That’s “Wright”, The Doug Wright Awards celebrating and honouring Canadian cartoonists were presented at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (or more commonly known as TCAF) in Toronto on Saturday, April 29 2023. The show presented four awards and added a new inductee the Giant of the North Hall of Fame. 

This year’s Giants of the North inductee is Henriette Valium (1959–2021), a comic book artist and painter, and the winner of the 2017 Pigskin Peters award, for his book The Palace of Champions and the winner of the 2018 Albert-Chartier award, for his contribution to the field of comic book in Quebec. Valium was a multidisciplinary artist from Montreal whose eclectic alternative comics work was a pillar of the Montreal Comix scene who unfortunately passed much too young. If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend you read the feature Marc Tessier wrote about Valium over at The Comics Journal.  It’s a near-perfect summary of Valium and his work.

The first award of the ceremony, the Egghead, honouring the best kids book, went to Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth for You Know, Sex, published by Triangle Square.

The second award of the ceremony, the Pigskin Peters Award, honouring the best small-press or micro-press book, went to Ivana Filipovich for her self-published comic Where Have You Been?

The next award of the ceremony, the Nipper, the award for emerging talent, went to Shelterbelts by Jonathan Dyck (published by Conundrum Press).

The Awards took some time to provide a touching tribute to two cartoonists, Scott Carruthers & Mandy Kujawa, during an in memoriam segment before moving on to inducting Henriette Valium in the Giants of the North hall of fame. 

And finally, the Doug Wright Award for best book went to Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton (published by Drawn & Quarterly). This book has been making a lot of waves and recently won this year’s edition of Canada Reads, the first time a comic book won this since the event’s start in 2001. 

This year’s Doug Wright Awards mark another occasion to reflect on the vibrant and diverse ecosystem of Canadian comics. We would encourage you to seek out the comics of each nominees. They are all unique, challenging, exceptional and interesting work that is well-worth your time.