It took a lot longer than we would have liked but here are your 2021 winners for works published in 2020. 2020 itself was a challenging time as the world insulated itself to limit the spread of the global pandemics. Canadian comic creators, publishers and retailers were all impacted by mandated store closures and a bunch of significant changes to the direct market as Diamond shut down for a time and DC Comics explored alternative distribution methods. Many Canadian comics shops did not survive this tumultuous time, but others stepped up to help, like our 2020 Harry Kremer award winning store Heroes World, who teamed with previous winners The Dragon, Gotham Central and other retailers across the country to raise money to help those in need. With no conventions and events, creators turned online to use the tools available to sell their books books and commissions.
That being said, 2020 was still a solid year for Canadian comics from all quarters. As we started work on these awards, the world started to come back to life again, in fits and starts, so it was a lot more difficult to organize, especially as work started to pick up again. Three categories are on hold this year: cover artist, webcomics, and anthology collection (the latter due to limited submissions). All of the other categories required tough decisions, in particular the Gene Day Award which had four strong contenders.
Congratulations to all of the winners. We hope to get the 2022 awards (for 2021) sorted out in a much timelier manner later this year.
- Jamal Campbell – Far Sector (DC Comics)
- Jeik Dion – Aliss (Alire/Front Froid)
- Jason Fabok – Batman: Three Jokers (DC Comics)
- Keet Geniza – Kimiko Does Cancer: A Graphic Memoir (Arsenal Pulp)
- Scott B. Henderson with Donovan Yaciuk (colours) – The Reckoner Rises Book 1: Breakdown, A Girl Called Echo Vol. 3: Northwest Rebellion (HighWater Press)
- Denis Rodier – La Bombe (Glenat)
- Julie Rocheleau – Traverser l’autoroute (La Pastèque)
- Ty Templeton – Batman: The Adventures Continue (DC Comics)
WINNER: Jason Fabok: Batman – Three Jokers (DC Comics)
- Sophie Bienvenu – Traverser l’autoroute (La Pastèque)
- Jeff Lemire – Ascender, Family Tree, Gideon Falls (Image Comics), Colonel Weird: Cosmagog, Skulldigger and Skeleton Boy (Dark Horse), Immortal Hulk: The Threshing Place (Marvel Comics), The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage, The Joker: Killer Smile (DC Comics)
- Jed Mackay – Black Cat, Spider-Verse, Taskmaster (Marvel Comics)
- Patrick Senécal – Aliss (Alire/Front Froid)
- Tasha Spillett – Surviving the City Vol. 2: From the Roots Up (HighWater Press)
- Kimiko Tobumatsu – Kimiko Does Cancer: A Graphic Memoir (Arsenal Pulp)
- Chip Zdarsky – Daredevil, X-Men/Fantastic Four, Doom 2099 Vol. 2, Incoming, Lords of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling (Marvel Comics), Stillwater (Image Comics), Dark Knights Death Metal Guidebook, Detective Comics 1027 (DC Comics)
WINNER: Kimiko Tobimatsu: Kimiko Does Cancer: A Graphic Memoir (Arsenal Pulp)
- Kaare Andrews – E-Ratic (AWA)
- Sweeney Boo – Eat, and Love Yourself (Boom! Studios)
- Scott Chantler – Bix (Simon and Schuster)
- Michael DeForge – Familiar Face (Drawn & Quarterly)
- Mélanie Leclerc – Temps Libre (Mecanique Generale)
- Mirion Malle – C’est comme ça que je disparais (Pow Pow) / This is How I Disappear (Drawn & Quarterly – translated in 2021)
- Michel Rabagliati – Paul à la maison (La Pastèque) / Paul at Home (Drawn & Quarterly)
- Mireille St-Pierre – La Brume (Front Froid)
WINNER: Michel Rabagliati: Paul à la maison (La Pastèque) / Paul at Home (Drawn & Quarterly)
GENE DAY AWARD FOR SELF-PUBLISHED COMIC
The Gene Day Award for Self-Publishing honours Canadian comic book creators who self-published their work during the previous year (up to the submission end date). In order to qualify you must be a citizen and current resident of Canada.
- The Gathering Place #2 by Nelson Caetano (Junction Comics Group)
- Hall of the Turnip King by Brenda Hickey (PegaMoose Press)
- Commander Rao by Fell Hound (Fell Hound)
- Angora Napkin “The Golden McGuffin” by Troy Little (PegaMoose Press)
- Group of 7: A Most Secret Tale by Chris Sanagan and Jason Lapidus (Group of 7 Comics)
- Dwellings #1 by Jay Stephens (Black Eye Books)
- Sokos #1 by Rhett Stevenson and Harriett Cornes (Living Skies Comics)
- Ice Massacre: The Graphic Novel Vol. 1 by Tiana Warner, April Pierce, Rachel Petrovicz (Rogue Cannon Publishing)
- The Last Band on Earth #1 by Elaine M. Will (Cuckoo’s Nest Press)
- The Heir by RB White (RB White)
WINNER: Elaine M. Will: The Last Band on Earth #1 (Cuckoo’s Nest Press)
THE DRAGON AWARD (COMICS FOR YOUNGER READERS)
This award recognizes the works which capture the attention and fascination of young readers, and help to create a passion for life-long reading. Works considered for this award are comic books and graphic novels by Canadian creators that are targeted at readers 14 and under. Nominees for this award are selected by a team of educators led by Jennifer Haines, MA, B.Ed., who is the proprietor of The Dragon comic book shop locations in Guelph and Milton, Ontario.
- One Year at Ellsmere Faith Erin Hicks (First Second)
- Planet Hockey: First Star of the Game J. Torres and Tim Levins (Scholastic)
- Science Comics: Crows – Genius Birds Kyla Vanderklugt (First Second)
- Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer Gillian Goerz (Penguin Random House)
- Weirn Books vol.1 Svetlana Chmakova (Yen Press)
- Pauline, une petite place pour poi Anouk Mahiout et Marjolaine Perreten (Comme des Geants)
- Mimose & Sam Tome 3: Mission Hibernation Cathon (Comme des Geants)
WINNER: Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer: Gillian Goerz (Dial Books)
THE HARRY KREMER AWARD
Named after Harry Kremer, the original owner of Now & Then Books (in Kitchener, Ontario). The CCBCAA maintains a list of active comic book stores across the country and a database of recommendations, referrals and secret shopper reports. Once a store wins the award they join an existing network of stores from across the nation that have been recognized for their outstanding service to the comics community.
WINNER: Heroes World (Markham, Ontario)
TM MAPLE AWARD (COMMUNITY AWARD)
The T.M. Maple Award will go to someone (living or deceased) selected from the Canadian comics community for achievements made outside of the creative and retail categories who have had a positive impact on the community.
WILLIAM “BILL” PAUL (1955-2021)
Best remembered as London, Ontario’s Town Crier, or for calling people on their birthdays singing Happy Birthday, but the late Bill Paul was an active member of comics fandom in southern and south western Ontario and was also involved in the Joe Shuster Awards in our earliest years.
A devoted comics fan, Bill had a respected fanzine called Media Five in the early 1970’s. He also published a comic called “Andromeda”, hosted a comics convention at the University of Western Ontario, had a weekly radio show that ran for decades called Straight Talk where he interviewed many SF and comic book authors and creators.
Paul also created and ran a group called the Laffguards that ran security many comic book and science fiction conventions. The Laffguards expanded to provide security at all kinds of London, ON based community events and continue to this day.
HALL OF FAME
HO CHE ANDERSON (1969-)
Ho Che Anderson was born London, UK, but moved to Canada with his family when he was five years old. He was named after the Vietnamese and Cuban revolutionaries Ho Chi Minh and Che Guevara. He has become one of the most prominent artists of black American comix, and is affiliated with Fantagraphics Books. Ho Che Anderson authored the impressive comix biography ‘King” on Martin Luther King, the erotic ‘I Want to be your Dog‘ in 1996. He co-produced the grungy subculture series ‘Pop Life‘ (1998) in collaboration with fellow artist Wilfred Santiago. His latest graphic novel, Godhead, was published in 2018.
DENIS RODIER (1963-)
Denis Rodier has worked on such world famous characters as Batman, Captain America and Wonder Woman, to name but a few. It was his stellar work on SUPERMAN, however, that garnered Rodier his greatest acclaim, especially on the award winning ”Death of Superman” story arc, to this day, still considered the best seller in the comic book / trade-paperback category.
Since 2008, Denis has mainly worked with European publishers. His first offering is L’Ordre des Dragons books with writer Jean-Luc Istin for SOLEIL/DELCOURTwith its follow up, L’Apogée des Dragons, this time with Éric Corbeyran as a collaborator.
After finishing a LENIN biography for GLÉNAT, Denis completes Maelstrom (now called Arale and published by DARGAUD) with the help of writer Tristan Roulot. La Bombe (Glénat), a 450 pages documentary graphic novel about the making of the A bomb, was published in 2020 with writers Didier Alcante and Laurent-Frédéric Bollée. Télérama hails it as a reference on the subject and the book after being reprinted many times is due to be translated into other languages.
His work has been exhibited in New York, Rome, Belgium, Trois-Rivières and the Québec Museum of Art.
RONN SUTTON (1952-)
Ronn Sutton is a freelance artist from Ottawa, who has worked in comic, animation, illustration, and other related fields. Sutton started his comics career around 1970. In 1972 he moved to New York where he met Bernie Wrightson and ghosted work for Howard Chaykin, Neal Adams and others. Sutton started focusing on design and eventually became creative director for Canadian magazine Tribute, an occupation he held for over six years. At the same time, he continued to make comics for publications such as ‘Vortex’, ‘Ronn Sutton’s Starbikers’, ‘T-Minus-l’ and ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.’. During the 1990s, Ronn Sutton worked extensively in the animation industry, and also on comics projects like ‘Oz Squad’, ‘Sex & Death’, ‘Draculina’s Cozy Coffin’, ‘Vamperotica’ and ‘Song of the Sirens’.
Sutton has often worked together with writer/artist Janet Hetherington since the early 1990s. Together, they made the newspaper strip ‘Jannie Weezie’ for The Ottowa Citizen, the comic book ‘Perf & Gauge’ and ‘Spinnerette’, among others. Over a nine year period (1997-2006) Sutton drew comic book stories for nearly 50 issues of ‘Elvira, Mistress of the Dark’ for Claypool Comics. Since then he has drawn issues of detective ‘Honey West’, ‘Fear Agent’, ‘The Phantom’, ‘Kolchak, the Night Stalker’, ‘Vampira’ and others, as well as online romance, adventure, historical and humor comics. He has illustrated approximately 200 comic books during his career so far.
In 2014, Sutton drew ‘Lucifers Sword MC: Life & Death in an Outlaw Motorcycle Club’, a 96 page graphic novel written by Phil Cross, an active member of the Hells Angels since the early 1970s. As a personal project, Ronn Sutton has been adapting the Leigh Brackett story ‘The Citadel of Lost Ships’ (first published in Planet Stories pulp magazine, March 1943) into a graphic novel in between other better paying comic assignments.
Recently, Sutton has been adapting the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs as online comics for which he has been nominated for a Joe Shuster Award.
ABOUT THE AWARDS ASSOCIATION
The Joe Shuster, Gene Day, Dragon, Harry Kremer, TM Maple and Hall of Fame Awards are organized and presented by the Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards Association (established in 2004). For more information please contact Awards Director Kevin Boyd at firstname.lastname@example.org