An Awards Vote That's a Real Lulu
(This Stripped column originally appeared in the July 23-29, 1998 Long Island Voice. Click on the artwork for a larger image.)
by Beth Hannan Rimmels
Award season mostly parallels convention season in the comic-book business, and this week brings the 1998 Lulu Award nominees from Friends of Lulu, the national organization that promotes and encourages female readership and participation in the industry. The nominees are, for Hall of Fame: Marjorie Henderson Buell, creator of Little Lulu (for whom the group is named); Ramona Fradon, Silver Age comic book artist; Lynn Johnston, For Better or For Worse; Dale Messick, Brenda Starr; and Trina Robbins, cartoonist, comics historian and author of A Century of Women Superheroes.
Nominees for the Kim Yale Award for Best New Talent include NYC's own Jennifer Gonzalez, Kronikle Komix; Devin Grayson, Catwoman; Tara Jenkins, Galaxion; Carla "Speed" McNeil, Finder; and Ariel Schrag, Definition, Potential. The nominees for Lulu of the Year are Action Girl, Sarah Dyer, editor; Abby Denson, Tough Love, XY Magazine, Freedom Set; Linda Medley, Castle Waiting; Dave Roman and John Green, Quicken Forbidden; and Jill Thompson, Scary Godmother.
The latter two categories are the toughest for voters. Gonzalez's darkly funny Komix certainly offers a fresh perspective. I've enjoyed Grayson's work on Catwoman much more than her predecessors. It's nice to finally get a woman's take on such a popular and well-known female character.
I haven't read McNeil's Finder, but I've really enjoyed her contributions to the fantasy anthology Mythography. "Mystery Date" was a particularly good story from an anthology that tries to top itself in creativity. Jenkin's Galaxion is simply one of the best self-published titles by a newcomer I've seen. It's good science-fiction adventure by a writer/artist with loads of potential.
Lulu of the Year is even harder to pick. Action Girl is a very good anthology founded by Dyer, a talented writer whose work I always want more of. Local guys Dave Roman and John Green are my sentimental favorites, and Quicken Forbidden certainly deserves consideration for its cyberpunk Alice in Wonderland sensibility. Only the fact that Roman and Green have a bit more experience than Jenkins keeps them from vying for "best title by a newcomer" in my mind. Besides, you have to give them credit for the guts to not only do a video to help promote Quicken Forbidden at shows, but then turn that into a full, live-action project with two animation sequences.
But the real brawl is between Thompson and Medley. Both women are incredibly talented writer/artists whose projects immediately moved to the top of my list of favorite titles. Both women are part of this year's Trilogy Tour, founded in 1997 by Medley, Jeff Smith (Bone) and Charles Vess (Book of Ballads and Sagas). The tour has stops at Heroes Con in Charlotte, N.C., the then-Chicago Comic Con (now Wizard World) and the Comic-Con International San Diego.
This year, fantasy self-publishing's Terrific Trio invited three more creators to join them: Stan Sakai of the wonderful samurai series Usagi Yojimbo; Mark Crilley, creator of Akiko, which has been compared to L. Frank Baum's Oz series; and, of course, Thompson. Both women are so sweet that I can't imagine any Bette Davis/Joan Crawford-style rivalry between them, but it still has to be a trifle weird to be competing with each other (both women were also nominated for Best Talent Deserving of a Wider Recognition at the Eisner Awards and each was nominated in other Eisner categories).
Both the Lulu Awards and the Eisner Awards will be given out during the Comic-Con International from Aug 13 to 16. Nominees for the Lulu Awards were determined by the top five vote-getters in each category, as nominated by the Friends of Lulu membership. Members then vote for the winner in each category in a separate vote.
For more information on Kronikle Komix, send an e-mail here.
Column © 1998 Long Island Voice. Artwork © 1998 Jennifer Gonzalez.