THE WINNERS OF THE 22th ANNUAL BÉDÉLYS AWARDS
Montreal, May 28, 2021 – It is with great pride that the Montreal Comic Arts Festival celebrates both the 10th anniversary of the Festival as well as the 22nd year of the Bédélys Awards. The Bédélys Awards honor the work of comic book creators from here and around the world whose work continues to break new ground in the medium. The awards ceremony was meant to be 2021’s first big night bringing together the Québec comics community in person, but like so many other events, the ongoing (but improving) restrictions have transformed the event into a virtual get together, but we are absolutely delighted to bring people together, on screen!
No less than 29 titles were in the running for Bédélys Awards this year in five categories, as well as a special prize presented in the course of the evening. Here are this year’s winners:
Peau d’homme by Hubert and Zanzim (Glénat)
The Bédélys International, celebrating the best comic book published in French-language outside of Québec, was presented by the booktuber Evelyne Biz.
Under the guise of a marvelous and mischievous tale, Huber explores a range of timeless themes such as romance, manners, and the hero’s journey, but also others particularly topical such as gender identity and equality between women and men… An irreverent, abundant story, populated by a gallery of archetypal characters, which will make reader think, laugh, and even cry.Bédélys International Jury
Additionally, the jury accorded a Special Mention to the book Pucelle 1 : Débutante (Dargaud), byFlorence Dupré la Tour.
Sacrées sorcières by Pénélope Bagieu (Gallimard)
The Bédélys Youth Award celebrates the best French-language comic book published in Quebec for an audience of 7 to 14 years of age. The choices are based on the cumulative votes of several juries of young readers in collaboration with three Montreal public libraries. The award was presented by Marguerite Hamel, a member of the youth jury.
The jurors appreciated the story, which presented young protagonists which the reader can easily identify with. The character of the granny also caught their attention: A little crazy and not at all “politically correct”… Regarding the illustration work, the members of the jury loved the non-linear structure of the panels… The choice of color was also noted as a positive element: even if the story is frankly scary, the bright coloring makes it less dramatic. On the other hand, all the readers were unanimous: The Grand High Witch is really scary!Bédélys Youth Jury
Boumeries 10 by Boum
The Bédélys Independent Francophone, celebrating the best self-published francophone comic book created in Quebec, was presented by Frederic-Vivianne Auln, author of Hillerød. It is accompanied by a $1,000 grant and a table offered by the Montreal Comic Arts Festival for the 2022 event.
This tenth and final volume of Boumeries concludes the series with graceful observations of the passing of time, a loving family, the growing Quebec comic book community, the precious friendships that enhance life and the road traveled. What is striking about this finale is the delicacy of the forms, the precision of the gags and the skill with the comic strip format that the author has forged over the years. The conclusion of Boumeries is representative of everything one could hope for from the creator.Bédélys Independent Francophone Jury
Hi, Stranger by Anouk
The Bédélys Independent Anglophone, celebrating the best self-published anglophone comic book created in Quebec, was presented by McGill-Queen’s University Press’ Alyssa Favreau. It is accompanied by a $1,000 grant and a table offered by the Montreal Comic Arts Festival for the 2022 event.
In a few spare pages and without the need for dialogue, Hi, Stranger tells the story of an erotic interlude between two new acquaintances. After a chance encounter on the metro, this richly detailed and expertly paced comic follows the couple from first glance to surprisingly charming completion.Bédélys Independent Anglophone Jury
Temps libre by Mélanie Leclerc (Mécanique générale)
The Bédélys Québec, celebrating the best comic book created and published in Quebec, was presented by Samuel Cantin, author of Whitehorse. It is accompanied by a $1,000 grant offered by Librairie Planète BD.
It is the universality of its themes and the complexity of the emotions explored in the pages of Temps Libre that both impressed and disturbed the members of the jury. Mélanie Leclerc, in this second graphic novel, does more than just touch on themes of dreams, memories, and the passage of time, she brings them to vivid life with accuracy and nuance… The jury’s discussions around Leclerc’s work could have continued for hours, but it became apparent that the members of the jury that they were no longer debating the work’s artistic merits, which were self-evident, but were instead working out how this work of art affected and stirred each reader. The final choice of Temps Livre as the winner was inevitable, and the jury now invites the public to read the book and reflect on their own dreams.Bédélys Québec Jury
Additionally, a special Bédélys Hommage Award was presented to François Mayeux, cofounder of the Montreal Comic Arts Festival, to highlight his many contributions to the comic arts. MCAF’s current President Louise Guillemette-Labory presented the award.
The one-of-a-kind trophies were once again designed by artist Karl Dupéré-Richer, who uses recycled materials to create beautiful works of art.
Each presenter was chosen for their long-standing and important ties to the Montreal Comic Arts Festival and the broader comic arts scene of Quebec. The actor, musician, and inaugural MCAF spokesperson, Stéphane Archambault, hosted this year’s ceremony. Now, MCAF is looking forward to the 23rd annual Bédélys Awards, to be held at the 2022 Montreal Comic Arts Festival, and in person we hope!
This year MCAF is celebrating its 10th anniversary! To mark the occasion, a full lineup of programming will be presented live online on May 28, 29 and 30th, celebrating the work of cartoonists from here and abroad. This year is also marked by the appearance of the Festival’s second anthology, X, published by Presses du FBDM | MCAF Press.
As always MCAF would like to thank our partners for their support and collaboration:
Emploi Québec, Conseil des arts du Canada, Conseil des arts de Montréal, SODEC, Patrimoine Canada, Service de la culture – Ville de Montréal, and the Arrondissement Le Plateau Mont-Royal. Special thanks also to our media partners LesLibraires.ca, Culture Cible, and the “booktubers” Nos Lectures Bleues, Evelynebiz and Abookandacup.
Thanks to Sophie Bédard for his magnificent illustration for this year’s poster.
And finally thank you to the MCAF volunteer team, without whom the Festival simply couldn’t happen.
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Camille P. Parent
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