CBD’s 52Q | #23: “How About Them Shuster Awards?”

Every week CBD’s Editor in Chief Pete DeCourcy asks the question and the crew (and special guests) give their answers, we’ll be doing this for 52 weeks. Tip of the hat goes to the gang at Scans_Daily for the inspiration.

Today’s Question: “With the release of the 2011 JSA Nominees – what did they get right? What did they get wrong? Did anyone get left out completely?”

Scott VanderPloeg (writer of CBD’s Bound Together column; his ramblings can be found blogged at eBabble.)

To really answer this question well you’d have to be aware of the residence of the creator for every book you read. For the most part I have no idea where the author or artist of the comic books I’ve read are from unless I met them at a comic show or it came up in their work. If I did know where every creator was from I’d then had to have read everything on the nominee list to properly gauge what was provided against all the other Canadian material, and I’d have to be bilingual to do it. Otherwise it’s a snap judgment based on what I’ve read on the nominee list which isn’t much: Darwyn Cooke across the board!


Greg Hyland (Writer/illustrator of the cult classic Lethargic Lad as well as Lego Star Wars)

Oops. They missed me AGAIN.


Andrew Ardizzi (Roving reporter for CBD and student of journalism at Humber. He writes for the Humber Et Cetera. You can find him at his blog Come Gather ’round People Wherever You Roam.)

I don’t know, it’s hard to say. you’d really have to have a great grasp of the Canadian comic book scene. Obviously there are names on there like Bryan Lee O’Malley, Del Col and McCreery, Stewart and Manapul who at least deserve to be recognized for their contributions. Maybe it’s a commentary on the scene that we’re not completely aware or familiar with the Canadian comic book landscape beyond those mentioned, or even a Darwyn Cooke for that matter. I certainly think recognizing Todd McFarlane for his contributions is a good move.

I do think however that’s it’s a colossal mistake to have omitted Andy Belanger’s contributions to Kill Shakespeare. He has consistently offered some of the most dynamic, creative and altogether violent I’ve seen in the last year. It’s truly beautiful, and a crime that he’s not on there anywhere.

Pete: Yeah, I totally agree – Kill Shakespeare wouldn’t work half as well without Belanger’s very distinct art style, he lends an air of distinct menace to some of the scenes that rewards multiple readings.


Anthony Falcone (Writer of Whosoever Holds This Hammer)

The main issue is that the Shusters recognize Canadian talent in a prominently American Industry, and, as Scott pointed out, it isn’t always easy to know who is Canadian.

This sets the Shusters apart from say the Gemini Awards that celebrates the achievement of Canadian Film and Television productions. The distinction is that the product must be Canadian for a Gemini, and the creator must be Canadian for a Shuster. Which, makes sense unless Manapul is going to start working on a Le Flash comic book.

When compared to the Eisners, this basically means that the Shusters are drawing from the same pool of products, but from a smaller pool of creators. It is great to recognize Canadian talent in an industry, but the real test of the quality of work will be if many of the nominees for a Shuster are also nominated for an Eisner.

This may seem like I am dumping on the Shusters, but nothing could be further from the truth. Pointing out the inherent difficulties with Canadian awards ceremonies actually demonstrates how necessary they are in maintaining our Canadian identity in artistic industries. By essentially sharing the same “box office” as the United States our work is in constant danger of being overlooked.

We all write for a Canadian comic book website, yet none of us have read (or even heard of) everything on the list. But, thank to the Shusters, at least some of us (and hopefully many of our readers) will go into our local comic book shop and try something new.

And Greg, I can only assume that someone from Wizard Magazine got to the nominations committee.

Greg: Indeed! I’m glad someone else has spotted the conspiracy!
Chris Howard (From Egesta Comics, one of the masterminds behind the fan favourite webcomic series Dressed For Success)
I’d like to know how they know what was created by Canadians in any given year. Do you have to submit if you’ve created something? I’m just thinking of somebody with a ‘zine or the hundreds of web comics, which could be created anywhere.

From what I do know of what was done last year, I’m really happy with a lot of the names I’m seeing. Yay Scott! Yay Kill Shakespeare!


Peter DeCourcy (Editor and Question Asker of CBD‘s 52Q)
I talk a bit about how I feel about the Shusters in yesterday’s Suddenly/Meanwhile column.  Overall I’m pretty happy with the choices, though I wish we nominated more for specific works, rather than all of the year’s output. I think that would maybe balance the field a bit. Especially as I feel that there were some singular work, like those in the Anthology Project, whose quality outdid some of nominated works.  But then again, I got to participate in the overall process and my voice was heard. Hopefully they’ll have me back next year!
Oh and I have my fingers crossed for Scott Chantler… that guy is just on fire.
Comic Book Daily Staff
Comic Book Daily Staff

Comic Book Daily, discussing the minutiae of comic book collecting. Thanks for stopping by; if you like what you read please take a moment and have a look around.

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Kevin Boyd
13 years ago

We’ve faced a lot of uphill battles with the awards, but for 8 years now we’ve been building and enhancing our network of information on who and what is Canadian and we make that available to everyone who cares to look. The website is not only our mouthpiece but also a resource, one that is constantly updated — it is there that we identify Canadians —- retailers, creators, publishers. We do hear from new people all of the time – they want to make sure they are considered for the award.

No, I don’t expect everyone on the nominating committee to have read everything when making their selections, but I turn to people in the community that have access to the majority of the comics published and I provide them with as much information about who and what came out in the calendar year. We initiated the process for the English nominating committee in OCTOBER and every week we would send them updates on what was coming out that week for them to look at and consider. Yes, I do think that individuals bring their personal tastes and biases to the table, but this is a CONSENSUS driven process, where people have to be in agreement over the selection of specific individuals.

If I were to PERSONALLY indicate, say, artists that I felt were omitted from the ballot I would say that not only was it disappointing that Andy Belanger didn’t make the final ballot, but also DALE EAGLESHAM (who did tremendous work on Fantastic Four and Steve Rogers, Super Soldier) and YANICK PAQUETTE (Batman Incorporated, Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne) and those are just off the top of my head. Every year people post “I think XXX XXXX should have been nominated!” but they WEREN’T in the final seven and therefore they did not make the ballot.

One of the major reason why we are the CREATOR awards and not the COMIC BOOK AND GRAPHIC NOVEL Awards is because, as Anthony points out, many of our Canadian creators work for American publishers. It makes more sense to identify the individuals for their efforts, and by extension, we recognize them for the SUM total of their efforts in the specific creative field.

We have some awards that are for individual works such as the COMICS FOR KIDS award. We did flirt with the idea of a GRAPHIC NOVEL award this year, one that would be judged by professors teaching comics and graphic novel courses, but we didn’t get it off the ground in time, and it would have been a further strain on our budget.

Now one of the benefits of this list is that you can now take it to your local shop and look at the work for yourself. If one has only looked at the work of Darwyn Cooke, then you are clearly missing out on a lot of great comics. Now you have a list of comics that you can seek out and decide for yourself whether or not they were worthy of nomination or not.

Kevin Boyd
13 years ago

Although the previous six ceremonies have been held in Toronto, the Joe Shuster Awards have never been presented at TCAF.

Kevin Boyd
13 years ago

Oops wrong site!

Kevin Boyd
13 years ago

One book that I feel bad didn’t make the cut, in any of the categories was KENK: A GRAPHIC PORTRAIT by Poplak, Marinkovich, et al. It’s a book that really is about the sum of it’s parts. Poplak was nominated by some members for his writing, but did not make the ballot.