CBBD is secret code for The Belgian Comic Strip Center in Brussels, Belgium. They are celebrating 20 years of being. And I congratulate them!

I visited CBBD last year… it was a fascinating visit! The building itself, created by Victor Horta in 1906, is an Art Nouveau treasure. Inside, there were framed original artworks from all sorts of comics I’d never seen before! I was unfamiliar with les bandes dessinee francais (french comics) and enjoyed the hours of investigation.

There was also a large section devoted to Tin Tin with colorful walls and a large cartoon reproductions and commentary (thankfully translated)…

I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t know that Tin Tin was of Belgian orgin… as well as The Smurfs! In fact, I didn’t know much about Tin Tin in general! The Smurfs (created by Peyo) I was rather familiar with, having collected many of the plastic figures as a kid. However, seeing the “smurfy” original artwork and hand-drawn panels was a treat!… and they were in French! (I couldn’t read them then, but now that I’m in a French class, I’m deciphering!)

Tin Tin wall

smurfs My only criticism of the museum was that there was little attention paid to the advances in comics over the past 10 years. In fact, the museum seemed to have stopped inserting new materials ten years prior to my visit (save the revolving exhibit, which was “50 Years of Smurfs”).

But overall, I was not disappointed with my trip to CBBD. …the trip was an eye-opener… I found a new world! I found not only French comics, but Dutch as well! I rounded up the visit to the Comics Museum with a trip to the gift shoppe… picking up copies of “Flo” and JoJo (both Dutch) and Gaston (French) among others.