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Lucca Comics Awards 2022 declare Riyoko Ikeda and Milo Manara Comics Masters

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Lucca Comics & Games, one of the world’s largest comics festivals, held its 2022 Comics Awards last weekend in Italy. Among the winners, two lifetime achievement Maestro/Maestra of Comics career awards were bestowed this year – one to Japan’s Riyoko Ikeda and another to Italy’s Milo Manara. While erotica impresario Manara has previously won awards at Lucca, this seems to be the first time the 77-year-old has been given the career award.

Lucca 2022 Awards
Riyoko Ikeda and Milo Manara were bestowed Maestra and Maestro of Comics Yellow Kid Awards

Riyoko Ikeda is a prolific mangaka best known worldwide for her romantic eighteenth century French court epic The Rose of Versailles – which is finally available in English via Udon Entertainment. Her career began in the 1960s but truly took off in the 1970s.

The Lucca Awards 2022 jury remarked on the lengthy careers of Manara and Ikeda, and cross cultural themes in their work:

“Riyoko Ikeda and Milo Manara are two masters of comics who idealistically draw a cultural bridge between East and West. In a time of war, which we thought past, giving a signal of hope and peace in an extraordinary way the prize is awarded to these two artists, who have made defiance, curiosity, a strong identifying trait. If Lady Oscar [The Rose of Versailles] stems from reading Stefan Zweig, The Asian Adventures of Giuseppe Bergman reveals a love of the Orient. Two portraits, each with the uniqueness of its own signature, one common frame: the comic strip that binds and makes us dream, without borders.”

Three English-originated works scooped up awards for Italian published works – Barry Windsor-Smith‘s Monsters (2021) scored a Special Jury Prize; Peter Kuper‘s Kafkaesque: Fourteen Stories (2018) for Best Short Story or Collection; and R. Kikuo Johnson‘s No One Else (2021) for Best Script.

Lucca 2022
The Hellbound – available in English from Dark Horse (shown above) – received Book of the Year at the 2022 Lucca Comics Awards

The Lucca 2022 Book of the Year Award went to Train to Busan director Yeon Sang-ho and artist Choi Gyu-seok‘s manhwa The Hellbound (available in English from Dark Horse Comics).

According to the jury,

The Hellbound achieves the dual goal of entertaining and making people think, recounting through a fast-paced plot a society in which the circulation of unverified news and the prominence the media gives it become an instrument of repression and violence. The work also testifies to the great vitality of South Korea as a producer of comic books, as well as films and TV series, capable of winning over international audiences.”

Spanish cartoonist Paco Roca‘s latest book, Spanish civil war family drama Ritorno all’Eden [‘Return to Eden‘] earned him the prestigious Autore dell’anno [Author of the Year] Yellow Kid. The book is not currently available in English but since much of his back catalogue is available, one would hope to expect it in the near future.

The jury for the 2022 Lucca Comics Awards comprised artists Werther Dell’Edera and Miguel Vila; writer, journalist and lecturer Bruno Luverà; longtime festival collaborator and expert Dario Dino-Guida; and comics scholar Mara Famularo.

The Lucca Comics Awards take place annually at the Lucca Comics & Games Festival, usually the final weekend of October. The intent of the awards is to “reward the best comic books published every year in Italy and their authors, regardless of nationality, editorial format and distribution method.”

The Lucca Festival has been in existence – through many iterations – since 1965. From 1970 the Festival has been bestowing sets of Yellow Kid and Gran Guinigi Awards, the first named after Richard F. Outcault’s famous early comics character and the latter after a local landmark of the city. There are three Yellow Kid and five Gran Guinigi awards – with a special Gran Guinigi named after former festival director Stefano Beani bestowed to editorial cartooning initiatives.

You can check out the award winners in full below.


2022 Lucca Comics Awards 

Note: works available in English are indicated. Those not available in English have loose DeepL machine-translated synopses provided.

Yellow Kid Maestro/Maestra del Fumetto [‘Master of Comics’] Awardees

Lucca 2022 Awards

Riyoko Ikeda & Milo Manara

Lucca [translated via DeepL]:

“Riyoko Ikeda and Milo Manara are two masters of comics who idealistically draw a cultural bridge between East and West. In a time of war, which we thought past, giving a signal of hope and peace in an extraordinary way the prize is awarded to these two artists, who have made defiance, curiosity, a strong identifying trait. If Lady Oscar stems from reading Stefan Zweig, The Asian Adventures of Giuseppe Bergman reveals a love of the Orient. Two portraits, each with the uniqueness of its own signature, one common frame: the comic strip that binds and makes us dream, without borders.”

Yellow Kid Fumetto dell’anno [‘Comic of the Year’]

The Hellbound, Yeon Sang-ho & Choi Gyu-seok, Panini Comics (published in English with Dark Horse Comics)

Lucca:

The Hellbound achieves the dual goal of entertaining and making people think, recounting through a fast-paced plot a society in which the circulation of unverified news and the prominence the media gives it become an instrument of repression and violence. The work also testifies to the great vitality of South Korea as a producer of comic books, as well as films and TV series, capable of winning over international audiences.”

Yellow Kid Autore dell’anno [‘Author of the Year’]

Lucca 2022

Paco Roca, for Ritorno all’Eden [‘Return to Eden‘], Tunué

Many of the Spanish cartoonist’s works are available in English – The Treasure of the Black Swan (2022), Winter of the Cartoonist (2020), The House (2019), Twists of Fate (2018), The Lighthouse (2017), Wrinkles (2015) from NBM, Knockabout, and Fantagraphics – so Ritorno all’Eden will hopefully come out in translation soon.

Lucca:

“For the consistency with which he continues to put “ordinary” people at the center of the narrative who are able to arouse deep emotions in the reader. And for bringing to full maturity an essential and eloquent graphic language capable of showing without explaining.”

Book Synopsis (Translated from Italian edition):

“From a 1946 family photo on the old Nazareth beach in Valencia, Paco Roca draws a fresco on postwar Spain through a humble family-a reflection of the vast majority of society that survived the Franco dictatorship-with serious problems making a livelihood. The author delves us into the mother’s idealized past, but is this really the case? Why is the father not in the picture? What backstory will be revealed?”

Premio speciale della Giuria [Special Jury Prize]

Mostri [Monsters], Barry Windsor-Smith, Mondadori

The multi-award winning book that debuted in English in 2021 continues to draw acclaim in translation.

Lucca:

“A monumental achievement, the result of decades of work and hardly ascribable to a defined genre, it overwhelms the reader with its characters suspended between obsession and tragedy and, above all, with the extraordinary scratched black-and-white drawing that brings to light every minute detail.”

Gran Guinigi Miglior fumetto breve o raccolta [Best Short Comics or Collection]

Gli incubi di Kafka [‘Kafka’s Nightmares‘], Peter Kuper, Tunué

Published in English as with W. W. Norton.

Lucca:

“With fierce black and white and expressionistic brushstrokes, Kuper succeeds in transposing Kafka’s tales from early 20th-century Central Europe to contemporary New York, reaffirming the universality of a literary classic with the language of comics.”

Gran Guinigi Miglior fumetto seriale [Best Series]

Cosma & Mito, Nicola Zurlo & Vincenzo Filosa, Coconino Press

Begun in 2019, with the second volume seeing publication this year, Cosma & Mita is eligible for the Best Series award. Thus far not available in English.

Lucca:

“A highly original experiment that combines Japanese-inspired graphic and narrative stylistic features with stories and characters drawn from Calabrian folklore in order to construct a decidedly bizarre yet close fantasy world of our own into which the reader cannot help but venture.”

Translated synopsis of volume one:

“Cosma and Mito, mother and child, struggle and hope. A octopus-child who is kidnapped by a tribe of werewolves, a murderous mother who sets out on a desperate search for him, an ultra-pop and ancestral fable at once, in which destiny is written in the blood that runs through one’s veins and the blood one pours out in the name of one’s choices. Set in a contemporary and archaic Calabria where local folklore is permeated with elements characteristic of Japanese fiction, Cosma & Mito is the fictional adventure of the future: as solid as a wooden spoon, as surprising as a game of laser tag.”

Gran Guinigi Miglior disegno [Best Illustrator]

Gaëlle Geniller for Le Jardin, Paris, Edizioni Star Comics

Le Jardin, Paris is not currently available in English.

Lucca:

“Through a clean and harmonious style of drawing, particularly memorable in the dance scenes, and a flowing and readable narrative sequence, the author offers a fresh and effective reworking of the Art Deco language, managing to restore all the charm of 1920s Paris.”

Synopsis:

“1920s. Le Jardin [‘The Garden’] is a very successful Parisian cabaret. All the girls who work there are named after flowers, and there is a truly familial atmosphere. Rose, an almost 18-year-old boy, was born and raised in that environment: he really wants his time to come to perform on stage, in front of an audience. Just like his friends do. Before long, Rose will become the club’s main attraction.”

Gran Guinigi Miglior sceneggiatura [Best Script]

R. Kikuo Johnson for Nessun altro (No One Else), Coconino Press

Originally published in English as No One Else, 2021, from Fantagraphics

Lucca:

“The author surprises with a pure and flowing narrative supported more by pauses and silences than by dialogue. It is this simple yet well-calibrated rhythm that best tells an ordinary but intense story set on the outskirts of a Hawaiian island.”

Gran Guinigi Miglior esordiente [Best Newcomer]

Giorgia Kelley for Strange Rage, Rizzoli Lizard

Lucca:

“For the simplicity and effectiveness with which she portrays the restlessness and bewilderment of a generation that cannot find peace despite having nothing to rage against, managing to put a fresh spin on the classic formula of the coming-of-age story.”

Synopsis:

“Gloria and Anna are two young friends. Tying them together, besides their common hatred for those who wear rock band T-shirts, is their recent past. Both, in fact, left Italy a few years ago to seek their fortune in England, in Manchester. One evening, during yet another boring party, the two run into Leo. He is also an Italian expat like them, and they start chatting. Suddenly, a girl trips and sends her glass of red wine flying onto Gloria’s snow-white T-shirt: a good reason to take off.

“Under the guise of going to a 24/7 shopping mall to buy a new T-shirt, the three set off on a journey in the middle of the night, telling each other about their experiences: their reasons for leaving Italy, their first contacts with the British, and their need to break free from their families without becoming “grown-ups” and carving out their own lives. Along the way they will come across situations and incidents that will cause them to reconsider some of their positions and realize even more how much they need their friendship. A story that condenses an original and edgy coming-of-age novel into a few hours of late-night wandering.”

Gran Guinigi per un’iniziativa editoriale [Editorial Cartooning Initiatives] – Premio Stefano Beani ex aequo

La Revue Dessinée Italia 

The Italian offshoot of the French graphic journalism periodical La Revue Dessinée (similar stylistically to The Nib Magazine).

Lucca:

“Because it rethinks for the benefit of the Italian public a model of graphic journalism in a periodical format, with well-articulated investigations that are always closely related to current events, reconfirming how comics continue to be a valuable tool for reflecting on the contemporary world.”

Comics & Science, by CNR Edizioni/Feltrinelli Comics

Lucca:

“For the balance achieved between popularization and entertainment and the ability to grow over time, involving numerous well-known names in Italian comics and structuring itself as a wide-ranging project, as well as one of undisputed educational value.”

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