40th International Comics Festival of Angoulême
Thursday, January 31, 2013 marks the opening of the 40th annual Festival International de la Bande Dessinée (International Comics Festival) in the French city of Angoulême, a center of the paper-making and printing industries since the 14th century. Europe’s largest comics festival, which attracts around 200,000 visitors from around the world each year, takes place in museums, theatres, and other venues across the city. This year’s exhibitions will explore the evolution of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck at the hands of various international cartoonists, a retrospective of Albert Uderzo, creator of the iconic Astérix and Obélix, and representations of “lawmen” in comics from around the world.
This year, American comic artists Jessica Abel (La Perdida) and Matt Madden (99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style) are among the 43 artists in residence at Angoulême’s Maison des Auteurs and will be active participants in the festival, exhibiting at the Cité Internationale de la Bande Dessinée et de l’Imageand serving on the Grand Jury, which will hand out several prestigious prizes in cartooning. Other North American guests include Anders Nilsen (Big Questions) and Chester Brown (Paying for It), whose books are among the 59 titles on the shortlist for Book of the Year. Also on the list is Hors Zone by Blexbolex, which was recently published in English translation by Nobrow as No Man’s Land! Other notable French entries include L’Enfanced’Alan, Emmanuel Guibert’s tender retelling of an American pre-war childhood and Laurent Maffre’s Demain, Demain, about an Algerian family’s struggles with poverty and prejudice in France in the early 1960s. Not to be missed as well are Frederik Peeters’s science-fiction comic book Aâma, and La Grande Odalisque, the tale of a crime investigation at the Louvre Museum created by BastienVivès, Ruppert and Mulot.
As every year, a key event precedes the festival: the 24 hours of the BandeDessinée gathered more than 240 artists, including 140 professionals, who created short-comics following strict guidelines outlined by Matt Maden. You can read his story as well as strips created by Boulet, a steady contributor, on the event’s website.
On February 3rd, the Dutch cartoonist, Willem, a longtime contributor to French leftwing newspaper, Liberation, was awarded Festival International de Bande-Dessinée d'Angoulême's Grand Prix. The 2013 comic book fair's short-list included authors Chris Ware, Alan Moore, and Manga artist Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball and Dr Slump), who received the Special Prize for the festival's 40th Anniversary. Among the ten other official prizes given out last weekend, the Fauve d'or for Best Comic Book of the Year went to Quai d'Orsay Tome 2, by Abel Lanzac and Christophe Blain . We are pleased to congratulate our own Cultural Counselor Antonin Baudry, alias Abel Lanzac, for his award!