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The International Comic Strip Festival

The next International Comic Strip Festival will take place from 24 to 27 January 2019. Most important event of its kind in the world, the International Comic Strip Festival welcomes nearly 6000 professionals from all over the world, as well as 220,000 visitors each year, to more than 20 different venues across Angoulême.

The Angoulême Grand Prix for 2018 is awarded to Richard CORBEN (USA) , who will be President of the Grand Jury for the 2019 Festival.

Since its creation in January 1974, the International Comic Strip Festival has become the must-do event for comic strip fans.  As friendly as it is famous, this highly respected event showcases promising young talentObelix each year. Marquees host a variety of public events, and authors and publishers host signing sessions, meetings and conferences. The Festival covers every kind of comic strip and every year, authors vote on line to elect a Grand Prix winner who, if they want to, can then become President of the Grand Jury for the following year and create an exclusive poster. The winner is also offered a retrospective exhibition. 

Official site of the Angoulême Comic Strip Festival

Amongst the many different languages spoken during the four days of the Angoulême Festival, one common language stands out from the rest... a passion for the 9th Art.

The Aims of the Festival Association

Since 1975, the direct and indirect aims of the International Comic Strip Festival (FIBD) are :
  • the national and international promotion of the comic strip, particularly through exhibitions, shows, meetings, courses, competitions and artistic events ;
  • the organisation of an annual International Comic Strip Festival (FIBD) in Angoulême, ideally in January ;
  • information for young people wanting to work professionally in the comic strip and the imaging industries;
  • the promotion of comic strips, especially as an educational tool for young people, and the promotion of comic strips during work and leisure time for young people, whether in school or otherwise

A short history of the trophies :

  • In 1974, the international jury began awarding the ‘Alfred’, named after Alfred the penguin, created by Alain Saint-Ogan, copyright Greg ;
  • In 1989, Alfred was replaced by the ‘Alph’Art’, after the last, mysterious invention by Hergé ;
  • From 2004 to 2008, the names changed according to the year and the category ;
  • In 2009, Wild Beasts (Les Fauves) were introduced, based on creations by Lewis Trondheim


Grands Prix and special prizes

The Grand Prix is chosen each year by the Grand Prix Academy (by a jury initially). ‘Special’ Grand Prix are not part of this. The Grand Prix winner becomes President until the following year, designs a poster, and stages an exhibition, called the Grand Prix Exhibition.

See the list of Grand Prix winners

Birth of a Festival

"‘As a keen volunteer organising cultural events for underprivileged youngsters, I wanted to share with them my admiration for comic strips. I’d taken a fresh adult look at them after my wife gave me a TINTIN book – Les Cigares du Pharaon – for my birthday, and I’d become very interested in the art of mixing text with drawings. So in 1969, I organised a week of comic strip events in a local youth centre with evening discussions and exhibitions, and I noticed how many people, not just children, were interested. In 1971, as Municipal Councillor and President of the Cultural Commission, I met Jean MARDIKIAN, Deputy Mayor for Culture, and we decided to give culture in Angoulême Donalda much-needed boost.

This was to be ANGOULEME ART-VIVANT, then the Cultural Events Committee (which gave way much later to LA SCENE-LES PLATEAUX). Among the events at Art-Vivant, we introduced comic strip exhibitions and conferences with the help of Parisian Claude MOLITERNI, who directed SOCERLID and the PHENIX review. In May and June 1972, we staged an exhibition 10 MILLION ILLUSTRATIONS, The Golden Age of the American Comic Strip (repeated in France before the war in MICKEY, HOPLA, ROBINSON, HURRAH, etc), created and lent by C MOLITERNI who came to ANGOULEME to present an audio-visual show on the subject.

In November and December 1972, in conjunction with the town’s bookshops, we organised READING FORTNIGHT, focusing on comic strips and books for young people and, for the first time, thanks to MOLITERNI, comic strip authors came to ANGOULEME, met the public and signed books : FRED, GOTLIB, GIGI, FRANQUIN, ROBA, DANY, GODARD, DELYNX, HERMANN, VANCE, GIRAUD, etc. The event was a huge success with both children and parents.

And so we set out to create an INTERNATIONAL COMIC STRIP SALON such as the event in Lucca, Italy. MOLITERNI, who helped with the organisation, invited us to Lucca in November 1973 and the Italian organisers agreed we could copy them.
The date of the first salon was fixed for January 1974.

With very little budget, but a great deal of enthusiasm, we involved the museum, theatre, town hall, and the concert hall. The town’s technical services worked wonders and we were supported not only by the local press – Charente Libre and Sud-Ouest – but also by the presence of PARIS MATCH, LE MONDE, LE FIGARO, L’HUMANITE, LA CROIX, FR3 AQUITAINE, and radio stations. All the big name authors turned up too : HOGARTH, KURTZMAN, FRANQUIN, GREG, CHARLIER, GOTLIB, FRED, TILLIEUX, PRATT, VANCE, DANY, TIBET, HERMANN, BRETECHER, DE LA FUENTE, etc.
In three days, we welcomed more than 10,000 visitors, which encouraged us to keep going. Our course was set.

In subsequent years, we got the whole town involved. We used marquees, then bubbles, and we had a little more budget at our disposal.
In the fourth year, we were really put on the map by the attendance of HERGE who gave a TINTIN drawing to the Municipal Museum. This enabled us to create the SAINT-OGAN Gallery, the forerunner of the future Comic Strip Museum.
And so, for the last 40 years, comic strips have gradually taken over the town, not just in late January as the Salon turned into the INTERNATIONAL COMIC STRIP FESTIVAL, but throughout the year.
And not only comic strips. All kinds of images are now highlighted in Angoulême, along with associated trades – production, drawing, 2D, 3D, video games, and so on.

Now we have the Internatonal Comic Strip Centre – La Cite International de la Bande Dessinée.

By Francis GROUX