Dustin Harbin is a cartoonist based in Charlotte, NC.
Dustin, I applaud thee. As an Englishman I fully relate to your desire to have a comic awards in my own country that hold the same amount of esteem, maturity and pride as the Doug Wrights. Let’s hope that our respective countries take heed and we ourselves may, in the future, be able to win a comic award that means something. Until then our only option is to emigrate to good ol’ Canada like Doug Wright himself.
Wait what?? Doug Wright was an emigre? Maybe I knew that, I must have read it in the big shiny Wright book.
What an enjoyable read! Thanks for sharing your experience, Dustin. I’m fairly new to the world of cartoonist awards, but this reminds me a lot of attending the Ottawa International Animation Festival as an American. I was always impressed with how Canada treats their artists, no matter what the medium.
We are lucky in Canada to have many great annual award programs for comics, you’ve gone into great detail about the DWAs and I’m sure all of us in Canada appreciate the love that you have shown for our ‘true native land’. If you or anyone else reading this is interested in exploring the Canadian scene further, we have wo awards for French language graphic albums: the Prix Bédélys and the Prix Bédéis Causa. Finally, there is also the Joe Shuster Awards, that I have the privilege to coordinate/organize each year. Our website has some pretty extensive links to webcomics and creator websites that are meant to be a resource for those interested in Canadian creators and their work, stores, publishers, etc. The DWAs and the JSAs both launched in 2005. We are handing out the JSAs next month in Calgary.
Yup — it’s in there. It’s the ultimate Canadian success story!
What about the Eisner awards?
Yeah, I get the sense that those involved with the Ruebens and the Eisners take it pretty seriously. Is it just that they represent things you don’t take seriously, or…?
I don’t know much about the Reubens, or rather the Reuben, which–from what I understand–is a closed community, all National Cartoonist Society dudes. I think you have to drink virgin blood to get in there maybe, not sure. I think there’s some overlap into the larger world of comics, but kind of in the same way the Hugos will pick a comic to nominate that seems a little random–like, what is visible to that smaller community. I’m not sure.
I think the Eisners and Harveys take the *work* of organizing and promoting a series of awards very seriously, which I’m sure is intense. But I think the cart is leading the horse with those guys, especially in the case of the Eisners. Less so the Harveys, but only insofar as they’re a little sillier in terms of what actually can get nominated, usually by whichever publisher is most on the ball.
I posted an expanded set of opinions on this stuff on my blog. The short version is just that I think both awards have become bloated and a little bit precious–especially noteworthy is the utter lack of an artist on the nominating jury this year, and sort of a lack of anyone who is actually making comics on a regular basis lately.
To be frank, I just think both of those awards, specifically, are still thinking of themselves as the institution they were 10-15 years ago; when today more and more the people paying attention to them are either those motivated to vote for or nominate their friends or their favorite creators, or the people hungry to have “Eisner” or “Harvey” on the backflap of their next book. Which is a fine reason to want an award, but I guess I just wish they were a little more… important than that.
You can always do what I did. Marry a Canadian!
I have enjoyed your daily cartoons depicting your thoughts on the Doug Wright Awards, Dustin. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to meet you but I didn’t attend the after party … I used to attend the party in the early years of the Awards but now it has just got too noisy and crowded for me. Unfortunately I was late in arriving before the Awards because of the volume of traffic in and around Toronto … maybe next year, all being well. Phyllis Wright
Oh wow! Well thank you very much Phyllis–I look forward to meeting you in person next year for sure! I’ll stand up as Seth escorts you across the stage–”PHYLLIS! IT’S ME! DUSTIN HARBIN??”
These panels are gorgeous. I love your crowd!!!
“As a young cartoonist I’m easily impressed… and I’m easily depressed”
Truer words have never been drawn, my friend!
I laughed out loud several times. Great comic. Hoping to make it to the awards next year and meet you in person.
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In this essay from The Comics Journal #96 (March 1985), Bhob Stewart looks at the career of “Mystery Artist” Howard Nostrand. Continue reading →
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