One comics artist and writer, Jacques Tardi, 39, has been made the subject of a biography. The literary magazine Lire, in its list of the 20 best books of 1983, had a comic book in 12th place. The French Institute of Architecture is mounting an exhibition this year on the way artists use architecture in their comic books.
The new and special place of comic books in French life was underscored in January when President Francois Mitterrand made an official visit to the 12th annual comic-book fair in the city of Angouleme. Le Monde, France's most prestigious newspaper, described the event as the consecration of the French comic book.
Pierre Bourdieu, a well-known sociologist at the College de France in Paris, said: "There are always intellectuals who are eager to discover new kinds of culture to make themselves chic. Today, two things are going on with comic books. First, intellectuals are concerning themselves with comic books and their artists and writers, and, second, these artists and writers are starting to regard themselves as intellectuals. The bande dessinee has become a rather sophisticated and snobbish art form."