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‘From Popeye to Persepolis - Comics and the Animated Film’ Exhibition Comes to Angouleme

Expansive and comprehensive show at France’s The Museum of the International City of Comics and Images, the Louvre for comic books and animation lovers, features rare drawings, films, and early film equipment spotlighting numerous industry pioneers.

La Cité International De La Bande Dessinée et de L’Image

The Museum of the International City of Comics and Images

27 January – 6 November 2022Angouleme, France

The Museum of the International City of Comics and Images in Angouleme, France is the Louvre for comic book and animation lovers. Their current exhibition, From Popeye to Persepolis - Comics and the Animated Film consists of over 400 original drawings, funny paper pages, antique film equipment, archival photos, home movies, and films shown on large and small screens.

Before the exhibition opening to the public, Nik and I were invited to the opening evening this past January 26. All the usual suspects were there, from Krazy Kat and Gertie the Dinosaur to Charlie Brown and Superman, along with their creators, filling all of the walls and display cases. Felix the Cat was on one big screen learning how to do the Black Bottom from Ziegfield Follies star Ann Pennington.

Upon entering the exhibition, the first thing that I saw was a compteur décamétrique (decametric counter). It is a device used to measure film stock out by the meter. In the early days of film, fairgrounds featured a bioscope attraction, as traveling cinemas were then known. The cinema proprietor purchased films by the meter and the decametric counter measured the number of meters of film being purchased. I was told that this is the rarest piece in the exhibition because very few, if any, of the machines exist today.

In the same case was a facsimile of a Toupie Fantoche, an extremely rare device invented by Emile Reynaud in 1879. Derived from his invention of the praxinoscope, the Toupie Fantoche was the successor to the zoetrope.

My favorite piece in the exhibition was an original drawing from Winsor McCay’s 1914 film Gertie the Dinosaur. McCay’s other major creations were the comic strips Little Nemo in Slumberland, which was first published in 1905, and the adult-themed comic Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend (1904). For contractual reasons, McCay signed Rarebit Fiend with the pen name Silas. He is considered one of the founding fathers of the newspaper comic strip.

Along with the actual comic strips and films from many early pioneers, numerous photographs put a face to many famous names. One photo showed Emile Cohl in 1909 at work on his film La Bataille d’ Austerlitz (The Battle of Austerlitz). In the film, he recreates Napoleon’s famous victory at Austerlitz. Another photo shows Cohl and his family with cartoonist George McManus in front of the Cohl’s home in Fort Lee, New Jersey when Cohl was working for the Éclair company in the United States. While there he created The Newlyweds, the first animated cartoon series with a regular cast based on a popular George McManus comic strip.

McManus created his comic strip “The Newlyweds” in 1904. The series, which ran in Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World newspaper, is about an elegant young couple and their baby, Snookums. It was the first comic strip about a family in an American newspaper. His most enduring strip is Bringing Up Father, about an Irish immigrant worker, Jiggs, and his wife Maggie.

As well as the early days of comics and animation, the UPA style of animation, Roadrunner, R. Crumb, Fritz the Cat and so much more are covered.

The exhibition is so extensive that during the two and a half hours of the opening reception, Nik and I only got to see about a third of the exhibits. We plan a trip back to the museum this Summer so that we can spend the entire day there.

Angouleme is known as the international city of comic book and animation. It is only fitting that a segment of the exhibition is devoted to works created in the city’s numerous animation studios. Such well-known and diverse films as The Triplets of Bellville (2003) and Peru(s) du noir (Fear(s) of the Dark) (2008) were worked on at animation studios in the city. The Triplets of Bellville is a delightful comedy, while Peru(s) de noir is a black and white animated anthology film written and directed by several notable comic book artists and graphic designers.

The city is home to a yearly comic book convention that is as large as San Diego’s Comic-Con and draws a huge audience from all over the world. Scattered throughout the city are more than 20 murals, some gigantic, featuring comic book characters. The murals were designed by some of the most talented comics artists and realized by Cité Création Co-operative.  The city is home to more than 40 animation studios that create half of France’s animation production, as well as schools teaching everything from classic animation to computer graphics, video game design, and comic book art.

For the perfect spring getaway, take a trip to Angouleme to visit the wonderful From Popeye to Persepolis - Comics and the Animated Film at the Museum of the International City of Comics and Image. The exhibition contains so much to see, read, and watch on display that you should allow an entire day for the exhibition alone. The Museum also houses a comics library that includes a comprehensive collection of French comics dating back to 1984 as well as an extensive group of international comics.

A visit to the museum bookshop is not to be missed. It is one of the largest in the world dedicated to the Ninth Art, as comics are referred to. The bookstore contains more than 50,000 reference books and over 5,000 new publications.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum will conduct special film projections, workshops, cinema-concerts, lectures, and a symposium. Guided tours of the exhibition are also available in French.

The exhibition was co-curated by Anne Hélène Hoog, historian, director, and conservator at the Museum of the International City of Comics and Images; Pascal Vimenet, research associate at Université Toulouse, J.Jaurès, teacher at EMCA, animation film historian, and author; and Serge Bromberg, founder of Lobster Films that specializes in locating and restoring old films, cinema historian, and member of the administrative council of the Cinèmathéque française. Nik and I thank the three of you for inviting us to the opening.

Cite international de bande dessinée et de l’image

  • 121 rue de bordeaux
  • Exhibition reservation information:
  • You can learn more about the museum at;
  • Opening hours: Tuesday through Saturday – 10 am to 6 pm
  • Sunday and public holidays – 2 pm to 6 pm
  • Ticket Prices: full rate 10 Euros
  • Reduced rate: students to 26-year-olds, apprentices, unemployed, senior card, and people with disabilities
  • Free: for members and persons under 18