Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Ignatz Brick, A Foundation of the Industry

Aside from the American Eisner Award and Harvey Awards, the British Eagle Awards, the French Angoulême International Comics Festival Awards, and the Brazilian Troféu HQ Mix, one important award recognizes an often overlooked aspect of comics, small or independent publishers. Enter: The Ignatz Awards.

The Ignatz Awards is named after a mighty mouse from the Krazy Kat news strip by George Herriman. The original Ignatz Awards were part of now defunct OrlandoCon from 1974 until 1980s. The award was revised and reformulated to be a part of the 1997 Small Press Expo. 

The Ignatz “recognizes outstanding work that challenges popular notions of what comics can achieve, both as an art form and as a means of personal expression. ”
The official ballot is created by panel of five cartoonists and voted on by attendees of the festival. The jurors of the year before are responsible for finding a new jury of five cartoonists. The awards recognize the outstanding. Awards are given for the best anthology or collection, graphic novel, outstanding series, comic, story, minicomic, and online comic- recognizing a growing and influential trend for cartoonists. They also award promising new talent.

The awards are given at the Small Press Expo(SPX)- comics and graphic arts festival. At this festival only creators and publishers are allowed to exhibit. The show also features special guests and signings, speakers, lectures and question and answer rounds with industry greats. It takes place on the Washington DC in Bethesda, Maryland.
Past winners include Craig Thomspon’s Blankets(Top Shelf Productions)in 1994,Dave Sim’s Cerebus(Aardvark-Vanaheim) in 1998, Love and Rockets(Fantagraphics Books) by the Hernandez Bros in 2012,  Skim(Groundwood Books) by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki in 2008, and From Hell(Kitchen Sink Press) by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell in 1997.

Last year’s SPX has 250 debuts. ComicBeat detailed the 2013 winners of the Award. 

The submissions regulations can be viewed here (independent comics are accepted). Submissions will be accepted by Big Planet Comics by late May. Winners will be announced when SPX takes place September 13 and 14, 2014. Winners will be given an Ignatz Brick…a trademark of the character. 

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