From our continental correspondent – Max Und Moritz Award 2014
As is the case every two years, the German city of Erlangen is gearing up for their Comic Salon, the most important festival for comics and graphic literature in the German-speaking world. Everyone who is anyone in German comics will gather in the 15,000 metre-square comics fair for to get to know new publications, meet creators or take part in the programme of lectures, discussions, forums and screenings (much of which is as yet shrouded in mystery).
One of the most important aspects of the festival is the Gala of the Max Und Moritz Award, which is presented by the City of Erlangen. The Lifetime Achievement Award wants to recognize the work of internationally important and innovative writers and artists, and its recipients in previous years included Astérix creator Albert Uderzo, Grand Wizard Alan Moore, French power writer Pierre Christin (probably best known for the science fiction comic Valérian, which he created with Jean-Claude Mézières), Jacques Tardi and Italian creator Lorenzo Mattotti.
In 2014, the Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to German creator Ralf König who, since his debut in 1979 has been consistently combining a very expressive humouristic style with gay themes, and has been instrumental in how Germany thinks about Aids, gay marriage, and discrimination. In 2006 König came to the defense of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, whose controversial depictions of Muhammad resulted in death threats and a widespread opinion that there were boundaries to free speech. König’s defense of artistic freedom earned him a special prize at the Erlangen festival in 2006. Not a lot of Köning’s work has been published in English, with The Killer Condom as his best-known work, especially since the Troma-distributed movie version from 1996.
For the Max Und Moritz Award 2014, no less than 25 books have been nominated from all over the world, including Rutu Modan’s The Property, Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha, The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins, Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga and Jimmy Corrigan by Chris Ware. Original German works on the list include Mawil’s Kinderland, Kiesgrubennacht by Volker Reiche and Im Himmel ist Jahrmarkt by Birgit Weyhe. Until June 19th, the general public can vote to decide which of the nominated books will receive the special Audience Award. Further awards will also be given out in the categories “Best German Comic”, “Best International Comic”, “Best German Comic-Strip”, “Best German Comics Artist”, “Best Student Comics Publication” and “Best Children’s Comic”.