The British Comic Awards are GO!

Published On June 29, 2012 | By Richard Bruton | Awards, Comics, Comics For Children

The British Comic Awards – Celebrating the very best in British comics.

The website is live, the twitter’s turned on, and we’re at the start of something new and exciting in British Comics.

I’ve been sitting on this for a long time, since Adam Cadwell got in touch about it, waiting for the launch, but here we go, finally, we’re ready to unveil the British Comic Awards. I say we, since I’m part of the BCA committee responsible for drawing up a short-list to go before the judges, and I’m really pleased and excited to be able to finally announce the awards.

The major awards for the last 30+ years have been the Eagle Awards, but the structure of those awards meant that it simply became a celebration of a US comics, with very little British content. And the open nature of nominations for the past few years has led to a few unusual and slightly questionable choices. It’s been a problem of Brit comics for many, many years, and never more than in the last few years with an explosion of talent being created and published in the UK, but there’s never really been a Comic Awards that truly celebrates British comics.

So when Adam Cadwell got in touch with an idea for a new British Comic Awards structured similarly to the minimalist Canadian Doug Wright Awards, it seemed a great idea. Not a replacement for the Eagles, not at all, but something else, something to truly celebrate British Comics. The intent is to award simply on merit, to commend the best that Britain has to offer, because for too long, we’ve been too reserved and quiet about just how impressive Britain’s comic industry can be.

There are just five categories for the British Comic Awards, deliberately keeping it small, focused, without distinguishing between print or digital, big publisher backed or self-published, as long as they’re British and published Sept 2011 to August 2012:

Best Comic for short-form, self-contained stories.

Best Book for long-form comics and collections.

Young People’s Comic Award for short and long form comics suitable for children voted for by young people.

Emerging Talent to recognise irrepressible talent and potential in a young or new creator.

Hall of Fame to commemorate the career and legacy of an influential figure from Britain’s rich comic history.

The Awards consist of the Awards Committee to select the shortlist and the Judging Panel to select the winners in the first three categories. The Hall of Fame Award is chosen by the Committee and the Young People’s Comic Award is chosen by children from numerous schools.

The first awards will be held in partnership with the annual Leeds Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival in November, with the innaugural ceremony of the British Comic Awards held on Saturday 17th November during Thought Bubble.

BCA founder Adam Cadwell explains how the awards came about:

The British Comic Awards were conceived in May 2011 after I witnessed the simplicity and elegance of the Doug Wright Awards in Canada. I felt the UK was in need of something similar. I starting talking to other comic artists and the Thought Bubble team about setting up a new awards and a year later we’re ready to go. I can’t wait to see what titles end up in the shortlists, what the young people pick as their favourite and I’m very excited by the first inductee to the Hall of Fame.

The comics culture in Britain is hugely ambitious, but often very modest too. It’s about time we pause for a moment and commend some of the incredible work that’s being done and highlight important creative works for the general public.

Full details on the British Comic Awards website.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton
- Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he's written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard's day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children's graphic novel library in the country.

9 Responses to The British Comic Awards are GO!

  1. Well that needed doing.

  2. Good idea. Web-based open votes are absolutely the worst way to give awards, and I say that as the winner of the 2011 Irish Comic News award for best webcomic.

    They’re not accepting suggestions for the Hall of Fame award, but if it was down to me anyone still working would be ineligible. That’s probably my least favourite part of the Eagle Awards, giving Hall of Fame awards, to pick an example, to Frank Quitely rather than Dudley D. Watkins.

  3. Emperor says:

    Superb, we need an award that truly focuses on British comics again and this looks to be just the ticket.

    I am also pleased that one of the people behind establishing the Eagles was Richard “Burt” Burton and now the British Comics Awards have Richard Bruton (any chance you could take the nickname “Brut”?). It is a sign.

  4. Emperor says:

    Ah but imagine your catchphrase: “splash it all over.” I could imagine you’d find many uses for that.

    Meanwhile, back in the real world… could I clarify what is eligible for the Best Comic Award. Would a self-contained storyline within a series in an anthology like 2000AD count? Like Nikolai Dante: “The Wedding of Jena Makarov”? It seems to fit the remit but I wasn’t 100% sure.

    • Richard says:

      The best way to think about it in many ways is this. You suggest something or someone you like…. we’ll worry about where they go.
      Seriously, the hours and hours of emails we’ve had going back and forth over this you would not believe!

      Personally I’d say Dante would come under both…. Best Book for a collection in the qualifying period, or best comic for the serialised stuff in 2000AD – 6 pages, 10 episodes or so? That’s “short-form, self-contained stories” I reckon. But this is the very reason the committee have between September and November to thrash this stuff out!

      But like I say, just chuck it in the pot, let us do the heavy lifting of deciding where it goes!

      It’s a little like deciding who / what is an “emerging talent”? Again, just pitch a name if you want, and let us work out whether they’re emerging or emerged!

  5. Emperor says:

    That’s great, thanks. Now with that difficulty out of the way I only have the difficult task of whittling down my nominations.

    • Richard says:

      You don’t really need to – that’s the committee’s job. So whether you send a list of 2 or 20, all will be considered by the committee for final selection and presenting to the judging panel.

  6. Emperor says:

    Ah great thanks, I might whittle my list up 😉