donrosa at iglou.com
Sun Feb 6 08:07:21 CET 2005
After reading comments recently on the DCML, I feel I must make some
That is to say, the reports of my visit to Angouleme can't know one aspect
of that festival that Duckfans should be aware of.
You may already know that the annual Angouleme Comics Festival in France is
the world's largest and most prestigious comics festival -- it takes over
the entire city of Angouleme, which is truly an amazing and gratifying sight
for any comics fan. Every store in every city street has either a large
display of their products based on some famous comic strip, or at least a
poster and a few comic character figurines sprinkled about the store -- the
entire city supports the festival! Banners fly from buildings! Street
vendors hawk comic albums!
I was one of the Guests of Honor due to the fact that this year the festival
invited PICSOU magazine (the French UNCLE $CROOGE magazine) to organize one
of the main exhibits to honor Carl Barks and $crooge McDuck. France has
their LE JOURNAL DE MICKEY, but no Donald Duck title... their secondary
Disney comic is the monthly PICSOU, a very thick and very slick magazine of
comics (much nicer than LE JOURNAL DE LE MOUSE) centering around $crooge
rather than Donald, now on the verge of its 400th issue! Therefore, the
exhibit is for Barks' $crooge.
I wish all Barks/$crooge fans could have seen this wonderful display! PICSOU
editor-in-chief Pascal Pierrey and his crew were given an enormous tent in
the city center which they filled with the most imaginative and humorous
features based on Barks & $crooge that you can imagine. But the *main
reason* I want to write about it is this:
The French are very serious about their comics. Disney comics have never
before in the 32 year history of the festival been featured or mentioned.
But recent years of PICSOU and how well produced and accepted the magazine
has been had finally convinced the Angouleme directors to invite the
BarksDucks to try a major exhibit.
What none of the attendees could yet know, and which I'm pleased to
announce, is that the Barks/$crooge exhibit was the HIT of the festival,
both by critical and public success! It received more visitors than any
other exhibit -- on Saturday *alone* over 22,000 people passed through the
large exhibit tent. I would guess that after Sunday, which was also quite
busy, along with the previous Thursday & Friday, the exhibit was seen by
well over 50,000 fans. Furthermore, in the newspaper reviews of the fair,
only the $crooge exhibit received a 4**** star rating. The next highest
rated displays were one 3*** and one 2**.
Perhaps I can send some pics to someone who can put them onto a linked
website. But the exhibit told of the "Life and Times of $crooge McDuck",
with sectional rooms devoted to $crooge's early family life in Glasgow, his
days in the Wild West, the Yukon Gold Rush, a corner made to look like a
room in Castle McDuck, another corner resembling the interior of the cabin
on White Agony Creek, etc. There were numerous full-size recreations of
$crooge's past such as his shoeshine box, his closet in Glasgow, the Goose
Egg Nugget, his gold prospecting tools. There was a room devoted to Gyro
Gearloose. A section devoted to the $crooge villains. A drawing board with
blueprints and other diagrams of the Money Bin, a full-size display of the
#1 Dime on the velvet pillow in its bell-jar atop the marble pedestal
surrounded by chains & posts and cocked beartraps to keep viewers at a
distance. A full-size Bin vault door cracked open so you could look into a
(not full scale) view of the money and jewels and treasures within. There
was a large pile of full-size money bags (filled with foam so kids or adults
could flop around in them like $crooge). Not one, but two (for some reason)
recreations of the sticker-plastered steamer trunk that I always show in my
"Lo$" episodes. Miniature recreations of $crooge's office with ALL possible
details, and a recreation of Magica's *entire* sorcery shop with a cutaway
section to show her inside the interior crammed with all of her cauldrons
and potions, along with even a section of the side of Mount Vesuvius, all
*precisely* as Barks drew it 40 years ago. Several glass cases holding an
array of old comics and artifacts. DOZENS of pictures on the walls from
Barks stories or of the pin-ups I do for PICSOU based on Barks adventures.
I'm surely forgetting much. And behind every picture frame and on the floor
and stuck into every nook and cranny were wads of special "American" dollar
bills with the "Xmas on Bear Mountain" $crooge in place of the Dead
President -- these were for visitors to "steal" from $crooge as a souvenir
while they were constantly replenished from the Bin.
There was also a full-scale recreation of $crooge's desk which I was forced
to take over as the only place suitable to do signings/drawings for the
thousands of fans on two different 3 hour sessions; that was cute -- it was
partitioned off from the main display and there was a guy dressed as an
American policeman (as one might see in Duckburg or guarding the Bin) to let
people into my "office" one by one to sit down before the desk for a
"private business meeting", whereupon I could do a drawing or sign books or
whatever they liked.
But, as I said, what surprised everyone (except us Barks fans?) was that
this exhibit was the surprise hit of the festival. Perhaps it will now
travel around to other fairs in France, or indeed throughout Europe... and
perhaps it will be set up annually at Angouleme... and maybe I can visit
there again! I hope so.
But (even though he won't see this), congratulations to Pascal Pierrey for
this sensational job. And hello to fellow DCML member and also fellow
Angouleme special-guest Luca Boschi whom I saw at the exhibit (but whom I
never had time to meet again, and I carried back home all the Rosa HALL OF
FAME books and Scandinavian Rosa Calendars that he'd asked me to bring for
Well, we'll see if I can get some Angouleme pics online somewhere.......
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