Question 1: Name a Belgian comic artist and his/her most famous character?
Answer: Georges Remi aka Hergé, the creator of Tintin.
Question 2: Now name another.
Answer: … er …
Well, one would be forgiven for not being able to, but Belgium can actually boast of a rich selection of renowned and critically acclaimed artists, characters and comic strip series. If one requires further convincing then take the Brussels’ ‘Comic Strip Walk’, a circuit of approximately 6km around the capital’s city streets hosting an array of giant comic murals on its building façades. When I visited Brussels last month (February 2014) I only had time to follow part of the circuit, but I still came across some impressive pieces. Below are photographs of those that I spotted. Enjoy.
The only tree in the square: Nero by Marc Sleen, Place St Géry
A nameless piece by Hetas Apache, Place Saint Géry (I don’t think this is an official Comic Strip mural)
L’Archange by Yslaire (Bernard Hislaire), Rue des Chartreux
Nic’s Dreams by Hermann, Rue des Fabriques
Nic looks rather like TV presenter Vernon Kay (and has disturbingly long toes)
Turn around from Nic to see Bob De Moor’s Cori the Sailor’s Boy, Rue des Fabriques
Smiling for joy or grimacing with fear? (he is rather high up)
Johan De Moor’s (Bob De Moor’s son) colossal mural Le Secret de l’Espadon (‘The Secret of the Swordfish’) over the Avenue Fonsny entrance to Brussels’ Gare du Midi
A little overcrowded in First Class today?
The delightful Lucky Luke and the Bank Robbery by Morris, Rue ‘t Klint
Lucky Luke with his best friend Rantanplan, apparently the stupidest dog in the West
Lucky Luke’s horse Jolly Jumper with the Atomium in the background
A nameless piece by Sozyone, Rue Moretus (another unofficial mural?)
The beautiful Isabelle by Will (Willy Maltaite) in a not such a beautiful part of town, Rue de la Verdure
Clearly Isabelle has many admirers and protectors; whilst taking this photo, an angst-looking teenaged little tyke swaggered over to me making gun gestures with his fingers and although my French is not terribly good, I got the distinct impression he was not pleased with me taking photographs of his Isabelle. I soon moved on to the next mural
Ric Hochet by Tibet, Rue du Bon Secours
How real does that drain pipe look?
Unfortunately there was no doubting the realism of the smell and presence of dog poo at the foot of the mural
Manneken Peace (sic) by CNN199.com just up the road from the famous peeing fountain, Rue du Chêne
Olivier Rameau by Dany, inviting the darling Alice into his world of fun and fantasy, Rue du Chêne
… and yes, coincidentally the building in which this mural is painted on the side of, houses a fireworks shop
Le Passage, a scene from François Schuiten’s darkly fantasy strip Les Cités Obscures, between Rue du Midi and Rue du Marché au Charbon
The dashing English gent Victor Sackville (by Francis Carin) with female companion, deciding whether to take a punt at Le Lombard brasserie in front of them. Rue du Marché au Charbon
I say! (Looks more like American actor Richard Chamberlain with a mustache than any English gentleman I know)
Broussaille by Frank Pé, one of the first official murals in the city, Rue du Marché au Charbon
There is some controversy behind this mural: originally it was thought to depict a gay couple as it’s located in the city’s gay district. But in 1999, the mural was repainted and locals argued that it had been ‘heterosexualised’ with the refreshed figure on the left looking more feminine than before. Now the figure had longer hair, an earring, curvier breasts and a name: “Catherine”
Well, if it’s any consolation, the figure looks remarkably like comic and TV presenter Sue Perkins, so at least the lesbian community in Brussels can feel well represented in this delightful mural
Another scene from François Schuiten’s Le Passage, Rue du Midi
I didn’t catch the name nor the artist of this piece on the corner of Rue des Dominicains …
… but it certainly takes the ‘Pis‘ out of the city (NB this piece was no longer at this location when I passed by in December 2014)
Marsu by Franquin, Rue de L’Ecuyer
And of course this comic strip walk wouldn’t be complete without a mural of Tintin. Tintin, Milous et le Capitaine Haddock dans l’affaire Tournesol (‘… in the Calculus Affair’) along Rue de l’Etuve. The Mannken Pis is just a few hundred metres further up ahead
More on the Comic Strip Walk and how to get a map of the complete route can be found here
Meet the Pis family …