Yesterday the three finalists in the for the Grand Prix at the Angoulême comics festival were named, and unlike past years, there was no swirl of controversy – perhaps becuase the idea of finding fault with Chris Ware, Rumiko Takahasi and Emmanuel Guibert would be foolish.
The Grand Prix is presented each year to a single cartoonist for their lifetime body of work – some say it is the greatest prize in comicdom. In recent years, however, there has been much criticism over the award not nominating more women (the long list of 30 cartoonists in 2016 did not contain a single woman.) Critics say the winner is usually drawn from the same Franco-Belgian school, as well, although that is changing with the addition of more nominees from the manga world.
The FIBD Angoulême for 2019 kicks off next week, and the previous year’s Grand Prix winner presides as a kind of marshal over the whole festival; sadly, American Richard Corben, who won in 2018, will not be in attendance.
As for this year’s finalists, all have been on the long or short list before and have impeccable credentials. Ware is the author of Building Stories and Acme Novelty Library. Guibert’s Alan’s War is probably his best known book here in the US but he has a large body of beautiful, moving work. Takahashi created Urusei Yatsura and Ranma 1/2 and the list goes on.
The winner will be selected by an international voting body of cartoonists. And who will it be? Well there is a lot of sentiment to give it to Takahashi, who, to be fair, is one of the all time greats – she would be only the second woman to win. She made it into the Eisner Hall of Fame Last year.
Giving it to Ware seems unlikely since an American just won. He’s a perennial on the list and his day will some for sure.
But don’t count out Guibert, since a French cartoonist hasn’t won since 2012! Recent winners include Willem from the Netherlands, in 2013, American Bill Watterson in 2014), Katsuhiro Otomo from Japan in 2015), Hermann from Belgium in 2016, and Cosey, from Switzerland, in 2017. As mentioned before, American Richard Corben won last year.
I may be missing some Google translate gossip here though, and Takahashi may be a sure bet. I hope so!
While The Beat won’t be on the scene for the Angoulême action this year, we have a few reporters on scene and we’ll be bringing you all the news. Stay tuned!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.