Fifty or so authors and publishers of strip cartoons and graphic novels are this Friday signing an open letter calling for a Belgian Centre of the Comic Book / Graphic Novel (CBBD or Musée de la BD) that is bold, ambitious and “run transparently.”
They share a concern for its future and feel left out of how it is run.
The letter notably brings together Johan De Moor, Philippe Geluck, Dany Henrotin, Nick Rodwell, François Schuiten, Yves Sente, Nicolas Vadot, Jean Van Hamme and several publishers. The signatories observe that, 30 years after its opening, the Centre belge de la Bande dessinée (the Belgian comic strip/graphic novel centre) lacks ambition and influence. According to them, it has in any case forgotten its main mission, the defence of yesterday’s and tomorrow’s European comic strip / graphic novel creation.
The authors point the finger at the “opaque procedure” for nominating a new director-general and the choice of Isabelle Debekker, previously the secretary-general and appointed at the beginning of the month. “It is with great concern that we have learned of this preference for a person who has never produced a project,” they explain. “External candidates, more justified through their qualifications and more deserving through their projects, have been rejected for the sake of consecrating a member of staff.”
The signatories are calling for an ambitious CBBD that is not confined to a permanent collection of representative 20th century artists. “This formidable tool, designed and set up in the very heart of the European capital, seems condemned to being no more than the reflection of a dated hope nowadays of the past,” they regretted.
The centre must redefine its role “with boldness and ambition” in order to promote the comic book and its authors in Belgium, they continued. “The Belgian strip cartoon / graphic novel deserves more than just being a temple run by its dealers.”
Last week, the new director-general defended herself in a press article by indicating she had nothing left to prove in terms of her capacity to run the centre.