Deciding the 2012 Categories

Here at the JSAs we’re fairly open to making changes to the existing award categories if a solid argument can be made for the alteration, or for adding new or retiring old categories. In recent years new awards have included The Comics for Kids Award, The Gene Day Award, as well as the Outstanding Cover Artist and Outstanding Colourist Awards. Retired Awards include Outstanding Achievement, Favourite French and Favourite English creator.

As we are beginning our work in compiling the eligible comics for the 2012 Awards, the discussion has begun on the subject of Award categories. I’ve nothing to announce at present, other than over the next couple of weeks we will be hopefully deciding which of our current categories will continue on into the next Awards season and which ones will be put “On Hiatus”.

2011 Categories included:

Outstanding Artist/Artist Team
Outstanding Cartoonist
Outstanding Colourist
Outstanding Cover Artist
Outstanding Publisher
Outstanding Webcomics Creator/Creative Team
Outstanding Writer
Comics for Kids Award for Material Aimed at Younger Readers
Gene Day Award for Self-Publishing
Harry Kremer Award for Comic Book Retailing
Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame

The Webcomics Award is something that is being discussed – should webcomics (one of the most popular and well regarded awards) be retired and incorporated into the other categories (which have been exclusively for printed, distributed works)? It’s something we are debating internally so we’d love to read your thoughts on the subject.

Generally we are looking to maintain the same number of awards in 2012 — 12.

If you have any suggestions, thoughts or recommendations, please reply to this post or email me at


11 thoughts on “Deciding the 2012 Categories

  1. I would like to see a Best Canadian Series/Graphic Novel, which would include projects that may or may not be published by a Canadian company but be primarily driven by Canadian (examples would include SKULLKICKERS, KILL SHAKESPEARE, ONE DAY, INFINITE KUNG FU). Let’s bring attention to specific Canadian projects that are succeeding.

  2. Logically Web comic awards should be expanded. We have writer, artists, etc.. awards for print comics but only 1 award for webcomic. If the writing or art is top notch on a webcomic, but the other stuff is only so-so, is it fair that a webcomic that doesn’t have the “best” writing or art get the award? The same goes for kids material award. Those things are judged as a whole while print comics are broken down.

    It’s almost too bad we need to separate Kids and Web comics from print comics. I do understand why though, the web is a really different “market” and most web comics are written and drawn differently than Direct Market books. Even some established print creators work in a different style for web. Kids comics we want to promote and without a separate award it’s likely they’ll be overlooked vs. more “serious” and/or complex material.

    What’s less logical is my temptation to propose a best writer (and maybe artist) category for licensed material. Generally when it comes down to picking the award for writer I suspect those that do original material will always win out over those doing licensed work, just because they had to create (or co-create) everything and make it great vs those who are working with already established characters, story types, tone and structures. Artists I think get a little less bias here as their work are judged on multiple fronts that usually has little to do with whether the book is licensed or not, except in cases where the licensed “house” style is fairly ridged.

    All that said I’m not sure which of the above awards we would “retire” in favor of new awards.

    Whatever you do, don’t make the awards ceremony longer than the Eisner’s. I don’t think even energizer batteries will last that long :)

  3. One existing award category has already been cut for 2012 and another is on the chopping block.

    Delivery system is important, but many of the webcomics creators have stepped forward and stated that they want to be judged for their work on equal footing with print creators which is why we’re discussing this.

    The problem as I see it is that most webcomics have more in common with newspaper strips than they do with comic books and graphic novels. One suggestion that has been made is that we do away with webcomics as a category on it’s own and replace it with Outstanding Comic Strip (print or web) by a Canadian creator/creative team. Those webcomics that don’t qualify as Comic Strips (say a serialized graphic novel or short story would then be considered in the other categories). Another option is to just split webcomics into Comic Strips and have another category for other webcomics content.

    With publishers moving to day and date digital publishing, the line between digital or webcomics and print comics is blurring.

  4. Kevin, I wasn’t at the 2011 awards so I didn’t know how long it was (but you know that). The joke was more of a poke at the Eisner’s than at the JSA’s.

    I’m just thinking out loud here…

    hmm.. how many newspaper strips are done by Canadians? Other then FBofW which IIRC is in modified reruns right now? I haven’t been paying attention.

    It’s a tricky thing web comics, mainly because they are so diverse. You have the joke a day types which are more common, but then you’ve got creators essentially doing GNs that go up a page at a time. Do the page at a time folks want to be in the same category as the newspaper comic strips?

    I can see a web comics creator wanting be known as Best Writer or Artist if the print award winners are treated like the “real” winners, while the webcomic winners are treated like the winners of a substandard category (not by the awards, but by the comics community – fans, media and pro’s).

    I suspect the gag a day webcomic artists will get looked over if they are lumped in with print comics artists. The really good print artists that are doing great pages on the web (especially in a different but also great style) will likely really benefit though.

    I suppose awards for comic strip and comic page (for lack of a better term) could be done that could cross web and print – strip can be newspapers and strip comics, Page would be print and page web comics. Only problem is if somebody starts doing web comics that fit neither description. There might already be some I’m not aware of.

  5. I think the perception among some creators is that they are “ghetto-ized” in a substandard webcomics category — they fell artist should compete with artist, cartoonist with cartoonist, etc. As an organizer I see short (one off gag strips, often with recurring characters) and I see long (serialized storytelling whether a page a day, an issue a month or in a single volume graphic novel). I think in a one on one comparison that those who do shorts will get the short end of the stick. As for newspaper/magazine strips, there’s Sandra Bell-Lundy’s Between Friends, the strips that people like Steve Manale and Brian Maclachlan do for Owl Magazine, If we were to go down that route I’m sure we would find more although I would anticipate the majority reviewed to be webcomics strips.

    Quite a few people look at our list of categories and assume that our ceremony is as long and drawn out as the Eisners, and they typically run ceremonies that are 4 or more hours long. Because you made the comparison I’m pointing out that in previous years we’ve kept it under two hours and this year we broke the speed of sound and did it in under an hour.

  6. The Eisner’s typically run about 3 hours, sometimes a little over. Or at least they have in the last 4 years I’ve been there. Not only do they have a lot of categories, they also have a *lot* of presenters. First the Master of Ceremonies who presents the presenter(s), then they come on and present the specific award presenter(s), a different one for every award. After 3 awards the Master of Ceremonies comes on again and it starts all over again. This repeats over and over again until the show is done.

    Most of them do a joke bit or make some sort of statement and eventually one of them does something really grand (and long) in hopes of getting the big laugh/moment of the show that just makes people groan and wince in how much it’s stretching out the awards. There is usually a few jokes about the length of the show and there is always at least one person who very quickly does their bit just to help get to the end of the show quicker.

    While most of the people stay in the VIP seats up front stay till the end, a significant amount do leave after the 2 hour mark.

  7. I’ve gone every year since 2003 and the format has been the same as you described, so at least it’s consistent, I don’t think I’ve made it to the end of any more than two of them in all those years because that format drags on and on. The music cues are relentless. I’m usually out at the two hour mark.

  8. Ha, somebody made a joke last year went along the lines of “The band is great, it’s too bad they only know 1 song.”

    Based on the laughs and the reaction of the organizers I suspect they’re going to mix up the music next year.

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