National Cartoonists Society Adds Webcomics Award
According to Richmond’s blog post, he and Awards membership chairman Sean Parkes had been working on this for some time. They received feedback from several industry experts including Dave Kellett (Sheldon, Drive), Andrew Farago (curator of the Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco), Michael Jantze (The Norm, Professor of Sequential Art and Animation, Savannah College of Art and Design).
Richmond went on to explain that the category, Best Online Comic Strip, will be narrowly focused and based on the following criteria:
- Comic-strip format only (no single panels, long-form narrative. etc.)
- Must be web only publication (any syndication in print would make it eligible for the Best Syndicated Comic Strip Division)
- Must be at least a weekly
- Must have shown consistent publication based on determined time-schedule (i.e. it being a daily, twice-a-week, weekly, etc.) over the course of the 2011 calendar year
- Creator must earn the greater part of their living directly from the strip/property
Submitted work itself must be:
- No more than 12 samples, submitted as physical prints along with submission form and bio or as PDF with 2-4 strips per page and including bio/submission form
- Work must have been published (posted) during period from Dec. 1, 2010 to Dec 31, 2011 (archive.org links must be provided for each strip for verification).
The first panel of judges to help determine the qualified nominees and select a winner was also announced:
- Bill Amend– Creator of Foxtrot
- David Allan Duncan– Professor of Sequential Art Graduate Coordinator, Savannah College of Art and Design
- Andrew Farago– Curator, Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco
- Michael Jantze– Professor of Sequential Art and Animation, Savannah College of Art and Design
- Rick Marshall– Freelance Writer, Editor, and Producer, Time Inc., MTV News, IFC, Movies.com, Digital Trends, CBR (and former ComicMix editor)
- Gary Tyrrell– Writer/Editor, Fleen.com
This is perhaps the most significant step the NCS has taken towards remaining relevant in a world where syndicated strips have declined in number as well as printed size. Their influence as a shaper of American culture has diminished as the number of daily newspapers decline in number around the country.
Meantime, given their viral nature, few webcomics have become the “water cooler” topic of discussion that the traditional strips once enjoyed. There are countless digital comics by fans and professionals scattered across the web, each with their own following.
This award joins the Eisners and Harveys as recognizing the place webcomics has taken in graphic storytelling.