Sunday, May 10, 2009

2009 Wright Award Winners

Winners of 5th annual Doug Wright Awards announced in Toronto ceremony

Toronto, ON, May 10, 2009 — The Doug Wright Awards are proud to announce their 2009 winners, which were handed out in a ceremony at the Art Gallery of Ontario last night:

Best Book: Skim, by Jillian & Mariko Tamaki (Published by Groundwood Books)

Best Emerging Talent: Kate Beaton (History Comics,

The Pigskin Peters Award: Ojingogo, Matthew Forsythe (Published by Drawn & Quarterly)

The annual Doug Wright Awards (DWAs) represent the best and brightest English-language comics and graphic novels, and are decided on by a five-member jury. The 2009 DWA jurists included Bob Rae, Andrew Coyne, Martin Levin, Joe Ollmann, and Diana Tamblyn.

This year's jury praised Best-Book winner Skim as "ravishingly beautiful," adding that:

"A jury far from being made up of teenage girls was won over by the elegance, sweep and detail of the art and by the unsentimental, often funny telling of this contemporary tale of young people trying to figure out who they are in a world that's often too exciting and too complex. Illustrations and story merge seamlessly as the mood and intensity of the black-and-white art vary according to the mood and intensity of the story. Unique and unforgettable."

Of Kate Beaton's work, the jury said:

"Beaton's superficially simple drawings can mask a considerable sophistication of line and expression. She also offers a very winning blend of historical literacy and range, from Diogenes to Diefenbaker, from Robin Hood to Riel; and all this in concert with a youthful insouciance, a skillful application of comic-book tropes such as superheroes to historical events and characters, and often laugh-out-loud funny dialogue.

For instance, her sketch of the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard has him obsessing over his characterization in the press as a hunchback. Or her heritage minute rewrite of Pierre Trudeau has him arguing with Margaret, who's wearing a dress with decollete a la Julie Couillard, about turning Canada from 'Boresville to Party Country.' Her work is assured, impressive, hilarious."

The DWA nominating committee, which chooses the annual Pigskin Peters Award, said of Ojingogo:

"With his lushly imagined book, Montrealer Matt Forsythe joins a distinguished tradition, that includes Winsor McCay and Art Spiegelman, of cartoonists exploring dream imagery. Like Oz or Wonderland, and equally populated with strange creatures and bizarre happenings, Forsythe's impressive debut puts forth a wonderfully imagined universe, rich with oddity and wonder. Forsythe excels in the difficult art of world-creation – creating here and imaginary landscape that is both dense with life and as unsettling as a dream."

The awards were handed out at the Art Gallery of Ontario on Saturday May 9, 2009, at a gala ceremony hosted by filmmaker Don McKellar.

The event also featured a moving tribute to cartoonist Jimmy Frise, who was posthumously inducted into the Giants of the North, the Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame, in a talk delivered by CBC Radio's Stuart McLean.

In addition, this year's event also served as the official launch of The Collected Doug Wright: Canada's Master Cartoonist, the first of two lavish books published by Drawn and Quarterly that will re-introduce Canadians to one of their country's greatest cartooning talents.

Founded in 2004 to recognize the best Canadian comics published in English, The Doug Wright Awards have grown to become one of Canada's most-anticipated comics events.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Saturday: The Doug Wright Awards!!!!!

Finally, after a long nomination process, jury selection, and tons of planning, the 2009 Wright Awards are here. They will be held at Jackman Hall at the AGO in Toronto, Saturday, May 9. 7pm to 9pm. Free Admission! Don McKellar is hosting and there will be lots of new stuff this year.

An all-star jury this year, including Joe Ollman and Diana Tamblyn (and some famous people who aren't cartoonists).

The nominees are stellar, too:

Best Book

Burma Chronicles Guy Delisle (Drawn & Quarterly)
Drop-in Dave Lapp (Conundrum Press)
Paul Goes Fishing Michel Rabagliati (Drawn & Quarterly)
Skim Jillian & Mariko Tamaki (Groundwood Books)

Best Emerging Talent

Kate Beaton (History Comics)
Caitlin Black (Maids of the Mist)
Jesse Jacobs (Blue Winter, Shapes in the Snow)
Jason Kieffer (Kieffer #2)
Nick Maandag (Jack & Mandy)

The Pigskin Peters Award

Hall of Best Knowledge Ray Fenwick (Fantagraphics)
Ojingogo Matthew Forsythe (Drawn & Quarterly)
All We Ever Do is Talk About Wood Tom Horacek (Drawn & Quarterly)
Small Victories Jesse Jacobs (self-published)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Google Street Car Spotted

I saw the Google Car at the corner of Wellington St. and Gordon St. in Guelph at 3:07 PM today. The car was going east along Wellington. I fished my camera out of my bag but was too late to get a shot and thought that it would be too ridiculous to chase it through traffic. But not too ridiculous to blog about!

No it wasn't being ticketed like this one. And it was a dark blue-grey colour.

Sequential Magazine

sequential pulp issue one 1 2009 tcaf

Sequential: the magazine!

I'm very pleased to report that the first issue of the print version of Sequential will be available for free at the Toronto Comics Art Festival this weekend.

Sequential is the daily newsblog about Canadian comics that I contribute to. It has been online since 2002 but for TCAF this year we decided to create a print edition that captures in physical, 3-dimensional form the essence of what we do on a daily basis with the blog. To this end, we enlisted the aid of several cartoonists and writers whose stories and art we have covered and linked to over the years, and the result is a 22-page magazine full of comics, reviews, interviews, and features about every aspect of comics and graphic novels in Canada.

The mag features a cover and a graphic-novel preview by Sequential editor/publisher Max Douglas (aka Salgood Sam), who also worked tirelessly recruiting and riding herd on talent, fielding story-pitches, selling advertising, dealing with the printer, writing, and laying the whole issue out solo. There are also articles by Robin Fisher, Jamie Coville, Jim Munroe, Brad Mackay, Robert Pincombe, and yours truly. As well, there are comics by John Martz, Fiona Smythe, Sean Ward, Dan Zabbal, Willow Dawson, and Mahendra Singh. We cover old strips, new strips, webcomics, bande-dessinee, and everything in-between. And I have to say, the thing looks pretty damn sharp.

Canadian comics is a dynamic culture of wonderful art, artists, writers, readers and publishers (not to mention all the various craftspeople, printers, cosplayers, retailers, and whatever-the-hell Herve St.-Louis is), and we like to think this new incarnation of Sequential captures just a little bit of that magic.

The magazine will be distributed for no charge at TCAF and hopefully will serve as something of a guide to some of the people and events of the weekend. Please drop by and check out the issue and maybe say hi to some of the contributors. I hope to see you there!