by Jeremy Melloul
As of the award ceremony last night here at the Angouleme International Comics Festival, Emil Ferris’ has won Angouleme’s Fauve d’Or or Golden Fauve, which it awards to the best comic of the previous year, for her graphic novel “My Favorite Thing is Monsters.”
Emil is an American cartoonist and “My Favorite Thing Is Monsters” was her debut comic. It is a highly acclaimed work praised by both Oliver Sava of the A.V. Club () and Rob Salkowitz over on Forbes. It also previously won Publishers’ Weekly annual Graphic Novel Critics Poll.
This latest award only adds to the acclaim. The Golden Fauve is the greatest prize the festival awards to an individual work (whereas the Grand Prix honors the lifetime contributions of a notable artist, won this year by the mangaka Rumiko Takahashi.
Originally published in February of 2017 by Fantagraphics, “My Favorite Thing is Monsters” was published in France in August 2018 by the independent publisher Monsieur Toussaint Louverture.
Of course, this graphic novel wasn’t the only one honored this weekend. There are different award ceremonies that take place all throughout the festival, that are a central element of how the festival shows its appreciation not only for the medium of comics, in the abstract, but also in a practical way, by honoring current, great works of sequential art and storytelling.
The awards are broken down into several categories of awards and individual prizes including the Grand Prize, which we mentioned earlier, and the following:
The Konishi Prize, which is awarded to a translator for their translation of a specific work of manga. This year this prize was awarded to Thibaud Desbief for his translation of Inio Asano’s “Dead Dead Demon’s Dededededestruction.”
The René Goscinny Award – also known as the “Script Prize” as it is awarded to a writer for their comic book script. This year this was awarded to the writer Pierre Christin for his script for the comic Est-Ouest (East-West), which was drawn by Philippe Aymond. It’s an autobiographical story told through the lens of his travels from the American West to the deepest corners of the Communist Bloc. You might know Pierre’s work better from his work writing Valerian and Laureline, the comic book that served as the basis for Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets just a couple years ago.
The “Discovery” awards, which celebrate young, emerging artists and works created for those audiences. Most notable from this set of awards are the Elementary School, Middle School, and High School awards, which are presented to a single comic created for the appropriate age range.
Awarded on Thursday, the following works took home the prizes.
The Elementary School prize went to “La boite a musique” (The Music Box).
The Middle School prize went to “La brigade des cauchemars” (The Nightmare Squad).
And the High School prize went to “Il faut flinguer Ramirez” (Gunning for Ramirez – a book I happened to translate which will be coming out in April 2019).
The other awards in this category are:
The “Hippocampe” prizes, which honor multiple works created by handicapped artists, honoring both adults and children, in an effort to promote their involvement in culture, in general, and the arts, specifically.
The “Scholastic” prizes (no relation to the American company), which, from what I understand, are tied to a contest in which a selected group of elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools, produce comics and then vote on their favorite comic – across a few different categories – from all the created works.
The “Draw Me Comics” prize, which the FIBD (the organization behind the Festival) launched as part of a competition on Instagram (#drawmecomics2019) in which all creators 18 years old or younger were allowed to enter. Three such prizes were awarded.
Then, there are four “Young Talent” prizes specifically awarded to young artists who have yet to be published, each of which are meant to help promote and celebrate the artists of tomorrow.
I previously wrote about how my time in Angouleme has made me more confident in the power and potential of the market for kids comic in America back in my Day 1 post (). You can probably see in the number of prizes and awards here just how developed this part of the French comic book industry is.
And finally, there are the “Official Awards.” These are the “Fauves d’Angouleme” – eight awards, honoring works published sometime between December 1st 2017 and November 30th 2018 in French and published in francophone speaking countries. The Golden Fauve for “Best Comic” is the among these awards, as well as:
The Alternative Comics Award (Prix de la BD Alternatif), which is awarded to a fanzine chosen from a selection of 33 non-professional publications. This year the prize was awarded to “Experimentation” ((use link for image )) by the Lebanese Comic Publisher/Artist Collective, Samandal, which has historically found itself in a difficult political position in the Middle East in the past.
The “Best Thriller” Award (Fauve Polar SNCF), an award sponsored by SNCF – France’s national railway company. This year the prize went to Julien Lambert for his work L’homme aux babioles (The Bauble Man), book 1 of the VilleVermine (Vermin City) duology.
The Patrimony Award, which is awarded to a masterpiece that has played an important part in the global history of comic book art to honor both its contribution to the medium and also the editorial work that has allowed us to rediscover it. This year, the prize went to the new printing of Les travaux d’Hercule (Hercules’ Labors), a book by the 19th century French artist Gustave Doré.
The Youth Award, or award for best youth album, went to Jen Wang’s Prince and the Dressmaker, as reported on back on Day 1.
The Revelation Award, a prize awarded to young, emerging authors who have published no more than 3 books previously. This year it was awarded to Emilie Gleason for the comic “Ted, drole de coco” (Sketchy Ted – I have to admit, it’s hard to translate a lot of these titles without having had a chance to read the books!).
The Best Series Award, awarded only to works with more than three volumes published. This year it went to Danish artist Halfdan Pisket for his work, Dansker, the last book in a trilogy that Halfdan created which tells the story of his father, and his escape from Turkey after deserting the army, before eventually making it to Denmark.
The Special Jury Prize (the “Fauve d’Angouleme) which honors a comic the jury particularly liked from the official selection eligible for the awards for the Best Album, Best Series, Revelation, and Best Youth Album nominations. This year the prize went to Brecht Evens for his work Les Rigoles (The City of Belgium).
And finally, as mentioned The Fauve D’or, for Best Comic Album, which went to Emil Ferris’ “My Favorite Thing is Monsters.”
So, even at the festival, there’s a lot to keep up with. In fact, if I wasn’t writing this post I wouldn’t know the results of all these awards off-hand. But the fact that they’re a part of the proceedings is good. It encourages the creators who are eligible for them and, even more so, the ones who go on to win. It can also draw your attention to books you may not have known about and nudge you into buying them.
It’s about celebrating comic art and, by the time Saturday is over that’s the perfect thing to look forward to on Sunday. Tomorrow, I leave later in the afternoon and so I’m planning on going to see some exhibitions and shopping for comics.
The professional rights & licensing tent closes on Saturday night and most of the professionals who come to the show leave either that night or early Sunday. That makes the last day of the show a day for fans (whether they work in the industry or not).
With my professional obligations at Angouleme over with Day 3, I’m excited to just enjoy Day 4 and start to get some rest after a thrilling and, admittedly, exhausting festival.
[Check out Jeremy’s podcast on the business of comics at The Creator at Large.]