Stan Lee Excelsior Award
The shortlist has been announced for the 2012 Stan Lee Excelsior Award, whose winners will be selected by students from 77 secondary schools across the United Kingdom.
Established in 2011 by Paul Register, a school librarian in Sheffield, the awards are designed to promote comics and to encourage children and teenagers to read. The winners — first, second and third place — will be announced in July during a ceremony at Ecclesfield School in Sheffield. The nominees are:
• Peter Panzerfaust: The Great Escape, by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Tyler Jenkins (Image Comics)
• Wonder Woman: Blood, by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang and Tony Akins (DC Comics)
• Strontium Dog: The Life and Death of Johnny Apple, by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra (Rebellion/2000AD)
• Soul Eater Not! Vol. 1, by Atsushi Ohkubo (Yen Press)
• X-O Manowar: By the Sword, by Robert Venditti and Cary Nord (Valiant)
• Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, by Sean Michael Wilson and Declan Shalvey (Classic Comics)
• Supergirl: Last Daughter of Krypton, by Michael Green, Mike Johnson and Mahmud Asrar (DC Comics)
• Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Change Is Constant, by Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz and Dan Duncan (IDW Publishing)
What, you’ve never heard of the Stan Lee Excelsior Award? Well then, you must not be a teenager in the U.K. The awards were started last year by a teacher in Sheffield, and students in 17 different schools voted for their favorite graphic novels. This year, 66 schools participated. The books must be suitable for readers aged 11-16, and yes, Stan Lee did authorize the use of his name, although other than that he doesn’t seem to be personally involved (however, the website does say organizers work closely with the Stan Lee Foundation).
Here’s what’s interesting about this shortlist: It reflects what tweens and teens are actually reading, as opposed to what the adult gatekeepers think they should be reading. That means the list is fascinatingly eclectic and also devoid of any award winners — I know when I was a kid, that foil Newbery Award seal was the kiss of death. Things don’t seem to have changed much. Here’s the 2012 shortlist: