LA Times Book Prize Finalist Spotlight: Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring
The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes are a set of awards for excellence in literature held annually since 1980. They are given to books published in the United States within the previous calendar year by a living author(s). Winners receive a citation and $500 for each category. The finalists for each category were announced recently, and the Graphic Novel category, the newest to be added to the prestigious prizes, has an impressive line-up. The Comics Observer looks at each Graphic Novel finalist in the build-up to the award ceremony April 20.
Jim Woodring is a Finalist for the second year in a row, this time for his wonderfully surreal and bizarre graphic novel Congress of the Animals, published by Fantagraphics Books. The story stars Frank, a cartoon character that exists in a mostly wordless world that seems to spring forth from some kind of LSD trip. Here, Frank leaves that world, which has kept him free from lasting change or repercussions, to go on a harrowing journey that may prevent him from returning home.
Congress of the Animals has already garnered impressive acclaim from some of the industry’s most respected institutions. The French edition was the winner of the Special Jury Prize at Europe’s largest celebration of comic books, Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême. It has also helped Jim Woodring receive a nomination for Best Writer/Artist for this year’s Eisner Awards. He was also nominated for Best Short Story for his “Harvest of Fears” in The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror #17. In the past, he’s won Harvey Awards for Best Story and Best Colorist, and an Inkpot Award for Comic Art. The Artist Trust has both awarded him a grant and recognized him with a Fellowship Award in Visual Arts. He’s a Fellow of the United States Artists, which also helped him fund the creation of a giant steel dip pen (yes really!), and is projected to fund his Congress of the Animals up-coming sequel Fran.
Last year, Woodring was also one of the featured panelists at the LA Times Festival of Books and spoke about his graphic novel Weathercraft, which was a Finalist for that year’s LA Times Book Prize for Graphic Novel. So it’s clear the judges like him. Will this be the year he take home the Prize?
Posted on April 18, 2012, in News and Analysis and tagged Angoulême, Angoulême International Comics Festival, Artist Trust, Congress of the Animals, Eisner Awards, Fantagraphics, Fantagraphics Books, Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême, Fran, Frank, Harvey Awards, Inkpot Awards, Jim Woodring, LA Times Book Prizes, LA Times Festival of Books, Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, United States Artists, Weathercraft. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.