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Sep
01
2018

Exhibition Round-Up: Hugo Pratt in Lyon and Peyo in Paris

The smurfingest smurf I ever smurfed.

At this point I could have happily been done with all comics-related sight-seeing. And indeed that’s almost what happened. During the planning stages of my trip I noticed that there was a Smurfs/Peyo event of some sort going on at the Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles right across from the Pompidou Center.  I’m not a huge Smurfs fan, though and added to that, the website blurb only mentions original art in passing. Making matters worse, I think I mistook this “Smurfs Experience” thing for the expo at the Brussels Center. I figured I’d skip it. 

I’d been planning to spend my last full day in Paris visiting some smaller galleries, but I discovered that they were pretty much all closed for August vacation. So, since I had to head that direction anyway to buy a gift for my daughter, I changed my mind and decided I’d pop into this Peyo thing and see what it was all about. And, hey, it was only five Euros. 

Is “giant smurf” a contradiction in terms? Anyway, here’s me with a giant Smurf.

And boy am I glad I did! This show had at least seventy-five originals by Peyo (or more accurately with the later material, by Studio Peyo). I’ve read very little Peyo–I think just the first two of those Papercutz Smurfs anthologies–but I was blown away by some of the pages on display here. 

One final thought: despite the relatively humble trappings of this exhibit (basically a big room with art on the walls and a few display cases, and a small theater/room showing a Peyo documentary) I got a much better idea of the progression of Peyo’s career than I did of Pratt’s at the far more lavish show in Lyon. The Peyo show had a logical, chronological progression to it–and even had that progression indicated with blue footprints on the floor you followed through the exhibit. It started with his childhood drawings, moved through stuff like Poussy and Johan et Pirlouit, getting into the Smurfs, then finally the more collaborative Studio Peyo stuff.

Here’re some pictures from the show–again, in no particular order:

Needless to say, if you get a chance to see either of these exhibits, you should absolutely do it. 

Before I left Paris, though, I had one last comics-centric excursion: I got to visit the offices of the famous French BD publisher Éditions Dargaud! I’d contacted my friend, Thomas Ragon, who’s a “‘directeur de collection” there (a position that seems pretty similar to what we’d call a Senior Editor here maybe?) to see if we could meet up for a few drinks while I was in town and he very kindly invited me to meet him at the office to have a look around first. The Dargaurd lobby has some great statues, including the Darksied statue that was part of the Kirby exhibit one year at Angoulême.

We wound up drinking beer and talking comics for good while on the terrace of the Gare Jazz, a new bar/venue near the Dargaud office in the 19th arrondissement.  I mentioned that I’d just finished reading the Esteban series by Matthieu Bonhomme  and Thomas very kindly gave me an advance copy of Bonhomme’s next book, (it’s officially out now) Charlotte Impératrice.

And at that point both my suitcase and my brain were overfull with comics. I bid Paris au revior and flew home at the crack of dawn the following day. 

À bientôt, Paris!

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