Comic Fodder

Comics are Alive and Europe

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Paris, France and St. Gallen, Switzerland. I was elated to see that nearly everywhere I went that you had readily accessible comics.

All the corner stores had spinner racks with a mix of comics. For those of is who love American superhero comics you could grab a double sized issue (i.e. two American issues) of Ultimate Spider-Man or Ultimate X-Men translated into French or German, depending on what country I was in. I did some digging and found out that traditionally comics appeared as part of magazines, sometimes a page at a time. When they had enough pages, say 40 to 50, they were collected into their own book. This seems to be the reason that it takes two American issues to make one European issue.

There were native language comics which seemed to lean towards the supernatural in content. But what filled me with the most joy was the plethora of Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics for kids.

Even more impressive was the book store I visited in St. Gallen who's entire bottom floor of the 3 story structure was given over to comics. Can you imagine your local Barnes & Nobel or Borders doing that?

The store was filled with an impressive Manga section, American graphic novels, hard cover editions of European books and scads and scads of books suitable for young children. In fact they had a hardcover collection of stories about Gladstone Gander who was another nephew of Scrooge and Donald's chief rival. Amazingly enough I'd forgotten all about him until I saw the book and then it was like unlocking a treasure trove of childhood memories.

Evidently you're wondering about the price of comics in Europe. Well that really is a tough question to answer as the formats were not easily comparable with our American books. My best estimation is that the price of a book in Europe is about the same as it is in American except their dollar value is in Euros or Swiss Francs. When you take into consideration the exchange rates Europeans do pay more for their books then we do but then again they pay more for everything.

Yep, Europe is a good place to be a comic fan. The books are readily available for a wide variety of tastes and ages.

Tune in next time when I'll ruminate about The Decline and Fall of the American Comic Book.

Simon learned to read using comic books and he doesn't see any reason to stop now.

Be sure to visit in Brussels' Comic Strip Museum if possible:

-- Posted by: Timo at December 9, 2008 7:38 PM

Hey Timo,

Thanks for the suggestion. I did not get to Belgium on this trip but I would love to get there someday and now you've given me something to check out.

-- Posted by: Simon MacDonald at December 10, 2008 1:30 PM