May 13, 2018 | The winners of the 14th annual Doug Wright Awards, recognizing the best work and most promising talent in Canadian comics, were announced Saturday evening at a ceremony in Toronto. One of this year’s winners is a multiple Doug Wright Award nominee, and all three took home awards for the first time.
Crawl Space, by Jesse Jacobs (a six-time Wright Award nominee) won the 2018 Doug Wright Best Book Award. Crawl Space, published by Koyama Press, is a surreal story of adolescence. The judges said of this year’s winner:
One part John Hughes and one part Terrence McKenna, Crawl Space transforms the common corners of a suburban adolescence into a cosmic philosophical landscape. It flies high with masterful visual storytelling, and a mind-bending drawing style all the while staying grounded in its gentle humor and pathos. It’s a book that’s hard not to love.
First-time nominee Jenn Woodall was the winner of the 2018 Doug Wright Spotlight Award (also known as “The Nipper”). The Nipper is presented to a Canadian cartoonist (or writer/artist team) deserving of wider recognition. Woodall was nominated on the merit of her books Magical Beatdown Vol. 2 and Worrywart, of which the judges said:
Worrywart was uniquely vulnerable and relatable, and we loved seeing the protagonist contend with anxiety as a tangible character that never leaves. Magical Beatdown deploys violence in a very satisfying way, and that, coupled with Jenn’s gorgeous illustrative style made this book a clear winner.
First-time nominee Sami Alwani’s book The Dead Father was awarded the 2018 Pigskin Peters Award, presented to the most experimental, unconventional or avant-garde comic of the year. In their comments about Alawani’s debut comic the judges said:
Alwani explores the pressures and obligations of our arbitrary circumstances and the anxiety that comes inherent in every opportunity. Alwani’s debut leaves us with great expectations for his future work, the irony of which is clear in his story of poor Baby Alwani, who seems both deserving and devastated by the expectations of his father and a clamoring, rabid throng of reporters.
This year’s inductee to the Giants of the North Canadian cartoonist hall of fame, which celebrates creators who have made a life-long contribution to the field, is Duncan Macpherson (1924–1993). Macpherson was inducted into the Giants hall of fame by Terry “Aislin” Mosher, and accepted om his behalf by his son, Ian Macpherson.
Born in Toronto, Macpherson served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. He studied at the Boston Museum of Fine Art and the Ontario College of Art, and his work appeared in the Montreal Standard, and, most famously, the Toronto Star. Mosher, referred to Macpherson as “the king of the third wave” of Canadian editorial cartoonists. He was awarded multiple National Newspaper Awards, his work has been displayed at the Ontario Art Gallery, and he was the first cartoonist to ever become a member of the Order of Canada. He died, in Beaverton, Ontario, in 1993.
A feature event of the Toronto Comics Arts Festival, the 14th annual Doug Wright Awards took place in the High Park Ballroom of the Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel. They were hosted by Dustin Harbin, and featured live drawing by R. Sikoryak.
Finalists for this year’s awards were chosen from nearly 100 works published during the 2017 calendar year. The jury for the 14th annual Doug Wright Awards included: Bo Doodley, a Toronto-based artist; Jim Munroe, a writer, producer, and creator of games, comics, movies and novels, living in Toronto; Marc Nui, a Windsor, Ontario–based sequential artist and speculative designer; and Pamela Marie Pierce, a multi-disciplinary visual artist and illustrator whose work has appeared in Heavy Metal, based in Saint John, New Brunswick. The Pigskin Peters Award was chosen by the nominating committee, which this year consisted of Adrian Doran, Alex Hoffman, Betty Liang, and Conan Tobias.