Skip to content

The Patron Saint of Superheroes

Chris Gavaler Explores the Multiverse of Comics, Pop Culture, and Politics

Angouleme’s Les Murs Peints is the only comic book with literal gutters and panels four stories high. My guidebook adds “Circuit des” and translates it “Graffiti Walk,” but “Murs Peints” means “Painted Walls.” CitéCréation commissioned some of France’s most popular bande dessinée (comic book) artists to design them. It’s a fitting choice for the city that’s home to the Cité Internationale de la Bande Dessinee et de l’Image. The web address abbreviates that to citebd, or, literally, Comic Book City. I spent a couple of days at their research library and museum, so the murs were mostly an afterhours perk. My guidebook thinks there are twenty, but then I saw another dozen online and so kept looking. The tourist bureau has a map, but the city is a medieval maze. Unofficial strolls also produce a range of unofficial additions.

Some of the murals are so large they are hard to miss:

Angouleme day 1 021 Angouleme day 1 020

Some you can walk past without noticing:

Angouleme day 1 092 Angouleme day 1 038

angouleme mural.

Some images are literally hidden:

Angouleme day 1 073 more angouleme 158

001 002

Often you just need to look up:

Angouleme day 1 088

Angouleme day 1 032Angouleme day 1 033

Angouleme day 1 015Angouleme day 1 014


Angouleme day 1 024 Angouleme day 1 035

003 004

They started painting them in 1998, the most recent in 2006:


One of my favorites includes its own shadow on the opposite building:

more angouleme day 2 004 more angouleme day 2 009

And the rest of the wall is even better:

more angouleme day 2 005 more angouleme day 2 006

If you like sequence in your sequential art, this is for you:

more angouleme 143more angouleme 138more angouleme 140more angouleme 141more angouleme 142

While most are cartoons, a few play photorealistic tricks on the eye:

Angouleme day 1 080Angouleme day 1 082

Angouleme day 1 091

Many are within the ramparts bordering the old city, but some (unofficial ones) are on the outer walls themselves:

Angouleme day 1 047 Angouleme day 1 048

Angouleme day 1 049 Angouleme day 1 050

Angouleme day 1 053 Angouleme day 1 054

Angouleme day 1 051Angouleme day 1 052

One is in the center square of the old city:

Angouleme day 1 089

More are down narrow side streets:

Angouleme day 1 071Angouleme day 1 070

Angouleme day 1 072Angouleme day 1 059

Angouleme day 1 057 Angouleme day 1 058

Angouleme day 1 060 Angouleme day 1 061

Angouleme day 1 062 Angouleme day 1 063

Angouleme day 1 064 Angouleme day 1 065

Angouleme day 1 067 Angouleme day 1 068

Angouleme day 1 069

My walks included actual graffiti:

Angouleme day 1 056Angouleme day 1 055

And sometimes just graffiti tags:

angouleme day 2, comics research 214 angouleme day 2, comics research 213

Angouleme day 1 078Angouleme day 1 075

And even the utility and mail boxes joined in:

more angouleme day 2 014 Angouleme day 1 096

I didn’t spot this one and the utility box facing it until driving out of the city:

Carnac 002 Carnac 001

I searched for but somehow did not find the tallest mural:

murs 1

For others I didn’t photograph myself, visit Angouleme’s site.

more angouleme 136


Tags: , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: