Welcome to the first awards roundup of 2024. Here is some extra award news from the past few months that you may have missed.

Daniel Clowes’ Monica was officially The Best Book of 2023!

Jamie Coville ran an analysis of 266 ‘Best of’ lists that were published last year and found that the Daniel Clowes graphic novel Monica was 2023’s most recommended title.

On his blog, Coville said:

“Since October 2023 there have been many, many websites with “Best of 2023” lists concerning comic books, manga, webcomics and graphic novels. If you’ve looked at a few, you may have noticed some of the same books on different lists and seen some unique to only that list.

“I went through 226 different URLs with “Best Of” Lists regarding comics and combined them into a spreadsheet. There are over 3,800 different listings of books from these websites. I should note that I’ve included books that were given honourable mentions. In short, if somebody thought it was a good book that you should check out, it’s on here.”

Coville found the (statistical) Top 10 of all Top 10s in 2023 were:

  • Monica, Daniel Clowes (Fantagraphics) — 62 mentions
  • Roaming, Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki (Drawn & Quarterly) — 51 mentions
  • Shubeik Lubeik, Deena Mohamed (Pantheon) — 37 mentions
  • Blood of the Virgin, Sammy Harkham (Pantheon) — 35 mentions
  • A Guest in the House, Emily Carroll (First Second) — 35 mentions
  • The Talk, Darrin Bell (Henry Holt and Co.) —- 35 mentions
  • Why Don’t You Love Me?, P.B. Rainey (Drawn & Quarterly) — 27 mentions
  • Worldtr33, James Tynion IV, Fernando Blanco, Jordie Bellaire (Image Comics) — 24 mentions
  • Birds of Prey, Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Bastos Romero, Jordie Bellaire, Matt Herms (DC Comics) — 23 mentions
  • Mexikid, Pedro Martin (Dial Books) — 23 mentions

You can check out the full list here

Daniel Clowes’s Monica longlisted for the PEN/Faulkner Award

Daniel Clowes’ Monica (Fantagraphics) is also in the running for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction – the only graphic novel to make the list this year. It is one of ten longlisted books picked from 445 eligible novels and short story collections submitted by over two hundred publishers.

Even if it only makes finalist it will become the first graphic novel to do so – the closest book prior was Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (Random House), whose lead characters are set in the American comic book industry; it placed finalist in 2001. G. Willow Wilson’s 2019 novel The Bird King (Grove Press) was longlisted in 2020.

On social media, publisher Fantagraphics said:

We are thrilled to announce that Monica by Daniel Clowes has been longlisted for the 2024 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction! It’s a huge honor and well-deserved ❤️

Begun in 1981, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is an annual prize by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation to best works of fiction by living American citizens. It has been in existence since 1980. Winners receive $15,000 and four runners up receive $5000 each. Finalists will be announced this month and winners announced in April.

The 2024 judges this year include novelists Xochitl Gonzalez and Lynn Steger Strong; and cartoonist, novelist and poet Alan Michael Parker.


Bram Stoker Awards Finalists Announced, Dark Horse dominates in Graphic Novels

The 2023 Bram Stoker Awards (for work published in 2023) announced their finalists in each of thirteen categories on February 22. In the graphic novel category (“Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel”) the five finalists included three books published by Dark Horse – Adam Cesare and David Stoll’s Dead Mall; Amy Chu and Soo Lee’s Carmilla: The First Vampire; and Gou Tanabe’s adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth. Dark Horse was also well represented in the January longlist, holding six of the ten titles in contention.

Bram Stoker Award 2023, Graphic Novel Finalists

The Finalists:

  • Carmilla: The First VampireAmy Chu, art by Soo Lee (Dark Horse)
  • Dead MallAdam Cesare, art by David Stoll (Dark Horse)
  • Ghostlore, Vol. 1, Cullen Bunn, art by Leomacs (BOOM! Studios)
  • H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over InnsmouthGou Tanabe (Dark Horse)
  • Tombs, Junji Ito (Viz Media)

Winners are selected via ballot of the Horror Writers Association membership. Voting closes March 15 with the winners declared at a June 1 ceremony during StokerCon 2024 weekend (May 30-June 2, 2024) at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, San Diego, California.

The Bram Stoker Awards have been annually presented by the Horror Writers Association since 1987, spotlighting work in the horror and dark fiction genre. The graphic novel category has been running since 2011. The category winner last year went to editor James Aquilone’s anthology Kolchak: The Night Stalker: 50th Anniversary (Moonstone Books).


David Fickling Books in the Running for Small Press of the Year

British publisher David Fickling Books – based in Oxford, UK – is among the fifty-five (!) finalists in line for Small Press of the Year at the 2024 British Book Awards. The publisher’s portfolio is a mix of comics and books for children.

Originating as an imprint in the early 2000s – first at Scholastic, then Random House – David Fickling Books went full independent in 2013. While a sister company publishes the Phoenix weekly anthology comic – including the blockbuster hit series Bunny vs Monkey, by Jamie Smart – the collections are under the purview of David Fickling Books.

Small presses in the British book publishing world up for the award are companies with a annual turnover of less than £5 million ($6.35 million). Winners will be announced at the British Book Awards ceremony taking place at Grosvenor House, London on May 13.

Editor of The Bookseller and chair of judges for the British Book Awards, Philip Jones said:

“These presses have ridden out the pandemic peaks and troughs, and have emerged into the new age stronger than ever with some first-class publishing backed by an acute understanding of who they are and how to find their customers.”


Posy Simmonds finally receives Angoulême Grand Prix

Photo by Vincent Brunner, via social media

Posy Simmonds belatedly received her Angoulême Grand Prix at a small ceremony on Tuesday February 7. The British graphic novelist behind Cassandra Darke (2018), Tamara Drewe (2007), Gemma Bovery (1999), and True Love (1981) was announced as the winner of the Grand Prix – one of the highest honours in global comics, and the first person from the UK to achieve it – on the eve of the Angoulême International Festival, January 24, but was unable to attend. Posy was in Paris for promotional events related to her major retrospective exhibition at Paris’ Pompidou Centre – including a public panel with previous Grand Prix recipient Riad Sattouf. She will attend the 52nd Angoulême Festival taking place January 29 to February 2, 2025.


René Goscinny Awards 2024 go to Julie Birmant and Simon Boileau

The Prix René Goscinny for Best Comics Writer went to Julie Birmant for Dalí volume 1 – Avant Gala [Before Gala], with artist Clément Oubrerie and published by Dargaud. The prize was awarded as part of the Angoulême Comics Festival. Birmant has built a comics writing career largely around graphic biographies, predominantly with Oubrerie as artist. SelfMadeHero have published two previous collaborations between Birmant and Oubrerie, focusing on the life of the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (Pablo, 2015) and the American-born dancer Isadora Duncan (Isadora, 2019). Their newest series focuses on the life of Spanish artist Salvador Dalí and a translation of the first volume was digitally released by Europe Comics in October 2023.


The René Goscinny Prize for Young Writers went to Simon Boileau for debut graphic novel The Ride [La Ride], a buddy-movie bicycle trip drawn by artist Florent Pierre, published by Darguad in 2023.

The René Goscinny Prize is named after the beloved French comics writer René Goscinny, best known as the co-creator of the Asterix series with artist Albert Uderzo. Winners are selected by industry professionals and receive a prize of €2,500 each. It is administered by the René Goscinny Institute, Angoulême Festival and the Moselle Agence Culturelle. 


Bokko gets the Prix Konishi

The Konishi Prize for Manga (Japanese-French Translation) went to the first volume of military strategy seinen series Bokko [published in French as Bokko – Strategy], loosely adapted from a 1991 Kenichi Sakemi novel by Hideki Mori and Sentarō Kubota. The French edition was translated by Odilon Grevet and published by Vega Dupuis.


The original manga – which is set during China’s warring states period (around 5th century BCE) was first serialised in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Magazine in Japan between 1992 and 1996, filling 11 volumes and winning Shogakukan’s Manga Award in 1995. No English translation is currently available.

The Konishi Prize Manga Prize has been running for seven years and is sponsored by the Konishi Foundation for International Exchange, which supports cultural, scholarly and scientific exchange between Japan, France and other parts of the world. The Konishi Foundation sponsors two prizes – a literary prize begun in 1993 and a manga award in 2017. France has one of the largest markets for manga in the world. It is delivered in partnership with the Angoulême Festival.

Giving insight into the manga’s French adaptation, translator Odilon Grevet said [translated via DeepL]:

Bokko is a singular work with a sweet anachronistic flavor. Begun in 1992, it looks as if it has stepped out of the pages of a 70s gekiga magazine. Visually, it’s already out of step with the times, as is its setting: ancient China.

“The text is not outdone either, with its “old-fashioned but not too old-fashioned” feel, which likes to dig up old terms that have fallen into disuse. You have to be careful not to venture into obscure old French that would put off the reader, but keep in mind to avoid certain expressions that are a little too modern.

“A fine balancing act, Hideki Mori alternates between information-dense background passages and magnificent, uncluttered double-page spreads. And despite being set over two millennia ago in a faraway land, Bokko remains a compelling manga, both humanistic and fiercely pacifist. Which makes it all the more special in today’s climate”