The Arts Foundation award grants each year in different categories. This year, comics are up for the first time ever which is an exciting prospect, and the winner, picked from four shortlisters during an award ceremony (sounds a bit strange, but they’re presenting this more like an mtv award than a professional grant) will receive £10,000. This is one event among many that reflect a genuine growth in the acceptance of comics as a legitimate and diverse medium in the U.K. and will hopefully be of high enough visibility to help accelerate the process. The moment a comics-based public event can be covered by a variety of newspapers without a single headline reading “POW, BLAM, Comics are Back!” or something of the like, I’ll be happy, but we’re not quite there yet… maybe the grant will change this.
“The event at the ICA will introduce the judges of the award Pat Mills, Posy Simmonds and Paul Gravett who will discuss the graphic novel’s ascendancy in this country and announce the finalists who will each present and discuss their shortlisted ouput.”
With names like that, it should be a great panel! Now to the even more exciting news, one of the shortlisters is Kate! ^_^ This is incredibly exciting, and she’ll be presenting her work at the Comica panel along with an impressively diverse collection of artists. Of course I’m terribly biased, but I think Kate’s work represents genuine quality across the board, from storytelling to style to page flow to accessibility, and I know that she’s got fantastic plans for a self published piece called Fish and Chocolate that would benefit perfectly from the money, so please give your support! At the least, this will be a fantastic opportunity for promotion, which is perhaps the trickiest aspect of self publication.Regardless of who wins, I’m happy that there’s a wide range of aesthetics on display here, and a great level of quality.