September 4, 2017

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SPX Spotlight: My God, What an Ignatz Lineup!

It's another entry in Panel Patter's not Patented SPX Spotlight feature! We're ready to provide you with some great pre-show coverage for one of the best comic shows in the United States! In a show with nearly 700 exhibitors, we'll help you find some of the best! You can read all our SPX Spotlights from 2017 and prior shows here.


One of the best parts of attending the Small Press Expo is getting to vote in the Ignatz Awards. It's a chance to have a say on who wins a brick, which is of course the best award you can win, because you never know when you might need it to defend against a fascist. I loved getting to check the box next to my favorites and to learn about new creators by seeing who the judging team deemed worthy of being included that year. Best of all, anyone can attend the ceremony, which is often a big afterparty where you can tell who won just by listening to the cheering of the audience. (This was the biggest shock for me at the Eisners. Very rarely did the person who got the most applause actually win.)

What are the Ignatz awards? Let's have them tell you:
About the Award
The Ignatz Award, named for the character in the classic comic strip Krazy Kat by George Herriman, is the festival prize of the Small Press Expo, that since 1997 has recognized outstanding achievement in comics and cartooning. The ballot is created by a panel of five cartoonists and is voted on by the attendees of the SPX festival. This year’s Ignatz image was drawn by the 2016 Promising New Talent winner, Tillie Walden.
And here's the list of nominees. My God, what a lineup!

Outstanding Artist

  • Pablo Auldadell – Paradise Lost (Pegasus Books)
  • Emil Ferris – My Favorite Thing is Monsters (Fantagrahpics)
  • Manuele Fior – The Interview (Fantagraphics)
  • Karen Katz – The Academic Hour (Secret Acres)  
  • Barbara Yelin – Irmina (Self Made Hero)

Outstanding Anthology

  • ALPHABET: The LGBTQAIU Creators from Prism Comics – edited by Jon Macy and Tara Madison Avery (Stacked Deck Press)
  • Comic Book Slumber Party’s Deep Space Canine – edited by Hanhah K. Chapman (Avery Hill)
  • ELEMENTS: Fire - An Anthology by Creators of Color – edited by Taneka Stotts (Beyond Press)
  • POWER & MAGIC: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology – edited by Joamette Gil (P&M Press)
  • Spanish Fever: Stories by the New Spanish Cartoonists – edited by Javier Olivares & Santiago Garcia (Fantagraphics)

Outstanding Collection

  • Boundless – Jillian Tamaki (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • The Complete Neat Stuff – Peter Bagge (Fantagraphics)
  • Hip Hop Family Tree, Vol. 2 – Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics)
  • Johnny Wander: Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us - Ananth Hirsh, Yuko Ota (Oni Press)
  • Time Clock – Leslie Stein (Fantagraphics)

Outstanding Graphic Novel

  • Band for Life – Anya Davidson (Fantagraphics)
  • Eartha – Cathy Malkasian (Fantagraphics)
  • March: Book 3 – John Lewis, Nate Powell, Andrew Aydin (Top Shelf)
  • My Favorite Thing is Monsters – Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
  • Tetris – Box Brown (First Second)

Outstanding Story

  • Diana’s Electric Tongue – Carolyn Nowak (self published)
  • March: Book 3 – John Lewis, Nate Powell, Andrew Aydin (Top Shelf)
  • My Favorite Thing is Monsters – Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
  • "Small Enough" from Diary Comics – Dustin Harbin (Koyama Press)
  • "Too Hot to Be Cool" from Elements– Maddie Gonzales - (Beyond Press)

Promising New Talent

  • Kelly Bastow – Year Long Summer (self published)
  • Margot Ferrick – Yours (2D Cloud)
  • Aud Koch – “Run” from the Oath Anthology (Mary’s Monster)
  • Isabella Rotman – Long Black Veil (self-published)
  • Bianca Xunise – Say Her Name (self-published)

Outstanding Series

  • Chester 5000 – Jess Fink (self-published)
  • Crickets – Sammy Harkham (self-published)
  • Frontier – edited by Ryan Sands (Youth in Decline)
  • Maleficium – Sabin Couldron (self-published)
  • The Old Woman – Rebecca Mock (self-published)

Outstanding Comic

  • Canopy – Karine Bernadou (Retrofit/Big Planet)
  • Libby’s Dad – Eleanor Davis (Retrofit/Big Planet)
  • Public Relations #10 – Matthew Sturges, Dave Justus, Steve Rolston, Annie Wu (1First Comics)
  • Sunburning – Keiler Roberts (Koyama Press)
  • Your Black Friend – Ben Passmore (Silver Sprocket)

Outstanding Minicomic

  • The Man Who Came Down the Attic Stairs – Celine Loup
  • Our Tale of Woe – Keren Katz & Geffen Refaeli
  • Reverse Flaneur – M. Sabine Rear
  • Same Place Same Time – Ann Xu
  • Tender Hearted – Hazel Newlevant

Outstanding Online Comic

I don't even know where to begin with that lineup. So many categories are filled with great nominees. How do you choose between John Lewis/Nate Powell and Box Brown, whose work is excellent, but in very different ways? Or that anthology category, which has the amazing work of Taneka Stotts, Joamette Gil, and Prism going head to head? And that's not discounting the importance of showing off international work by Fantagraphics! Yikes! It almost makes me glad I don't have to pick! (Of course, I'll ask you to give strong consideration to Elements, both because it's a great anthology and because my friend Taneka is the editor.)

Or what about Outstanding Online Comic, which features two articles from The Nib, which is having a great year of being nominated for things. I'd be hard pressed to pick a winner here, too. I'm pretty sure the voting will be quite close in Best Outstanding Collection, where Tamaki, Bagge, and Piskor are all well-known. I'd imagine one of those three will win, but you never know.

There's one category that's *relatively* easy for me. I'm a huge fan of Aud Koch, and I love that she's being recognized by the Small Press Expo. "Yours" by Margot Ferrick is a very challenging work, and it pushes the boundaries of the comic medium. I'm even planning to set it up for a Spotlight entry. But Aud's work is something special, the kind of talent you want to be able to say you knew before she started working on "X"--and I hope that people who vote will see that. I'm an unabashed fan of her work. If you're at SPX, vote Aud!

The only other category I feel strongly about is Outstanding Comic. With no disrespect meant to anyone else, Your Black Friend, which I believe Scott or I will be hitting up as a Spotlight, needs to win. It was a criminal oversight that this important story didn't get the Eisner recognition it deserved. SPX attendees need to show the larger comics world what a mistake that was. So, if you're at SPX, Vote Ben!

No matter the results, this is a very strong lineup of nominees, and I like that it's got a lot of people who, without looking, haven't received nominations before, along with some of the usual suspects. I hope you give all these comics and creators a chance (but especially Aud and Ben and Taneka) and find some great comics on these lists. I know I'll be looking into several of the names I don't recognize to add to my comics collection soon.