Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

February 1, 2014

A Few Random Notes Concerning The Angouleme Festival: Alan Moore Would Decline Grand Prix

Here are few quick notes about things going on at the Festival. In addition to these quick-hit, bulleted updates, we're running intertwined on-the-ground perspectrive columns from Jen Vaughn (1, 2) and Paul Karasik (1, 2, 3), so please be sure to stay tuned.

My guess is we maybe get one more from Paul and one or two more from Jen. We also had Conversational Euro-Comics columnist Bart Beaty's explanation as to why he isn't at the big French-language industry show this year.

image* the prix page at the Festival site should see a lot of activity the next several hours, if you want to bookmark it. One that gets announced earlier than most is the Prix Jeunesse, which this year has gone to the Soleil-published second volume of the Les Carnets De Cerise series from Joris Chamblain and Aurélie Neyret. One nice thing about the change in North American publishing to include a wide variety of initatives including a significant push into books for kids is that you can look at a winner in a category like that one and go, "Hey, maybe that will show up over here one day" as opposed to "what a strange an exotic thing comics for kids can be."

* this morning's big news of the let's-all-talk-about-it variety is an Alan Moore statement through the French-language industry news clearinghouse that even though he's a finalist for that festival Grand Prix -- one of the grandest if not the grandest honor in comics -- he will decline the award if he ends up the winner. The festival presidency that comes with the award looks to be the sticking point, in addition to the severing of comics festival in all form from the writer's life years and years ago. There has been some controversy about moves to open up the process in a way that's given us three finalists -- Moore, Bill Watterson, Katsuhiro Otomo -- where it seems perfectly reasonable to conceive of a future where each choice might not show or be involved with next year's festival were they to take the prize. One could argue that as strength of the past-winners in a room naming the new winner is that it would more naturally go to someone to whom the award might be of singular importance.

We'll see. Someone not accepting the prize or the opportunities that go with it might do what the voting changes are trying to do -- make the prize more newsworthy and relevent. As I've written a bunch of time, those are supreme comics makers and my only concern is that if the finalists pool is similar to that one for years and years at a time.

* I'm still hoping for Otomo, incidentally. Otomo's an underrated cartoonist in terms of the quality of his work, and a manga winner of a grand prix straight up (as opposed to a special honor) is way, way, way overdue, like "you're kidding me that hasn't happened yet?" overdue. I also think that would lead to the best festival. On the other hand, I have never been within a country mile of guessing the Grand Prix winner, and I don't expect that to change even now that I have a one in three chance.

* finally, I've asked for but haven't received additional word from either side on the fact that the Festival was presented with a signed letter protesting SodaStream (and its West Bank primary manufacturing facility) as a show sponsor. I was also hopping that maybe they would update those signing off on it. I assume that's coming. It did make news.
posted 1:45 am PST | Permalink

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