Emil Ferris, having brought exquisite craft to her debut graphic novel at age 55, brought extreme gratitude to the stage over the weekend, as she was twice honored at the 2017 Ignatz Awards in suburban Washington.
“Shame on SPX and a whole lot of cartoonists ... you made an old lady cry,” Ferris told the Post shortly after scoring her twin wins Saturday evening at Small Press Expo, whose attendees vote on the nominees for the Ignatz, which salutes excellence in indie comics.
Ferris, a Chicago-based artist who recovered from paralysis at age 40 to devote years to her first book, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters (Fantagraphics), emphasized how her graphic novel, while a deeply personal work, represents a collective victory. The work was named outstanding graphic novel, and she was honored as outstanding artist.
“From the first stroke of my ballpoint pen, I was the recipient of the well-appreciated benevolence of many,” Ferris said of her opus. “Not the least of which has been a willing readership who lent my ‘doorstop’ their gorgeous minds.”
Ferris was part of a diverse slate of Ignatz winners and works that included Ben Passmore, whose Your Black Friend was voted outstanding comic, as well as outstanding anthology winner Elements: Fire – An Anthology by Creators of Color, which was edited by Taneka Stotts.
“This project started due to a lack of diverse creators in an industry built around imagination, and it will sadly have to continue until this industry realizes we’re not mere figments of said imagination,” Stotts tweeted as part of her acceptance. (None of the 2017 Ignatz winners was a white male creator – two years after women swept every Ignatz category.)
The Ignatz Awards, as presented by SPX at the North Bethesda Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Maryland, was celebrating its 20th anniversary. The Ignatz “brick” award nodded to George Herriman’s legendary comic Krazy Kat, and jurors Neil Brideau, Glynnis Fawkes, Sara Lautman, Trungles and David Willis determined this year’s nominees.
The Ignatz ceremony was sponsored by comiXology, which is owned by Amazon. (Disclosure: Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Here is the full list of the 2017 Ignatz winners:
Outstanding Comic: Your Black Friend, by Ben Passmore (benpassmoreart.com).Outstanding Graphic Novel: My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, by Emil FerrisOutstanding Online Comic: “The Meek,” by Der-shing Helmer (meekcomic.com)Outstanding Artist: Emil Ferris, My Favorite Thing Is MonstersOutstanding Collection: Johnny Wander: Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us, by Ananth Hirsh and Yuko OtaOutstanding Story: “Diana’s Electric Tongue,” by Carolyn Nowak (carolyncnowak.com)Outstanding Minicomic: Tender Hearted, by Hazel Newlevant (newlevant.com)Outstanding Anthology: Elements: Fire – An Anthology by Creators of Color (elementsanthology.com), edited by Taneka StottsOutstanding Series: “Chester 5000,” by Jess Fink (jessfink.com)Promising New Talent: Bianca Xunise, Say Her Name (biancaxunise.com)