Each year, the Shuster Awards reward Canada's best talents of the comic book industry. With six categories and more than 50 nominees, there is a good chance that you might have never heard of some of these creators. This is especially true for French-Canadians whose work is often only distributed in Quebec and/or in Europe. So for the second year in a row, the Comic Book Bin is here to offer you the lowdown on these potential winners.
The first logical place to begin with is Delaf (Marc Delafontaine) and Dubuc (Maryse Dubuc). Like last year, this duo is the most nominated among the French-Canadian nominees for their work on the fourth volume of Les Nombril,s published by Dupuis. Either Delaf or Dubuc are in nomination for: Best Artist (Delaf), Best Colourist (Dubuc), Best Writer (Dubuc) and Best Cover (Delaf). As I said last year, the couple has been enjoying much success since each volume of Les Nombrils sells more than a 100, 000 copies on the European market. For those who have never heard of the series, it is about two very egocentric girls and the suffering they can inflict on the third member of their trio, the totally unhip Karine.
In the best artist category we also have Djief (Jean-François Bergeron) in nomination for his new series Saint-Germain. Djief is little known in the North American market even though he did some work for the now-defunct Speakeasy Comics. In Europe, however, he has been working on Saint-Germain from Glénat, Le Crépuscule des Dieux from Soleil and on various cover illustrations.
The cartoonist category also sees two French-Canadian nominees. First is Philip Girard for his latest Graphic Novel Tuer Velasquez. Girard made some headline recently with this book because it recounts his early encounter with a priest who would eventually be arrested and charged for pedophilia. For those who would like to read some of his work, Conundrum Press is the process of translating Les Ravins, his previous GN about a trip to Russia. You might also want to check out Danger Public for which he won a Shusters for favourite creator in 2008. Second is the very successful Michel Rabagliati, who is maybe more known because some of his work is translated by Drawn and Quarterly and he has won many awards in the past. With his sixth volume of the Paul series (Paul à Québec), he just won one of Angoulême Grand Prize which gave him incredible visibility in France. I haven't contacted D&Q but it's a safe bet to assume that this latest volume will also be eventually available in English.
François Lapierre received a nomination as a colorist for his work on Magasin Général vol. 5. The series was originally scheduled to be a trilogy but was extended to six volumes. For those with a good memory, Lapierre was in nomination last year in the writer's category for a short story he had written. I have not much else to say except that he is indeed a great colorist.
One of the nominations for best writer goes to one of my surprise for 2009. Hervé Bouchard being awarded the Governor General's Literary Award for Harvey was something I really had not seen coming. Not that he did not deserve it but a comic book getting such recognition from the literary world is not something you see every day.
And lastly but not the least, Paul Bordeleau was nominated for best cover with Faune vol. 2. Bordeleau is a seasoned illustrator and comic book work is something I wish he would do even more often. This is not is first nomination in the Shuster however since he was a nominee in 2006 in the webcomic category.
Editor's Notes: Patrick Bérubé, the author of this article was invited to be part of the jury of the 2010 Shuster Awards, after writing this article. He will no longer cover the Shuster Award, similar Canadian Awards or comment directly on the works of the nominees. The Comic Book Bin is independent and lists any conflict of interests clearly.