2016 Wright Award Nominees List;
Jasper the Bear Creator to Hall of Fame

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The nominees for the 2016 Doug Wright awards for Canadian Cartooning have been announced and the list reveals a robust English-language comics scene bursting with old school masters and cutting edge emerging talents.

The winners will be announced during TCAF at a gala ceremony taking place the evening of Saturday May 14. The winners will be decided by a celebrity jury made up of cartoonist Maurice Vellekoop, Globe and Mail columnist Nathalie Atkinson, and Emily Donaldson, editor-in-chief of Canadian Notes & Queries. Not an easy task!

In addition to honouring the winners, the Awards ceremony will also feature the induction of cartoonist James Simpkins into The Giants of the North, The Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame. Simpkins (1910-2004) was the creator of Jasper the Bear, a long-running comic strip that ran in Maclean’s Magazine and later as a newspaper feature during the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

The nominees were selected from a long-list of over 150 comics published in 2015 by a nominating committee made up of Jerry Ciccoritti, Sean Rogers, Betty Liang and Alex Hoffman.

Here is the list:

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Best Book!

by Michael DeForge (Koyama Press)
by Sylvie Rancourt (Drawn & Quarterly)
Palookaville #22
by Seth (Drawn & Quarterly)
Step Aside, Pops
by Kate Beaton (Drawn & Quarterly)
by Marc Bell (Drawn & Quarterly)
SuperMutant Magic Academy
by Jillian Tamaki (Drawn & Quarterly)

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The Spotlight Award
(a.k.a. “The Nipper”)

Ted Gudlat
for Funny Ha-Has (Roads Publishing)

Dakota McFadzean
for Don’t Get Eaten By Anything (Conundrum Press)

Rebecca Roher
for Mom Body (The Nib)

Sabrina Scott
for Witchbody
Kat Verhoeven
for Towerkind (Conundrum Press)

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The Pigskin Peters Award

Leather Vest
Michael Comeau 
New Comics # 6 & 7
by Patrick Kyle 
Intelligent Sentient?
by Luke Ramsey (Drawn & Quarterly)
We Are Going To Bremen To Be Musicians
by Tin Can Forest and Geoff Berner
by Stanley Wany (Éditions Trip)

(“experimental, unconventional, and avant-garde Canadian comics”)


‘Jasper the Bear’ cartoonist James Simpkins
to be inducted into Giants of the North Hall of Fame

Photo by Peter Bregg. Simpkins in 2004

Jasper-Book-coverThe Doug Wright Awards are also pleased to announce that James Simpkins, the creator of the iconic mid-20th century Canadian comic strip character Jasper the Bear, will be the 2016 inductee to the Giants of the North Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame.

  James Simpkins in 2004

Born in Winnipeg in 1910, Simpkins was a filmmaker, illustrator and artist who is best known for his hugely popular comic strip and gag cartoon Jasper the Bear, which ran from 1948 to 1971 in Maclean’s and in syndication across Europe and Mexico. Jasper was an affable and anthropomorphic bear/family man whose humourous adventures among mankind gained him a unique place in Canadian society.

Over the years Jasper’s comics were collected in five books and he became a virtual industry with his likeness appearing on dolls, toys, t-shirts, postcards, hats, colouring books, souvenir spoons, salt-and-pepper shakers and a Canadian two-dollar coin. In 1962 he became the official mascot for Jasper National Park in Alberta, which is home to a life-size replica of him. Simpkins passed away in 2004.

The jury for the 12th Annual Doug Wright Awards will include cartoonist Maurice Vellekoop, Globe and Mail columnist Nathalie Atkinson, and Emily Donaldson, editor-in-chief of Canadian Notes & Queries.

The winners of the 2016 Doug Wright Awards will be announced in a ceremony held at the TCAF on Saturday, May 14, 2016.

The finalists for the 2016 Doug Wright Awards were chosen from a long list of more than 150 works and submissions published during the 2015 calendar year. This year’s nominating committee included Jerry Ciccoritti, Sean Rogers, Betty Liangand Alex Hoffman.

Doug Wright Awards site