At the Angoulême Awards 2022, the first in-person ceremony in over two years, Brazil’s Marcello Quintanilha‘s graphic novel thriller Écoute, Jolie Márcia got the Fauve D’Or for Best Book.
The Americas were well represented at the Angoulême Awards 2022 – scooping up five of the thirteen award categories. Alongside Brazil, creators from Canada and America received two awards apiece.
A self-taught artist, the Fauve D’Or winner Quintanilha has been releasing graphic novels since 1999. In 2002 he entered the European market as an illustrator for Belgian publisher Le Lombard. Since 2015 he has been releasing graphic novels with boutique French publisher ça et là, a relationship that has already earned him award recognition. His first graphic novel with the company Tungstène (Tungsten) scored him an Angoulême award in the Polar (Crime Thriller) category. He currently lives and works in Barcelona, Spain. Écoute, Jolie Márcia is his sixth book with the publisher.
The two Canadian awardees were Michael DeForge‘s Familiar Face (the Audacity Award); and Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny and Christian Quesnel‘s Mégantic won the inaugeral Éco Fauve for ecologically themed works.
The USA was represented by the late Howard Cruse‘s graphic novel Stuck Rubber Baby in the Heritage reprint category; and Kat Leyh‘s Snapdragon in the Kids Prize (Ages 12-16) category.
World War II resistance stories were also a curious trend in the 2022 Angoulême awards. Three winners – in Best Series (Émile Bravo‘s Spirou reimagining); Special Jury (Raphaël Meltz, Louise Moaty, and Simon Roussin‘s Des Vivants/The Living); and Revelation (Camille Lavaud Benito‘s La Vie Souterraine [The Underground Life]) Prize categories were set in wartime France or Belgium.
Keep reading to check out all the winners of Angouleme 2022, and don’t forget that we have a list of the full official selection – with links to any English language editions here.
All translations of titles and synopses are via DeepL.
FAUVE D’OR AWARD FOR BEST ALBUM: Écoute, Jolie Márcia [Listen, Sweet Marcia]
Writer/artist: Marcello Quintanilha
Publisher: ça et là
“Márcia is a nurse in a hospital near Rio and lives in a favela with her boyfriend Aluisio and her daughter, Jaqueline, whom she had at a very young age with another man. Jaqueline, a wild, loud-mouthed young adult, gives her mother and Aluisio a hard time and hangs out with members of one of the neighbourhood gangs, which leads to heated arguments between mother and daughter. Jaqueline’s boyfriend even threatens Márcia during a hospital visit… The situation worsens when Jaqueline is arrested by the police for complicity in theft and handling stolen goods. Márcia and Aluisio are distraught and realise that Jaqueline is involved with hardened criminals and a group of dirty cops. Marcia asks Aluisio to keep an eye on Jaqueline, but faces great danger himself…
Listen, Sweet Márcia is an exciting new graphic novel, with flamboyant colours, by one of the most important authors of the contemporary Brazilian scene. Marcello Quintanilha achieves a new tour de force with this very well constructed story in which the relationships between each of the protagonists are gradually revealed in a masterfully handled thriller.”
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE: Des Vivants [The Living]
Writers: Raphaël Meltz & Louise Moaty
Artist: Simon Roussin
“Summer 1940: France is occupied. Some people, however, refused to accept this fate: in Paris, in the heart of the Musée de l’Homme, a few ethnologists met, soon to be joined by people from all walks of life – lawyers, nuns and garage owners. Around Boris Vildé, Anatole Lewitsky and Yvonne Oddon, these visionaries laid the foundations of the struggle that would lead to the Liberation: prisoner escapes, passage to England or the free zone, and the publication of a clandestine newspaper, Résistance. But these early rebels were soon betrayed, denounced to the Gestapo and, for many of them, executed.
With The Living, Raphaël Meltz and Louise Moaty offer a script of great richness and profound integrity: no dialogue has been invented, the words spoken by the characters are their own. At the end of a vast dive into countless period documents – memoirs, letters, testimonies, interviews, diaries… – they compose this story by stepping back behind the sincerity and strength of these disappeared voices. Simon Roussin, thanks to a subtle direction and a drawing of great mastery, gives life to these fragments of History, deploying with accuracy all their inspiring stories. Together, they compose a powerful, rigorous and moving portrait. The Musée de l’Homme network emerged very early, but was too quickly destroyed, and has gradually disappeared from the collective memory. This extraordinary book, which is at once a historical investigation, a war novel and a grandiose epic, pays tribute to the men and women who were one day carried away by this formidable injunction: to resist. A crazy audacity as much as an obviousness; the only way, beyond all else, to stay alive.”
BEST SERIES: Spirou: L’Espoir Malgré Tout [Spirou: Hope Against All Odds]
Writer/Artist: Émile Bravo
This past year the fourth instalment of Émile Bravo’s remarkable ongoing reinvention of the classic Franco-Belgian character Spirou released with the third part of the Hope Against All Odds quadrilogy. The action is set in Nazi-occupied Belgium, late-1940, with the sweet and kind-hearted Spirou – who only tries to do the right thing – trying to survive and help his friends and loved ones in a bleaker world.
Not the first time Bravo has taken home a prize for his take on the character but still richly deserved nonetheless. The final part in the Hope Against All Odds storyline will release in Francophone bookstores May. You can check out the series in English via Europe Comics.
What Angoulême had to say about it:
“Begun in 2018, this tetralogy brought an iconic comic book star into a raw historical reality. And like the young Spirou, a Catholic and humanist, who discovers the Resistance here without really knowing how to take part (preferring to save lives rather than take them), it asks us what we would have done during this troubled period.”
REVELATION AWARD: La Vie Souterraine [The Underground Life]
Writer/Artist: Camille Lavaud Benito
Publisher: Les Requins Marteaux
“Paris, late 1930s. Gabor Varga, a publicist and vivacious charmer close to the art world, moves with his gallery owner friends, artists, his lover Minouche, and soon, the mysterious Tamara… In the feverish atmosphere of a Paris that is experiencing the transition of France to a state of war and the Vichy regime, the hunt for Jews and the looting of works of art, Gabor, his friend Joseph Blumberg and a whole gallery of colourful characters are going to have to react in their own way to the Occupation, and for some of them, they are going to change their names, go underground in the Dordogne, and transform their existence into a veritable underground life. The first part of a trilogy centred on the historical episode of the Neuvic train attack, Camille Lavaud Benito takes us from Paris to the Dordogne, in a novel with a powerful documentary basis. And through endearing characters who we can easily imagine speaking with tiny pinched voices like in old sepia films, she shares with us a part of French history, recreating in her own way a collective memory that is both embedded in history and faithfully invented.”
AUDACITY AWARD: Un Visage Familiar [Familiar Face]
Writer/Artist: Michael DeForge
First released in English from Drawn & Quarterly in 2020, the French edition of Familiar Face debuted late last year.
What Angoulême had to say about the book:
“This may be the world we face tomorrow, ruled by technology, where roads, buildings and even people are regularly “updated”, i.e. modified, changed. A Familiar Face follows the life of a government employee, working in the complaints department, whose partner has disappeared. A dystopia reminiscent of Orwell, Huxley and Kafka.”
HERITAGE AWARD: Stuck Rubber Baby
Writer/Artist: Howard Cruse
The late underground gay cartoonist Howard Cruse’s graphic novel beat out a Jack Kirby/Wally Wood collection and the French edition of newly-inducted Grand Prix awardee Julie Doucet’s Dirty Plotte series.
The story is about a white boy in the American South discovering himself and his sexuality at a time of racism, segregation and homophobia.
First Second Books released a 25th anniversary edition in 2020 to English language audiences. The new French edition debuted in May 2021 from prestigious publisher Casterman. Howard had received a Critics’ Prize at Angoulême for the book (then-published as Un Monde de Différence) in 2002 but, sadly, has not been able to enjoy the book’s newfound recognition with audiences around the globe after passing in 2019.
KIDS PRIZE 12-16 YEARS: Snapdragon
Writer/Artist: Kat Leyh
An American win – Chicagoan Kat Leyh’s Snapdragon scored the win in the 12-16 years category. It is published in English with First Second.
“This subtle graphic novel uses the pretext of fantasy to talk about tolerance and self-confidence, but also about poverty, racism and homosexuality, in an America of the disenfranchised.”
“Kat Leyh’s Snapdragon is a magical realist graphic novel about a young girl who befriends her town’s witch and discovers the strange magic within herself.
Snap’s town had a witch.
At least, that’s how the rumor goes. But in reality, Jacks is just a crocks-wearing, internet-savvy old lady who sells roadkill skeletons online—after doing a little ritual to put their spirits to rest. It’s creepy, sure, but Snap thinks it’s kind of cool, too.
They make a deal: Jacks will teach Snap how to take care of the baby opossums that Snap rescued, and Snap will help Jacks with her work. But as Snap starts to get to know Jacks, she realizes that Jacks may in fact have real magic—and a connection with Snap’s family’s past.”
KIDS PRIZE 8-12 YEARS: Bergères Guerrières vol.4 [Warrior Shephards]
Writer: Jonathan Garnier
Artist: Amélie Fléchais
The Warrior Shephards series reached its finale and won a prize. The first book debuted in 2017 and the series has yet to get an English language release. It looks great so hopefully it will get a pick up in the near future.
“After many adventures, Molly and Liam see the end of their dark journey, in search of the men of the village who left ten years ago for a distant war.
This is the end of a thrilling series rich in twists and turns and emotion, in a universe that subtly mixes Celtic mythology and Miyazaki-style magic. And which gives the girls the leading roles, without the clichés.”
Synopsis from the first book in the series:
“It has been ten years since the men of the village left, forcibly mobilised for the Great War. Ten years since they left their wives, children and elders for a conflict far from home… Young Molly is happy because she can finally start training to try to join the prestigious order of the Warrior Shepherds: a group of women chosen from among the bravest, to protect the herds but also the village! To face the many trials that await her, Molly will be able to count, in addition to her courage, on Blackbeard, her fighting goat, but also on the friendship of Liam, the little peasant who also dreams of becoming a Warrior Shepherd – even if it is only for girls…
Somewhere between Dragons and Rebelle, Warrior Shepherds tells the odyssey of a young heroine who will live great adventures in a medieval-fantasy universe inspired by Celtic legends. An endearing story for all ages, which focuses on family and community ties, supported by warm graphics and a scenario rich in humour and twists.”
ALTERNATIVE COMICS PRIZE: BENTO 6 from Radio As Paper
Winners of this prize get 1000 euros from the Syndicat des Editeurs Alternatifs (SEA) [Syndicate of Alternative Publishers] and its aim is to endorse the work of new talents in small(er) press anthologies. This year’s winner is Bento #6 from French outfit Radio As Paper which features the work of Delphine Panique, Maxim Cain, Fanny Grosshans, Matthias Lehmann, Lucien Gurbert, Noah Van Sciver, Jérôme Bihan, Pierre Maurel, JC Menu and Benjamin Adam.
You can pick it up here.
FAUVE POLAR [Crime Thriller] SNCF: L’Entaille
Writer/Artist: Antoine Maillard
“When two young girls are found dead near their high school, the daily life of a small seaside town is inevitably disrupted. An homage to genre films, L’Entaille is also a coming-of-age story whose pencil drawing gives the story a sense of unreality.”
ÉCO-FAUVE PRIZE: Mégantic: un train dans la nuit [Mégantic: A Train in the Night]
Writer: Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny
Artist: Christian Quesnel
An examination of the July 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster and its aftermath in comics form, Canadian activist and writer Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny – who had produced a book on the subject in 2018- pairs with cartoonist Christian Quesnel to produce this award-winning work in the new Eco-Fauve award category for environmentally-focused works.
“On July 6, 2013, a train carrying 72 tankers of highly explosive crude oil derailed in the heart of Lac-Mégantic, killing 47 people and pulverizing the small municipality in Northeastern Quebec. An investigation into the causes of this accident, Mégantic also examines the aftermath, the trials, the immunity of the companies implicated, the political apathy…”
FAUVE DES LYCÉENS: Yojimbot (vol. 1)
Writer/Artist: Sylvain Repos
Sylvain Repos’ scifi adventure tale Yojimbot got the school vote. It is available digitally in English via Europe Comics. Fun fact: ‘Yojimbo’ and ‘Yojimbot’ are pronounced pretty much the same way in French.
Book synopsis on the Europe Comics website:
“Hoki Province, Japan, 2241. The island is populated by androids who tirelessly reenact the same samurai battles… The 3rd “Crisis of Man” destroyed nearly all traces of human life. Among the ruins of a feudal Japan rebuilt from scratch, the few machines that survived continue to follow their traditional protocols. While humanity was thought to be unable to survive on the surface, one of the robots—a Yojimbot—comes face to face with a survivor, a child, threatened by a group of heavily-armed soldiers. The Yojimbot decides to intervene, and is soon joined by other robots who come together to defend the young boy. But they face powerful opponents determined to snuff out all resistance…”
FRENCH TV AUDIENCE AWARD: Le Grande Vide [The Great Void]
Writer/Artist: Léa Murawiec
“Manel Naher is upset: the newspapers only mention another Manel Naher. But in her world, people only survive if their fellow human beings think about them. Otherwise, they die. This is the fate that awaits Manel, the unwilling heroine of this story, with its original graphic design and pertinent reflection on our societies, subjected to the implacable diktat of appearance.”