The promised land… At least for us comic nerds.

I have been wanting to visit this sacred city for probably around 15 years. And it did not disappoint.

I’m not really sure where to begin. Like other “reports”, I guess I’ll just shoot off some random thoughts and observations as I can recall them.

As my first trip to France, we built in some time in Paris as well. A few days allowed us to explore some touristy locals and what not. Big thanks to Leon from Secret Acres for a “page full” of things we should see and do. The list was so complete that I was almost certain he had lived there at one point… Mikey Dawson told me that Leon had actually only visited one time before!

I think my two most mind-blowing moments was visiting the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Yes… Touristy places… But awe inspiring. The size of the tower didn’t really hit me until you are at its base. The church is just so beautiful…

After three days in Paris we headed to the train station to meet our Angouleme travel bud, Tom Scioli. Tom had pushed the envelope and helped us make the possibility of debuting America Barbarian at the show.   We hadn’t actually heard from Tom while in Paris… So we were in hopes that all was OK, and he was there. Turns out his host in Paris had computer problems, so the lack of communication. I hope Tom does a report, because his Parisian adventures sounded pretty cool.

One of the things Tom did in Paris was an interview on France24. I’m not quite sure how that happened, but I’m sure glad it did! Fun stuff.

Because of my lack in speaking French, Angouleme has always seemed just out of reach. Mostly in finding a place to stay. Between talking to Greg Bennett, reading D&Q’s report from last year, and then getting details from Sam of Nobrow…I felt I had enough knowledge to give the trip a whirl.

We ended up getting a chateau in the countryside. No problem since I had heard that itis typical to “hire” a car when at the festival. How easy it would be to have someone drive us around! (I’d later find out that hire is English for rent.) So, big thanks to the Iphone for helping us make it around. Seriously.

We kicked the show off by bringing our stock into the festival, gathering up groceries, and meeting Tom’s friends Reedman & Elodie for dinner. Tom had stayed with them on his last trip to France some 7 years ago. Why? The love of Kirby.

Reedman is a VERY interesting person. He grew out of the underground scene 20 (30?) years ago. He currently colors for the mainstream, but publishes an interesting line of work. Later during the show I would have the pleasure of going out to dinner with his “team” of friends. One of the best first time dinners I have ever had. Many thanks to Jean Depelley, Jean-Marie Arnon, and Phillipe for being so welcoming and speaking such good English! The “moment” of the night for me was when I bent down to take a pic of the group and almost knocked over a cabinet of plates. American Barbarian indeed.

One of the only downers of the whole trip was that I just started to get sick when the show started. Not terribly sick, but just lots of mucus. I picked up some meds, along with some fila dentiele, and pushed on through.

Well, the other downer is my feeling I had to be at the table most all the time. Because of that, I never really got to see any of the exhibits. I guess that means I will just have to return as a civilian one of these years. As Joe Keeting mentioned, we should all make this show our number one destination, if we can.

Got to see a preview of Joe’s Glory comic. I’m excited to get a copy of that in February.

It was nice to meet Serge of Ca et La finally. If you’re not familiar with his imprint, it is essentially the AdHouse of Europe. But better. He just released Skyscapers in French, and will be releasing Duncan at some point in the future.

So, yeah, one day Tom and I tried to figure out how many Americans were at the show. Our initial guess was 10-15, but I got over 20 after thinking about it. Heck, AdHouse peeps numbered near five! Maybe it had something to do with artie being prez.

My neighbors at the show were pretty cool. Sasha Hommer introduced himself, and I didn’t realize who he was until a day later. Azfab was to our other side and they were a jolly lot! They knew how to end each day, too. Bubbly for all! Other UKers that I met included Martin & Dan from Blank Slate and the Orbital crew of Tom, Simon and Milla. All great comickers.

One of the things they do in Europe and not so much in the states is the dedica. Essentially a really nice drawing in the book you buy. Tom was slaying them. I wish we had photographed them all, but we only got a few. But these were really helpful since little was known of AmBarb by attendees. However, once they saw Tom drawing, they wanted a copy.

I got one dedica by Jose Domingo within his book Les Adventures D’un Homme de Bureau Japonais. I also picked up a series of floppies put out by L’employe du Moui called Collection Vingt-Quartre that I really liked. Good production always catches my eye!

Speaking of nice production, I’m VERY happy I broke the ice with Curio&Co. by picking up one of their space badges. That one act on the last day turned into hours of great conversation, sharing of product, and a new friendship I’ll hopefully cultivate at future shows. (Look for them at the upcoming WonderCon!)

And isn’t that why we do it?

Probably not, but it sounds good… And makes for a nice ending.

Before I sign off, I’d like to thank a few who helped make this trip happen…
Tom for getting the book done, and being a great travel bud.
Phillipe & everyone who helped with all my exhibiting questions.
Sam for fertilizing the seed.
Reedman & Elodie for the nice welcome.
Josh, Momo, Mike, Stuart & Kathryn for being great show pals.
Annie for trying.
And, most all, TW aka VP for helping me do it. you are loved.

I had so many pics I broke them up into three groups… Paris / Angouleme / Chateau …peruse as you will.

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