One bit of pigeon-holing I will always argue against is that the Joe Shuster Awards are mainstream (i.e. superhero) comics awards and it’s a shame that we were identified in that manner in the one book out there on Canadian comics, I think we prove — year after year after year — that we are as inclusive of all published and distributed comics featuring work by Canadians as possible and we go beyond that by including webcomics and self-published works. In certain categories there may be more genre comics featured than in others, but in others you’ll see more works by creators producing personal works, there is room for both. Which is why I always argue that we are an inclusive award, not a mainstream one.
One thing that the awards intend to do is support comics retailers, and we also have the retailer award, of course, to showcase some great shops across the country. In the core categories we nominate creators whose books can be ordered, promoted and sold to your clients. In some cases (BD, certain books not orderable from Diamond) they are not easily obtainable, but we can certainly point retailers in the right direction to carry those nominated and winning books. Canadian retailers should consider including works in other languages to expand their customer base, and since we are a bilingual nation, having both languages featured makes some sense (and you can see the work being produced in both languages is fantastic), so I urge retailers to look at everything nominated.
The only disappointing aspect of what we do with the awards is that we have to narrow the lists down to a select number of nominees. In some categories there are dozens of creators who could easily be among the top seven or eight, but because we can only have 7 (or 8) nominees each year some people will not be included. You may see a person win one year, and then not be nominated the following year – because the awards are for outstanding creators – it isn’t a competition for best, but for finding work that “stands out” on the racks and shelves, and online.
Watch for the official nominees announcement next week on this site, nominees will be announced on Saturday, June 5 at a panel at the Niagara Falls Comic Con.