Last week France’s Association des Critiques et Journalistes de Bande Dessinée (tr. Association of Comics Critics and Journalists – the ACBD) awarded their 2022 Critics’ Comics Prize of English-originated work to Barry Windsor-Smith’s Monsters.

acbd comics 2022

In awarding the ACBD 2022 Comics prize – which will be formally given October 8 at the Quai des Bulles festival in Saint-Malo – the ACBD said [translated by DeepL]:

“For the fourth year in a row, the Association of Comics Critics and Journalists awards a comic book from an English-speaking country that has been adapted into French by a French-speaking publisher.

“The Prix Comics de la Critique ACBD [Critics’ Comics Prize] goes to Monsters, written and drawn by Barry Windsor-Smith, published in the United States by Fantagraphics and adapted in French by Delcourt Editions in its Outsiders imprint, with translation by Marc Duveau. It succeeds Coda by Simon Spurrier and Matias Bergara.

“The newest work of an artist who marked pop-culture as much as the comic-book industry, Monsters is brilliantly at the crossroads between the superhero comic-book and the independent comic-book. A true visual performance worthy of the best illustrators and writers, this book is as much a graphic slap as it is an emotional and intellectual powerhouse.”

Barry Windsor-Smith’s Monsters – a graphic novel that was famous for taking the legendary artist 35-years to complete – beat a competitive ACBD Comics 2022 category. Other finalists for the award included:

  • Beta Ray Bill, Daniel Warren Johnson (Marvel, published in French by Panini Comics)
  • Raptor, Dave McKean (Dark Horse, published in French by Futuropolis)
  • Step By Bloody Step (Saison de sang), Si Spurrier & Matias Bergara, (Image, published in French by Dupuis)
  • The Many Deaths of Laila Starr (Toutes les morts de Laila Starr), Ram V & Filipe Andrade (BOOM! Studios, published in French by Urban Comics)

The Prix Comics de la Critique ACBD is a prize specifically for books originally published in the English language. The fourth year of the prize, previous recipients have included Si Spurrier and Matias Bergara’s Coda (2021); Derf Backderf’s Kent State (2020); and Tom King & Mitch Gerads Mister Miracle.

Formed in 1984, the ACBD is comprised of over a hundred French-speaking journalists and critics across a wide sweep of media – newspapers, magazines, websites, TV and radio. Most members hail from France but they include Belgian, Swiss, and Québécois among their numbers. According to their website, the ACBD’s mission is

“…to promote the reporting of comic books in the media and to bring together people who regularly deal with comic books as critics or journalists. The ACBD draws its legitimacy from its united representation and its history.”

The ACBD has five awards that are handed out over the course of the year. Besides the Critics’ Comics Prize, these include: Prize for books that originated in Asia, Prix Asie de la Critique ACBD; the Quebec Comics Prize; a kids prize for work aimed at younger readers, Prix jeunesse ACBD. The highest award of all is the Grand Critics Prize, Grand Prix de la Critique – which is handed out annually at the Angoulême festival.

[Side Note for those unfamiliar with French: as ‘Manga’ refers to Japanese comics, so ‘Comics’ in French usually refers to Anglophone (usually American) sequential art. The broad French term is ‘Bande Dessinée’. Hence a ‘Prix Comics’ in French means Prize for English-originated comics.]