Michel Rabagliati, the Montreal-based creator of the Paul series of comic albums, was one of 16 artists to recently receive the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec. Rabagliati’s semi-autobiographical stories have sold half a million books worldwide, and have received numerous awards, including the Doug Wright, the Joe Shuster, and the Angoulême International Comic Festival’s audience-choice award. His 2009 book, Paul à Quebec (published in English as The Song of Roland), was turned into a successful French-language film in 2015.
“When they called me, I couldn’t believe it at first,” says Rabagliati. “You normally get this kind of award after a full 30- or 40-year career. It was a real surprise, given that I’ve only been drawing comics for 18 years. A number of big names in the art scene who I really admire were also recognized that night and it was very emotional for me to be right up there beside them.”
The Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec was instituted in 2015 by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, a government agency that supports the creation and dissemination of multiple art forms. The order is presented to artists whose work achievements contribute to the development of Quebec’s artistic and literary sectors.