(Posted originally on May 15th, 2006)

Just back from visiting friends in Brussels. It was a very pleasant trip. Of course, we had some waffles and French fries with mayonnaise and, yes, Vincent Vega is right: they drown them in that shit. Though I like it. We also went to a fun Japanese restaurant in Leuven, but that I might need to turn into a comic.

But now I want to talk about the experience I had at the comic museum in Brussels. As many of you might know, much of the comics we regard as French are actually Belgian (just like the fries), most notably Tintin. And Lucky Luke. And many others, of which I’m still not quite sure. So there was a lot for a comic enthusiast to see. One of the first things that hit me was the same feeling that I got watching the Led Zeppelin DVD. Namely, envy and defeat. I will never reach that level in my work. Not in fifty years, i.e. in this life. Many of the artists are/were just that good. But it doesn’t bother me that much, I just keep on drawing and writing in my own style and try to develop it.

But the funniest thing was the revelation I had while looking at the various French and other European comics. I knew most of them from before, but had not seen pages from all of them on display in the same place and that lead me to figure out the formula for a classic, French-European comic album: A) the story takes place between 1900 and 1970, preferably in the 50’s B) the artwork is either very detailed or very stylish or both C) there are some supernatural or mystical features or dream sequences D) there are always some sexual themes present and they are obvious, but it’s seldom really porn as such E) most women are elegant, their breasts are perfectly shaped and sooner or later, you will see them. I left the exhibition inspired and horny. I stared at a blowjob scene (where they really don’t show anything explicit – for all you know, she might be taking a bite from a sandwich) from Biloxi Blues for at least five minutes. I really like it, when I see some naughty stuff, but it’s not as mechanical and in-your-face as in an average porn film. That’s probably why I also like the rock lyrics of sixties and seventies: “I don’t care what the neighbours say, I wanna love you each and every day”.

Talking about staring at comics, I remember lying on my parents’ sofa, gazing at the cover of Will Eisner’s Spirit album no. 1 (a Finnish edition) with Spirit and the gorgeous Sand Saref on a desert island. I had never seen a real woman as desirable as Sand. Was I not married, I might have replaced the “had” with “have” in the previous sentence…