After four days of celebration and awards, the 46th annual Angoulême International Comics Festival wrapped up on Sunday, January 27, 2019. The international comics festival is held in western France and is the second largest comic festival in Europe. Held annually since 1974, the comics festival hands out nine awards which highlights works published between December 2017 and November 2018. We’ll take a look back at this year’s winners, including Japanese manga creator Rumiko Takahashi, who was awarded the prestigious Grand Prix d’Angoulême for her life’s work.
Grand Prix – Rumiko Takahashi:
Rumiko Takahashi began publishing her manga in 1978. Her work spans decades and has delighted some 200 million readers worldwide. Takahashi is the creative force behind classics like “InuYasha” and “RIN-NE,” among numerous others. As the largest market for comics outside of Japan, France has only given the Grand Prix award one other time to a mangaka, with “Akira” creator Katushiro Otomo winning the award in 2015. Takahashi is also only the second woman to ever win the Grand Prix award.
Golden Wildcat aka Best Album, Fauve d’Or – “My Favorite Thing Is Monsters” Emil Ferris:
A book which needs little introduction (it was Multiversity Comics’ favorite graphic novel of 2017), “My Favorite Thing Is Monsters” by Emil Ferris has earned awards and accolades since its release in 2017 by Fantagraphics Books. The novel follows the life of 10-year-old Karen Reyes in Chicago during the late 1960s. Reyes is an observant and precocious child who comes to investigate the murder for her neighbor and friend Anka.
Special Jury Prize, Prix Special Du Jury – “The Rigoles” by Brecht Evens:
This award rewards the jurors’ favorite piece of singular work. Brecht Evens is a Flemish-born artist whose work depicts an awe-inspiring display of talent, skill, and fortitude. In an interview with The Comics Journal, Evens talked about the monumental undertaking of “The Rigoles.” The work, whose use of color and numerous graphic techniques required an attention to detail which would not have been possible had he not come out of his depression. “In 2013 and early 2014, he says, “things were so messed up; I couldn’t ever have considered such a massive project. The book is a product of peace having descended.” Evens combined his trademark watercolors with lithography to create the feeling of a chaotic Paris at night, which took him four years to create.
Series Prize, Prix De La Serie – “Dansker” by Halfdan Pisket:
This prize is awarded to a series which is at least three volumes. Pisket is a Danish artist whose trilogy depicts the life of his father. Pisket says he originally began the series with the intention of creating a strictly autobiographical work but realized fairly quickly that this would be impossible. Instead, what audiences received is a melding of his story and his father’s. It’s a story of immigration, identity, and individuality:
“One thing is to get the historic facts straight. I wanted an angle that addressed the Armenian genocide, but it had to be incorporated into the depiction of my fathers [sic] life, who, as it happens, denies that the Armenian genocide ever took place.
So trying to create a story people understand which at the same time respects history and respects my dad, a story I can concede – it’s been mad.” — Halfdan Piskey, Opaque Magazine, 2014
Youth Revelation Award, Fauve Revelation – “Ted, Funny Coconut” by Emilie Gleason:
This prize is awarded to a new creator who has not published more than three books. This is Gleason’s second comic book after releasing “Slapinbag” in 2017. In an interview, Gleason says she was inspired to create Ted, by her brother. Her brother has a form of autism known as Asperger’s. Her comic follows along as Ted, who lives a very routine oriented, regimented life, has his world turned upside down when something goes awry.
Youth Award, Prix Jeunesse – “The Prince and the Dressmaker” by Jen Wang
The youth award this year went to a graphic novel English-speaking audiences will know well. This critically acclaimed and massively popular graphic novel from Jen Wang follows the tale of Prince Sebastian whose parents want him to get married. Sebastian, however, much prefers dressing up as the dynamic and wonderful Lady Crystallia ― a fashion icon in the fashion capital of the world. The novel has been described as a joy-filled modern day fairytale that’s fun for everyone, and was our choice for the best graphic novel of 2018.
Heritage Award, Fauve Heritage – “The Works of Hercules” by Gustave Doré:
The heritage award celebrates a reprinted work. This year’s winner is touted as a celebration to comics history and has invited new readers to discover Gustave Doré. Published when he was just 15 years of age, this parody of Hercules was notable because of Dore’s narrative talents. Originally published in 1847, this nineteenth-century work was brought to life again by Editions 2024.
Thriller / Horror Award, Fauve Polar SNCF – “Ville-vermine Tome 1: The Man with Baubles” by Julien Lambert:
This book takes you on a journey through a filthy, messed-up city, teaming with bizarre oddities, contraptions, and some questionable individuals. Readers follow a musclebound-private detective Jacques Peuplier who is investigating the disappearance of a young girl. More than just a hard-boiled detective story, Peuplier is able to talk to communicate with objects. Only trouble is, he’s the only one that can hear them.
Alternative Comics, Prix De La BD Alternative – “Experimentation” by the Samandal Collective
Samandal is a non-profit comics organization located in Beirut, Lebanon, who is committed to bringing new voices and perspectives to comics. They’ve been publishing anthologies since 2007 and operate in a volatile political climate. The all-volunteer team publishes their anthologies in three languages (English, French and Arabic).
According to their Indiegogo campaign, “three of the four editors were charged by the Lebanese state with inciting sectarian strife, denigrating religion, publishing false news, and slander on account of ‘Christian personalities’ taking offense to two panels from different comics in our 7th issue, titled ‘Revenge.’”
Their commitment and support to advancing the comics form is commendable and necessary. They’ve helped spurn a burgeoning comics community through their events and publications.
As well as these main prize winners, there are many more award ceremonies held during the Angoulême International Comics Festival. You can view a full list of awards and selected titles by going to the official website at https://www.bdangouleme.com/prix-palmares (French).