Wow, this year’s MoCCA Festival just took a major step up in prestige with the announcement of the MoCCA Arts Festival Awards of Excellence, a prize to be awarded to work presented at this year’s show. Picking the prize, a jury of Karen Berger, Gary Groth, Nora Krug, David Mazzucchelli, and Paul Pope.

Yeah, no pressure.

MoCCA was the last major indie show without an associated awards program—SPX has the Ignatzes (and the Nerdlingers), TCAF has the Doug Wright Awards, and Stumptown has the Stumptown Comic Art Awards.

This remedies that lack in a hurry.

The Society of Illustrators is proud to announce that Karen Berger, Gary Groth, Nora Krug, David Mazzucchelli, and Paul Pope will form the jury for the inaugural MoCCA Arts Festival Awards of Excellence. These awards will recognize the most outstanding work on view at the festival. Artists winning this award will be acknowledged with an Award of Excellence and will have their work exhibited at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art at the Society of Illustrators from May 21 to July 6, 2013.  
Society of Illustrators Executive Director Anelle Miller says, “The exhibitors at the MoCCA Arts Festival are among the most daring and inventive voices in comics and illustration working today, and we are pleased to celebrate their important work and advance the Society’s long heritage of recognizing the finest artists in all fields of illustration with the MoCCA Arts Festival Awards of Excellence.”
Judging of the MoCCA Arts Festival will happen Saturday, April 6th in the afternoon. Judges will walk the show and pick their top 10-15 contenders to receive awards based on quality of artwork. The Jury will convene and discuss each of their favorites, ultimately deciding on 6 “Awards of Excellence” to be named that evening. All materials chosen in the jury’s initial survey will be acquired by Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library for a newly-established MoCCA Arts Festival collection, to be expanded annually.
About the jurors: 
Karen Berger is an American comic book editor who is best known as the Executive Editor of DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint. With a 30+ year career in comics she pushes the envelope of what can be done in mass-circulation comic books. 
Gary Groth is an American comic book editor, publisher and critic. He is editor-in-chief of The Comics Journal and a co-founder of Fantagraphics Books which “has published and championed many of the finest cartoonists working today.” -John Hodgman, The New York Times
Nora Krug is an international award-winning illustrator, comic book artist and animator. Her 
achievements have been recognized by the New York Art Directors Club and American Illustration, and her visual narratives earned her multiple gold medals from the Society of Illustrators. She is also an associate professor at Parsons The New School for Design in New York, and previously a professor at Muthesius Univeristy for Fine Arts and Design in Kiel, Germany.
David Mazzucchelli is an American comic book writer/artist, known for his work on seminal superhero comic book storylines Daredevil: Born Again and Batman: Year One, as well as for graphic novels in other genres, such as Asterios Polyp and City of Glass: The Graphic Novel. He is also an instructor who teaches comic book storytelling at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.
Paul Pope is an American cartoonist living and working in New York City. He has been working primarily in comics since the early 90s, but has also done a number of projects in the fashion, film, and illustration fields. His most recent publication is The One Trick Rip-Off from Image Comics. His eagerly awaited graphic novel Battling Boy will be published by First Second this fall.