Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo has won the Angoulême International Comics Festival’s Grand Prix, marking the first time a Japanese artist has received the event’s top honor. Just five non-Europeans have earned the award.
Jeremiah artist Hermann and Watchmen writer Alan Moore were also finalists for the award, presented annually in recognition of lifetime achievement to a living comics creator. The winner traditionally serves as president of the jury for the following year’s festival.
The 60-year-old Otomo, who was decorated a Chevalier of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2005, was nominated last year for the Grand Prix, but lost to Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson. His win today is seen as highlighting the importance of manga in France where, according to Agence France-Presse, it represents one quarter of all comics sales.
Best known for his influential cyberpunk manga Akira, and for directing its acclaimed 1988 anime adaptation, Otomo has in more recent years focused on film, writing and directing such works as Steamboy and Mushishi. He also collaborated with artist Shinji Kimura on the 2001 storybook Hipira: The Little Vampire. Otomo was inducted in 2012 into the Will Eisner Awards Hall of Fame.
The Angoulême International Comics Festival continues through Sunday.
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