Did you know that with over 700 comic strip authors, Belgium has produced more comic strips makers per square kilometer than any other country in the world? And where else you can learn better about Belgian comic strip than in Brussels, the city of Tintin and the world’s capital of comic strip! Apart from museums, galleries, festivals and specialized shops dedicated to this art, the Brussels Comic Strip Walk is indeed an easy and entertaining way to discover some of the most famous comic strips and their heroes but also, an original and unusual way to explore the center of Brussels.
How did it all start? In the early 90’s, the publicity was removed from the walls in the center of Brussels and some of the large walls were found in a horrible state. Therefore, they were honored with paint scenes from various comic strips. How great is that! Just imagine, while walking in the city, you don’t see publicity anymore, but nice murals dedicated to this art. Nowadays, the Brussels Comic Strip Walk counts nearly 50 murals in total. These were painted both by Belgian and some foreign artists.
Here is what you can expect to see during the Brussels Comic Strip Walk
You can go on your own, just start at the Tourist Office once at Grand Place and take a pocket map of Brussels Comic Strip walk in order to follow the route and see all the spots that interest you. If you prefer to be paper map free, just have a look here and save the places of interest to your map on your phone!
Just in the heart of Brussels, you will see some nice and colorful murals from Belgian and European comic strips, such as Tintin, Asterix, Lucky Luke and many others! My favorite one is the mural of the British spy Victor Sackville, a well-dressed gentleman with a lady in Rue du Marché au Charbon. It just fits so well there and you have an impression you travel in time… And what will be your favorite? 🙂
Here are some examples of what you can see during the Brussels Comic Strip Walk:
This was the first comic strip mural painted in Brussels in Plattesteen in the beginning of the 90‘s. It illustrates Brousaille and his girlfriend going for a walk in the streets of Brussels, based on the comic strip by Brussels‘ author Frank Pé.
Few steps from Brousaille Wall, we can find my favorite mural – Victor Sackville of a Walloon artist Francis Carin. Sackville is a British spy traveling around the world during the WWI. On this illustration, he is in Brussels walking with a charming lady in the cobbled street Rue du Maché au Charbon. This scene is from the first comic strip of the Code Zimmerman series called The Opera of Death.
Walk a little above the Cathedral of St. Michael and Gudule and in Rue du Treurenberg, you will find this Cassanova known as the Scorpion (as per his tattoo) waiting for his enemy, the fanatic cardinal Trebaldi. The comic strip named after its main hero takes place in the 18th century. It was written by Stéphane Desberg and illustrated by a Swiss artist Marini.
The sad archangel of the Artist Yslaire is waiting for you in Rue des Chartreux just behind the St. Géry square. The scene is from a comic strip taking a retrospective view of the revolutionary 20th century.
Behind the Halles on Place St. Géry, you will find a mural painting of the scene from Nero, one of the most famous Flemish comic strip character by Marc Sleen, the most prolific cartoonist in the world.
For me and my brother when we were kids, Asterix used to be our favorite comic strip. Stories of Asterix, his cute dog Idefix and fatty friend Obelix always thinking about wild boars, were produced by a French duo René Gosciny & Uderzo. Of course, Brussels cannot miss this one and so you will find this hectic scene on a wall of a playground in Rue de la Buanderie.
Few meters from Asterix, in the same street, you will find a scene from another very popular comic strip. Lucky Luke is a western humorous series and in this mural, you can see the brothers Dalton about to rob a bank while Lucky Luke finds them red-handed and shoots at them fast.
This wall in Rue du Bon Secours was designed in 1994 and illustrates a scene from a comic strip about a savvy journalist Ric Hochet with a Porsche of the artist Gilbert Gascard alias Tibet and the writer Paul-André Duchâteau.
Tintin is probably the Belgium’s most famous comic strip hero. It was published in 77 languages and its creator, Hergé, is considered as one of the greatest comic strip authors of all the times. You will find a scene from The Calculus Affair in the same street as Manneken Pis (Rue de l’Étuve).
Just a few steps from Manneken Pis in Rue du Chene, we can find one of the most festive comic strip murals. This is a scene from a fantasy series Olivier Rameau from 1968, by cartoonist Dany & writer Greg.
Le Jeune Albert
This mural in Rue des Alexiens is a scene from the work of Chaland, a great French cartoonist who died quite young to become famous. Although he was French, his drawing style was more Belgian than of any other Belgian authors. This comic strip was about an outrageous, cruel boyish pranks of a kid growing up in post-war Brussels.
In Rue de Flandre you can see a mural with a peeing chubby dog. This animal hero named Cubitus was first introduced in 1968 in Tintin magazine and made it to a Japanese cartoon film series 20 years later. It was the life’s work of a Walloon artist Luc Dupanloup known as Dupa.
Mr. Jean is a writer from Paris that leads an endless battle against its routine life. Some scenes from the comic strip may be very sad or depressive, while the simple but elegant drawing style brightens up the routine. The authors, Philippe Dupuy and Charles Berberian, won the Grand Prix of the Angoulème comic book festival in 2008. You can find this one in Rue des Bogards.
In Rue Philippe de Champagne, you can find a middle-aged man talking to the taxi driver. XIII is a hero from an action comic strip of Brussels cartoonist William Van Cutsem aka William Vance who is known for his realistic style.
This one I see every time I go to work. 140m long part of a wall in Chaussée de Wavre in Etterbeek is devoted to the comic series “The Cat” (Le Chat). You can see here around 20 paintings of Philippe Geluck and the gags in three languages (French, Dutch, and English). Although some of the themes are related to the multiculturalism of Brussels, the primary aim is to increase the popularity of this part of Brussels.
If this is your thing, you definitely must visit the permanent exposition at the museum of comics, the Belgian Comic Strip Center close to the Gare Central or the Tintin Gallery at Sablon. If by any chance, you come to Brussels in the beginning of September, you may see the Brussels Comic Strip Festival which is great if you come with kids, they will love it!
Which Belgian comic strips do you know? Have you visited Brussels already and went for this Comic Strip Walk? Which one was your favorite?
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