Flemish Comics versus Communist Atheism

Renaat Demoen’s Au pays de la grande angoisse (1950–1951)

in European Comic Art
Philippe Delisle Université de Lyon 3 delisleph@orange.fr

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It is well known that from 1920 to 1950, Belgian comics, embedded in a Catholic milieu, sometimes promoted anti-Communism. Au pays de la grande angoisse, drawn by Renaat Demoen and published from 1950 to 1951 in Zonneland and Petits Belges, fits into this category. Nonetheless, its ideological stance can be differentiated from that of series appearing in major Franco-Belgian magazines. Au pays de la grande angoisse is Flemish, intended only for the Belgian market, and therefore not subject to the control of the French Control Commission set up by the July 1949 law. Its critique of Eastern bloc countries is more explicit and more violent. Moreover, the story appeared in comics with a religious affiliation. It sets out to denounce the atheism of the Communists and to glorify the resistance of the believers. Ultimately, Au pays de la grande angoisse is as much a Christian comic as an adventure comic.

Contributor Notes

Philippe Delisle is Professor of modern history at the Université de Lyon 3. Having worked extensively on the religious history of the French colonies, he has spent the past decade or so on colonialist Catholic discourse in classic Belgian bandes dessinées. He founded and directs Karthala’s Esprit BD collection, in which his own publications include De Tintin au Congo à Odilon Verjus: Le Missionnaire héros de la BD belge (2011) and Tintin et Spirou contre les négriers: La BD franco-belge une littérature antiesclavagiste? (2013). More recently, he has authored a general overview aimed at a broader audience, Petite histoire politique de la BD belge de langue française (2016) (reviewed in this present issue). E-mail: delisleph@orange.fr

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