At the tenth annual Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Bowness-on-Windermere, UK, last weekend, the National Society of Designers announced that British cartoonist Posy Simmonds was the 2022 recipient of the Sergio Aragones Award for Excellence in Comics.
Posy Simmonds, who was unable to attend the awards ceremony due to family illness, had a pre-recorded video statement in which she said:
“I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear the news. He really brought out the sun. I am therefore very happy and excited to accept the award and would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the NCS. It’s a great honour. And a big thank you to Julie Tate and Carol at the Lakes International Festival, and everyone else involved in this project.
The National Cartoonist Society’s Sergio Aragones Award for Excellence in Comics was launched in 2017 in partnership with the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, where it is officially announced and received. Previous recipients have included other Britons David McKean, Hunt Emersonand Charlie Adlard; and – last year – France Cannonball. The prize is awarded every year – except in 2020, when the Festival of the Lakes could not take place physically.
Posy Simmonds is an award-winning and decorated cartoonist whose work has graced children’s picture books, newspapers and graphic novels. She is best known for Gemma Bovaire (1999), Tamara Drew (2007), and his most recent graphic novel – Cassandra Darke (2018). In 2002, she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by the late Queen Elizabeth II. She was also inducted into the British Comics Awards Hall of Fame in 2014; received the Critics’ Prize from French journalists for Tamara Drew in 2009 (in 2001 she was also in the running for the same prize for Gemma Bovaireonly to lose to the French edition of Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell From hell); and in December Posy will also receive the Rodolphe Topffer Prize of the city of Geneva, Switzerland. In 1981 she was also named Cartoonist of the Year by the British Press Awards.
Paul Gravett, who accepted the Sergio Aragones award on behalf of Posy Simmonds, said:
“Posy is very, very upset and sad that she can’t be here today to accept the award. She sends her apologies and lots of love. For me, personally really – as for most of you here — he’s an absolute comic book genius. We’re so lucky to have him.
He continued with an interesting anecdote from Posy about his childhood:
“When she was really young – and if you’re a mum or dad and you have a kid who’s really into cartoons – her parents gave her a paper elephant. Do you have any idea what a paper “elephant” is? It is actually an imperial measure of paper. It’s a big sheet of paper. It’s 23 inches by 28, or 58 by 71 centimeters – I mostly memorized it – and if you get a double elephant, it’s double. And her parents gave her this when she was very young, and they gave her an oar. Does anyone know what a “ream” is? That’s 500 sheets! And she drew on all that paper growing up. She made her own comics. She created her own mini-comics which were beautiful things her mother kept. We were able to expose them and present them in a book that I wrote on Posy. She is an absolute genius.
“And you’d be happy to know she’s working on a new book.” So hopefully in a few years there will be another graphic novel from this bright and brilliant cartoonist. So thank you NCS and Sergio for rewarding and acknowledging Posy Simmonds. A true comic book genius. Thanks.”
Sergio Aragones, whose award is named, was not present but gave a pre-recorded congratulatory message:
“[Q]It is a pleasure and an honor for me to be able to present the NCS Award and to Posy: she is such an incredible artist. I don’t know what to say – she’s a great artist who writes so well, or a writer who draws fantastically. This is a great, great discovery.
“Sometimes when you’re in another country you don’t realize how many great artists are there and she’s amazing. I have been glued to the computer watching her work and love everything she does. I think this NCS award is so well deserved – even though she already has so many very important awards. For us, it’s a great honor – and for me, especially because I love his work.
“Congratulations Posy and carry on [up] the work. You are fantastic. And by the way, I love your cats.
President of the NCS Foundation Thomas Richmond was on hand to make a statement:
“One of the things that is so great about this award for us is that you do the research and try to find someone to honor with the award. We see and discover the work of simply incredible designers that we don’t really get to see in the United States. It’s just fantastic to be able to see the work from so many other places. And LICAF is an important instrument for this. That’s why we love being here and why this award means so much to us.