This Saturday hails the opening of the second annual comic-strip festival in Strasbourg. A week-long event that brings some of France’s best comic-strip authors together under one roof, providing the backdrop to a ream of associated ‘bande-dessinée’ events around the city throughout the week.

Strasbulles‘ is a typically French title for the event, a play on words combing the word for ‘bubble’ (as in speech-bubble) with the name of the city. If you’ve ever read any Franco-Belge comic books you’ll know this kind of humour is mandatory and sometimes very funny (see anything written by René Goscinny).

As I have noted before the French have a fanatical love comic strip which I have to say is rubbing off on me. I have been using my library membership to delve into the rich cultural pool of comic-art and bring my BD savoir up to scratch. Over and above Asterix and Tintin I have discovered Thorgal, XIII, Blake and Mortimer, Jo Zette et Jocko, Gaston Lagaffe, Spirou and Fantasio, Alix, Iznogoud … to name a few.

Garulfo and the PrinceOne author who is a must see at Strasbulles this year (in my humble opinion) is Alain Ayroles, creator of the ingenious ‘Garulfo’.


Unfortunately his series of six albums is only available in French, but to give you some idea of Ayroles’ tale – Garulfo is about a bombastic frog who becomes a Prince and whom can only remain so – if he manages to find a princess who will marry him. It’s written in a similar vein to Shrek, poking fun at childhood fairy-tales, but in doing so creating a new one of equal measure.


Alas I will not be there to meet Monsieur Ayroles due to being in England next week, so – I shall have to hope that he returns for Strasbulles 2010. So if you do go to Strasbulles 2009 and manage to see him, please do me a favour: convey my regards and say that I’d love to translate Garulfo into English for him (no charge).


(Whenever I say I’m travelling to the UK people automatically seem to think it’s for a holiday – if only that were so!)