Inspired by the rich history of Franco-Belgian comics centering around the city of Brussels, the collection of huge murals spread throughout the city, known collectively as the Comic Strip Route, bring the area to cartoon life some of the medium’s most famous characters.
Brussels is known as the home of “bande dessinée” or “comic strips,” specifically those targeted at a Franco-Belgian audience. The comic book culture in the area has roots going back further than many American comic properties, and a wide number of genre and independent comics have flourished in stark contrast to the American superhero boom. A number of these properties have become cultural institutions and their creators such as Hergé and Dupuy and Berberian have become internationally known figures.
Beginning in 1991, the large paintings of such famous European comic characters as Asterix, Tintin, and the assassin XIII. Each of the works towers over the streets below some creating whole scenes with backgrounds and little pieces of implied action while others are simply character portraits. While none of the murals were painted by the original artists, the styles have been aped so expertly no one would ever know.
There are currently over 50 murals dotting downtown Brussels (an area known as the “Pentagon”), and a few more of the works have also started appearing in nearby cities. Tours and maps of the murals are readily available.