In France: Lyon BD Festival Opens its ‘Comic Season’

In News by Porter Anderson

The 18-year-old Lyon BD Festival opens its events this weekend, with some programming set to run for a month during ‘Comic Season.’

At the Lyon BD Festival, an event in 2022. Image: Lyon BD Festival, Tim Douet

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Piccato: ‘Like a Universal Language’
The core dates for the Lyons BD Festival—BD for bande dessinée, or comics—are this weekend, June 10 and 11, when programming in central-southern France will be held at the city’s Comédie Odéon Theatre, Comoedia Cinema, Fnac, bookstores, and museums.

Now in its 18th year, this program founded in 2005 develops programming both for those who have specific knowledge and interests in the world of comics and other graphic narratives and also for the entertainment of the public.

Under the direction of Nicolas Piccato, it’s a public-facing festival at heart, but includes specific events and exhibitions that can attract savvier attendees along with the public. Projects included in the presentations, for example, are concerts dessinés—concert meets comic—as well as “comic battles, exhibitions, live readings, and so on.

“The association is very involved in the creation of European and international projects,” Piccato says, “because comics can be read and appreciated beyond borders, they unite people like a universal language.”

Nicolas Piccato

He goes on, in a message to the news media for this year’s festival, to say, “In 2023, thanks to the confidence of the City of Lyon and the Métropole, the Lyon BD Organization moved into the former Collège Truffaut, which was remodeled, including a space dedicated to the creation of comics and to comic book authors, a graphic workshop, as well as exhibition rooms co-managed with the City of Lyon.

“Lyon BD,” Picccato says, “is reinventing itself with this 2023 edition of a ‘Comic Season.’

“At the Collège Graphique, the City Hall (Hôtel de Ville), the Théâtre Comédie Odéon, and Lyon’s bookshops, Lyon BD will organize masterclasses, workshops for young people, signings, and shows, notably during the Comic Book Weekend, from June 9 to 11. The Comic Season also includes numerous exhibitions in partner venues throughout the Lyon Metropolitan Area.”

‘Comic Season’ Reflected in the 2023 Poster

The 2023 Lyon BD Festival poster, ‘Comic Season,’ by Alfred

That “Comic Season” branding is reflected in this year’s official festival poster, which has been created by Alfred, the artist who goes by that one name and is known by his fans for being the author of Chemin des Célestins, Senso, and Come Prima—which has recently been adapted into a film.

In talking about his approach to the new poster, Alfred says, “When I make a poster, I tend to focus on a simple idea in a clean design. But above all, I try to make sure that the image can tell a little story, one that makes you wonder what happened just before or what will happen just after—that you feel that this drawing is part of a little story that everyone can tell themselves as they wish.

“For this year’s poster, the Lyon BD team asked me to make a nod to the different fields of exploration of the festival. They wanted to show that during this festival, we would see, make, read, discuss, and hear comics.”

And that basic concept, Alfred says, has resulted in “several small dreamlike-funny scenes. You can have fun weaving links between them, or not.”

Alfred, in fact, today (June 9) led a masterclass for those interested at Hôtel de Ville in Lyon, based on “moments and memories, either evanescent or sketched” in his notebooks. That morning session was focused on his “narrative explorations.”

Coming up during the weekend, some of the planned events are:

A focus on “Alberto Breccia (1919-1993): His Legacy and Current Comics in Argentina” with Lautaro Fiszman and Pablo Franco, moderation and translation by Thomas Dassance.

The event is a look into Breccia’s workshop, in which Fiszman was among the artist’s last students, “and what remains of his influence on current Argentine comics. That program is set at Lyon’s Comédie Odéon Theatre on Saturday (June 11) at 11 a.m.

There’s a new award, as well, called the “Lyon BD,” meant to select one comic from a shortlist of 12 and to feature the artist(s) behind the winning comic at next  year’s festival.

Lyon BC Festival is also the main proponent of the Comic Art Europe program, with which Publishing Perspectives readers are familiar, and you can see much more about the entire festival program with event descriptions, dates and times, and full information here.

A sampling of the roughly 38 events included in the programming grid for the 2023 Lyon BD Festival’s ‘Comic Season.’ Image: Lyon BD Festival

More from Publishing Perspectives on the French market is here, more on book fairs is here, and more on comics and other forms of graphic narratives is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.