Winners of the 24th Bédélys Awards and Opening of the Festival
Montréal, May 25 2023 – Several hundred people from the comic arts field were present at La Tulipe for the opening night of the Montreal Comic Arts Festival on Thursday, May 25. MCAF’s 12th edition, presented in collaboration with the SDC Rue Saint-Denis, will be held for the second year in a row on Saint-Denis Street from May 26 to 28. The event, hosted by journalist and host Marie-Louise Arsenault, rewarded the best comic books published in 2022 as part of the 24th Bédélys awards. Six prizes were awarded for a total of $4000 in grants. Each prize comes with a unique trophy created by artist Karl Dupéré-Richer.
The comic books are selected and evaluated by volunteer and joint juries composed of librarians, booksellers, authors, book professionals and avid readers. “The awards all have their own jury, which changes a little each year. This allows for a variety of tastes and encourages discussion among the members of the jury. The one thing that doesn’t change: the passion for comics. In total, that’s thousands of hours of reading and rereading that went into electing the best publications of 2022,” notes Mélanie La Roche, MCAF’s Executive Director.
“The 35 finalists of this 24th edition of the Bédélys awards are a great example of what’s happening in comics right now, there’s really something for everyone. I think we can be extremely proud of Québec’s comics production. Our juries did not have an easy task,” she adds.
Without further ado, here are the winners in the six categories:
Bédélys International: Peau, Mieke Versyp, Sabien Clement (Éditions çà et là)
The Bédélys International prize rewards the best French-language comic book published outside Québec. This year, the trophy is offered by Librairie Planète BD.
Esther and Rita meet in a drawing workshop. As different as they are, the two women are nevertheless linked as a drawer and model. A relationship that revolves around vulnerability and physicality, around looking and being looked at.
“It could be a conventional story of a meeting between two women, but […] is a human and graphic crossroads. […] The rhythm and movement, the colours of the drawings gave body to the story, making us dive into the intimacy of these two women. […] Sabien Clement and Mieke Versyp invite us to meet original women, far from the stereotypes that often affect female characters. Youth and old age coexist, sensitively and without judgment.”
Sabien Clement will be signing at the Éditions çà et là stand (B11) Friday May 26 from 5 pm to 6:30 pm and Saturday May 27 from 11:30 am to 1 pm.
Bédélys Youth: L’espace d’un instant, Niki Smith (Rue de Sèvres)
The Bédélys Youth prize rewards the Best French-language comic book intended for young people aged 7 to 14
After saving his art teacher from an armed assailant at school, Manuel Soto must deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To combat his anxiety, he uses the camera on his cell phone to find the anchors that keep him grounded. His days are monotonous and lonely, until he teams up with classmates Sebastian and Caysha for a school project. In their contact, the young schoolboy who discovers the countryside, opens up to the beauty of nature and ends up finding the comfort he needs…
“The jury was touched by the script which addresses the theme of post-traumatic stress disorder. […] More and more young people are living with anxiety, even anguish, and could recognise themselves in the state of panic that grips him. […] Beyond the story, […] it is its visual treatment that impressed the members of the jury. The particular use of colours, the diversity of perspectives, the deconstruction of the shots, the use of frames, the expressiveness of the main character, added to an original drawing that appealed to many.”
Bédélys Independent Francophone: Déphasé / Phase Shift, Jessi
The Bédélys Independent Francophone prize rewards the best self-published francophone comic book created in Quebec. This award comes with a $1,000 grant.
Déphasé/Phase Shift is the 6th erotic zine from the Semi Colon serie. It’s about a warm morning rendez-vous between Mathis and Nicolas who, despite living together under the same roof, have a hard time seeing each other because of their very different schedule.
“What could be more trivial than the daily life of a young couple who are so busy that they struggle to see and find each other? Yet, Phase Shift is far from being trivial. […] It is the intimacy of two people who live together, cross paths and desire each other. […] Without text, this comic book succeeds, thanks to its expressive and sensual drawing, in taking us through the whole range of emotions that inhabit our two protagonists.”
Jessi will be at his stand (B13) all weekend.
Bédélys Independent Anglophone: Lost Virtue #0, ART or DIE
The Bédélys Independent Anglophone prize rewards the best self-published francophone comic book created in Quebec. This award comes with a $1,000 grant.
Almost entirely created using traditional techniques (pencils, ink and paper), Lost Virtue #0 includes two short comic stories in this first release. First, we follow the macabre and twisted adventures of Sappy, a young and gluttonous amphibian who visits his charming grandmother. The second story features puppeteers in a cynical and disturbing mise en abyme.
“This one-of-a-kind comic showcases so much of what makes the self-publishing scene so essential to the world of the comic arts. Opening the pages of this slim pamphlet the reader finds detailed and utterly charming drawings that lure us in, before the author whacks us upside the head with pitch-black humor, shocking plot twists, and a genuinely terrifying vision of the world. […] This creator has seemingly burst onto the scene fully-formed. If this is what we can find in issue #0, we can’t wait to see what this creator will bring us in #1, #2, and beyond.”
Mauricio G., aka ART or DIE, will be at his stand (D31) all weekend.
Bédélys Youth Québec: Si on était…, tome 2, Axelle Lenoir (Front Froid)
The Bédélys Youth Québec prize rewards the best Best comic book for an audience aged 14 and under by a Québec artist published in Québec. New for the 24th edition, The Bédélys Youth Québec category has been added to the awards and comes with a $1,000 grant.
Despite the passing years and the (too) rapid changes in life, Marie and Nathalie continue to play “What if we were”, a game in which they put themselves in situations each more fantastic than the next. More and more skilled at constructing parallel universes, will the two best friends in the world reach a point where their creations will take over their lives?
“Si on était… second volume is a completely wacky comic book, almost experimental, which takes us into a funny delirium without ever losing sight of its narrative line and its concern for entertainment. A great ode to individuality, difference and friendship, it perfectly captures adolescence in all its search for identity and escape from boredom. If we are easily interested in the characters for their energy and their originality, we become attached to them for their personality and sensitivity.”
Axelle Lenoir will be signing at the Front Froid / Nouvelle adresse stand (D30) Friday May 26 from 3 pm to 4:30 pm, Saturday May 27 from 10 am to 11:30 am and Sunday May 28 from 1 pm to 2:30 pm.
Bédélys Québec: Utown, Cab (Nouvelle adresse)
The Bédélys Québec prize rewards the best comic book by a Québec artist published in Québec. The Bédélys Québec prize and its $1,000 grant is offered by Librairie Planète BD.
Sam makes every effort to avoid adult life. He stays up late, works at a video store, and draws in between sandwiches from the convenience store. For too long, he has lived in a decrepit building in Utown, an underprivileged neighborhood full of outcasts who, like him, do not want to be found. Over time, the neighborhood gentrifies and Sam learns that the building he lives in will be torn down. A bourgeois owner, who sells his coffee for much more than the Belmont Heritage, sees Sam as the perfect local artist to dress up his walls, bridging the gap between his wealthy clients and the old residents. It remains to be seen if Sam will be able to create something, and find himself, before everything falls apart…
“Utown is a closed-door neighbourhood drama with universal themes: gentrification, the artist’s status, community life… In this hyper-local yet global landscape, Cab crafts a narrative that relies on rich and varied voices and phenomenally good dialogue.
The jury was struck by the naturalness of the characters, their lives and their relationships. Cab succeeds in bringing to life the feelings of her characters, whose human vulnerability goes beyond clichés and surprises the reader.
This immersion is also possible thanks to Cab’s drawing, at its best and with a maturity that is a pleasure to see. The efficiency of her framing and pen-and-ink drawing demonstrate the mastery of her technique.
Utown proposes a current questioning of the use of urban space and alternative ways of occupying it.”
Cab will be participating in a panel discussion alongside Gabriel Bá and Wes Craig Saturday May 27 at noon.
Cab will be signing at the Front Froid / Nouvelle adresse stand (D30) Friday May 26 from 4:30 pm to 6 pm, Saturday May 27 from 10:30 am to 11:30 am and from 2:30 pm to 4 pm, and Sunday May 28 from 11:30 am to 1 pm.
Cab will also be signing at the Oni Press stand (D25) Friday May 26 from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm and Sunday May 28 from 2 pm to 4 pm.
For the past 12 years, the Montreal Comic Arts Festival has provided a platform for exchanges and encounters between comic book creators and publishers and the medium’s ever-growing audience. Through its annual spring event, it promotes Québec and Canadian comics locally and internationally, while contributing to the development and dissemination of knowledge about the “9th Art.” To learn more about MCAF, visit fbdm-mcaf.ca.
The Festival would like to thank its partners:
SDC Rue Saint-Denis, Desjardins, La Presse, Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts, SODEC, Ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale, Conseil des arts de Montréal, Service de la culture de la Ville de Montréal, Tourisme Montréal, Arrondissement Plateau–Mont-Royal and Librairie Planète BD.
And finally, MCAF would like to thank the volunteer jury members, without whom the Bédélys Awards couldn’t happen.
Mélanie La Roche, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Press agency Rugicomm contacts:
Stéphanie Culakowa, Senior Consultant, email@example.com
Audrey Gosselin, Public Relations and Social Media Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org