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‘Saga,’ ‘xkcd’ among 2014 Hugo Awards finalists

saga-v2The finalists were announced today for the 2014 Hugo Awards, which recognize the best in science fiction and fantasy.

Presented annually since 1955 by the World Science Fiction Society, the Hugo is among science fiction’s most prestigious awards. The winners will be presented Aug. 17 in London during Loncon 3. The nominees for best graphic story are:

Girl Genius, Vol. 13: Agatha Heterodyne & The Sleeping City, by Phil Foglio, Kaja Foglio and Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
•  “The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who,” by Paul Cornell and  Jimmy Broxton (Doctor Who Special 2013, IDW Publishing)
The Meathouse Man, adapted from the story by George R.R. Martin and illustrated by Raya Golden (Jet City Comics)
Saga, Vol. 2, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics )
“Time,” Randall Munroe (xkcd)

In addition, Staples and Daniel Dos Santos, whose work includes covers for Fables, Serenity: Leaves in the Wind and Tomb Raider, were nominated for best professional artist.

The first volume of Saga won the best graphic story category last year.

Comics A.M. | ‘Attack on Titan’ Vol. 13 sells 1.4M copies in first week

Attack on Titan, Vol. 13

Attack on Titan, Vol. 13

Manga | The 13th volume of Hajime Isayama’s hit dystopian fantasy Attack on Titan sold 1.4 million copies in Japan during its first week of release: 1.13 million copies of the regular edition, and 270,000 of a special edition that includes the original video animation. Kodansha ordered a 2.75 million-copy initial print run, a record not only for the series but for the publisher as well. The 66th volume of One Piece holds the record in Japan for highest sales in the first week with nearly 2.3 million copies. [Crunchyroll]

Publishing | Darren Davis of Bluewater Productions, talks about the evolution of his company and the origin story of its Female Force bio-comics line: “[W]e saw a comic book done of Barack Obama and John McCain during the 2008 elections, and my partner joked and said, ‘Why don’t we do Hillary?’ And I thought, oh my God, that’s a brilliant idea.So I thought, let’s do this, but let’s do it differently. Let’s not do it like everyone else, with a boring biography. We did it with a female empowerment angle. We released Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin at the same time, and whether you like Sarah Palin or hate Hillary Clinton, you have to respect both of them for where they came from and who they are.” [The Beaverton Leader]

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Eyeing the Eisners: a look at the 2014 nominees

The Oatmeal

The Oatmeal by Matthew Inman

One of my favorite times of the year is here: the announcement of the nominees for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. I love poring over each category to look for surprises, seeing books I never heard of or never got a chance to read. I guess when you get right down to it, I love getting to celebrate awesome comics.

It seems that with each year, the Eisners get better at reflecting the comics art form and industry at that moment. The judges not only hit the fan favorites and critical darlings, but also unexpected choices and hidden gems that truly benefit from this kind of recognition. It’s where quality instead of sales rule, as it should be for an award recognizing the very best of the industry.

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Comics A.M. | What Amazon-comiXology deal means (and what it doesn’t)

Amazon buys comiXology

Amazon buys comiXology

Digital comics | In today’s Amazon-acquires-comiXology article, Rachel Edidin deflates much of the hype, and the panic, surrounding the deal, pointing out that comics distribution is already a monopoly, large corporations already run the comics market, and comics have been available on Kindle all along: “Is the concern [...] a distribution monopoly? If so, the direct market is in no position to criticize: over the last 15 years, Diamond Comics Distributors has consumed almost all independent print distribution in comics, and dictates practices and policy to retailers and publishers alike. The idea that print comics are somehow more independent than their digital cousins — or a scrappy underdog fighting the good fight against evil corporate profiteers — is frankly ridiculous.” [Wired]

Awards | Michael Cavna talks with Kevin Siers of the Charlotte Observer about winning the Pulitzer Prize in cartooning. [Comic Riffs]

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Comics A.M. | Examining implications of Amazon-comiXology deal

Amazon and comiXology

Amazon and comiXology

Digital comics | Jeff Gomez examines the implications of Amazon’s planned acquisition of comiXology, opining that it will give comics a wider reach but also force publishers of superhero fare to broaden their appeal beyond the core demographic: “The books will now be exposed to millions of newcomers, so it will behoove major publishers to make their stories more female-friendly, streamlined, and accessible. With comiXology’s new aim to make ‘every person on the planet a comics fan,’ publishers will need to consider new genres, greater variety, and more varied age groups.” [Business Insider]

Digital comics | ComiXology will continue to offer its Digital Storefronts for retailers, and it will not allow Amazon to target users of its Pull List service with its own offers, according to spokesman Chip Mosher. Also, no changes are planned to comiXology’s other retailer tools. [ICv2]

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‘Young Avengers’ takes home a GLAAD Media Award

young-avengers1-kiss

Marvel’s latest Young Avengers series by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie has won a GLAAD Media Award for “Outstanding Comic Book.” The awards were presented last night in Los Angeles.

Young Avengers, which featured Loki, Miss America, Marvel Boy, Kate Bishop/Hawkeye and the homosexual couple Wiccan and Hulkling, wrapped up with its 15th issue in January. In addition to Gillen and McKelvie, other creators who worked on the book include Mike Norton, Kris Anka, Stephen Thompson, Becky Cloonan, Ming Doyle, Joe Quinones, Matthew Wilson, Jordie Bellaire, Maris Wicks, Lee Loughridge, Clayton Cowles, Lauren Sankovitch and Jake Thomas.

The awards honor outstanding portrayals of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities in various media. Other nominees this year included Batwoman, which won two years ago; The Fearless Defenders; Husbands and Life With Archie. The original Young Avengers series won in 2006, while Avengers: The Children’s Crusade was nominated in 2011 and 2012, and Young Avengers Presents in 2009.

You can find a complete list of winners on the GLAAD site.

Glyph Comics Awards unveils 2014 nominees

molly danger

The nominees have been announced for the 2014 Glyph Comics Awards, which recognize “the best in comics made by, for, and about people of color from the preceding calendar year.” The winners will be announced May 16 at the 13th annual East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention in Philadelphia.

The nominees are:

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Comics A.M. | Protesters rally against cuts to SC colleges

fun home2Graphic novels | An estimated 200 students, faculty and community members gathered Saturday at the College of Charleston in South Carolina to protest proposed budget cuts to that school and the University of South Carolina Upstate in retaliation for selecting gay-themed books — including Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home — for their summer reading programs. The South Carolina House of Representatives approved a proposal early this month that would slash $52,000 cut from the College of Charleston and $17,142 for USC Upstate, which represent what each school spent on the programs. The budget is now before the state Senate. [The Post and Courier]

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Finalists announced for 2014 Doug Wright Awards

Very Casual

Very Casual

The finalists have been announced for the 2014 Doug Wright Awards, which recognize the best in English-language comics by Canadians. The awards are named for Doug Wright, the late cartoonist whose strip Doug Wright’s Family appeared for more than 30 years in newspapers across the country.

The winners will be announced at Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) on May 10.

Best Book:

  • Palookaville #21 by Seth (Drawn and Quarterly)
  • Paul Joins the Scouts by Michel Rabagliati (Conundrum Press)
  • Science Fiction by Joe Ollmann (Conundrum Press)
  • Susceptible by Geneviève Castrée (Drawn and Quarterly)
  • Very Casual by Michael DeForge (Koyama Press)

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Kanigher, Mantlo and Mendelsohn to receive Bill Finger Award

finger-recipients

Robert Kanigher, Bill Mantlo and Jack Mendelsohn have been named the recipients of the 2014 Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Writing, named in honor of the uncredited co-creator of Batman.

Although the committee typically selects one posthumous and one living honoree, this year it voted to recognize two living creators, Mantlo and Mendelsohn.

“This year, the judges couldn’t decide between two living recipients so one said, ‘Why don’t we just give it to both of them?’ And we decided to give it to both of them,” committee chair Mark Evanier explained in a statement. “They’re two men who deserve the honor and we figured, why make one of them wait until next year, especially in light of the fact that Bill Finger would have turned 100 this year? And as for our posthumous recipient, Robert Kanigher, that one’s long overdue.”

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Comics A.M. | Emerald City, and the future of ‘geek culture’

Emerald City Comicon

Emerald City Comicon

Conventions | Rob Salkowitz, who wrote a book about Comic-Con International, looks forward to this weekend’s sold-out Emerald City Comicon, and explains why it represents the convention of the future: “One reason ECCC is such an ideal place to talk about the future of comics is because the show itself looks like the future of comics–at least the one that I call ‘The Expanding Multiverse.’ Supportive of creators and celebrities alike, embracing the broadest conception of styles and subjects from indie work to mainstream superheroes, self-consciously diverse and inclusive in its conception of fandom, ECCC and shows like it represent a sustainable path forward for geek culture in an age of super-saturation and sensory overload.” Salkowitz will be a participant, not just a fan: He has developed a programming track on comics and digital culture that will feature a number of people (IDW’s Ted Adams, Monkeybrain’s Alison Baker) giving short presentations, similar to the format and spirit of TED Talks. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Winter pours cold water on comics’ hot streak

Batman #28

Batman #28

Comics sales | ICv2 unpacks February’s miserable direct market sales numbers a bit, noting that for the second month in a row just one comic — in this case, Batman #28 — sold more than 100,000 copies, indicating weakness at the top of the list. Since September 2011, when the most recent “growth spurt” began, at least two comics have sold more than 100,000 copies each month; however, that streak ended with the first two months of 2014. One cause of the poor sales may be the unusually cold winter, which meant higher heating bills and thus less disposable income for some folks. ICv2 also has a separate analysis of dollar sales and the charts of the top 300 comics and graphic novels of the month. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Silver Spoon,’ and the rise of … farming manga?

Silver Spoon

Silver Spoon

Manga | In Japan, as elsewhere, people would rather read about farming than actually do it; agriculture has become a popular topic for manga, and the Agriculture Ministry recently announced an award for manga that raise interest in farming. The article mainly focuses on Hiromu Arakawa’s Silver Spoon, which has recently been made into a movie; Arakawa is also the creator of Fullmetal Alchemist, a fact the article omits. [The Wall Street Journal]

Awards | Silver Spoon was on of the 10 nominees for this year’s Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize; two manga that are published in English, Attack on Titan and Animal Land, also made the list. [Anime News Network]

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Taiyo Matsumoto and Emily Carroll win Cartoonist Studio Prize

"Out of Skin," by Emily Carroll

“Out of Skin,” by Emily Carroll

Taiyo Matsumoto and Emily Carroll are the recipients of the second annual Cartoonist Studio Prize, presented by The Slate Book Review and the Center for Cartoon Studies.

The two were selected by The Slate Book Review editor Dan Kois, the faculty and students of CCS and this year’s guest judge, Chris Butcher, manager of The Beguiling in Toronto and co-founder of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Each winner receives $1,000.

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‘Fifth Beatle,’ ‘Artifice’ among Lambda Literary Award finalists

Fifth BeatleThe finalists have been announced for the Lambda Literary Awards, which this year debuts a graphic novels category. No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics was selected in 2013 as best anthology, marking the first time a graphic novel had one in that division.

Now in their 26th year, the Lambda Literary Awards celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender writing for books published in the previous. The finalists in the graphic novel category are:

  • Artifice, by Alex Woolfson and Winona Nelson (AMW Comics)
  • Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir, by Nicole J. Georges (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Duck! Second Chances, by Tana Ford (Bang A Left)
  • The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, Kyle Baker and Steve Dutro (Dark Horse/M Press)

The winners will be announced June 2 during a ceremony held in New York City.


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