Awards | Stephen Collins’ The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil won the inaugural 9th Art Award, announced Sunday during the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Presented by Graphic Scotland, the prize recognizes the year’s best English-language graphic novel. The other finalists were: Building Stories, by Chris Ware; Days of the Bagnold Summer, by Joff Winterhart; Naming Monsters, by Hannah Eaton; and The Nao of Brown, by Glyn Dillon. [9th Art Award]
Manga | Raina Telgemeier’s comic about Barefoot Gen has attracted attention in Japan, where one city recently removed the manga from elementary-school classrooms, claiming it’s too violent for children (the manga depicts the bombing of Hiroshima). “I was lucky to have adults in my life who were willing to discuss the violent subject matter with me, and help me put the story in historical context, and clarify things I might not yet understand,” Telgemeier told The Asahi Shimbun. “After I finished volume 1 of Barefoot Gen, I was deeply upset. (But) as a child, I believed that if people simply saw what war was all about, they would take care that it wouldn’t happen anymore.” [The Asahi Shimbun]
Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys is soaked in rock music, so it’s no surprise that Urasawa himself is not only a fan but a musician; he talks a bit about his music in this interview, saying modestly, “I didn’t notice this myself, but Koji Wakui says that I have sound that’s a little like Neil Young.”
You can judge for yourself from this obviously bootleg video (see below) of Urasawa performing in concert. In fact, the creator of Monster, 20th Century Boys and the greatest manga of all time, Pluto, is a pretty serious rocker in his spare time, and he released an album, Half Century Man, a couple of years ago. His best-known song is “Bob Lennon,” which was written by his fictional character Kenji Endo in 20th Century Boys.
And now Urasawa is taking his act on the road: The French site Japan Journal reports that Urasawa will be a featured guest at the French anime and manga event Japan Expo, and not only will he speak to fans and sign autographs, he will also perform a concert, backed by J-Rock band Hemenway. Urasawa has performed in clubs in Japan, but this looks like his first gig outside the country.