You will note that in the ceremony, for the first time, there are no remarks from the Executive Director of the Awards Association. Instead I will post them here, in writing.
I’m omitting them from the ceremony for three reasons: 1) there are a lot of awards to present and I don’t want to slow it down, 2) this is longer than it would be if it was a speech, and 3) it is my opinion that the role of the Awards Association is to emulate a road or stage crew – in that you don’t need to hear from the chief roadie or the stage manager at the ceremony. If you want to read this – thanks – if you don’t – no worries!
When I was a younger man, one summer I worked at Exhibition Place as an usher, and while I was there I saw Pink Floyd perform on stage for the first time. This was, of course, the incarnation of the band without Roger Waters. What impressed me the most about this concert was that the music was overwhelming and grandiose, accompanied by a laser light show and a large round video screen displaying images that tied into the music. The stage show and theatricality was amazing. You didn’t see the band – they played in semi-darkness. You definitely didn’t see the crew working to support the band. You knew they were there. End result: you heard their music. You felt their impact.
It is my opinion that an Awards Association must play a similar role – we’re just the stage crew. That’s part of my background as well – I’ve experience working as part of a stage crew, eventually as stage manager, and as a road crew member for a rock band. The creators, retailers and publishers we honour are the band — the stars, and the results of our work are the final lists of nominees selected and the winners that are chosen by our respective juries.
As such, I am just one of the people that organizes the behind-the-scenes teams – the nominating committees, the juries, the art director. I’m a coordinator – an administrator – and the guy that nags people about deadlines. Sure, we have families and friends we’d like to thank, and associates who have made these awards happen, and the fundraising activities that have gotten the awards to where we are. I hope you’ll all take the time to read and acknowledge the hard work that everyone listed on the credits page of the program booklet did for these awards, and enjoy the screen show that will precede the ceremony honouring those who donated artwork for fundraising purposes.
This crew has had to check their egos at the door. There’s no place for ego and self-promotion here at the Joe Shuster Awards – we work behind the scenes. Mick Jagger doesn’t work backstage. We do this because we love comics and we want to get more people to love comics by drawing attention to the most Outstanding people working on and in comics in this country. We aren’t in that number. We aren’t trying to get jobs in comics or publish books, we’re cancer researchers, allergy specialists, teachers, counsellors, website designers, accountants, administrators, critics, etc. We’re the people that love and support the comics, the store customers… part of the audience.
As such, this became a major transition year for the Joe Shuster Awards. One in which we concentrated on answering the central questions of what (are we here to do), when (does this need to be done), where (should we hold them), why (are we doing this) and how (are we going to do it). It is our job to constantly ask these questions. I’m not saying we reinvented the wheel this year, I’m saying we looked at making the car a lot more aerodynamic and fuel conscious. This was a great crew to work with — this has been the smoothest ride that this car has ever run in the six years it’s been on the road. So special thanks go to the team – to Robert, Allison, Tyrone, Chris and Jason.
That’s enough metaphors for one speech. Thanks for reading, congratulations to all of the nominees and winners. I can’t wait to see the results published! I’ll sleep well on the night of June 6th. We all will.
P.S. The band leader – the face of the awards on Saturday night – is undoubtedly Mr. Jonathan Llyr, who deserves our utmost thanks, respect and attention.