Although I live tweeted the ceremony with its grandeur and tradition, I neglected to list the WINNERS of the 2015 Doug Wright Awards which honor the finest in Canadian cartooning. The awards were presented Saturday night during TCAF in a ceremony enlivened by beloved antics from Seth, David Collier and author Don McKeller. The winners were:
Fatherland by Nina Bunjevac (Jonathan Cape/Random House)
Doug Wright Spotlight Award:
Meags Fitzgerald, for Photobooth: A Biography (Conundrum Press)
Pigskin Peters Award:
“Swinespritzen” by Connor Willumsen
The Giants of the North Hall of Fame prize went to 93-year-old Merle “Ting” Tingley.
While there really would have been no combination of winners that would have been bad, I was especially pleased to see this line-up. Willmsen was a FOUR TIME nominee in this “experimental comic” category and rather than turn him into the Roger Deakins of comics, it was high time to recognize his growing body of bold and groundbreaking work. “Swinespritzen” is a particularly fitting breakthrough since he apparently drew most of it overnight while sitting on a park bench prior to last year’s Comic Arts Brooklyn festival.
Bunjevic’s Fatherland won out over the better known This One Summer, and while that book has won a ton of much deserved awards, Fatherland didn’t really get any attention her ein the US and it should. It’s a tense, dark memoir about a family torn apart by passions and politics, as a mother has to make a bold move to save her family from a danger coming from inside the family. Bunjevid’s dense, crosshatched art style is perfect for the story. I’m told it got some attention in Canada, but hopefully this award gets it more in general.
Fitzgerald’s Photobooth is another daring, innovative book mixing a history of the humble photobooth with the obsession that Fitzgerald and a small band of fans have for the vanishing technology, and once again, for a debut graphic novel it’s an amazingly accomplished piece.
US comics fans are probably not familiar with Ting’s work, but Seth’s speech about him made it clear why he was deserving of the award, and a video of the cartoonist—both mentally and physically incapacited— receiving an award from Seth inspired genuine emotion in the audience…so much so that as the next preseter Lynda Barry came up she had to wipe away tears.
The DWA ceremony is the one awards that you can’t miss, and this is part of the reason. The entire ceremony was lovely and wonderful, as are the winners.
The winners were decided by a jury that included Fiona Smyth, Zach Worton, and Conan Tobias.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.