January 01, 2007

Happy New Year and Happy Cybils!

With the list of final graphic novel nominees officially posted on the Cybils site, the nominating committee can now breathe a huge sigh of relief and let the judges handle the tough part! Like TadMack with the YA committee, I was amazed at the range and quality of so many of the nominees, and it turned out to be very difficult to eliminate some of them without at least noting a few standouts. So I thought I'd do something similar to the post below (only much shorter) and give recognition to a few finalists and non-finalists who stood out for various reasons. (I'll also be reviewing many of these on our sister site in the coming days--I'm woefully behind on that.) Anyway, to the awards:

Lifetime Achievement Award:
Edward Gorey, for Amphigorey Again. I'm a huge Gorey fan, and though this isn't the best of his compilations, even his unfinished and unpublished work is amazing, and there are gems in here.

My Personal Favorite:
Flight, Vol. 3, by Kazu Kabuishi and others. What an incredible variety of artists and stories, some funny, some serious; some realistic, some surreal; all of them excellent. I also really liked Castle Waiting by Linda Medley, even though I was only able to track down the first volume.

Biggest Surprise:
A three-way tie.
Dramacon, Vol. 2., by Svetlana Chmakova. A manga about manga? Who woulda thought?
Runaways, Vol. 5., by Brian Vaughan. A series about teenage superheroes? Who woulda thought?
Sloth, by Gilbert Hernandez. The first-ever graphic novel by the co-creator of Love & Rockets? What a pleasant surprise.

Most Sassy:
Girl Stories by Lauren R. Weinstein. Not just sassy: hilarious, gross, and true-to-life (for many).

Most Pink and also Cutest:
Babymouse: Beach Babe, by Jennifer and Matthew Holm. You just have to read it to understand the extent of the pinkness.

Best True Story:
A three-way tie between
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Mom's Cancer by Brian Fies
The 9/11 Report Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon. All three of these were real standouts, though the first two arguably are not YA. Which brings me to the next award:

Best Crossover Book:
This was a close race between Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and Mom's Cancer by Brian Fies, but ultimately I'm picking Fun Home. It's definitely in my personal top five in the whole pool of nominees. Incredibly well-written, well-drawn, smart, funny, and sad.

Most Interesting Use of Multiple Languages:
La Perdida by Jessica Abel, and
Gray Horses by Hope Larson.

Best Manga (Top Three):
1: Dramacon, Vol. 2 by Svetlana Chmakova
2: Kat and Mouse: Teacher Torture by Alex de Campi and Federica Manfredi
3: Line by Yua Kotegawa

Best "Important" Story:
There are four of these, and they all deserve mention.
Mom's Cancer by Brian Fies
The 9/11 Report Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon
Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda by J.P. Stassen
Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon
Everyone should read these if they can. Heavy reading, but these are stories that need to be told.

Now I just need to comb through TadMack's reviews so I can take a list to the library and gorge on YA for a while...


tanita✿davis said...

Most Pink?! Wait, we need this category in YA. Most Pink. I shall be thinking on that...

I'm still sort of spun that the 9/11 report came out in GRAPHICS. Good Lord, was it short? "We screwed up." With pictures.

And I never considered Edward Gorey as anything but a cartoonist... I am still trying to comprehend this graphic novel thing...

Sarah Stevenson said...

No, the 9/11 report was still quite long, even with pictures. Very informative and infuriating...

Edward Gorey, to me, is sort of his own author/illustrator thing...it's hard to place him. Is he an illustrator? A cartoonist? Or does he do picture books? I think he fits pretty well into graphic novels, but not everyone on the committee agreed. He is definitely unique. If you define graphic novels as sequential art that tells a story, with or without accompanying or integrated text, then much of his work could fit that definition. But he's not a traditional comic artist, that's for sure.

Brian Fies said...

A friend sent me here. Thanks very much for the comments, I appreciate them very much. It was an honor to be nominated and I probably would've picked "Fun Home," too.

Sarah Stevenson said...

Hi, Brian! Thanks for cruising by. I'm so happy I had to opportunity to read your book, and it was a very strong contender. I don't think there are many people these days whose lives have not been affected by cancer, and your book expresses some very powerful insights into the realities of the disease and its effects on the sufferer's family. Thanks again! I hope to see more of your work in the future.