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.
Jim Woodring is a Finalist for the second year in a row, this time for his wonderfully surreal and bizarre graphic novel Congress of the Animals, published by Fantagraphics Books. The story stars Frank, a cartoon character that exists in a mostly wordless world that seems to spring forth from some kind of LSD trip. Here, Frank leaves that world, which has kept him free from lasting change or repercussions, to go on a harrowing journey that may prevent him from returning home.
Congress of the Animals has already garnered impressive acclaim from some of the industry’s most respected institutions. The French edition was the winner of the Special Jury Prize at Europe’s largest celebration of comic books, Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême. It has also helped Jim Woodring receive a nomination for Best Writer/Artist for this year’s Eisner Awards. He was also nominated for Best Short Story for his “Harvest of Fears” in The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror #17. In the past, he’s won Harvey Awards for Best Story and Best Colorist, and an Inkpot Award for Comic Art. The Artist Trust has both awarded him a grant and recognized him with a Fellowship Award in Visual Arts. He’s a Fellow of the United States Artists, which also helped him fund the creation of a giant steel dip pen (yes really!), and is projected to fund his Congress of the Animals up-coming sequel Fran.
Last year, Woodring was also one of the featured panelists at the LA Times Festival of Books and spoke about his graphic novel Weathercraft, which was a Finalist for that year’s LA Times Book Prize for Graphic Novel. So it’s clear the judges like him. Will this be the year he take home the Prize?
Today we’re taking a look at the nominees for Best Continuing Series category.
The 2011 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards released their nominees for excellence in comic books for the previous year recently. A panel of 6 judges made up of professionals throughout the industry selected the nominees. People throughout the industry will now begin voting on the nominees. Winners will be announced at the award show put on at this summer’s huge Comic-Con International convention in San Diego. The Eisners are basically the comic book equivalent of the film industry’s Academy Awards, TV’s Emmy Awards, music’s Grammy Awards, and theater’s Tony Awards, so it deserves a closer look.
I’m breaking down the nominees in each category, providing context and background info, and giving links to Amazon and other sites so you can buy your own copy, if possible. I can’t read everything, so lots of this stuff passed by me or is on my way-too-high to-read pile, so I’m going to avoid saying what “should” win. (I’m also pretty bad at predicting award show winners, so I’m not going to bother embarrassing myself.) Please feel free to post your predictions, preferences, opinions, or questions.
Best Continuing Series
- Chew, by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image)
- Echo, by Terry Moore (Abstract Studio)
- Locke & Key, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
- Morning Glories, by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma (Shadowline/Image)
- Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, by Naoki Urasawa (VIZ Media)
- Scalped, by Jason Aaron and R. M. Guéra (Vertigo/DC)
Take a closer look with the click through:
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