Eleven years after winning the Audience Award for the album Paul in Quebec, the cartoonist Michel Rabagliati sees his work rewarded again. He just got his hands on the Series Prize of the 48e edition of the Angoulême International Comics Festival for Paul at home.
This is a second Fauve for the Quebec cartoonist. He is the only Quebecer to have been decorated on two occasions by this prestigious comic strip festival which takes place in the South West of France.
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Michel Rabagliati, who was nominated for the Prix du Public France Télévisions, with Paul at home, did not expect to win this honor.
“I didn’t see him coming at all. I’m very happy and it’s fun. It is a prize which is an encouragement for the work that I have done for 21 years. I see that my work is taken seriously and that it is appreciated, ”he said in a telephone interview.
This Fauve rewards a work that is part of a series of more than three volumes. It is given to an album that is part of a series and that can be found in the official selection. Which was the case with Paul at home.
The ninth volume in the series, Paul à la maison deals with mourning in its many forms. Paul is separated, his daughter decides to move to England and his mother is not well.
“Just being part of the official selection is great. What happened to me with the albums Paul in the park, Paul in Quebec and Paul in the house, ”he added.
The cartoonist will not rush to the SAQ to buy a case of champagne and celebrate.
“The prices are very cool, but it’s like a little fireworks display that goes by quickly. I enjoy it, but I keep working, and my pleasure is having the energy to work and to feel good when I tell stories, ”he said.
Michel Rabagliati is aware that the spinoffs surrounding this award could be interesting.
“The Angoulême awards arouse a lot of curiosity and interest among readers. The fact that there is going to be a sticker on the album makes a difference in bookstores. It sells the book, there is no doubt, ”he noted.
Michel Rabagliati is amused by this award because he does not consider the nine volumes of “Paul” to be part of a series.
“It’s not a traditional series with recurring characters like Dalton, Rantanplan, Asterix and Obelix. My characters don’t come back from album to album. The books are not numbered, they have a different pagination and they are not adventures, ”he said.
Michel Rabagliati’s comics are successful in France. A different success from the phenomenon in Quebec.
“It works well. There are hundreds and hundreds of comic book authors in France and dozens and dozens of publishers. It is jostling. There is a pool of 70 million readers, which is ten times more than here, ”he said.
The cartoonist feels, in a period of pandemic and confinement, in a kind of early retirement.
“I’m trying to take advantage of this very special downtime. I try to get closer to myself, to look at what I want in life and the pace of work that I want to have now. I can relax and think about doing something else too, ”he said.
Michel Rabagliati does not know if he will continue his “series”. He wants a more written book, with more text and fewer drawings.
“I’m looking at what form it might take. It’s really embryonic for now, ”he said.