Artistes Actuels is interested in comic artists who express themselves with vigour through an often expressionist drawing that strikes the reader. 

Comics : the ninth art ? 

Integrating the comics world into a website dedicated to contemporary artists obviously means answering YES.

The notion of the “ninth art” was proposed by Morris (the cartoonist of Lucky Luke) in an issue of the Journal de Spirou in 1964 in an article entitled “Is the comic strip an art? Subsequently Morris and Pierre Vankeer used this expression as the title of a section in the Journal de Spirou.

Who today can name the first, second, third… art? Only one thing is certain: nowadays, only the seventh art (cinema) and the ninth art (comics) are really known !

Affiche du ministère de la culture sur le 9ème art. Illustration
source : Ministère de la culture

From graphic novels to Webtoons

The world of comics was originally intended primarily for a readership of children and teenagers. Today it is multifaceted: between children’s comics, humorous comics, adventure comics, historical comics, adult comics, graphic novels, adaptations of novels, comics (mainly American), manga (mainly Japanese) and webtoons (mainly South Korean) available on smartphones, and many other works that are difficult to classify in a comic library.

The history of comics shows that comics have been able to break out of the youth category alone. Nowadays, it occupies an ambiguous place between literature and the visual arts such as drawing and painting… However, among publishing houses, comic book publishers are the most successful. Indeed, bookshops dedicated to the world of comics are enjoying a success that contrasts with the gradual disappearance of general bookshops, a growing number of which have a comics section.  

From the periodical or fanzine to the International Comics Festival and art market

Dessin original de la couverture de l'album de Tintin et le Lotus bleu.Illustration
Dessin original couverture de "Le Lotus bleu"- Hergé

Now even the art market is interested in original comic books and plates.

For example, a “Blue Lotus” plate from the Adventures of Tintin by the Belgian cartoonist and scriptwriter Hergé has reached a record price. The same applies to the Astro Boy plates by Japanese manga artist Ozamu Tezuka, an issue of Action Comics featuring Superman for the first time or an issue of Detective Comics featuring Batman for the first time…

In short, Franco-Belgian comics, Japanese manga and American comics are at the top of the list. But fortunately, the market for original comic strips is not just a market of millionaires who are desperate to acquire the drawings of their childhood. Many comic book authors now see the sale of original plates as a way of supplementing their income when their albums are released in bookshops, thanks to galleries dedicated to comic books.

The art of comics has its own publishing houses, magazines and specialist press. It gives rise to a rich variety of comic book and superhero genres. It also has its festivals, such as the Angoulême International Comics Festival. 

At the same time, museums and exhibitions dedicated to the comic book medium have multiplied. Rather than the Angoulême Comics Museum, we recommend the Belgian Comics Centre in Brussels, which is much more lively and bright. It occupies the last remaining site of the semi-industrial Art Nouveau architecture built by Victor Horta in 1903.  

Centre de la bande dessinée à Bruxelles, hall intérieur. Illustration
Centre de la Bande dessinée de Bruxelles

Cartoonist, scriptwriter, colourist : the artists of the 9th art

Affiche du Festival international de la bande dessinée d'Angoulème
Affiche du Festival - source :

Not all comics are of equal quality. A good album is the result of work between the artist, the scriptwriter and the colourist, because the success of a work requires the equal presence of these three components.

The term “art” pushes comic book artists to be demanding, which often means teamwork.

Some comic book artists may have failed on their own, but they have revealed themselves in partnership with a good scriptwriter or because they have reinterpreted a novel.