The Pop Culture Classroom held the first Excellence in Graphic Literature (EGL) Awards yesterday at Denver Comic Con.
The main prize, Book of the Year, went to “Spill Zone” Vol. 1, written by Scott Westerfeld with art by Alex Puvilland. The comic told the story of Addison Merrick, an explorer who sought to enter the titular quarantined area to uncover the events behind her parents’ disappearance, and which turned her younger sister mute. The series was originally serialized online in 2016, and the first print volume was published last year by First Second.
The first Mosaic Award went to Vietnamese cartoonist Thi Bui for her memoir, “The Best We Could Do” (published by Abrams Comic Arts). The award is meant to honor “the ever-growing number of talented storytellers and rich content that come from our diverse communities, ethnicities, nationalities, faiths, genders, and orientations.”
The Award for Best in Children’s Books went to “Real Friends” by author Shannon Hale and illustrator LeUyen Pham (published by First Second), a graphic memoir set during Hale’s school days, when her best friend Adrienne started hanging out with the more popular kids.
First Second also won Best in Adult Books for “The Hunting Accident,” created by graphic designer/first-time writer David L. Carlson, and indie comics artist Landis Blair. The book tells the true story of Charlie Rizzo, who learned his father, Matt, a blind poet, lost his eyesight not because of a hunting accident, but because he was a bank robber, who befriended Nathan Leopold in prison no less.
Best in Middle-Grade Books went to “As the Crow Flies,” a webcomic by Melanie Gillman printed last year by Iron Circus Comics, which told the story of Charlie Lamonte, a queer, black 13-year old who’s starting to question her faith in God – and “naturally” finding herself spending a week of her summer vacation at an (otherwise) white Christian youth camp.
Australian artist Campbell Whyte‘s “Home Time: Under the River” was chosen for Best in Young Adult Books. The first volume of Whyte’s webcomic, printed by Top Shelf, followed twins Lilly and David, and their friends, when their summer plans are scuppered after they all fall into a river, and wake up in a village of fantastic creatures. “Hailed as magical spirits, threatened by lizards, and trained in the mysterious arts of tea-brewing, these kids must find their way home — if they don’t throttle each other first.”
All non-fiction and fiction books published in 2018 are eligible for next year’s EGL Awards. Submissions will begin in the Fall: for further information, see here.