by BK Munn
The winners of the 2014 Joe Shuster Awards were announced this past Saturday night during a ceremony at Back Space in Toronto. This year the winners were almost equally split between French- and English-language creators. As well, a new category was added this year: The T.M. Maple Award, recognizing the contributions of long-time fans to the world of Canadian comics, is named for the pseudonym of legendary letterhack Jim Burke (1956-1994). Burke wrote (and had published) thousands of letters to comic book and fanzine publishers over three decades and was well-known as a perceptive and humorous critic of the form to several generations of creators and readers. Besides Burke, Debra Jane Shelly (1974-2014) posthumously received the initial award. Shelly, who passed away earlier this year, was a key figure in the Toronto fan scene over the past decade.
As with every year’s ceremony, several important figures from Canadian comics history were inducted into the Shuster Awards’ “Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame.” This year’s inductees were Cy Bell (1904-197?), publisher of Bell Comics in the 1940s; Edmond Good (1910-1991), a cartoonist and the first Art Director of Bell Comics, responsible for the Rex Baxter feature in Dime Comics, who later had a long career in U.S. comics and strips; and Ty Templeton (b.1962), the Toronto cartoonist and educator who has been a major contributor to the Canadian alternative comics world as a creator and editor (Stig’s Inferno, Mr. Comics), as well as being a longtime scribe and illustrator for big name U.S. superhero comics.
Here are the winners:
Writer: Kurtis Wiebe, Rat Queens 1-3, Peter Panzerfaust 8-15, Dia De Los Muertos 3
Cartoonist: Zviane, les Deuxièmes (Pow Pow)
Artist: Fiona Staples, Saga 9-17 (Image)
Cover Artist: Julie Rochelle
Webcomics Creator: Jayd Aït-Kaci (with Christina Strain), The Fox Sister
The Dragon Award (Comics for Kids): Couette tomes 2 & 3 by (Severin Gauthier) and Minikim (Dargaud)
Gene Day Award (Self-Publishers): Steven Gilbert, The Journal of the Main Street Secret Lodge
Harry Kremer Award (Retailers): The Comic Shop (Vancouver, BC)
The T.M. Maple Award: Jim Burke, Debra Jane Shelly
Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame: Cy Bell, Edmond Good, Ty Templeton