The 2014 Joe Shuster Award Nominees / Les nominés pour le prix Joe Shuster 2014

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JSA2007logoJune 4, 2014 – Canada has a rich tradition of supporting our national arts communities with awards that recognize the achievements of our citizens like the Genie Awards for film and television and the Juno Awards for music – the JOE SHUSTER AWARD is Canada’s national award that honours and raises the awareness of Canadians that create, self-publish and sell comics books, graphic novels and webcomics.

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Joe Shuster

They are named after pioneering Canadian-born artist Joe Shuster (1914-1992), whose clear, dynamic style and inventive visual flourishes set the standard for graphic storytelling during the infancy of the North American comic book industry. It was Superman, a co-creation of Shuster and his friend Jerry Siegel, that electrified the industry over 75 years ago in 1938 and, almost overnight, transformed comic books into an enormous pop-cultural phenomenon.

shusteraward-portraitcoloursm.jpgNominees were selected this spring from lists of creators of original works published and distributed during the year 2013. Qualifying creators must be Canadian citizens – living at home or abroad, or a recognized permanent resident. The award winners will be chosen by a jury vote to ensure every nominee is given adequate consideration.

The awards will be presented later this year (time and place to be announced at a later date).

And the nominees are: Continue reading

Congratulations to Canadian Eisner Winners 2014 Edition

Announced on Friday night, the annual Will Eisner Comic Book Industry Awards featured a few Canadian creator winners. Congratulations all!

Best Continuing Series
Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image)

Best New Series
Sex Criminals, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Image)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12)
The Adventures of Superhero Girl, by Faith Erin Hicks (Dark Horse)

Best Adaptation from Another Medium
Richard Stark’s Parker: Slayground, by Donald Westlake, adapted by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)
Fiona Staples, Saga (Image)

Best Lettering
Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark’s Parker: Slayground (IDW)

News and Notes – July 2014

Wonder-WomanHusband and wife team Meredith and David Finch (a previous Outstanding Artist winner) will be taking over the Wonder Woman title with issue #36.

Volume 9 of the stunning Prince Valiant by Hal Foster hardcover series from Fantagraphics came out on Wednesday this week.

Jeff Lemire’s acclaimed run on Green Arrow will be ending with the 34th issue. The Arrow television show producer and a show writer will be taking over the title in the fall.

DC Comics has changed their contracts, and now colourists will receive cover credits and royalties, the bummer is that the royalties are much harder to get.APR141206

Speaking of DC, they continue to provide Justice League Canada variants of Justice League United which are the preferred version to get at many comic shops. It’s also written by Jeff Lemire.

Later this month we’ll have some more details on the Harry Kremer Award finalists (narrowing down the selection from 10 to 5), and on our 2014 Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame Inductees.

Canada Day has come and gone, but the media was awash with stories about Canadian superheroes, Johnny Canuck, Brok Windsor, and in particular, Captain Canuck. The good Captain is getting a new comic book series later this year, hopefully you were able to get your free Captain Canuck Canada Day comic!

 

 

Johnny Canuck and Brok Windsor archival collections on their way, following successful Nelvana Kickstarter

nelvanaLast fall, the Kickstarter for restoring and reprinting Nelvana of the Northern Lights, Adrian Dingle’s Inuit goddess and superheroine from the Golden Age of Canadian Comics, was an astounding financial and cultural success. As one commentator said to me “the Nelvana revival was a zeitgeist moment” that was not only interesting historically and culturally, but also socially, as the project was orchestrated by two young women who met while working on the documentary “Lost Heroes”, namely Associate Producer Hope L. Nicholson and researcher Rachel Richey.

Now that Nelvana is out and the backers have received their copies, the book is now available for order through American publisher IDW and will hopefully reach an even wider audience south of the border. Meanwhile copies are still available for order from http://www.nelvanacomics.com

Nelvana, though, is but one of many characters that appeared in the “Canadian Whites”, black and white comics available to Canadian youngsters in the early 1940’s when the War Exchange Conservation Act prevented Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman,  Captain America and the Human Torch from Canadian newsstands. Nelvana was published by Bell Features, one of a handful of Canadian comics publishers from BC, Ontario and Quebec. Other dynamic characters made their debut in the pages of these hard-to-find disposable treasures, many of them were rugged Canadian frontiersman, fighting the good fight in the name of Queen and country.

Two of those characters are about to reemerge from the mists of time as Hope and Rachel move in separate directions, handling the revivals of different characters. Plans are afoot to restore and republish other Golden Age Canadian characters after the first two – Thunderfist and the Penguin among them, but for now, two creators who are members of the Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame will have their most memorable characters brought to light. Both of these characters (see below) will hopefully be successfully funded by Kickstarter crowdfunding campaigns set to launch later this year.

JOHNNY CANUCK created by Leo Bachle aka Les Barker – Rachel Richeycropped-jam_smallfin-copy1.jpg

Johnny Canuck appeared on the 2005 Hall of Fame print, he’s the young fellow on the right of the upper ice platform wearing the jodhpurs and flight cap.

In late 1940, John Ezrin, the manager of Bell Features, found a brash, unimpressed, young boy skimming through the company’s comics. Ezrin challenged the youth to come up with something better and the next day, Leo Bachle walked into the offices with the first sketches of Johnny Canuck! The spitting image of his handsome young creator, Johnny debuted in Bell’s Dime Comics number one, dated February 1941. Johnny’s first adventure brought him face to face with Hitler and instantly made Dime Comics Bell’s top-seller.

Johnny made mincemeat of Hitler’s elite guards, declaring, “The Germans had better make stronger rope if they want to hold Canadians captive!” Leo became one of Bell’s key artists, drawing characters like Wild Bill, the Invisible Commando, Chip Pipher, Southpaw, Super Sub and the Brain. Leo’s success opened the door for Bell to hire a cadre of young artists, including Ross Saakel, Ted Steele and Jerry Lazare. But it was Johnny Canuck who was considered so invaluable to the war effort, the government refused to grant Leo a visa to move to the States until he’d completed a backlog of adventures!

Johnny Canuck remains Leo’s most enduring creation. In 1995, years after Leo had changed his name, given up comic books for a lifetime of touring and performing around the globe with his unique comedy act, “Quick on the Draw”, Canada Post honoured Johnny with his own postage stamp. Leo Bachle passed away in May, 2003.

Biography compiled by Rob Pincombe

BROK WINDSOR created by Jon St. Ables aka Stables – Hope L. Nicholson

2006hofBrok Windsor is the manly fellow in red and white on the right side of the 2006 Hall of Fame print

Born in Ulverston, England on December 23rd 1912, Jon Stables left school at 13 to follow his father and older brother to Winnipeg and become an artist. With the outbreak of World War II, he ventured west to Victoria and contributed to the war effort as a painter and sign writer for the shipbuilding industry. It was there he met his wife Esther and the pair were married in May, 1942. Shortly after, Stables was hired by Imperial News Ltd. to work for Maple Leaf Comics, one of the first golden age publishers of Canadian Comics.

Stables fit right in with Maple Leaf’s British approach to comics and was by far its most accomplished artist, signing his work with the nom de plume, St. Ables. His facility with bigfoot-style cartooning in the prehistoric Piltdown Pete and equal ease with adventure strips like Brok Windsor and Bill Speed helped make Maple Leaf titles the slickest of all the Canadian Whites. Brok Windsor debuted in Better Comics Vol. 3 Number 3, dated April/May 1944. Already a manly outdoorsman-type, physician Brok was portaging through the Lake of the Woods region and stumbled upon an island upon which he was transformed into a 7 foot tall muscle-bound specimen of the superhuman variety. Teaming with the 12 foot tall son of the chieftain of a unique Native Canadian tribe that lives in this uncharted territory named Torgon. Brok, needing the unique serum that enables Torgon’s people to endure the physical transformations, embarks on a perilous journey to find the special waters. Brok and Torgon would go on to have many Burroughs-inspired adventures.

Stables eventually took over the art editing chores from publisher and fellow creator Vernon Miller and became the line’s top cover artist. In 1946, Maple Leaf made an effort to launch several syndicated comic strips based on their features Callaghan and Bill Speed but were unable to make significant inroads.

With two sons to support, Stables and Esther opened a studio and briefly produced a line of colouring books. In 1950, the family moved to California where Stables attempted to pitch ideas and artwork to Disney. Eventually Stables settled in Seattle, working in the art department at Boeing until retiring in 1975. Jon Stables passed away in 1999. He was 87.

Bio compiled by Robert Pincombe (with the aid of Peter Hansen), with details on Brok Windsor supplied by Ivan Kocmarek.

Captain Canuck Canada Day Special arrives this holiday weekend

ccPress Release

In celebration of the great nation of Canada, Captain Canuck Incorporated is releasing the 1st Annual Captain Canuck Canada Day Edition.

WHEN & WHERE : From June 28- July 1st, 2014, the Canada Day edition will be distributed free through comic book stores, public libraries, convenience stores and shopping malls across Canada. After July 1st, it will be sold at comic book shops across Canada for $2.99.

WHAT : This beautifully bound, 64 page Canada Day Annual will be packed with features, including:

TWO UNIQUE CAPTAIN CANUCK STORIES FEATURING THE CLASSIC AND NEW CANUCK

The original team of Richard Comely, George Freeman and Claude St. Aubin have collaborated with new Canuck talent- Kalman Andrasofszky, Paul Gardner and Dean Henry to offer two unique Captain Canuck stories.

THE ULTIMATE CANADIAN COMIC BOOK STORE AND CONVENTION DIRECTORY

Listed by province, this directory promises to be the most up to date Comic Book store and Comic Book Convention Directory available anywhere.

SNEAK PEEKS OF WHAT’S COMING UP F OR ALL THINGS CANUCK!

We will have the latest on the upcoming new Captain Canuck comic book series written and illustrated by Kalman Andrasofszky, plus interviews with the talent working on the Animated Series.

THE BEST OF CAPTAIN CANUCK FAN ART

Fans have been sending the Cap fan art for decades. We will feature some of Team Canuck’s favourites in our first annual.

CAPTAIN CANUCK COSMOS BIO-CARDS

Bio-cards on all the characters in Equilibrium, featuring never before seen characters and art by Kalman Andrasofszky, George Freeman and more!

POP CULTURE CANADA

A listing of Music festivals, Fringe festivals, Book and Magazine Expos, Comedy Festivals, and Multi-cultural events across Canada.

Like us at facebook.com/ CaptainCanuck; Follow us on twitter.com/ CaptainCanuck; Add your art on captaincanuckinc.tumblr.com/ and watch us at captaincanuck.com

Photo courtesy 3rd Quadrant Comics

Photo courtesy 3rd Quadrant Comics

New award for 2014: T.M. Maple Award

In 2014, with the arrival of the 10th Annual Joe Shuster Awards, we are introducing a new award into the current line-up, one that will replace the long defunct Outstanding Achievement Award and fill a gap in our existing coverage.

The new T.M. Maple Award will go to one person (living or deceased) selected from the Canadian comics community for achievements made outside of the creative and retail categories who had a positive impact on the community.

Since this is the inaugural year for the TM Maple Award, two recipients will be recognized:

T.M. Maple was the pseudonym of Jim Burke (1956-1994), a fan who wrote more than 3,000 letters to comic book letter columns between 1977 and 1994. Burke’s letters were quite popular among readers as well as editors, and he wrote prolifically to a diverse number of comic publishing companies and titles. Burke originally signed his letters as “The Mad Maple,” but Marvel Comics editor Tom DeFalco abbreviated it to “T.M. Maple” to make it sound like a real name (thus circumventing a new policy at the company to stop printing letters submitted under pseudonyms). Burke took a liking to the new name and began using it exclusively (including variations like “Theodore Maddox Maplehurst”) until 1988, when in Scott McCloud’s Zot! #21 he revealed his real name. Burke published a fanzine about comics in the late 1980s. With artist/publisher Allen Freeman, Burke co-created the superhero Captain Optimist. Jim Burke had a fatal heart attack in 1994.

Debra Jane Shelly (1974-2014) was a comics fan, supporter, and self-described (and celebrated) nerd. She was known for her years of behind-the-scenes support at Toronto comic cons and other events celebrating comics and pop culture.An active member of many online fan communities such as the Comics Cube and the International Comics Society. In 2013, she was a volunteer at many conventions such as Fan Expo Canada, she contributed biographies and counsel to the Joe Shuster Awards, she co-founded the Comic Book Lounge in Toronto’s Ladies Night, which met bi-monthly and became a gathering point for women comic book fans in a community still largely dominated by and catering to a male audience. It was a first for the Toronto comics community, and came at a time when the critical question of diversity in comics (readers as much as creators and characters) was gaining serious momentum internationally.  Debra was known for her positivity, and did less to criticize the comic community’s shortcomings than to nurture the people, spaces, and ideas that were inspiring. In early 2014 she passed away from a epileptic seizure in her sleep.

“To so many people she was the first person we told of our successes and failures & she always knew the best way to respond -how to congratulate and console us. That kind of contribution doesn’t fit on a resume but it was felt throughout the community.”

–Alice Quinn, Ladies’ Night co-founder

JSA Director Kevin Boyd:

I am deeply moved that members of the community would push the Joe Shuster Awards to create an award that honours those people in our community that don’t create or sell comics, that fall through the cracks, and I am proud to be able to announce that we will be debuting this new award in the fall of 2014, our tenth year. In February 2014, after Debra’s passing, there was an overwhelming push on the organization from people in the community to do something with the Joe Shuster Awards to honour Debra and people like her, the fans and members of our Canadian comics communities that make a positive impact on others. In our search for someone to name the award after, one name stood out from among the many possibilities, someone who has come up many times in discussions for the Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame, and that was Jim Burke, aka T.M. Maple. Burke was more than just a letter writer, here was a person that loved comics and wanted better of them and became an important part of the comics community by voicing those opinions and influencing publishers, editors and creators.

Late May update

Okay, so we’re nearing the end of the extension given for the Retailer, Webcomics, Comics for Kids, and Gene Day Awards and if all goes as planned we’ll be announcing the nominations next week.

I would like to thank the many folks who have contacted me about being involved in the awards this year, I’ll be contacting you all shortly and we can begin planning for the ceremony and fundraising as soon as the nominations list goes public.

As usual, it should be stated that since these are awards with only 7 (sometimes 8) nominees per category, not everyone can be nominated for an award. Our committees have been narrowing down the lists to a smaller set of nominations (in some categories from hundreds of individual artists) and we know that inevitably some people will feel we neglected a creator, a book, or a store…

Congratulations to the winners of the Doug Wright Awards for 2014 (handed out as usual at TCAF in Mid-May) for non-mainstream, non-superhero comics:
paulscoutsBest Book – Paul Joins the Scouts by Michel Rabagliati (Conundrum Press)
Spotlight aka “The Nipper” – Steven Gilbert for The Journal of the Main Street Secret Lodge
Pigskin Peters (non-narrative) – “Out of Skin” by Emily Carroll

Looking for new team members

We’re looking for motivated individuals to join our planning and fundraising team for 2014, are you interested in being one of those people and be a part of the Joe Shuster Awards team? It will involve some in-person meetings (for people in the Greater Toronto Area) on a semi-regular basis, or email meetings for people who aren’t — and interested parties must be willing to take direction, offer their opinion, help out at events, and to take on tasks outside of meetings. We’re a not-for-profit organization, but this is good experience for people willing to learn about and interact with the Canadian comics community. If you are interested, please contact me (Kevin Boyd) at kevin@joeshusterawards.com

Mark McCarron on Owen McCarron

Hello, I thought I would throw some more details your way, regarding Owen McCarron, Marvel’s “Puzzlemaster”.

Starting as an Advertising Director at the Halifax Herald, Owen transitioned to War and Romance at Charlton Comics. From there, his friend, Marvel Editor Stan Lee, hired him to craft character-oriented puzzles in comics, books and newspapers. These included Marvel Fun Books, Marvel Mazes, Activity books, Ghost Rider, and a host of Spider-Man titles. This working relationship meant that Owen could call the Marvel Bullpen in New York, and ask them to send him much of their unused original art (instead of throwing it in the wastebasket, as they were doing previously!).

Appreciating the rising stock value of Marvel artists and writers, McCarron compiled a broad selection of original art and storytelling information, years before the first comic book convention in 1964.

McCarron drew an alternate cover for an early Amazing Spider-Man issue which wasn’t printed, but featured a cluster of villains centered around a back alley. He later acquired a great alternate cover of Amazing Spider-Man #10 (The Enforcers!), which was also unprinted, drawn by Steve Ditko. These alternate Spider-Man covers remain with the family to this day. As Owen said, “I’ve been offered tens of thousands of dollars for it… but I didn’t need the money.”

He must’ve played his cards right, becoming one of Canada’s more successful self-publishers of comics, producing books which taught kids how to avoid various catastrophes!

In the vintage family photograph below, we see Douglas McCarron (Sidney Crosby’s great-grandfather) with Owen McCarron (although Sidney’s grandmother is not shown). In the other vintage photo, we see Owen at his drafting table. This was included with the biography in the book, “Invaders From The North: How Canada Conquered the Comic Strip” by Author John Bell.

One of Owen’s last projects was an illustrated poem regarding the traumatic events of the Halifax Explosion in 1917, which killed 2,000 people, and injured 9,000 more.

- Mark

 

 

JSA noms coming week of June 1, happenings, TCAF, Doug Wright Awards…

While we have finalized some categories, some of the selection committees have asked for an extension, so we will announce all of the 2014 nominees the week of June 1.

You may have noticed I’ve cut back on the announcements of upcoming conventions — it’s getting to the point where there are so many events going on every week across the country that we aren’t able to give all of them the attention that they deserve. We suggest you consult the list of conventions across Canada that we have posted elsewhere on this website.

This week however is a busy one with a convention in Ottawa and the Beguiling’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival (in Toronto, obviously). The festival is also the host event for the annual Wright Awards for Canadian cartoonists who work on non-mainstream, independent books like the books published by awards sponsors Drawn + Quarterly, Conundrum Press and Koyama Press. The Giants of the North (their hall of fame) appears to be sponsored by CGA Comics, who is debuting the Nelvana of the Northern Lights collection at the event and using it to maintain interest in their future reprinting plans.

Winners of the 2014 Bedeis Causa

Prix Réal-Fillion

Auteur québécois, scénariste ou dessinateur, s’étant le plus illustré avec son premier album professionnel.

  • Fabien Dreuil, Xavier Hardy, Simon Leclerc et Anouk Pérusse-Bell, pour Nevada t. 1 (Glénat Québec)

Grand prix de la ville de Québec

Meilleur album de langue française publié au Québec.

  • Les deuxièmes (Pow Pow), de Zviane

Prix Albéric-Bourgeois

Meilleur album de langue française publié à l’étranger par un auteur québécois, dessinateur ou scénariste.

  • La colère de Fantômas t. 1 : Les bois de justice (Dargaud), de Julie Rocheleau

Prix Maurice-Petitdidier

Coup de cœur du jury pour album francophone publié à l’étranger.

  • Tyler Cross (Dargaud), de Fabien Nury et Brüno

Prix traduction

Coup de cœur du jury pour album publié en français et issu d’une traduction.

  • Mon ami Dahmer (Ça et là), de Derf Backderf

Prix Albert-Chartier

  •  Michel Rabagliati

 

Bédéis Causa – Finaliste 2014

finalistesLa cérémonie de remise de prix, qui est l’occasion de rassembler de nombreux acteurs du 9e art québécois et de souligner la vitalité actuelle du milieu, se déroulera cette année encore à l’Observatoire de la Capitale, le vendredi 11 avril, à 17 h. 

LES FINALISTES

Prix Réal-Fillion

Auteur québécois, scénariste ou dessinateur, s’étant le plus illustré avec son premier album professionnel.

  • Fabien Dreuil, Xavier Hardy, Simon Leclerc et Anouk Pérusse-Bell, pour Nevada t. 1 (Glénat Québec)
  • Julien Paré-Sorel, pour Léthéonie (Front Froid)
  • Ami Vaillancourt et Bruno Rouyère, pour Kissinger & nous (Glénat Québec)

Grand prix de la ville de Québec

Meilleur album de langue française publié au Québec.

  • Vil et misérable (Pow Pow), de Samuel Cantin
  • L’Amérique ou le disparu (La Pastèque), de Réal Godbout
  • Promise t. 1 : Le livre des derniers jours (Glénat Québec), de Mikaël
  • Kissinger & nous (Glénat Québec), d’Ami Vaillancourt et Bruno Rouyère
  • Les deuxièmes (Pow Pow), de Zviane

Prix Albéric-Bourgeois

Meilleur album de langue française publié à l’étranger par un auteur québécois, dessinateur ou scénariste.

  • Le crépuscule des dieux t. 7 : Le grand hiver (Soleil), de Djief
  • Les nombrils t. 6 : Un été trop mortel (Dupuis), de Delaf et Dubuc
  • La colère de Fantômas t. 1 : Les bois de justice (Dargaud), de Julie Rocheleau

Prix Maurice-Petitdidier

Coup de cœur du jury pour album francophone publié à l’étranger.

  • Incredible India (Vents d’ouest), de Georges Bess
  • Mauvais genre (Delcourt), de Chloé Cruchaudet
  • L’entrevue (Futuropolis), de Manuele Fior
  • Le décalage (Delcourt), de Marc-Antoine Mathieu
  • Tyler Cross (Dargaud), de Fabien Nury et Brüno

Prix traduction

Coup de cœur du jury pour album publié en français et issu d’une traduction.

  • Mon ami Dahmer (Ça et là), de Derf Backderf
  • Goliath (L’Association), de Tom Gauld
  • Jack Joseph, soudeur sous-marin (Futuropolis), de Jeff Lemire

Lors de la cérémonie, l’organisation du FBDFQ remettra également le Prix Albert-Chartier, décerné à chaque année en hommage à un individu ou organisme ayant marqué le monde de la bande dessinée francophone au Québec.

Rappelons que la présente édition des Bédéis Causa porte sur les albums publiés entre le 1er janvier et le 31 décembre 2013. Comme à l’habitude, la sélection des finalistes a été effectuée par un jury formé de libraires et de chroniqueurs spécialisés.

 

Updates

We have a near complete list of English and French creators ready and so we are initiating the nominating process and should have some announcements to make in time for Free Comic Book Day (May 3rd).

We’d like to thank all of the creators that sent in books for consideration for the Gene Day Award this year, we’re still accepting submissions right up until May, so there’s still time.

The Hall of Fame committee has initiated discussions on who will be included in 2014.

Congratulations to Jeff Lemire – in addition to writing Animal Man (now completed), Green Arrow and the upcoming Justice League United (formerly Canada, but set in Canada), Jeff will be writing Teen Titans: Earth One, an original graphic novel being illustrated by Terry and Rachel Dodson.

Is it time to start flag-waving?

71_LRGThere seems to be a lot of media attention this week once again regarding Canadian super-heroes – specifically the comics of the 1940s. This weekend – tonight and tomorrow afternoon – the Royal Theatre in Toronto will be hosting two screenings of the now-completed LOST HEROES Movie, directed by Will Pascoe. Members of the Canadian comics scene – creators, academics, media personalities and so on — were brought in to discuss aspects of the Canadian comic book super-heroes of the past and the present. After this two screening event (note that there will be a director Q&A after the Friday evening screening but not the Saturday one) the film moves to Superchannel where it will run at various times and on various dates.

Here’s the synopsis from imdb:

LOST HEROES is the story of Canada’s forgotten comic book superheroes and their legendary creators. A ninety-minute journey to recover a forgotten part of Canada’s pop culture and a national treasure few have ever heard about. LOST HEROES is the tale of a small country striving to create its own heroes, but finding itself constantly out muscled by better-funded and better-marketed superheroes from the media empire next door.

lhrRAD0598920131210_11334Incidentally, American comics auction house Comiclink recently auctioned off a number of hard to find Canadian whites, including a CGC 6.5 graded copy of the Nelvana of the Northern Lights Colour Special – it sold for a whopping $13,750.

 

Off to a late start this year…

My apologies for those of you waiting for updates on eligible creator lists, as eager as you are to get started on the 10th Annual Joe Shuster Awards, so are we — so am I.

Obviously the passing of my significant other, Debra, in late January has had a severe impact on the morale here at the Joe Shuster Awards and on my output. We are committed to making sure that the awards will take place.

I hope to finish compliling the data over the next few weeks and we’ll be using March 2014 as a feedback/confirmation month – looking for your input and finalizing our 2014 nominating committees.

Obviously a  major concern for us is money, so we do need to get back on a financial track this year that is realistic and to that end we will be running a fundraising campaign once we get things onto that schedule.

Positive Spirit and Determination: Debra Jane Shelly

Image

Debra Jane Shelly
(April 23, 1974-January 25, 2014)

Everyone involved with The Joe Shuster Awards are in shock and deeply saddened to hear the news that Debra Jane Shelly passed peacefully in her sleep Saturday afternoon from an epileptic seizure.

Deb was the light and partner for our co-founder and Associate Director, Kevin Boyd.

The Joe Shuster Awards were very fortunate as well that she volunteered her time and considerable knowledge of the industry to the JSAs.  She was part of the Gene Day nominating committee this past year and did some copy writing for the website and program book. She was an ardent supporter of the awards and helped out whenever she was needed.

It’s not an understatement that the comic book community in Toronto and beyond are reeling from hearing the news Deb has left us. This piece typifies her reach, impact, spirit, and generosity to others.  Some she never even met face to face:

http://www.comicscube.com/2014/01/rip-debra-jane-shelly.html

Jennifer Haines, owner of The Dragon, had known Debra since high school at St. Mildred’s in Oakville:

“Deb was one of the most amazing people I have ever known. In high school, we were both outcasts among our peers, and that formed a bond that would last for over 25 years. It always amazed me how well she maintained her positive spirit and determination to be herself through those tough times. In fact, I’m not sure Deb even realized how outcast she was in that place. I admire her for that too. She didn’t let anything make her jaded or less generous with those around her.

“When Deb and I reconnected years later, I re-discovered this joy and strength in her. She had a boundless ability to help those in need. The day before she passed away, she posted a reassuring comment on my Facebook wall in response to a difficulty I was having. It brought a smile to my face that stayed with me. From reading the comments of others in response to this tragedy, it’s clear that she shared this generosity of spirit with absolutely everyone she knew, even those she had never met.

“I remember one night we were out at a bar and were headed downstairs to the washroom, when this rather drunken woman stumbled down the stairs, twisting her ankle. Deb escorted her into the washroom and helped her clean up, and somehow ended up giving her advice in her family legal trouble. That was Deb. It was amazing to watch. I couldn’t believe how incredibly supportive she was of someone she had only just met. But, Deb was like that with everyone. Absolutely everyone.

“One fateful night, I invited Deb to join me and a few friends for drinks at Mill Street to celebrate my birthday. I remember that night so clearly because it was the night she met Kevin. Afterward, we headed to the Golden Griddle on Eglinton and ate pancakes at 4 in the morning. We knew we were witnessing something magical happening between Deb and Kev. It didn’t surprise us one bit when they quickly became a couple. They just made sense. We knew they were going to be together forever. It isn’t fair how short “forever” turned out to be.

“The greatest thing we could do for Deb is to carry on her legacy: be good to each other, better than we’ve ever been, with strangers, with friends, with family; be positive and bring a smile to everything we do; support those in need; remain strong as people, and idealistic, and ready to argue the merits (or lack thereof) of even the most obscure creators and characters at a moment’s notice.

“I will always remember Deb as one of the best specimens of humanity that has ever walked this earth. She has left the world a better place. While we mourn her and feel the loss of her presence, let us not forget those smiles, those character voices she’d do, those hugs, those snacks delivered at conventions, and that boundless energy and ability to be there for each and every one of us. I hope I can become even half the human being that she was. I sure am going to try. I love you Deb; you’ll always be with me.”

All the nominating committees and volunteers involved with The Joe Shuster Awards, past and present, wish to send our heartfelt condolences and strength to Kevin Boyd and to the Shelly family.

Donations are welcome in Deb’s honour to Epilepsy Toronto:

https://secure2.unxvision.com/EPT/eDonation/ec_index.asp?eCelebration_Form_ID=3&isAdmin=1

Updated: here is the text of Kevin’s eulogy, read at the service at the Manor Road United Church on Friday, January 31.

debMy name is Kevin Boyd, and for five too short years Deb was the light of my life.

Today you have heard and will continue to hear the same things about her in our talks: Deb was genuine, she was happy, she was 100% there for us. She loved children,and pets, and flowers, and art and books, which she absorbed with her supercomputer of a brain. She loved taking pictures of the people and things that she loved, and above all else she fiercely loved her wolf pack – those of us she had taken into her heart.

She and I met a little over five years ago at a birthday dinner for our mutual friend Jennifer Stewart (Haines). I’m a reserved person, naturally introverted and shy, I’d rather be at the back of the church taking this all in instead of here at the front. I don’t rush to meet new people. At one point she grew tired of talking to my friend Scott, turned her laser beams toward me and said, “Tell me about YOU!” — I was smitten.

Over the course of that night I knew I had to see her again. We all went for pancakes at 2 in the morning. Deb and I split a cab home, as our apartments turned out to be a short distance apart, and on the way she received the call that Cristie had gone to the hospital, and she went on her way to meet her nephew Noah later that day. That certainly made our anniversaries easy to remember!

A couple of weeks later, after some chatting through facebook and email, we agreed to meet for dinner and it was a magical night — a massive snowstorm was in the process of shutting the city down, but we had no idea – we had dinner and chatted for hours. As we left the restaurant we walked into an empty Eaton Centre and the subway was virtually deserted. We felt like the only two people in the world. When we got to St. Clair station, without hesitation, Deb said “I’m in!” She hugged me for the first time. I was taken aback, I’ve never met someone that direct emotionally, I think maybe I retreated a little. Deb did not.

Over the following months we met on and off for movies and or dinner, and early on she explained that she had epilepsy and what might happen if she had a seizure. When she returned from a family trip to Florida, she introduced me to her family and I must have passed another test, as meeting her nephews Caleb and Noah for the first time, and of course Jake, the family dog, who she loved dearly, she seemed even more proud of the concept of ‘us’.

One night we were talking — and I’m a low talker at times, sometimes I mumble. I apologize if that’s the case today, but at one point in our conversation I think I said “thank you”. Deb grabbed my shoulders and said “You love me! That’s AWESOME!” I was floored, and speechless – where did that come from? I didn’t remember saying that? It mattered so much to her, and she grabbed me in that bearlike hug of hers and squeezed me tight and told me she loved me too. How could I contradict her?

I also got a chance to spend more time with the Shelly family, and you can see where Deb got it. I’ve never in my life encountered such a strong and loving group, and she had the most amazing support structure. My family – I think we know that we love each other, but we never say it, I have only brothers, so as brothers are, we were tough on each other. But Deb and her family, she knew she was loved. And you could see from spending time with her parents where she developed aspects of what made Deb essentially Deb. During any family crisis or illness, she would strive to be the strong and funny older sister: a pillar of strength, because they deserved it. She would do her best to remove the negative, but what she did was, like a true empath, take it inside and later in private let it all out – like emptying a vacuum. Conquering Cristie’s cancer was the most important thing to her, nothing else mattered and you can only imagine how happy she was that she did. Her victory was also Deb’s.

I have always been a comic book reader and collector, and she and I connected over that, she had told me of her teenage years collecting in Oakville, and about the jerks at the shop she frequented, who would tease her, and that led to her leaving comics behind. I introduced her to my world of shows and the people here at events like Fan Expo. She would volunteer to help me, and along the way she met many amazing people who she pulled into her ‘wolf pack’. She would say she loved being a nerd, a term I’ve never cared for, but Deb embodied the positive aspects of the word, and reclaimed it on her terms. She devoured my books over the years, and at shows, online and in other places she focused on being an expert in all things nerdy, and she succeeded. She could talk to anyone about anything. As she would say, fiercely, no one can tell you it’s wrong to like what you like.

The five years we were together were a tornado. For the first few years Deb struggled with the medication she took for her epilepsy. It would exhaust her, like she had weights on her shoulders. She would sleep 18 hours a day. You had to be like water on rock in some ways with Deb, but eventually she went to see a specialist at Toronto Western and he introduced some different medications. Deb blossomed on the last one and it was amazing to see Deb emerge from under the weight of her medication and become this shining force. It also coincided with some pretty amazing things, like the opening of the store and going to work at the Mount Sinai Foundation. Even when the store made me miserable and a giant ball of stress, Deb was there, always helping, but always reminding me how important it was to relax, to step back, to be with her and with family. If you look at the wonderful pictures gathered at the visitation you can watch Deb grow younger and happier. She had reclaimed her life.

Deb always loved Facebook. She joined the Comics Cube group a few years ago, and that group has splintered off into a handful of smaller, private groups. She loved them all, especially her fellow moderators like Duy Tano and Ben and Kim Smith. She connected with so many people around the world. They could tell how awesome she was through her posts, her comments, what she could add to a conversation, or how she could make you feel better when you said you were down. Deb had the innate ability to find the best cat photo to make a person laugh and brighten their day.

Last week was an amazing week for Deb. She watched some documentaries, she met her newest niece Sidney, who she had two visits with – at one we watched her favourite movie of the year, Pacific Rim with brother Greg and she was so happy to have an afternoon with a baby, brother and ‘giant robots fighting monsters!’ She had a chance to visit with Anne Marie and her daughters, and enjoyed catching up with them. She had multiple visits with Karrie, Caleb, Liam and had a magical afternoon with Ana. We went to a movie premiere for a terrible movie and saw many friends there. We had this amazing Saturday morning, chilling over coffee and she was raving about how great the last few days had been, telling me about Ana and Sidney. I spoke with my friend Peter and Deb added to the conversation in the background. She was wearing her I love DC Super Heroes t-shirt, which always made me smile. I got ready to go down to the store, and Deb was there with a bear hug and an ‘I love you!’ and we talked about Ladies Night, her favourite event at the store, and how her friends would be there. I got down to the car and found the door was open and the battery had run out. I went back up to get the booster and Deb was right there again, with a big hug and warm I love you.

Trying to find meaning in what happened after is going to be our challenge. Deb was like that car battery, she was full of life and energy, but epilepsy was the door we didn’t know was open, and that battery ran out. But magical things happened that afternoon, and continue to happen. So many of you have told me that on Saturday afternoon, unbidden, Deb was in your thoughts. I think that she sent out a wave of energy, like an exploding star,to all of us in her wolf pack to let us know that she loved us and to take strength from that.

I miss her terribly, but I feel her presence in the room and I’m trying to follow her examples. I hope that everyone here can do the same. Always do what Deb did and make sure the people you love know how you feel about them when you say goodbye.

In comic books, the heroes pass and return regularly. It’s a storytelling device that reminds us why this was a great character, and when they are taken off the table for a while it is to remind us why we like them, why they mean something to us. Debra Jane Shelly was the superhero in our lives, and so I keep expecting her to find her way back to us. Her absence reminds us why we loved her so much and by doing so she is bringing us closer to those we have in our lives, reminding us about what’s important – she always knew that. She’s still out there righting wrongs and kicking evil’s butt.

Debra Jane Shelly

ImageThe Joe Shuster Awards lost a true friend & advocate this week when Debra Jane Shelly passed.

Deb was the light & partner of our Co-Founder & Associate Director, Kevin Boyd.

We will post more personal reflections on Deb at a later time.  We wanted to post this notice from her family.

Everyone involved with the JSA’s wish to send our heartfelt condolences & strength to Kevin Boyd and to The Shelly family during this time.

Debra Jane Shelly (April 23, 1974-January 25, 2014)

Our precious Debra passed peacefully in her sleep on Saturday afternoon from an epileptic seizure. Debbie will be forever remembered as a genuine and kind soul with unparalleled wit and a spectacular smile. DJ was the adored daughter of Scott and Susan Shelly of Oakville, ON.  Debra was the loving partner of Kevin A. Boyd. She was the world’s most cherished older sister to Karrie Shelly Singer (Dave), Cristie Shelly Schultz (Mark) and Greg Shelly (Laura Waters). Debbie was a doting aunt to Caleb, Noah, Liam, Ana, Sidney, Kaitlyn, Michael and Lauren. We will miss her dearly.

Please join us for a celebration of Deb’s beautiful life.  A visitation will be held on Thursday, January 30 at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery Visitation Centre (375 Mt Pleasant Rd, Toronto) from 6-9pm. The funeral service will be held on Friday, January 31 at Manor Road United Church (240 Manor Rd. E, Toronto) at 11am.  All are welcome. We look forward to sharing stories, laughter and love for our sweet Debra at the reception to be held immediately following the funeral service at the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery Visitation Centre.

Debbie was a ray of light in all of our lives- please feel free to come dressed in your most cheerful colours in tribute to our sunny girl. In lieu of flowers, donations are appreciated to Epilepsy Toronto in Debbie’s honour at:
https://secure2.unxvision.com/EPT/eDonation/ec_index.asp?eCelebration_Form_ID=3&isAdmin=1

Gene Day Award 2014 – Now Accepting Submissions.

Gene Day portrait by Dave Sim, colours by Keiren Smith

Gene Day portrait by Dave Sim, colours by Keiren Smith

Please note: We are now accepting 2013 self-published works for consideration in 2014.

“Gene Day really showed me that success in a creative field is a matter of hard work and productivity and persistence.” (Cerebus creator and self-publisher Dave Sim)

The Gene Day Award for Self-Publishing honours Canadian comic book creators who self-published their work during the previous year (up to the submission end date).

Please note: In years past the award included a bursary of $500. Unfortunately we cannot guarantee that this will be case in 2014 until our fundraising targets are reached. Continue reading

Happy New Year! 2014 marks 10 years of the Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards

cropped-541599031_dcca9f97ab.jpgIn Spring 2005 the first annual Joe Shuster Awards for Canadian Comic Book Creators was held at the Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon and a lot of great books and talent have been honoured over the decade since then.

As 2013 draws to a close, please join us as we present an overview of 9 years worth of Joe Shuster Award Winners.

Note that some winners in 2005-2008 were selected by public voting. In 2009 all categories became jury selected.

CARTOONISTS
2005 – Darwyn Cooke for DC: The New Frontier (DC Comics)
2006 – Bryan Lee O’Malley for Scott Pilgrim Vol. 2 (Oni Press)
2007 – Darwyn Cooke for The Spirit (DC)
2008 – Jeff Lemire for Essex County Books 1 and 2 (Top Shelf)
2009 – Dave Sim for Glamourpuss (Aardvark-Vanaheim)
2010 – Michel Rabagliati pour Paul, tome 06: Paul à Québec (La Pastèque)
2011 – Tin Can Forest for Baba Yaga and the Wolf (Koyama Press)
2012 – Ramon Perez for Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand (Archaia)
2013 – Jeff Lemire for Sweet Tooth (DC/Vertigo) and The Underwater Welder (Top Shelf)

ARTISTS
2005 – Kaare Andrews for Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus: Year One (Marvel)
2006 – Pia Guerra for Y the Last Man (DC/Vertigo)
2007 – Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone for Batman/The Spirit (DC)
2008 – Dale Eaglesham for Justice Society of America (DC)
2009 – David Finch for Ultimatum (Marvel)
2010 – Stuart Immonon for Ultimate Spider-Man and New Avengers (Marvel)
2011 – Francis Manapul for the Flash, Adventure Comics and Superman/Batman (DC)
2012 – Stuart Immonen for Fear Itself (Marvel)
2013 – Isabelle Arsenault pour Jane, le renard & moi (La Pastèque)

WRITERS
2005 – Samm Barnes for Doctor Spectrum (Marvel MAX)
2005 – Ty Templeton for The Batman Adventures (DC)
2006 – J. Torres for Teen Titans Go! and Legends of the Dark Knight (DC) and Love as a Foreign Language (Oni)
2007 – Darwyn Cooke for Superman Confidential (DC)
2008 – Cecil Castellucci for the PLAIN Janes (DC/Minx)
2009 – Mariko Tamaki for Emiko Superstar (DC/Minx) and Skim (Groundwood Books)
2010 – Maryse Dubuc pour Les nombrils, tome 04: Duels de belles (Dupuis)
2011 – Émilie Villeneuve pour La fille invisible (Glénat Québec)
2012 – Kurtis J. Wiebe for The Green Wake and The Intrepids (Image Comics)
2013 – Fanny Britt pour Jane, le renard & moi (La Pastèque)

ACHIEVEMENT 2005, 2008
2005 – Dave Sim and Gerhard for the completion of Cerebus. Begun in 1977, this 300-issue series is a milestone in comic book publishing and is the longest running creator-owned comic book series
2008 – David Watkins for using comics as a teaching tool.

PUBLISHERS 2005-2011
2005 – Arcana Studio
2006 – Drawn & Quarterly
2007 – Drawn & Quarterly
2008 – Drawn & Quarterly
2009 – Les 400 Coups/Mécanique Générale
2010 – La Pastèque
2011 – Koyama Press

INTERNATIONAL CREATORS 2006-2008
2006 – Brian K. Vaughan
2007 – Brian K. Vaughan
2008 – Ed Brubaker

WEBCOMIC CREATORS
2007 – Dan Kim
2008 – Ryan Sohmer and Lar De Souza
2009 – Cameron Stewart
2010 – Karl Kerschl
2011 – Emily Carroll
2012 – Emily Carroll
2013 – Michael DeForge

Favourite Overall Creator – English Language Publications 2007-8
2007 – Dan Kim
2008 – Faith Erin Hicks

Favourite Overall Creator – French Language Publications 2007-8
2007 – Michel Rabagliati
2008 – Philippe Girard

COVER ARTISTS
2008 – Steve Skroce
2009 – Niko Henrichon
2010 – Darwyn Cooke
2011 – Fiona Staples
2012 – François Lapierre
2013 – Mike Del Mundo

COLOURISTS 2008-2011
2008 – Dave McCaig
2009 – François Lapierre
2010 – Nathan Fairbairn
2011 – Julie Rocheleau

COMICS FOR KIDS – RENAMED THE DRAGON AWARD in 2012
2009 – Kean Soo for Jellaby Vol. 1 (Hyperion)
2010 – Svetlana Chmakova for Nightschool: The Weirn Books (Yen Press)
2011 – Scott Chantler for Three Thieves Book 2 (Kids Can Press)
2012 – Paul Roux pour Ariane et Nicolas Tome 6: Les Toiles Mysterieuses (Les 400 Coups)
2013 – Jo Rioux for Cat’s Cradle Volume 1: The Golden Twine (Kids Can Press)

THE GENE DAY AWARD FOR SELF-PUBLISHING
2009 – Jesse Jacobs for Blue Winter, Shapes in the Snow
2010 – Ethan Rilly for Pope Hats #1
2011 – John Martz for Heaven All Day
2012 – Dakota McFadzean for Ghost Rabbit
2013 – Cory McCallum, Matthew Daley for The Pig Sleep: A Mr. Monitor Case

THE HARRY KREMER RETAILER AWARD
2005 – Now & Then Books (Kitchener, ON)
2006 – Strange Adventures (Halifax, NS)
2007 – Happy Harbor (Edmonton, AB)
2008 – Big B Comics (Hamilton, ON)
2009 – Legends Comics and Books (Victoria, BC)
2010 – The Beguiling (Toronto, ON)
2011 – Planete BD (Montreal, QC)
2012 – The Silver Snail (Toronto, ON)
2013 – Heroes Comics (London, ON)

The Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame
2005 Joe Shuster (1914-1992)
2005 Leo Bachle (aka Les Barker) (1926-2003)
2005 Adrian Dingle (1911-1974)
2005 Hal Foster (1892-1982)
2005 Ed Furness (1911-2005)
2005 Rand Holmes (1942-2002)
2006 Jon St. Ables (1912-1999)
2006 Owen McCarron (1929-2005)
2006 Win Mortimer (1919-1998)
2006 Dave Sim (1956-)
2007 Albert Chartier (1912-2004)
2007 Gerald Lazare (1927-)
2007 Jacques Hurtubise aka ZYX (1950-)
2007 Gene Day (1951-1982)
2008 Ted McCall (1901-1975)
2008 Pierre Fournier (1949-)
2008 Stanley Berneche (1947-)
2008 John Byrne (1950-)
2009 George Menendez Rae (1906-1992)
2009 Real Godbout (1951-)
2009 Ken Steacy (1955-)
2009 Diana Schutz (1955-)
2010 Richard Comely (1950-)
2010 Dave Darrigo (1954-)
2010 George Freeman (1951-)
2010 Serge Gaboury (1954-)
2010 Deni Loubert (1951-)
2010 Jean-Claude St. Aubin (1951-)
2011 Chester Brown (1960-)
2011 Todd McFarlane (1961-)
2012 No Inductees Selected
2013 Murray Karn (1924-)
2013 Vernon Miller (1912-1974)
2013 Arn Saba (Katherine Collins) (1947-)

Convention news: New shows in Ottawa and Regina

This weekend, December 7-8, 2013 at the Ernst and Young Centre in Ottawa it’s the new OTTAWA POP EXPO from the same folks that bring you the Ottawa and Montreal Comic Cons.popexpo2013Recently, Informa Canada announced that they are expanding their recently purchased Fan Expo brand with a new show: FAN EXPO REGINA will be helf in Regina, Saskatchewan on May 3-4, 2014.

ferSpeaking of Informa Canada, they are holding a one day Toronto ComiCON/AnimeCON on Sunday December 15, 2013 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Hall F (South Building). Admission is $10.