The 11th Hour: Finalizing 2011 and Organizational Discussions

If it seems quiet around here, it’s because we’re holding our breaths in anticipation of the decisions currently being made by our FOUR (yes 4!) Juries this year:

  • “ART” : Artist, Cover Artist, Webcomics, Colourist
  • “STORY” (bilingual jury required): Writer, Cartoonist
  • “INDUSTRY”:  Publisher, Self-Publisher, Retailer
  • “KIDS”: Comics for Kids

Everyone is supposed to send over their choices on Friday, and then we’ll have the weekend to debate/discuss and finalize by Monday next week: Monday May 30th is zero hour for decisions. Once we have them, we’ll get to work on finalizing the audio/visual part of our ceremony presentation and the award plaques go off to be made.

I hope to have an announcement this week about the June 18 ceremony hosting duties.

Meanwhile, I’ve been having a thoughtful discussion with American cartoonist Dustin Harbin on the inclusion/exclusion of webcomics and award philosophies over on his blog. He makes some great points, and I never balk at a chance to do some naval-gazing to question what we are doing here and why, and sometimes I do understand that our stance may annoy or aggravate certain people, but I hope that they can also understand that the reason why these awards exist is to be fundamentally positive — not negative, about the Canadian comics scene. The JSAs are very much committed and connected to supporting a retail system that sells the print products (specifically comic books and graphic novels) that we award with the awards for those that create comic books and graphic novels.

Administering these awards is a largely bureaucratic business (and an unthankful one at that!), with lots of rules and definitions in place to establish categories for awards (which drives some of us as mad as it may drive some of you), but structured awards ultimately demand rules and a guiding philosophy.  Organizational awards are often the result of  a lot of discussion and defining (and redefining!), and the fact that we are in the position of offering creative awards for a commercial art form means trying to strike some balance between the two. It means establishing eligibility parameters, identifying those creators that fit in the parameters of the award criteria, getting the nomcoms to select the outstanding creative work from within that group and then having a jury select a finalist from within that smaller group.

Anyway, lots of food for though for 2012… but for now we must focus and finish up 2011! Best of luck to all of the nominees in advance!

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