French web cartoonist Boulet became the fourth ever recipient of the Sergio Aragonés Award for Excellence in Comic Art during the opening gala of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal, England, last week. The event was partnered and livestreamed with this year’s National Cartoonist Society’s all virtual NCS Fest. Also during the event, the NCS Reuben Division Awards for Best Comic and Best Graphic Novel were granted to Walter Simonson’s IDW series Ragnarök: The Breaking of Helheim and Jared Cullum’s Kodi (Top Shelf Productions), respectively.
Boulet, award in hand, remarked:
“We still have a lot of imposter syndrome in this job and I’m still thinking it’s a mistake but it’s a very nice mistake – and I’m very happy about it.”
Aragonés himself, via a video, expounded on Boulet’s deserved recognition:
“The award is so well deserved because he has made something that many cartoonists haven’t done. One of them is he had, almost 20 years ago, introduced the field in the computer. He has a blog. Blog BD [bande dessinée]. That means that thousands of young people who had never read a newspaper or a magazine or even comics, now in the computer they can be introduced to this fantastic field. That’s one of his great achievements besides the amount of books that he has done. He touches subjects – science, humor, politics, everything. Not a cartoonist alone. He’s an artist, writer…He’s a creator. Nobody deserves the award as much as he does.”
Boulet, the professional pseudonym of Gilles Roussel, has been working in the field of comics, cartooning and illustration for over twenty years. He was one of the early adopters of releasing comics via a blog, in 2004, and it continues to this day. The blog has been collected into the Notes series in France by Delcourt imprint Shampooing, with the latest (volume 11) release in 2018. The first volume of Boulet’s Notes, Born to be a Larve, received an English language release in 2016 from Soaring Penguin Press.
Aside from Notes, Boulet produces illustrations and comics. He has four Bande Dessinee series to his name as either writer, illustrator, or solo author.
Congratulations @Bouletcorp – winner of the Sergio Aragonés International Award for Excellence in Comic Art 2021!! Very well deserved 😊✏️#Comics #LICAF2021 #SergioAragones@NatCartoonSoc @lyonbd @ifru_london @ncsfestofficial pic.twitter.com/aZTitvLgUr
— Comic Art Festival (@comicartfest) October 15, 2021
The Sergio Aragonés International Award for Excellence in Comic Art was introduced in 2017 at LICAF. Previous recipients of the award have been Dave McKean, Hunt Emerson, and Charlie Adlard. Boulet’s announcement is the first time the award has not been handed to an Englishman.
The NCS Reuben Division Awards for Best Comic Book and Best Graphic Novel also took place during the event. Walter Simonson received the award for his IDW miniseries Ragnarök: The Breaking of Helheim, beating out fellow (IDW-published) nominees Usagi Yojimbo (Stan Sakai) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Jennika (Brahm Revel).
Walter Simonson, in a video, said:
“I am stunned, surprised, amazed – and deeply grateful and honoured. Thank you so much. I would also like to thank IDW, my publisher, for letting me do the book I wanted to do. I’d like to thank Scott Dunbier my old pal who some 18 years ago lit the spark that eventually became this book when he suggested I should do a comic based on my love of Norse myths.”
In the Graphic Novel category, Jared Cullum’s all-ages story Kodi got the award. Fellow nominees in the category were Thibault Bala’s Redbone – The True Story of a Native American Rock Band (IDW) and Zoe Thorogood’s The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott (Avery Hill).