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Angoulême International Comics Festival opens

Angouleme poster 2015The 42nd annual Angoulême International Comics Festival kicked off this morning with extra security, as is to be expected just three weeks after the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices.

The president of last year’s festival, and the winner of the previous year’s Grand Prix d’Angoulême, was Willem, a staff cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo. He didn’t like to attend staff meetings, so he wasn’t in the office on Jan. 7 when two gunmen killed 12 people, including another Grand Prix winner, Wolinski.

“The 2015 festival will be a time to remember but we also want to demonstrate that life goes on,” said festival director Franck Bondoux. The commemorations include a special exhibit on Charlie Hebdo, a virtual album with contributions by artists from around the world, and a new award, the Charlie Prize, which will be awarded posthumously to the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists this year, and in future years will recognize creators who have fought for freedom of expression. The town of Angoulême will also festooned with posters of Charlie Hebdo covers.

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‘Charlie Hebdo’ | A roundup of news and reactions

Below are some links to news, commentary and reactions to the Charlie Hebdo shootings, but to start off, here’s a fascinating look at the staff at work, planning their first Prophet Muhammad cartoon issue. This five-minute video not only shows the slain cartoonists at work, it provides valuable context for everything that follows. [The New York Times]

Demonstrations | The crowd at Sunday’s rally in honor of the slain Charlie Hebdo cartoonists was estimated at 1.6 million, and leaders of more than 40 nations were there as well. [The New York Times]

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Grand Prix shortlist announced for Angouleme

Angoleme 2014The Angoulême International Comics Festival is just around the corner, and the shortlist for the Grand Prix de la Ville d’Angoulême was announced on Tuesday:

Binet, Christophe Blain, Charles Burns, Pierre Christin, Daniel Clowes, Richard Corben, Bernard Cosey, Étienne Davodeau, Nicolas de Crécy, Edika, Emmanuel Guibert, Hermann, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Manu Larcenet, Milo Manara, Lorenzo Mattotti, Alan Moore, Katsuhiro Otomo, Quino, Marjane Satrapi, Joann Sfar, Jiro Taniguchi, Jean Van Hamme, Chris Ware et Bill Watterson.

The prize is awarded to a living comics creator, and traditionally the winner serves as president of the jury for the following year’s festival; previous honorees have included Robert Crumb and Art Spiegelman, but the award usually goes to someone working in French-language comics.

There was a bit of controversy last year when juror Lewis Trondheim leaked the finalists on Twitter: Alan Moore, Katsohiro Otomo, Akira Toriyama, Chris Ware, and the eventual winner, Willem, who is well known in French-speaking countries but less so in the rest of the world (the poster above is his work). The Grand Prix winner is chosen by a combination of votes from French creators and a jury of past winners (l’Académie des Grands Prix), and the word on the street last year was that Toriyama was the creators’ choice but the jury overruled that and went with Willem. Toriyama was given a special prize commemorating the 40th anniversary of Dragon Ball.

If I’m reading the French article right, the process will be different this year, with the list being narrowed down to three names in a preliminary round of voting and the winner being determined by a second round in which the creators and the jurors will have an equal say.

Willem and Akira Toriyama win top Angoulême honors

Dutch cartoonist Willem was presented with the Grand Prix award over the weekend in France at the 40th annual Angoulême International Comics Festival, honoring his lifetime achievement. In addition, Dragon Ball and Dr. Slump creator Akira Toriyama was awarded a special Grand Prix recognizing his 40-year career.

As the recipient of the Grand Prix, Willem will serve as president of next year’s festival.

The other major prize winners, courtesy of The Comics Reporter, were:

Prix du meilleur album
Quai d’Orsay Volume Two: Chroniques diplomatiques, Christophe Blain and Abel Lanzac (Dargaud)

Prix spécial du jury
Le Nao de Brown, Glyn Dillon (Akileos)

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