The Slate Book Review and the Center for Cartoon Studies have announce the nominees for the seventh annual Cartoonist Studio Prize.
The nominees were selected by Slate’s Dan Kois, the faculty and students of the Center for Cartoon Studies (represented by previous winner Keren Katz, the center’s 2018–19 Fellow), and this year’s guest judge, Gil Roth, host of the podcast The Virtual Memories Show.
Chlorine Gardens by Keiler Roberts
Dealing with pregnancy, child-rearing, art-making, mental illness, and an MS diagnosis, the parts of Chlorine Gardens‘ sum sound heavy, but Keiler Roberts’ gift is the deft drollness in which she presents life’s darker moments. She doesn’t whistle past graveyards, but rather finds the punch line in the pitiful.
Girl Town by Carolyn Nowak
Diana got hurt — a lot — and she’s decided to deal with this fact by purchasing a life-sized robot boyfriend. Mary and La-La host a podcast about a movie no one’s ever seen. Kelly has dragged her friend Beth out of her comfort zone — and into a day at the fantasy market that neither of them will forget.
Bold, infatuated, wounded, or lost, Nowak’s girls shine with life and longing. Their stories — depicted with remarkable charm and insight — capture the spirit of our time.
Passing for Human by Liana Finck
In this achingly beautiful graphic memoir, Liana Finck goes in search of that thing she has lost–her shadow, she calls it, but one might also think of it as the “otherness” or “strangeness” that has defined her since birth, that part of her that has always made her feel as though she is living in exile from the world. In Passing for Human , Finck is on a quest for self-understanding and self-acceptance, and along the way she seeks to answer some eternal questions: What makes us whole? What parts of ourselves do we hide or ignore or chase away–because they’re embarrassing, or inconvenient, or just plain weird–and at what cost?
Poochytown by Jim Woodring
When Pupshaw and Pushpaw depart for the orgiastic delights of Poochytown, the forlorn Frank is thrown by a twist of fate into an unlikely friendship, propelling him down a long road of escapades and trials that ends in one of the most shocking acts ever depicted in the Frank canon.
Space Academy 123 by Mickey Zacchilli
Surviving school is tough; now imagine peer pressure and midterms while hurtling through the vacuum of space. Mickey Zacchilli blends Starfleet with Degrassi to make a classroom saga that recalls manga, Sunday funnies and composition book epics scrawled while ignoring the periodic table.
Tongues No. 2 by Anders Nilsen
Set in a version of modern Central Asia, Tongues is a retelling of the Greek myth of Prometheus. It follows the captive god’s friendship with the eagle who carries out his daily sentence of torture, and chronicles his pursuit of revenge on the god that has imprisoned him. Prometheus’ story is entwined with that of an East African orphan on an errand of murder, and a young man with a teddy bear strapped to his back, wandering aimlessly into catastrophe . The story is set against the backdrop of tensions between rival groups in an oil-rich wilderness.
Why Art? by Eleanor Davis
What is “Art”? It’s widely accepted that art serves an important function in society. But the concept falls under such an absurdly large umbrella and can manifest in so many different ways. Art can be self indulgent, goofy, serious, altruistic, evil, or expressive, or any number of other things. But how can it truly make lasting, positive change? In Why Art?, acclaimed graphic novelist Eleanor Davis (How To Be Happy) unpacks some of these concepts in ways both critical and positive, in an attempt to illuminate the highest possible potential an artwork might hope to achieve.
Windowpane by Joe Kessler
The first published book from London-based Joe Kessler, Windowpane consists of a series of allegorical comics shorts that showcase the developing talent of one of the UK’s most exciting young cartoonists.
Yellow Negroes And Other Imaginary Creatures by Yvan Alagbé
In the stories gathered in Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures – drawn between 1994 and 2011, and never before available in English – Yvan Alagbé uses stark, endlessly inventive black-and-white brushwork to explore love and race, oppression and escape. It is both an extraordinary experiment in visual storytelling and an essential, deeply personal political statement.
Young Frances by Hartley Lin
After insomniac law clerk Frances Scarland is recruited by her firm’s most notorious senior partner, she seems poised for serious advancement-whether she wants it or not. But when her impulsive best friend Vickie decides to move to the opposite coast for an acting role, Frances’ confusing existence starts to implode.