If you are planning to visit Brussels, then you may not necessarily have had comic strips in mind. After all, we tend to associate comics with such all-American icons as Superman and Batman, rather than with Belgium. But the truth of the matter is the Belgium in general — and Brussels in particular — has a rich comic strip tradition, and any visitor to the city is liable to find themselves surrounded by colourful comic heroes.
The most relevant point of interest is the so-called comic walk Brussels has to offer its visitors. This is a route that runs through multiple streets in the city, and includes some of the most eye-catching public art on offer: a line-up of Belgian comics greats, daubed onto the walls in brilliant murals, looking as though they are in the middle of their latest adventures.
At Rue de l’Étuve you will meet boy reporter Tintin, the most famous of the country’s comic stars. The Brussels comic book route will then take you to Rue du Marché au Charbon, which has been adapted to evoke the weird fantasy worlds imagined by François Schuiten & Benoît Peeters; then comes Rue du Treurenberg, where the dashing swashbuckler known as the Scorpion brandishes his rapier. Mischievous children Spike and Suzy are up to no good at Rue de Laeken, Other characters on offer include cheerful animals Cubitus, Marsupilami and Billy the Cat, along with the trenchcoat-clad heroes Blake and Mortimer — the inventions of Edgard P. Jacobs, one of the most famous Brussels comic strip creators. Not all of the characters on show are Belgian natives: the French comic star Asterix stars in an impressive mural alongside his fellow Gaulish warriors, charging into battle against the hapless Romans.
There are many more characters on show, from space adventurers to cheerful schoolchildren. It is easy to spend an entire day — if not more — basking in this celebration of the greatest comics Brussels has produced, so it is a good idea to choose a well-placed hotel. The Hotel Hubert will make a good choice, offering visitors a comfortable stay and a short trip to the splendid comic walls.
If you are not exhausted by your tour of the murals, there are other comic-related hotspots around Brussels. Don’t forget that this month the city is playing host to the Brussels Comic Con, a convention where you will be able to meet both creators and fellow fans of the medium. Another must-see destination is the Belgian Comic Strip Center, an entire museum dedicated to the medium of comics. Fans of Belgium’s most beloved comic strip son will be eager to visit La Boutique Tintin, a shop dedicated entirely to Tintin products, from the comics themselves to cuddly toys of his faithful dog Snowy.
All in all, for a lover of the comic medium, Brussels will make a perfect place to visit. There will be no shortage of places to visit if you are interested in getting closer to where these immortal characters were born.