EMIL FERRIS, having brought exquisite craft to her debut graphic novel at age 55, brought extreme gratitude to the stage over the weekend, as she was twice honored at the 2017 Ignatz Awards in suburban Washington.
â€œShame on SPX and a whole lot of cartoonists â€¦ you made an old lady cry,â€ Ferris told The Postâ€™s Comic Riffs shortly after scoring her twin wins Saturday evening at Small Press Expo, whose attendees vote on the nominees for the Ignatz, which salutes excellence in indie comics.
Ferris, a Chicago-based artist who recovered from paralysis at age 40 to devote years to her first book, â€œMy Favorite Thing Is Monstersâ€ (Fantagraphics), emphasized how her graphic novel, while a deeply personal work, represents a collective victory. The work was named outstanding graphic novel, and she was honored as outstanding artist.
â€œFrom the first stroke of my ballpoint pen, I was the recipient of the well-appreciated benevolence of many,â€ Ferris said of her opus. â€œNot the least of which has been a willing readership who lent my â€˜doorstopâ€™ their gorgeous minds.â€
Ferris was part of a diverse slate of Ignatz winners and works that included Ben Passmore, whose â€œYour Black Friendâ€ was voted outstanding comic, as well as outstanding anthology winner â€œElements: Fire â€” An Anthology by Creators of Color,â€ which was edited by Taneka Stotts.
â€œThis project started due to a lack of diverse creators in an industry built around imagination, and it will sadly have to continue until this industry realizes weâ€™re not mere figments of said imagination,â€ Stotts tweeted as part of her acceptance. (None of the 2017 Ignatz winners was a white male creator â€” two years after women swept every Ignatz category.)
The Ignatz Awards, as presented by SPX at the North Bethesda Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Maryland, was celebrating its 20th anniversary. The Ignatz â€œbrickâ€ award nodded to George Herrimanâ€™s legendary comic â€œKrazy Kat,â€ and jurors Neil Brideau, Glynnis Fawkes, Sara Lautman, Trungles and David Willis determined this yearâ€™s nominees.
The Ignatz ceremony was sponsored by comiXology, which is owned by Amazon. (Disclosure: Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Here is the full list of the 2017 Ignatz winners:
â€œYour Black Friend,â€ by Ben Passmore (benpassmoreart.com).
Outstanding Graphic Novel
â€œMy Favorite Thing Is Monsters,â€ by Emil Ferris
Outstanding Online Comic
â€œThe Meek,â€ by Der-shing Helmer (meekcomic.com)
Emil Ferris, â€œMy Favorite Thing Is Monsters
â€œJohnny Wander: Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us,â€ by Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota
â€œDianaâ€™s Electric Tongue,â€ by Carolyn Nowak (carolyncnowak.com)
â€œTender Hearted,â€ by Hazel Newlevant (newlevant.com)
â€œElements: Fire â€” An Anthology by Creators of Colorâ€ (elementsanthology.com), edited by Taneka Stotts
â€œChester 5000,â€ by Jess Fink (jessfink.com)
Promising New Talent
Bianca Xunise, â€œSay Her Nameâ€ (biancaxunise.com)