Franco-Belgian comics

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Franco-Belgian comics are comics that are created in Belgium and France. These countries have a long tradition in comics and comic books, where they are known as BDs, an abbreviation of bande dessinée (literally drawn strip) in French and stripverhalen (literally strip stories) in Dutch. The Flemish Belgian comic books (originally written in Dutch) are influenced by francophone comics, yet have a distinctly different style. Many other European comics, especially Italian comics, are strongly influenced by Franco-Belgian comics.[citation needed]

40% of Belgium (Wallonia and a majority of the inhabitants of Brussels) and France share the French language, making them a unique market where national identity is often blurred. Although Switzerland contributes less to the total body of work, it is significant that many scholars[who?] point to a Francophone Swiss, Rodolphe Töpffer, as the true father of comics.[citation needed] This choice is still controversial, with critics asserting that Töpffer's work is not necessarily connected to the creation of the form as it is now known in the region.



La bande dessinée is derived from the original description of the artform as "drawn strips". It is not insignificant that the French term contains no indication of subject matter, unlike the American terms "comics" and "funnies", which imply an art form not to be taken seriously. Indeed, the distinction of comics as the "ninth art" is prevalent in Francophone scholarship on the form (le neuvième art), as is the concept of comics criticism and scholarship itself. The "ninth art" designation stems from Morris's article series about the history of comics, which appeared in Spirou from 1964 to 1967.[1] Relative to the respective size of their countries, the innumerable authors in the region publish huge numbers of comic books. In North America, the more serious, Franco-Belgian comics are often seen as equivalent to graphic novels, for various reasons, but whether they are long or short, bound or in magazine format, in Francophone Europe there is no need for a more sophisticated term, as the art's name does not itself imply something frivolous.

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