How do I / How did I get nominated for a Joe Shuster Award?

We are regularly asked how the nominees are selected for the Joe Shuster Awards, hopefully this explanation of the process will help answer some of your questions and not completely confuse you.

NOMINATION PROCESS (from our About Us page)

Outstanding Artist
Outstanding Cartoonist
Outstanding Colourist
Outstanding Cover Artist
Outstanding Writer

(Note: A similar process is applied to Outstanding Publisher, Outstanding Webcomics Creator/Creative Team and Comics for Kids. The Gene Day Self-Publisher and Harry Kremer Retailer have slightly different submission requirements.)

STEP ONE – towards the end of the eligibility year, the Association prepares two eligible publications lists (one for English publications, one for French) with input from creators, publishers & retailers. The list is based around Canadian citizens or permanent residents (3 years minimum current residency) who worked on a professionally distributed first printing periodical or book that debuted in the year prior to when the awards will be handed out in one of the following professional roles: artist (illustrating a writer’s script, excluding cartoonists), cartoonist (writing and/or adapting a story that they also illustrated), colourist (self-explanatory, may include artists and cartoonist), cover artist (primary artist/artist team) and writer (producing a script that is given to an artist, excluding cartoonists).

There is no bias towards the country where the company that published the company is physically located. (It should be noted that to be eligible for Outstanding Publisher, the company must be based in Canada.)

Note that books containing collections of previously published strips or comics and/or translated works into English from another language published in a previous year are not eligible. Limited release books available at special events and mailed or hand-delivered to a small number of booksellers but not widely distributed to all booksellers during the eligibility time period are not eligible until they are professionally distributed.

STEP TWO – Two committees are formed – one for English language publications and one for French language publications. These are newly constituted committees, selected by the Association Executive, made up of a cross-section of comic book journalists, retailers and experts from across Canada.

STEP THREE – using the eligible comics list, the Nominating committee members are asked to submit individual “top five” lists for each category, in order of preference. Each vote on their lists are weighted based on order of preference. In other words. a first choice selection is given five points on the overall score and a fifth choice is given one point to be added to the cumulative score.

STEP FOUR – The results received are then logged. Selection is made initially by Majority Vote – if a creator receives a majority (50% or higher) of individual votes in a specific category they proceeded to the final ballot. If enough nominees in a specific category have not advanced by majority vote, then we turn to the Cumulative Point Score – based on the rankings provided on each list. In the case of a tie, the number of votes received and their position on the lists submitted gets taken into consideration.

Once the lists are finalized, the organization attempts to notify all nominees before the public is notified by press release and on this website.


For the purposes of the JOE SHUSTER AWARDS (as determined by the Nominating Committee), a Canadian is defined as a native (citizen) or long-term current inhabitant (aka a permanent resident) of Canada, or an individual who was born in Canada and now resides elsewhere (possessing either Canadian or dual citizenship). In order to qualify as a resident, a creator must live in Canada for three years, and that residency status is revoked if the person moves away from Canada.


Canada has a rich tradition of supporting our national arts communities with awards that recognize the achievements of our citizens. Canadians are very proud and supportive of our national arts communities, and our position is that promoting Canadians in comics will help raise their profile within the country and abroad, and hopefully improve book sales of their work. The largest distributor of comics worldwide, Diamond Dist., Inc. has indicated in the past encouraging results that orders of books by nominated creators have spiked each year after the announcement.

Promoting retailers will help customers find the comics they are interested in reading, and promoting publishers will help support and encourage the continued development of Canadian publishing houses.