Some thoughts on the Angoulême shortlist
Last week the Grand Wizards that rule the World of Angoulême decreed their traditional longlists of the best comics of 2010, the best comics for young readers, and the Sélection patrimoine, which roughly translates as books that should not be forgotten. These lists are easily the most important in the Francophone comics world, and even though their selection is strictly limited to books that have been published in French and are readily available, once more I was quite surprised by the international character of the tableau.
On the Sélection Officielle, English and American readers will undoubtedly recognise Dvid Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp, Stark and Cooke’s Parker – The Hunter, X-ed Out by Charles Burns (translated as toXic), and Market Day by James Sturm. And, of course, the inevitable Wilson (Clowes). I was pretty pretty impressd by the third part of David Vandermeulen’s Fritz Haber, an ongoing biography of the Jewish inventor of the Zyklon B gas, and by Matthieu Bonhomme and Lewis Trondheim’s hilarious spoof on our 24-hour media world Omni-visibilis, and I was glad to see them in the list. Also pretty neat, naturally, is the fact that two Flemish graphic novels made it to the list : Les Noceurs by Brecht Evens (published in English by Drawn and Quarterly as The Wrong Place – look out for an interview with Evens in a few weeks), and L’homme qui se laissait pousser la barbe by Olivier Schrauwen (an English translation of which has been announced by Fantagraphics for August 2011).
In the list of comics for young readers, I was pleased to see a nice combination of older titles (Spirou et Fantasio in their newest incarnation, which is a nice heads-up for fresh creative team Yoann and Vehlmann) and very new titles, such as the quite sweet Prunelle (by Vicky Portail-Kernel and Cédric Kernel), or Chambres Noires by Yomgui Dumont (who proves that you can do creepy horror for kids). Also present : the inevitable Detective Conan and Seuls, arguably one of the best all-ages series of the past decade.
Finally, the Sélection patrimoine includes the first part of the Jerry Spring intégrale with Jijé’s art in glorious black-and-white, the French collected edition of Terry and The Pirates, and Tetsuya Chiba and Osao Takamori’s boxing manga Ashita No Joe.