Clara Lodewick takes her first steps in the city of comics.
This young 25-year-old Belgian artist has just produced her first album, "Merel" (Éd. Dupuis), the story of a fifty-year-old single woman in a small village in Flanders.
And inevitably, the announcement of her official selection at the Angoulême Festival did not leave her unmoved.
"When I learned about it I was impressed, excited, I was scared too," explains the author and designer.
"Angoulême is still exceptional."
Since its creation in 1974, the International Comic Strip Festival has devoted numerous authors and books that have become classics of the 9th art: "Corto Maltese" by Hugo Pratt, "Maus" by Art Spiegelman, or even "L'Arabe du future" by Riad Sattouf... which has just won the prestigious Grand Prix of this 50th edition.
"When I was a child, when I was a teenager, I dreamed of making comics, but I never thought for a single second that I could have the Grand Prix d'Angoulême", confides the author.
In a country where one in four books sold is a comic strip, Angoulême is a benchmark.
"What the Festival has done essentially in 50 years is to have contributed to making comics an art, a form of expression in its own right", considers its general delegate, Franck Boudoux.
"From the start, this Festival has looked at comic book creators as artists."
The comic strip meeting also strives to reflect trends.
While manga are a hit in France and around the world, the Angoulême Festival is hosting the first European retrospective devoted to "Attack on the Titans" by Japanese director Hajime Isayama.
Fans and the curious can admire nearly 170 original boards from the cult series sold over 100 million copies and adapted by Netflix.
Recognized as a creative city of literature by UNESCO, Angoulême has not finished reinventing itself.
Turned towards digital, the Festival remains, with its 50 candles, well in its bubble.
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