Israeli Comic Artist Wins Prestigious U.S. Prize

"Exit Wounds," a graphic novel by the Israeli comics artist Rutu Modan, won the 2008 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award this weekend for the best new graphic novel - the most prestigious U.S. prize for works in the comics industry. The Eisner prizes are awarded every year for comics creations in various categories, at a festive ceremony that is part of the Comic-Con International in San Diego. The event is considered to be comics' Academy Awards.

Last weekend's awards, the 39th of their kind, were attended by some 125,000 people. (By comparison, the Sundance Film Festival, which lasts 10 days, is usually attended by about 45,000 people.)

"Exit Wounds" was published in Europe and the U.S. a year and a half ago. The Canadian publishing house Drawn & Quarterly ordered the book from Modan, who worked on it for two years.

After its publication, the graphic novel received excellent reviews in leading newspapers, including The Guardian and The New York Times. Both American and European newspapers placed the book on the lists of the best works of 2007 in the sphere of literature and comics.

Modan's book, which numbers 160 pages, tells the emotional story of a detective search in contemporary Israel. A Tel Aviv teen goes to look for his father who went missing in a terrorist attack. He is joined in his quest by his father's young lover. Am Oved will publish the book's Hebrew version next month, entitled "Karov Rahok."

Before "Exit Wounds," Modan was mostly famous in the global comics field for her short stories, which appeared in books published by the independent Israeli comics publisher Actus, a company she co-founded. Alongside teaching at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, Modan has also illustrated several children's books and drawn illustrations for newspapers.

She has received various prizes, including the Science, Culture and Sports Ministry's graphic design award.

Modan has been living in Britain for the past year.