Saturday, March 09, 2013


Saturday Leftover Day.

These two days I am in Gorinchem for the Dutch Comic Convention in Gorinchem. I am head of the commsion for the yearly Stripschap Prizes. Today we announced this years winners, which I will try and show here.

Best Produced Dutch Album was the Dutch trnaslation of Jean Giraud's last album Arzak. The commission stressed that it was the overall quality of the whole fund of publisher Oog & Blik (who also produce some Dutch book directly for the Enlish language market).

Best Translated Album was the Dutch edition of Dupuis masterpiece Gringos Locos by Yann and Achrwartz about the trip in America three famous Belgian comic book artists Jijé, mOrris and Franquin did. Drawn in a magnificent style by Olivier Schwartz, it was based on anecdotes the writer took himself from the three now dead artists. He was planning to do a second album, about the later part of that trip when Morris and Franquin went home to Begium (and fame) and Jijé travelled to New York, where he woud meet later Asterix wrter René Goscinny and his Amercan group of friends including:Harvey Kurtzaman, Bill Elder and John Severin. Unfortunately this second part will probably never be made, because protests by the heirs of Jijé to the first book held up it's publication for a couple of months until it was resolved by having them ad an insert which basicly stated that none ot the book was true.

Best Dutch Graphic Novel went to Teun Berserik's novelisation of two years in the life of Ducth artist Vincent van Gogh, depicting not his famous last yeras in France, but his formative years in the Hague, when he was already a difficult young man, who had ecided he wanted to become a painter but had to learn he did not have what it takes (long before he developed the style we no know him for, but in which he never sold a painting while he was alive).

He beat out some pretty heavy competition, mainly Erik Kriek's excellent book of short stories by H. P. Lovecraft, which is optioned by an American Publisher and I hope will soon appear in Englis as well. Bit books deserve a wider audience.

TIn the category Entertainment, the prize went to Het Jaar van Hein, 2012 edition. Hein de Kort is a famous Dutch cartoonist who works on several different series, most of which do not have regular characters. For the last couple of years he has been collecting all of his work into a yearly pocket edition, which save his fans the bother of keeping huge clip files. If his subjects wasn't so typically Dutch I am sure there would be many fans of his work abroad as well.

There were prizes for best foreign album and best produced album as well, which I won't share here (since they don't allow me to promote Dutch authors). Last category therefore is that of Children's comics. The winner this year was a series of books by a cartoonist which has been mentioned here before and who has quite a good reputation in Scandinavia as well. Together with Michiel van de Vijver, Gerben Valkema produced six comic books for slow readers, follwing the learning method that is used on most Dutch school, called AVI. Every pupil gets an AVI scoring which determines the level of books you are supposed to read. Unfortunately, the lower ranked books are almost always deadly boring. So if you are falling behind in your AV score, you have to read books for seven year olds when you are eight or nine. By prodcing these books, Gerben and Michiel have managed to make even the simples books interesting. Gerben proudiced the books for the first three quarters of the learning period, Michiel the three after that. Both are excellent, but since Gerben did his in a style that is heaily Influenced by Walt Kelly, he will draw the most attention here.

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