More Details Now Available for the Ringo Awards; Nominations Now Open

Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards logo

The newly formed Ringo Awards, to be established this year at the Baltimore Comic-Con, have now posted their rules and opened voting to everyone.

Nomination voting is now open for the inaugural 2017 Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards. Nomination ballot voting is open to the public (fans and pros) from June 27, 2017, until midnight on July 18, 2017. We encourage everyone to participate. Creators and new works published during 2016 are eligible.

Later on, they qualify eligibility:

Eligibility for creators and new creative works is determined by publication in the preceding calendar year — print publication date takes precedence over electronic publication date (Diamond Direct Market street date is used). For electronic works, the date of publication is time-stamped with most publications, and at least 3 episodes/installments of continuing works must have appeared during the eligibility period.

So you can serialize your work online for a few years, sell some self-published copies at cons, and then, once polished, printed, and distributed to comic shops, go for the award. Or if you’re a webcomic with a large, suggestible audience, try to get nominated every year you put out new installments, I suppose. But it’s good to see that digital works are apparently eligible for categories beyond the “Best Webcomic” one.

Two nominees will be selected by an open, online nomination process. The remaining three nominees will be selected by a jury of comics industry professionals. A tie among the jury’s choices may result in more than five nominees in a category. Nominees will be listed in the ballot alphabetically with no distinction made between open- and jury-selected nominees…. The comics creative community will vote online from July 26, 2017, to August 16, 2017, to select the winning recipient in each of these categories.

Everyone can nominate, but only professionals can select the winner, and a jury will balance out fans being able to stuff the ballot box. Interesting approach that seems to take into account some of the notable issues award programs have had in the past. (And see more on that below, too.) The award categories are:

Best Cartoonist (Writer/Artist)
Best Writer
Best Artist or Penciller
Best Inker
Best Letterer
Best Colorist
Best Cover Artist
Best Series
Best Single Issue or Story
Best Original Graphic Novel
Best Anthology
Best Humor Comic
Best Comic Strip or Panel
Best Webcomic
Best Non-Fiction Comic Work
Best Presentation in Design

Not too many categories, and nothing atypical. Until you get to the all-fan-nominated-and-voted categories:

Favorite Hero
Favorite Villain
Favorite New Series
Favorite New Talent

That last one is where eligibility concerns become particularly tricky. Some guidance would be helpful on how new is new? And having “hero” and “villain” categories reminds me of fan magazine voting, not a substantial creative award program, but that’s one way this award program wants to stand out.

There are additional recognitions, one nicely acknowledging the man the program is named after.

THE MIKE WIERINGO SPIRIT AWARD: The fine nominated works will be voted on by the professional jury as well as three additional, perennial jurors: Matt Wieringo, Todd Dezago, and Mark Waid.

THE HERO INITIATIVE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AND DICK GIORDANO HUMANITARIAN AWARDS: These award are selected by Hero Initiative and will be announced at the Ringo Awards Ceremony on Saturday, September 23, 2017.

The additional rules aim to proactively prevent problems:

We define “conflict of interest” as having a professional relationship with a proposed nominee DURING the eligibility period such that it WILL BIAS the voting. If there is a conflict of interest with a professional juror, the highest rank they can give that selection is fourth place (four points). The conflict of interest rule relies on the honor system and the professionalism of the selected jurors. We recognize that the comic book industry is a small one, and top professionals will no doubt have personal and professional relationships with other working professionals and publishers. We trust the jurors to self-evaluate their biases.

If there is any evidence of unethical vote manipulation or tampering, we will seek to address the affected category or categories. Fixes can include steps as extreme as a re-vote, excluding a category, or disregarding improper votes. Fixes determined by the Ringo Awards Committee are final.

It will be interesting to see if any over-enthusiastic “get out the vote for my project” efforts are deemed to be unethical. And I’m still curious to know who the committee members are.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and vote — once you’ve remembered what you were reading six months ago!

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