The 48e edition of the comic book festival unveiled its winners, live on France Inter. A slightly demanding vintage, which does not quite reflect the dynamism of a popular genre.
A graphic novel which features a blind man lost in limbo Hell of Dante, saved from prison by books in an effervescent America: here is a beautiful symbol to mark this 48th edition of the Angoulême comic strip festival so strange at the heart of the health crisis. The hunting accident, by Landis Blair and David L. Carlson (Sonatine editions) who has just been elected Fauve d’Or – prize for the best album of the year, has all the qualities of an unforgettable comic book. Two years after the coronation of Emil Ferris’ formidable graphic novel What I like are the monsters , we can guess the connections: same black and white drawing, loaded with shadows and hatching, à la Thomas Ott or Art Spiegelman in mouse.
The dreamlike flashes of young Landis Blair follow the path of the protagonist seeking to reach the light through dark family secrets. Like an allegory of the present times. The hunting accident takes place in Chicago, in 1959. The young Charlie Rizzo who has just lost his mother, goes to live with his blind father. For the young boy, the origin of his father’s blindness is simple: he lost his eyesight following a hunting accident. The young hero will quickly discover that this is a terrible lie.
An architecture of immensity
Masterfully conducted over 466 pages, this graphic novel describes the evolution of the father-son relationship, in all its complexity and immerses the reader in the psychology of the characters and in an architecture of immensity, à la William Blake or at MC Escher. These large hatched spaces allow the album a splendid escape through the mind. The blind father who went to jail after a heist went wrong is very endearing. His passion for literature, his fascination for Hell of Dante, his exploration of the nine circles, The hunting accident a work that highlights the power of literature and that of the imagination.
An intellectual achievement
The rest of the list, even if it tends to sanction demanding comics with a touch of intellectuality, values high quality albums. The Special Jury Prize goes to Dragman; by Steven Appleby (Denoël Graphic). This funny and poetic graphic novel on the question of gender, features the first transvestite superheroine, with a very British humor, which made Posy Simmonds scream with laughter.
The Audience Award goes to Anaïs Nin, on the sea of lies by Léonie Bischoff (Casterman), a beautiful exercise in tightrope walking on a strong and disturbing figure in 20th century literature. We are impressed by the quality of analysis that springs from this fluid “graphic novel”, an X-ray of the talent and the dark side of Henry Miller’s mistress.
The Series Prize goes to Paul at home (The watermelon). Michel Rabagliati portrays his fictionalized life as a Quebec designer there. In the series, Paul in Quebec had already been distinguished by the Audience Prize in Angoulême in 2010.
Created this year by the festival with the Ministry of National Education, the High School Students Prize distinguishes Man skin from Hubert and Zanzim (Glénat). An album already amply rewarded but which proves that it also touches high school students by the finesse of its reflection on the genre.
The Heritage Prize is awarded to The Scout, by Lynd Ward (Monsieur Toussaint Louverture), a sumptuous box set that highlights all the woodcutting work of one of the precursors of the graphic novel.
A prize list that gives pride of place to the graphic novel
The Goscinny Prize goes to Loo Hui Phang for the album Black-out with Hugues Micol (Futuropolis). This album in the form of diving into the mysteries of American cinema from the 1930s to 1950s, features a mixed-race actor of African, Chinese and Amerindian descent, capable of playing all “ethnic” roles. Comics, sometimes realistic, sometimes phantasmagorical, question the power of images, as well as the ideologies and mythologies of Hollywood.
The Fauve Polar SNCF is awarded to GoSt111; by Mark Eacersall, Henri Scala and Marion Mousse, at Glénat. The Revelation Prize goes to Tanz! by Maurane Mazars (Le Lombard) and the Audacity Prize at The Mechanics of the Sage Gabrielle Piquet (Atrabile). Finally, two Angoumoisin awards are reserved for young audiences: the Youth Prize 8-12 years old for The Friends Club by Sophie Guerrive (2024) and the Prix Jeunesse 12-16 ans for volume 1 of Middlewest, by Skottie Young and Jorge Corona (Urban Comics).
The Angoulême 2021 prize list therefore gives pride of place to graphic novels, demanding comics, sometimes even experimental. But there are no manga or mainstream bestsellers there … Too bad.
The entire list
Fauve d’Or – Best Album Award
The hunting accident, Landis Blair and David L. Carlson, Translated from the American by Julie Sibony, Sonatine
Fauve d’Angoulême – Special Jury Prize
Dragman;Steven Appleby, Translated from English by Lili Sztajn, Denoël Graphic
Fauve d’Angoulême – Revelation award
Dance !, Maurane Mazars, The Lombard
Fauve d’Angoulême – Audacity Award
The Mechanics of the wise, Gabrielle Piquet, Atrabile
Fauve d’Angoulême – Series Prize
Paul at home, Michel Rabagliati, The Watermelon
Fauve d’Angoulême – High school student prize
Created by the festival with the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports, in partnership with Cultura.
Man’s skin, Hubert and Zanzim, Glénat
Fauve d’Angoulême – Alternative comic book prize
KUTI, The Thick book of KUTI (Finland)
Fauve d’Angoulême – France Televisions Audience Award
Anaïs Nin, on the sea of lies, Léonie Bischoff, Casterman
Fauve d’Angoulême – Youth Prize 8-12 years old
The friends club, Sophie Guerrive, 2024
Fauve d’Angoulême – Youth Prize 12-16 years old
Middlewest, Tome 1 Anger, Skottie Young and Jorge Corona,
Translated from the American by Julien Di Giacaomo, Urban Comics
Fauve Polar SNCF
GoSt111; Mark Eacersall, Henri Scala and Marion Mousse, Glénat
Fauve d’Angoulême – Heritage Prize
The Scout, Lynd Ward, Mr. Toussaint Louverture
Black-out, Loo Hui Phang, with Hugues Micol, Futuropolis
Tokyo Tarareba Girls by Akiko Higashimura, for the translation of Miyako Slocombe, The Black Lizard