LA Times Book Prize Finalist Spotlight – Finder: Voice by Carla Speed McNeil
The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes are a set of awards for excellence in literature held annually since 1980. They are given to books published in the United States within the previous calendar year by a living author(s). Winners receive a citation and $500 for each category. The finalists for each category were announced recently, and the Graphic Novel category, the newest to be added to the prestigious prizes, has an impressive line-up. The Comics Observer looks at each Graphic Novel finalist in the build-up to the award ceremony April 20.
Carla Speed McNeil‘s latest installment in her long-running “aboriginal science-fiction” series, Finder, is the graphic novel Finder: Voice. Since 1996, McNeil has been building an intricate, fully realized world far in our future but with dribs and drabs of our modern culture. Complex social structures and classes provide a rock solid foundation to the ongoing story of the restless rogue Jaeger and the broken family he’s compelled to help. Finder: Voice focuses on Rachel Grosvenor, the eldest daughter of that family, and her journey through the dark side of town to gain acceptance into a high society clan.
McNeil has been self-publishing Finder under her own Light Speed Press since 1996, but in 2005 she shifted the serialization of the story to the web. Finder: Voice is the first book to contain previously web-only pages, and also the first new publication from McNeil’s partnership with Dark Horse Comics. The online version of the story was completed in late 2008 and won an Eisner Award for Best Webcomic. Prior to that, McNeil won two New Talent awards in 1998 (the Lulu Awards‘ Kim Yale Award for Best New Talent and Ignatz Award for Promising New Talent), and Finder won the Ignatz Award for Outstanding Series two years in a row (2004 and 2005). The black-and-white series as a whole has won tons of rave reviews (Finder: Voice was named one of the Best Comics of 2011 by Comics Alliance), praise from other creators, and has an enthusiastic following which has seemed to only grow since it became a webcomic.
But despite all of that, McNeil and her sci-fi series has only gotten limited recognition outside of the comics world. Will the LA Times Book Prize judges make the bold proclamation to the rest of the world that this is a piece of work worthy of attention? Is it good enough to represent the best in graphic novels and comics in 2011? We’ll find out April 20th.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Carla Speed McNeil for winning the 2011 LA Times Book Prize for Graphic Novel.
Posted on April 13, 2012, in News and Analysis and tagged Carla Speed McNeil, Dark Horse Comics, Finder, Finder: Voice, LA Times Book Prizes, Light Speed Press, Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.