The German Comic Con initiated the Rudolph Dirks Award and its various categories to raise awareness of graphic literature (comics, mangas and graphic novels) as an art form currently enjoying a veritable Diamond Age – not only in the wake of the pop-cultural dominance of the superhero genre as a trailblazer for graphic literature through the medium of film, but also because of a diversity and quality previously unknown.
While focused on recognizing the most prominent and influential figures of the new era, the Rudolph Dirks Award also manages to come up with surprises and new discoveries.
The verdict of the jury
German publisher Jano Rohleder had put out early works of Don Rosa, like Captain Kentucky or the Pertwillaby Papers. He once told me of the artist showcased in this book that in his native US Don Rosa often spent a whole day at comics cons and festivals in his booth and all he got to do was help the people who stopped at his place find their way to the Batman or Avengers cartoonists.
It’s probably not quite as bad, but this could never happen to him in Europe. Here, for instance in Italy, the whole of Scandinavia or in Germany, everybody is asking for the way to his booth. In Europe, especially in Finland, he is no doubt a comics legend. The T-shirt that says I’M AM BIG IN EUROPE, which he wears in the picture on double page 78-79, is meant in earnest. And yet it reflects his wonderful sense of humour and his subtle irony, both characteristic of his comics.
But today, as some will have guessed, we do not want to honour Don Rosa, one of our favourite Disney cartoonists, but the fantastic book about him:
“I STILL GET CHILLS!” THE AMAZING LIFE AND WORK OF DON ROSA
Published by Edition Lammerhuber. In English and German, a bilingual mammoth volume. On almost 300 pages, in twelve sections, practically any relevant aspect of Don Rosa’s life gets a look-in: his passion for collecting things, his fascination with history, which manifests itself, for instance, in several vintage cars, to his chili garden, 25 miles downtown of Louisville, Kentucky, where he grew up and still lives. The volume is packed with photographs, drawings and even an email thread that recounts the start of the book project. It really has everything.
A must have for comics and Disney fans and anyone enthusiastic about graphic literature.
The Presidential Award of the Rudolph Dirks Award 2018 for:
BEST JOURNALISTIC/ACADEMIC PUBLICATION 2018
goes to the people behind this superb volume: Alex Jakubowski, Martin Ackerl, Lois Lammerhuber and, not least, to Don Rosa himself, who was also substantially involved in the making of this book.