David B. in London!

They said it couldn’t be done! But last May London’s Institut Francais put on the best comics and BD festival outside France. But you don’t have to take our word for it: NewsweekThe Guardian and METRO all raved about it. Dave Gibbons said it was ‘first rate’ and Bryan Talbot said it was ‘the best’ he’d ‘ever attended’.

Guests last year included legendary creators and comics fans such as China Miéville, Dave Gibbons, André Juillard, Jean-Claude Mézières, Bryan Talbot, Audrey Niffenegger, Benoît Sokal & Bastien Vivès. And the festival is bigger and better than 2011 with thirty events over four days, including talks, live drawing sessions and parties between24 and 27 May.

I’ve already picked our festival highlights:

> A conversation between Jonathan Ross and The Times’ Tom Gatti about Wossy’s love for comics and bandes dessinées

> Our vey own David B. (Black Paths, Best ofEnemies) takes on the challenge of “Drawing History.” (with a capital “H”)

> A gladiatorial draw-off between Guy Delisle (Jerusalem ChroniclesPyongyang) and Tom Gauld (I wonder if Tom will bring a robot to fight his corner?)

Kevin O’Neill and Pat Mills talk on “London and other realities”, featuring their fantasy and reality views of London in comics

> The weekender will also feature Rosinski (Thorgal) in his first ever event in London

> A screening of Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s ‘Chicken with Plums’

> not to mention, what is being billed as ‘a zany drawing encounter’ between Nobrow’s Luke Pearson (Hilda and the Midnight Giant) and Mourier (Trolls de Troy) involving trolls!

But what may prove to be the biggest event of the festival, is the French Institute’s very own version of a masked ball. Last year’s party has already gone down in legend. This year the theme is Victorians vs Decadents as an homage to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Now, I will exclusively reveal that Knockabout publisher Tony Bennett is already growing a handlebar moustache as part of his pith helmeted costume and SelfMadeHero publisher, Emma Hayley, has bought a long flowing blonde wig for the event. More than that, I dare not reveal. But perhaps they’ll be outdone by comics historian Paul Gravett, who last year came dressed as Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy, complete with red wellies! The best costume of the night wins a prize, but if you only go to one fancy dress party in 2012 – make sure it’s this one.

So what’s on, when?
You can read the full programme of events here: www.bdandcomicspassion.co.uk

Where do you sign up?
You can book here: www.bdandcomicspassion.co.uk or give them a call 020 7871 3515 (they speak impeccable English, but why not practice your French?)

You can book for a single event or (and we advise you to do this!) make a saving with one of two festival passes.

The “Fan” pass allows entry to five events (a steal at just £15)

The “Addict” pass gets you into almost everything in the festival for just £25 (highly recommended!)

So where’s it happening?

Institut français, 17 Queensberry Place, London, SW7 2DT

How are you going get there?

By tube: South Kensington

Bus: 14, 49, 70 74, 345, 360, 414, 430, C1

See you there, au revoir!

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