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Since 2004 the Joe Shuster Awards have celebrated the talent and achievements of not only Canadian comic book creators, but Canadian publishers and retailers as well. Named after Toronto-born artist Joe Shuster, one of the creators of Superman, these awards highlight the importance Canadians play in the international comic book community.
The nominees for the 2010 Joe Shuster Awards have been announced in the categories of Artist, Cartoonist, Colourist, Writer, Cover and Webcomics, with nominees for the remaining categories being announced later. Individuals are nominated based on their body of work from the previous year, whether in English or French. I’ll have to raid my local comic book store to check out all the nominees, but the webcomics are easily accessible online, so I took a quick look. And the nominees are:
Attila Adorjany for Metaphysical Neuroma
Metaphycial Neuroma is a drug-driven odyssey through a video game inspired world that reminded me of a Philip K. Dick novel. Or so far it is. For a webcomic it’s quite young, only a little over a year old, and so far the story raises more questions than it answers.
Kate Beaton for Hark! A Vagrant
Hark! a Vagrant is a series of funny, historical comics that don’t seem to have any continuity. In fact, not all of them are even historical. But some are Canadian. And most of them are funny.
Bottle of Awesome and Raising Hell are drawn in a similar style, but Raising Hell stands out due to its red and blue saturated colour palate. It terms of writing, Raising Hell is more violent and sexually explicit, following a group of friends as they try to survive the zombie apocalypse. Bottle of Awesome starts off as the story of a high school boy who gets super powers by drinking from a magic bottle, but then also develops into an apocalyptic tale.
Rene Engström for Anders Loves Maria
A touching story set in Sweden, Anders Loves Maria follows the relationship between two artists, Anders and Maria, who we learn met as students. The story also includes a multitude of supporting characters and subplots, which flesh out and drawn the reader into the world of Anders and Maria.
Karl Kerschl for The Abominable Charles Christopher
The pacing of The Abominable Charles Christopher made me think of a Hayao Miyazaki film (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke). The story revolves around Charles Christopher, though what or who exactly he is is unknown. Charles must save the animal inhabitants of the forest from humans, so that the animals may continue going about their familiarly normal lives.
Gisèle Lagacé and David Lumsdon for Eerie Cuties and Ménage à 3
Eerie Cuties is set in a school for supernatural creatures and focuses on two vampire sisters and their friends, while Ménage à 3 is set in Montreal, where three roommates regularly experience sexual misadventures. Despite being different in genre, both comics are drawn in Gisèle Lagacé’s manga-meets-Archie style (which readers may recognize from her previous project, Peni and Aggie) and both share the same sexual sense of humour, though Eerie Cuties is a little more tame so far.
Tara Tallon for Galaxion
Galaxion is a manga-style sci-fi comic, putting the reader front and centre for the test run of the Galaxion’s newly installed jump engines, the pivotal moment in an experiment partnered by TERSA and IP, designed to move a spacecraft through hyperspace. The experiment works, but the Galaxion is left stranded in an unknown part of space, leaving her crew to explore until they can find their way home.
Steve Wolfhard for Cat Rackham
Cat Rackham lives somewhere in the Canadian wilderness where he experiences sometimes cute, sometimes disturbing adventures. His friend, Jeremy the squirrel, appears in a couple of the comics and is the only character to ever speak. This comic has a Sunday strip sort of feel, except that some of the stories are much longer than print would allow.