da Vinci painting the view down the street, which includes the dome of the Palace of Justice in the background.

No fewer than five murals pay tribute to the comic book creator Georges Remie, better known as Hergé, who was the brain behind Belgium’s most famous fictional export, the adventurous, bequiffed reporter Tintin.

One of the most famous artworks on the route depicts a scene from the volume The Calculus Affair with Tintin and Captain Haddock running down a fire escape staircase.

One of the latest editions to the route is the double fresco by Wauter Mannaert of his character Yasmina, an endearing young woman who cooks cheap dishes with local produce, like potatoes.

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