The winners and nominees for the British Comic Awards 2013.
The Nao of Brown by Glyn Dillon
Self Made Hero, September 2012
The study of a young woman with a particularly violent, morbid kind of OCD. She meditates as a way to find peace in an unpredictable world but when she meets a new love interest, things start to unravel. Dillon’s skills are on full display from the keen draftsmanship and bold colour washes to the lush inked illustrations which accompany the dark fairytale which punctuates and mirrors the main story. Dillon’s return to comics and his first graphic novel is a clear labor of love and an incredibly original and accomplished vision which will stay with for quite some time.
The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins
Jonathan Cape, May 2013
Dave lives on the island of Here, the neatest, tidiest and most predictable place there is. In fact the worst place to grow an unstoppable and sentient beard. A dystopian satire told like an absurd parable, rendered in Collins’ flowing, swirling pencils. Silly and thought provoking all at once, Beard is one of a kind.
Judge Dredd: Trifecta by Al Ewing, Rob Williams, Simon Spurrier, Henry Flint, D’Israeli, Carl Critchlow and Simon Coleby
2000AD Graphic Novels, August 2013
Three apparently unrelated story lines converge brilliantly in this ambitious graphic novel set in the world of Judge Dredd. With a different team for each story the artwork shifts between chapters and perfectly suits the different characters. Accessible to those not familiar with 2000AD this is social commentary cleverly told with an acid wit.
The Man Who Laughs by David Hine and Mark Stafford. Adapted from the novel by Victor Hugo.
Self Made Hero, April 2013
Hugo’s influential and impenetrable novel of the life of a disfigured orphan gets a rigorous yet faithful adaption by Hine with Stafford’s gorgeous and grim artwork mirroring the soul of the character and the story itself.
Mrs. Weber’s Omnibus by Posy Simmonds
Jonathan Cape, October 2012
A hefty and complete collection of Simmonds’ weekly comic strip for The Guardian which ran from 1977 to the late 80s. Concerning the lives of three school friends, Wendy Weber, Trish Wrightnow and Jo Heep all now fully grown and married with children. Still resonant over 30 years later, this is Simmonds maturing into one of Britain’s greatest cartoonists.
Winter’s Knight: Day One by Robert M Ball
Self published through Great Beast, June 2013
An almost wordless tale of an old Knight’s mysterious quest through an icy wilderness. With an uncanny mastery of shape and colour, Ball’s sharp illustrative pages draw you in and suggest themes of fear, ageing, death, love and honour.
The Absence #5 by Martin Stiff
Self published, May 2013
Two men, one a genius, one a disfigured outcast are mysteriously connected by the secrets of war in a small, coastal village that holds secrets of it’s own. Part 5 in a tense and accomplished story matched by Stiff’s loose, confident artwork.
The Listening Agent by Joe Decie
Blank Slate Books, June 2013
Following last year’s BCA nominated The Accidental Salad, this second collection of Decie’s unique humour strips contains more observations of everyday life mixing the mundane with the absurd. From parenting tips to being beheaded by huntsmen, Decie’s skewed look at life will leave you a curious smile on your face.
Mud Man #6 by Paul Grist
Image Comics, February 2013
Teenager Owen Craig has a super power, just not a very good one. A mysterious mentor offers to train him to harness his powers but plans, inevitable, get a bit muddy. Grist’s deft, precise storytelling and crisp, clear artwork creates an incredible fun issue and proves Grist is a modern master of the form.
Soppy #2 by Philippa Rice
Self published, July 2013
Soppy explores the idiosyncrasies of living together in this short collection of wonderfully observed and relatable moments from a young romance. Cutely drawn and printed in black and red, Soppy is 16 pages of pure charm.
Young People’s Comic Award
The Complete Rainbow Orchid by Garen Ewing
Egmont Books, September 2012
Follow Julius Chancer as he searches for the mythical Rainbow Orchid venturing from 1920s Britain to the lost valleys of India. Historical adventure on a cinematic scale inspired by European comics like Herge’s Tintin. A stunning achievement by Ewing and fantastic read for all ages.
Cindy & Biscuit #3 by Dan White
Self published, December 2012
A young girl goes on adventures to battle beasts and robots with her pet dog. On the surface a sweet, funny and butt-kicking action comic but there are hints that Cindy is playing make believe to escape an unhappy home life. Wonderful cartooning and the stealthy sub text elevate White’s creation into something truly special.
Hilda & The Bird Parade by Luke Pearson
NoBrow/Flying Eye Books, October 2012
Pearson’s third adventure for the irrepressible Hilda and the follow up to last year’s Young People’s Comic Award winner. Hilda moves to the city and explores its secrets while the town prepare for the great Bird Parade. An original, heartfelt and utterly enjoyable tale from a true modern talent.
Playing Out by Jim Medway
Blank Slate Books, June 2013
Three young lads explore city centre Manchester at the end of the Summer Holidays. Medway explores the whims and pangs of disaffected youth with honesty and empathy and the result is an hugely enjoyable insight into today’s often overlooked youngsters. Oh, and everyone’s a cat.
The Sleepwalkers by Vivianne Schwarz
Walker Books, May 2013
The Sleepwalkers will vanquish your nightmarish foes if you write them a letter and put it under your pillow, but the current team of dream heroes need 3 brave souls to replace them when their time is up. A wonderful story that creates a strange and beautiful world all it’s own and never talks down to it’s readers.
Will Morris for The Silver Darlings
Blank Slate Books, December 2012
After contributing a chapter to Nelson, the winner of last year’s Best Book, Morris brought out his debut book, The Silver Darlings. A coming of age tale set aboard a humble fishing vessel, Morris crafts a tale of superstition and realisation with his fine lines and gorgeous ink washes.
Isabel Greenberg for The River of Lost Souls
Self published, June 2013
The mortal ferryman of the River Styx finds love with a ghost’s kind hearted daughter, but Hades is not best pleased. A whimsically modern take on a classic myth drawn in Greenberg’s attractive, high-contrast, almost woodcut style.
Dilraj Mann for Frank Ocean VS Chris Brown, Make You Notice and Turning Point
From Stroke zine (Self published, June 2013), NoBrow 8 anthology (NoBrow, April 2013) and Bits In Multiples Of Eight anthology (Jimmy Giegerich, September 2012) respectively
Mann’s short comics have appeared anthologies like NoBrow 8 and his collaborative art-zine, Stroke. Using narration and knowing nods to pop culture together with his sumptuous character design, Mann’s style is already highly refined and utterly distinctive.
Jade Sarson for Cafe Suada: Cup 3 – Strange Stains
Published online between September 2012 and June 2013
The most recently completed story arc of Sarson’s ongoing rom-com webcomic features more adventures of Geraldine the owner of the Piyo-Piyo teahouse and her relationship with the manager of the rival coffee shop next door. Brought to life with Sarson’s lovely sepia, tea stained artwork.
Lizzy Stewart for Solo, Four Days In Brussels, Four Days in Iceland and Object Stories
‘Solo’ published online between September 2012 and August 2013, others self published 2013.
Stewart can’t stop making comics. As well as her diary webcomic Solo, Stewart has released two travelogs and a short story collection. Stewart’s shy but insightful take on autobiography translates into unfettered and utterly charming comics.
Hall of Fame
After 60 years Baxendale’s characters like The Bash Street Kids and Minnie the Minx are still entertaining children week after week in the pages of The Beano. His influence on generations of children and young artists is incalculable. His joyous, inventive style with it’s crowded scenes, visual puns, hidden details, goofy expressions and genius slapstick have been emulated and adopted by cartoonists again and again. Baxendale’s body of work from his famous Beano characters, to his lesser known but equally brilliant creations are an integral and inseparable part of the history of British children’s comics.
To read a full career retrospective, please click here.
The Committee for the British Comic Awards 2013 consisted of Zainab Akhtar, Richard Bruton, Clark Burscough, Dr. Mel Gibson, Ian Hague, Tom Humberstone, David Montieth, Vicky Stonebridge and Stacey Whittle.
The Judging panel consisted of Gareth David, Lenny Henry, Stephen L Holland, Jamillah Knowles, Graham Linehan, Josie Long and Sarah McIntyre.
The Best Book, Best Comic and Emerging Talent categories all featured work published between 1st September 2012 and 31st August 2013.
The Young People’s Comic Award featured work published between 1st August 2012 and 31st July 2013 and was judged by children from 16 reading groups from schools and public libraries around the UK.