The 2017 Doug Wright Award nominations have just been announced honoring the best in Canadian comics . It’s the 13th annual go round – winners will be announced at the 2017 Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) on May 14th in what is always a delightful and unexpected experience, accompanied by pomp, circumstance and stunning bunting designed by Seth.
Nominees were chosen by a judging panel consisting of Sean Rogers, Joe Ollmann and Betty Liang. Winners are chosen by a jury that includes Dakota McFadzean, cartoonist and 2016 Doug Wright Award winner; Sue Carter, editor of Quill & Quire and book columnist for Metro.
2017 Doug Wright Best Book Award, presented for the best book published in Canada (in English):
Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus by Chester Brown (Drawn & Quarterly)
Big Kids by Michael DeForge (Drawn & Quarterly)
Burt’s Way Home by John Martz (Koyama Press)
The Envelope Manufacturer by Chris Oliveros
Bird in a Cage by Rebecca Roher (Conundrum Press)
2017 Doug Wright Spotlight Award (a.k.a. The Nipper), presented to a Canadian cartoonist deserving of wider recognition:
Jessica Campbell, Hot or Not: 20th-Century Male Artists (Koyama Press)
GG, “These Days,” “Lapse” (both from š! No. 25 [kuš!]), and an untitled story from Altcomics Magazine 3 (2dcloud)
Nathan Jurevicius, Birthmark (Koyama Press)
Laura Ķeniņš, Alien Beings (kuš!)
Brie Moreno, Dearest, Gift Shop 3D (Oireau), Missy, untitled story from š! No. 6 (kuš!), various web comics
Steve Wolfhard, Cat Rackham (Koyama Press)
2017 Pigskin Peters Award, presented for the best experimental, unconventional or avant-garde comic:
Carpet Sweeper Tales by Julie Doucet (Drawn & Quarterly)
Draw Blood by Ron Hotz
Garbage by Matthew Reichertz (Conundrum Press)
After Land by Chris Taylor (Floating World Comics)
The Palace of Champions by Henriette Valium (Conundrum Press)
The Wrights have their own hall of fame award, known as Giants of the North. This year’s inductee is pioneering cartoonist and accomplished comics journalist Katherine Collins, a truly deserving winner. Her bio:
Ms. Collins was known as Arn Saba before transitioning into a woman in 1993. Saba’s mother and great-grandmother both were published cartoonists and Saba became encouraged to start drawing comics himself at the age of six. Saba spent several years contributing to Morningside, CBC Radio’s popular national morning show, where he carved out a niche as a commentator on comics and cartoonists. In 1979 he produced and hosted The Continuous Art, a five-part documentary series for CBC Radio that explored the cultural ghettoization of comics via interviews with cartoonists Will Eisner, Jules Feiffer, Milton Caniff, Walt Kelly, and Gil Kane, among others.
Saba’s character Neil the Horse appeared in newspapers from 1975 to 1982, and in 15 issues of his own self-titled comic book series, published by Aardvark-Vanaheim and Renegade Press, between 1983 and 1988. Neil the Horse Comics and Stories was the first (and according to Collins, last) musical comic book, featuring original songs and a cast of characters that appeared to have stepped out of a Max Fleischer cartoon. Collins will be a featured guest at TCAF this year and will attend the 2017 Doug Wright Awards to accept her honour in person.
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.