The organizers of the 2011 Festival International de la Bande Dessinee d'Angoulême (Angoulême International Comics Festival) announced the nominees for their prestigious annual awards for graphic novels this week. Seven current and classic Japanese manga titles made were chosen for consideration in three major categories, including Pluto by Naoki Urasawa, Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto, and Ashita no Joe (Tomorrow's Joe) by Asao Takamori and Tetsuya Chiba.
The Angoulême International Comics Festival is one of the largest and most prestigious comics events in the world. It's held over four days in January in several buildings, museums and exhibition halls in the town of Angoulême, in southwestern France. The festival was founded in 1972, and much like San Diego Comic-Con International in the U.S. (which was founded in 1970) and Comic Market in Japan (a.k.a. Comiket, which was founded in 1975), the Angoulême festival has become the premier venue for comics creators, comics fans and anyone involved in the business of comics.
For 2011, the awards committee has selected 58 nominees for its Sélection Officielle category (for contemporary works), 8 nominees for its Sélection Patrimoine category (for reprinted collections of classic comics), and 20 nominees for Sélection Jeunesse (for graphic novels for young readers).
The manga nominees for 2011 are:
Sélection Officielle (for new/contemporary graphic novels)
Pluto (Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka) by Naoki Urasawa, inspired by Osamu Tezuka, published by Kana
An innovative, thought-provoking remix of an Astro Boy story by Osamu Tezuka, as re-imagined by Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki. Pluto turns this shonen manga adventure story for kids into a sci-fi murder mystery, as robot detective Gesicht tries to find out who's trying to kill the seven most powerful robots in the world.
Pluto is published in English in North America by VIZ Media.
La Chenille (Imomushi / The Caterpillar) by Suehiro Mauro and Edogawa Rampo, published by Le Lezard Noir
Maruo, the master of exquisite, erotic and horrifying manga created this graphic novel adaptation of a grotesque / socio-political horror story by Edogawa Rampo, Japan's Edgar Allen Poe. La Chenille is about a WWI veteran who returns from battle horribly maimed, but requires the care and perverse sexual services of his wife. Imomushi was also recently adapted as a live-action feature film directed by Koji Wakamatsu.
Last Gasp will be publishing The Strange Tale of Panorama Island by Suehiro Maruo in 2011.
Sélection Patrimoine (for reprinted material)
Sabu & Ichi (Sabu to Ichi Torimono Hikae) by Shotaro Ishinomori, published by Kana
A samurai-era adventure story about a young investigator named Sabu and a blind swordsman named Ichi, as the pair solve mysteries and help the poor get justice against criminals and corrupt officials.
Sabu to Ichi Torimono Hikae was an early work by Shotaro Ishinomori, the creator of Cyborg 009, Kikaider and Kamen Rider. Sabu & Ichi was originally published in Shonen Sunday from 1966 - 1968, then Big Comic until 1972. It received the Shogakukan Manga Award in 1968, but to date, it has not be published in English.
La fille du bureau de tabac et autres nouvelles (Tobacco-ya no Musume - Cigarette Girl) by Masahiko Matsumoto, published by Cambourakis
A collection of short stories by gekiga pioneer Masahiko Matsumoto, a creator who was mentioned prominently in Yoshihiro Tatsumi's A Drifting Life.
Cigarette Girl is scheduled to be published in English by Top Shelf in 2011.
Ashita no Joe (Tomorrow's Joe) by Asao Takamori and Tetsuya Chiba, published by Glénat
A hugely influential 25-volume sports manga series from the 1970's about a working class orphan, Joe Yabuki who meets a boxing trainer, goes to jail, then becomes a world class boxer. Joe's journey from the wrong side of the tracks to challenging the world champion inspired many readers during a period of great social and political change in Japan. It is still considered one of the masterpieces of manga, although it has yet to be published in English.
Sélection Jeunesse (for graphic novels for young readers)
Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto published by Kana
In North America, Naruto needs no introduction. This 50+ volume series about a young ninja who harbors the spirit of a powerful seven-tailed fox demon in his body is already a bestseller in the States, and the anime series is a long-running fan-favorite.
Naruto is published in North America by VIZ Media.
Détective Conan (Meitantei Conan - Case Closed) by Gosho Aoyama, published by Kana
Jimmy (a.k.a. Shinichi) Kudo is a 17-year old detective who solves cases that leave even adults twice his age befuddled. But a run-in with an enemy turns Jimmy back into a child, albeit with all of his memories and deductive skills intact. Now he solves murder mysteries while trying to get adults to take him seriously.
Currently featured in Shonen Sunday magazine and still a perennially popular comics series in Japan, Meitantei Conan is currently published in English as Case Closed in North America by VIZ Media.
Past nominees and recipients of top awards from the Angoulême festival include:
- NonNonBa by Shigeru Mizuki (a title from manga's master of spooky and funny yokai stories that will be published in English in 2011 by Drawn & Quarterly)
- Quartier Lointain (A Distant Neighborhood) by Jiro Taniguchi - Published in English by Fanfare-Ponent Mon
- Go Go Monster by Taiyo Matsumoto - Published in English by VIZ Media
Look for the recipients of the 2011 awards to be announced in late January 2011.
Manga will have a prominent presence in the 2011 Angoulême festival, as an entire building will be filled with manga content. The Space Mangasie - "Le Monde des Bulles (The World of Bubbles) will be at the Palace du Champ de Mars, and will feature an installation of art by Riyoko Ikeda, the creator of Rose of Versailles, and an exhibit Underground Manga: A Woman's Perspective featuring creators from Garo and AX magazines.
For more information about attending Angoulême, visit the official website (which promises English content, but clicking that link just serves up the French version).
Image credits: © 2004 Naoki URASAWA/Studio Nuts, Takashi NAGASAKI, Tezuka Productions All rights reserved, © Shotaro Ishinomori © Asao Takamori and Tetsuya Chiba / KODANSHA © Gosho Aoyama / SHOGAKUKAN © FIBD 2009