It’s Award Time! Submit Isotope Minis, Vote Women (My FoL Award Suggestions)

Isotope Award

The Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics

Submissions for the 2010 Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics are due by October 1. I saw a ton of excellent possibilities at SPX this past weekend, so I hope at least some folks will send in their publications for consideration. Note that you must be present at the store ceremony on October 16 to win (same time and city as APE), although the winner is contacted in advance to make that happen.

Find out about previous recipients in the press release at that link. Aside from Isotope owner James Sime and their promotion director Kirsten Baldock, judges this year include artist Ed Luce, former mainstream comic editor Jann Jones, and notable indy publisher Brett Warnock. (The latter’s presence allows a certain amount of “enter and you might get ‘discovered’ for publication” copy in the announcement, which is a lovely side benefit.) I had the honor of being a judge in 2007 and 2008, and I saw a lot of fascinating work (some of which I wrote about at those links). I look forward to seeing who wins.

The Friends of Lulu Awards

Also just announced, voting has opened for the 2010 Friends of Lulu Awards. Deadline is September 27, with the awards to be presented on October 29.

This year’s nominees have garnered some amount of discussion, for the following reasons:

The head-scratchers: What do David Petersen’s Mouse Guard: Winter 1152, Roger Langridge’s The Muppet Show Comic Book: The Treasure of Peg-Leg Wilson, and Art Balthazar and Franco Aureliani’s Tiny Titans have to do with the Awards’ mission of “recognizing the people and projects that helped to open eyes and minds to the amazing comic and cartooning work by and/or about women”? All three are nominated for the Leah Adezio Award for Best Kid-Friendly Work. Sure, they’re all fine reads for all ages, but they seem to wander a bit afield from the focus. Perhaps that’s what happens when you open nominations up to the internet in general. Sadly, I suspect one of the three will win the category, since they’re all better-known than the other nominees.

The fannish: Best Female Character? It’s not a new category this year, but I’d rather recognize real-life people than fictional portrayals. That said, I recommend voting for Fusella Mierter from Galaxion by Tara Tallan. I’ve loved that strip for ages, and she’s created and portrayed by a woman. (Sorry, Mindy and Hannelore, but the whole purpose of these awards is to be political.)

And speaking of politics, to the best of various memories, this is the first time a male has been nominated for the Kim Yale Award for Most Talented Newcomer, which is causing some concerned discussion. (To those who already think the organization has lost its way, it’s an especially convenient talking point.) My suggestions in this category are Kathryn Immonen (just barely qualifying, since her work for Marvel started three years ago) or Lisa Hanawalt, who just won the Outstanding Comic Ignatz.

(Update: Heidi MacDonald points out that the name of that award, up to three years ago, was “the Kim Yale Award for Best New Female Talent”. Coincidentally, that’s about the time that the current President took over. Meanwhile, Brigid Alverson finds it strange that the same woman has been nominated for both the Newcomer award and Hall of Fame. So do I.)

Lulu of the Year, the all-purpose “we love you” category, is a tough one. My choice, though, is Hope Larson, who filled the organization’s gap while it was laying fallow earlier this year, conducting a female readership survey that brought lots of attention to what women want in comics. She also founded the Drink and Draw Like a Lady events for networking with other comic women. While I greatly enjoy the outstanding work of many of the other nominees, I think Hope’s actions speak better to the purpose of the awards.

I have no suggestion for the Woman of Distinction, other than to observe it’s an odd junk-drawer of a category, with nominees whose contributions range from this year to up to 30 years ago.

Last, for The Female Cartoonists Hall of Fame, my choice is Louise Simonson. She’s been creating great work for decades and I would love to see her recognized for that achievement.


  • I am, of course, pretty biased with regards to voting for the Lulu Awards; both Tara Tallan and Tory Woollcott (with five nominations between them!) are friends of mine, and both, I think, are very deserving.

    For the Leah Adezio Award for Best Kid-Friendly Work, my vote goes to Tory Woollcott for Mirror Mind. A graphic memoir of her experiences in the public school system after being diagnosed with dyslexia, and her search for an identity for herself outside of the label that the system hangs on her, it’s a great work for younger readers in every respect — honest and powerful while still being entertaining and accessible. You can see a sample of it at

    For the Best Female Character Award, it’s no contest. I’m voting for Fusella Mierter, of course! Sadly, with Ramona Flowers and Hannelore on the ballot, I think it’s a long shot, but…

    The Kim Yale Award for Most Talented Newcomer is obviously going to be contentious this year, yeah. My vote goes to Tory Woollcott, who knocked it out of the park with Mirror Mind – her debut project! – in 2009.

    For Lulu of the Year, Tara and Tory both ended up on the ballot. I’m taking the 5th on this one. :)

    For Woman of Distinction… unlike the other categories, I have no personal horse in this race. I lean towards Francoise Mouly.

    And yes, the Female Cartoonists Hall of Fame is another odd one. I have another friend on the ballot here – Carla Speed McNeil – but Carla’s career is still in such an active phase, and I think of Hall of Fame awards as being a late-career honour. Alison Bechdel perhaps deserves some recognition, especially now that the Bechdel Test has gone mainstream in a big way.

    But like I said, I’m biased. :)

    And all that aside, almost all the nominees are very worthy – although in many cases, I suspect that you’re right, Johanna, and the highest-profile work or creator will win in a number of categories. That’s why I’m not shy about getting out there and stumping for Tory and Tara. :)

  • Ed Sizemore

    Forgive my shallowness, but that is one nice looking award. One of the few comic awards that is aesthetically pleasing.

  • Thanks so much for sharing your picks, Stephen! I wasn’t previously familiar with Mirror Mind, and I’m glad to hear more about it.

    These things do risk becoming popularity contests (or even familiarity contests, with people voting for what they’ve heard of). That’s why I hoped to get a dialogue with people sharing who they want to vote for and why.

  • I’d also like to suggest Hope Larson for Lulu of the year. (But not for her survey, which happened earlier this year, as this particular awards covers 2009 only.) Hope created and orchestrated Drink and Draw Like A Lady in 2009, and was generally a great vocal advocate for women and girls in comics.

  • Talk about *perfect* timing, on new arrivals shelves today is FINGERPRINTS by Will Dinski (2009’s Isotope Award winner) from Top Shelf Books. I think you all will really love Will’s work. More info here:

    Thanks again for the very kind words Johanna, and Mister Sizemore too. When we got together with our trophy designer our goal was an award that would be striking and elegant for creators to put on their tables, and (hopefully) help them sell more comics. I get tremendously envious each year when I give one away!

    Creators: 15 days left to submit your minis for consideration. Best of luck to you all!

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