The story of the Innovation fire as a comic


"Innovation 67", which has just been released, is the fourth volume of a comic book series created by Liège-based cartoonist Baudouin Deville and Brussels-based writer and historian Patrick Weber. The theme of this series are events that affected the Belgian collective memory.

"Innovation 67" tells the story of the tragedy of the fire in the "A l'Innovation" department store on Rue Neuve, a busy shopping street in the centre of the capital, which led to the death of 251 people.

The story is obviously romanticised and seen through the eyes of its narrator, Kathleen, a pretty Brussels girl who has already featured in the previous volumes. Inno is preparing for "American Week", a major celebration that does not appeal to everyone in this Vietnam war era. For Kathleen, the festivities take a dramatic turn, because smoke can suddenly be smelled in the department store designed by Victor Horta. While a young man shouts "I give my life for Vietnam," the flames begin to devour the building and claim their first victims.

In previous volumes, Kathleen finds herself in the past, in 1943, in the occupied city and plunges into the world of the Resistance ("Brussels 43"). In 1958, Kathleen is a hostess at the Brussels World's Fair ("Smile 58") and in "Leopoldville 60" she witnesses the uprising in Leopoldville, which was part of the struggle for the independence of the Congo.