Visiting the museum de la Bande Dessinée is an adventure, not only for comic strip fans but a cultural visit of this art, called the 9th art in Belgium. Amateurs and simple visitors will take great pleasure to visit this museum. The splendor of the cadre where it is lodged will stun you. The ancient "Magasins Wauquez" (textile warehouse) in Art Nouveau style, architect Victor Horta and built between 1903 and 1906.
Belgium has always been an example and pioneer in this comic strip art. It is taken very seriously here. It produces yearly 35 million works of which 75 % goes for export.
TINTIN appears for the first time in 1929 in a column of the Belgian newspaper "Le Petit Vingtiéme", in black and white. In this episode, called "Tintin au pays des Soviets", the hero is without his characteristic hair powder puff. The Tintin creator, the Belgian Remi Henri, (which inverted initials made Hergé), produced 24 adventures of this dynamic personage, who became a myth in comic strips all over the world with 200 million albums published, in all imaginable languages, even in Latin!!
Like all heroes, Tintin, doesn't take a wrinkle and has his special place on earth. General de Gaulle once said that he considered Tintin as his greatest rival in popularity in France.
But he was not the only to have seduced several generations. In 1946, Hergé starts with the weekly "Tintin "magazine, helped and assisted by a certain E.P.Jacobs, father of the famous pair "Blake and Mortimer". The publishing of another weekly magazine, "Spirou, in 1938, made other cartoonists very famous: Franquin and his Spirou, Gaston Lagaffe. Roba with his delicious dog and little boy, Boule et Bill. Peyo, inventing a tribe of little blue men and woman called Schtroumps and became a worldwide success under the English name of "Smurfs". In 1959, another magazine "Pilote" created by René Goscinny (father of Asterix), started the career of another Belgian, Morris, who became immortal thanks to his flegmatic cowboy Lucky Luke. Lucky Luke actually appeared for the first time in Spirou a few years earlier but it is Goscinny who gave him international recognition thanks to "Pilote "magazine.
Imagine now that in the 80s some clever promoters wanted to continue the work of their criminal predecessors and demolish this Wauquez house, a genuine architectural masterpiece! It was saved and restored.
Te vast entrance hall is lit by a street lamp, giving it an old fashioned public square look, with a library, restaurant and the largest cartoon and comic strip public bibiotheque in the world, where you will be able to browse through your favorite comics or make some researches if you are an expert. At the foot of the impressive marble staircase, a copy of the rocket which took Tintin to the moon. It confirms that you are indeed on another planet here: the planet of the 9th Art.
Upstairs, lit by an iron wrought glass case, you will be ale to learn all about the history of the "bande dessinée", rare treasures of original drawings signed by the greatest names and much more.
Next walk, uptown to the place du Sablon.