New Year. New Comics…

The international comics festival in Angoulême will be taking place again in Jan-Feb 2013 and comics and graphic novels from Flanders and the Netherlands will be well represented. Graphic novelist Brecht Evens is curating La Boîte à Gand, an exhibition of work by talented young Flemish comic artists. There are plenty of powerful stories coming from the Low Countries in the form of graphic novels right now, such as Tim Enthoven’s graphically stunning binnenskamers and Judith Vanistendael’s When David Lost His Voice, a moving account of a dying man and his relationship with his family. This book has already received plenty of international attention and the author is also taking part in the High Impact tour in January 2013, which will see six authors from Belgium and the Netherlands touring six English cities over six days. Other Dutch-language comics I’ve recently enjoyed include Guido van Driel’s Gasten, which focuses on two English football fans who visit Amsterdam and share magic mushrooms and intimate secrets; Erik Kriek’s eerie take on Lovecraft in From Beyond, And Other Tales; and, of course, Barbara Stok’s Vincent, her account of the final years of Dutch artist Van Gogh, which I was lucky enough to translate.

Here’s to lots more great comic books in 2013, in Dutch and in other languages. One resolution that won’t be hard to keep: continue to pay frequent visits to Lambiek on Kerkstraat in Amsterdam. It’s one of the best comic shops around and a wonderful place to browse for new releases and old favourites.

As a final note, here’s a little graffiti Amsterdam-style. I wonder if Vincent would have approved…

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