v.l.n.r.: Ralf Keiser (Carlsen Verlag), Daniela Winkler, Isabel Kreitz, Flix, Rossi Schreiber, Simon Schwartz, Luca Bartulovic, David Basler (Edition Moderne), Lorenzo Mattotti, Andreas Kiener, Jan Taussig, Dr. Dieter Rossmeissl, Hella von Sinnen, Christian Gasser Copyright: Internationaler Comic-Salon Erlangen – Foto: Erich Malter, 2012

So, just what is the “Max und Moritz Preis”?

The “Max und Moritz“ Gala in Erlangen’s baroque theatre on Friday, 8 June 2012, at 9 p.m., is the highlight of the Salon. The “Max und Moritz” Prize, endowed by “Bulls Press” and presented by the City of Erlangen, is the most important prize for graphic literature in the German-speaking countries. It is awarded in different categories by an independent jury of professionals and plays a decisive role in the recognition of comics art in the German-speaking countries. The work of outstanding artists is recognised, exemplary publishing encouraged and debate on graphic literature encouraged by the prize. Alberto Breccia, Will Eisner, André Franquin, Robert Crumb, Moebius / Jean Giraud, José Muñoz, Albert Uderzo, Jacques Tardi, Alan Moore and Pierre Christin have previously received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

It is named for the characters created by Wilhelm Busch, one of the early pioneers of comics, and known as the grandfather of German comics.  (Heard of Töpffer? Busch is next.  The Germans quote him almost as much as Goethe and Schiller.)

There is a DRM-free PDF e-book of all of the nominees with examples, but the file is 92MB.  If you don’t mind registering, and can parse German, then click here.  (They also have a comics section on that site!)

Otherwise, MyComics.de has a special site where the nominees can be seen.  It is Flash-based, but there are links to the actual publisher sites.

For the second time, there was an audience award.  Three subject-specific websites handled the voting (German, American, Manga), and the three finalists were included among the nominees.  A full list (in German) can be found here.

There are ancillary awards for independent comics, webcomics (long list, short list), and something called “Comic Clash” which seems to be a vote-based tournament.  There is also an award selected by students:

The prize of the “Francomics!” competition that more than 4,000 pupils from all over Germany participated in will be awarded during the “Max und Moritz” Award Ceremony for the second time. The project is a cooperation between the French embassy in Berlin and the Franco-German Institute Erlangen and is supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation and the publisher Cornelsen Verlag. Therefore, the award-winning album will be translated into German.

But what about the actual awards show?

It’s held at the Markgrafentheater, a baroque theater dating to 1719.  It seats 570, and is an intimate setting.

The Lord Mayor hands out the medallions, certificates, and bread loaves.

Yes, bread loves.  Here’s a picture:

In the actual book, [AUFPASSEN!  SPOILER ALERT!!] the two scamps sneak into a bakery, but fall into a vat of dough.  The baker bakes them, but the two escape by eating their way out of their bread cocoons.  Later, they try to play a trick on a farmer, get caught, are milled, and are eaten by geese.  (The mill actually exists!)

Who presents the awards?  Hella von Sinnen and Christian Gasser.

Hella von Sinnen is a comedian.  (Her stage name has a double meaning… “von Sinnen” suggests an aristocratic heritage, but it also means “out of her mind” in colloquial German.)  Frau von Sinnen, in her second appearance at the awards, kept things lively, appearing in a Superman costume (with Clark Kent glasses). and offering the occasional critique and quip. Christian Gasser is a Swiss journalist and comics expert.

A live band shared the stage, and winners lounged on stage as the awards were presented.

The lifetime achievement award went to Lorenzo Mattotti.  His work has been published by Fantagraphics, and he has illustrated a book by Lou Reed about Edgar Allen Poe due to be published this Fall.  His work has also appeared on the cover of the New Yorker.

The nominees and winners:

Lifetime Achievement Award

Lorenzo Mattotti »more

Best German comic artist

Isabel Kreitz »more

Best German comic book

Packeis by Simon Schwartz
avant-verlag »more

Best international comic book

Gaza by Joe Sacco
Translation: Christoph Schuler
Edition Moderne »more

Best comic strip

Schöne Töchter by Flix
Der Tagesspiegel »more

Best comic book for children

Das tapfere Prinzlein und die sieben Zwergbären by Émile Bravo
Translation: Ulrich Pröfrock
Carlsen Verlag »more

Best student comic publication

Ampel Magazin by Anja Wicki, Luca Bartulovic and Andreas Kiener
Hochschule Luzern – Design & Kunst »more

Special jury prize

Rossi Schreiber
for her pioneering work and a great adventure as a comics publisher »more

Audience Award

Grablicht by Daniela Winkler
Droemer Knaur

The 25 titles nominated for the “Max und Moritz“-Award 2012

Alois Nebel
by Jaroslav Rudiš and Jaromír 99
Translation: Eva Profousová
Verlag Voland & Quist
Alte Meister
by Nicolas Mahler
adapted from Thomas Bernhard
Suhrkamp Verlag
Annas Paradies
by Daniel Schreiber
Splitter Verlag
Asterios Polyp
by David Mazzucchelli
Translation: Thomas Pletzinger
Eichborn Verlag
Aufzeichnungen aus Jerusalem
by Guy Delisle
Translation: Martin Budde
Baby Blues
by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott
Translation: Michael Bregel
Bulls Press / Achterbahn im Lappan Verlag
by Reinhard Kleist
Carlsen Verlag
Das tapfere Prinzlein und die sieben Zwergbären
by Émile Bravo

Translation: Ulrich Pröfrock
Carlsen Verlag
Dédé – Eriks Detektiv Deschamps
by Erik
Epsilon Verlag
> nominated by the audience
Der Mann, der seinen Bart wachsen ließ
by Olivier Schrauwen
Translation: Helge Lethi
Der Staub der Ahnen
by Felix Pestemer
Die Ballade von Seemann und Albatros
by Nick Hayes
Translation: Henning Ahrens
Essex County
by Jeff Lemire
Translation: Thomas Schützinger
Edition 52
by Lewis Trondheim and Yoann
Translation: Kai Wilksen
Fünftausend Kilometer in der Sekunde
by Manuele Fior
Translation: Maya della Pietra
by Joe Sacco
Translation: Christoph Schuler
Edition Moderne
by Daniela Winkler
Droemer Knaur
> nominated by the audience
by Peer Meter and Isabel Kreitz
Carlsen Verlag
by Julien Neel
Translation: Thomas Schöner
by Simon Schwartz
by Naoki Urasawa, adapted from Osamu Tezuka
Co-author: Takashi Nagasaki, translation: Jürgen Seebeck
Carlsen Verlag
Riekes Notizen
by Barbara Yelin
Frankfurter Rundschau
Schöne Töchter
by Flix
Der Tagesspiegel
Summer Wars
by Mamoru Hosoda, Iqura Sugimoto and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Translation: Nadine Stutterheim
Carlsen Verlag
The Walking Dead
by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn
Translation: Marc-Oliver Frisch
Cross Cult
> nominated by the audience