We swept the Eisners and we're having a sale to celebrate
This was a landmark year for Drawn & Quarterly at San Diego Comic-Con International's Will Eisner Awards. D+Q authors were nominated in five categories and swept all five of them, with wins for Kate Beaton (Best Humor Publication for Step Aside, Pops), Shigeru Mizuki (Best American Edition of International Material - Asia for Showa 1953-1989), Jillian Tamaki (Best Publication for Teens for SuperMutant Magic Academy) and Adrian Tomine (Best Short Story for "Killing and Dying")! Beaton was the first solo female cartoonist to win in the humor category, a deserved and significant win.
In addition to all that wonderfulness, two of our legendary and defining authors, Lynda Barry and Tove Jansson were inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame. We in the office are still starry-eyed with delight at the many honours that have been lavished upon our authors this Comic-Con season, honours which reveal the breadth of D+Q's publishing mandate.
And since we owe so much of this success to you, our readers, supporters, retailers, journalists, and fans, we wanted to share the transcript of publisher Peggy Burns's speeches inducting Tove into the hall of fame and accepting the Best Anthology award for Drawn & Quarterly: Twenty-five years of contemporary comics, cartoons, and graphic novels. Sadly we do not have a video of Lynda Barry's Hall of Fame speech, but there is a snippet you can watch on our instagram. Photos from the ceremony have been generously provided by ace photographer Jody Culkin.
We also want to thank you with some sweet deals! We're announcing a 40% off sale, which you can access by clicking on the image below or accessing our shop here. The sale will end next Tuesday, August 2nd.
Happy reading! And thank you again, we truly couldn't do this without all of you.
TOVE JANSSON HALL OF FAME SPEECH:
For many years, the Moomin comics strips by Tove Jansson held a mythical status in the world of comics. People would tell a friend, "There’s a midcentury strip that ran in a British newspaper. It’s funny, melancholy, enchanting. It’s drawn by a woman who wrote all of these books with the same characters, and she turned them into comics and they’re amazing." But the strip was nowhere to be found in English, or any language outside of Northern Europe.
The Moomin strip was published in the London Evening News for twenty years. Tove eventually hated the grind of a daily comic strip. She quit and gave the strip to her brother Lars. Once it ended, the strip disappeared although Tove’s reputation as a world class novelist remained intact. The novels that made her famous were printed all around the world and she won the Hans Christian Andersen Award. She turned down an offer from Walt Disney. She was and still is Finland’s most acclaimed writer.
Yet, Tove’s status as a master cartoonist went unnoticed for decades. At home in Scandinavia, the comics were reprinted in paperbacks, without much thought or care. The attention was always on Tove the writer. She is the rare writer who can write for adults, and can write for kids, because it doesn’t really matter, she writes for all of us. She is also the rare artist who understands storytelling so well, so thoroughly, that she can skillfully move from prose to comics without skipping a beat.
When D+Q started publishing Moomin in 2005, everyone was rushing to reprint vintage comics. The success of Peanuts had shown us that people wanted a historical document of their favorite comics. Every strip in North America seemed to be dusted off and reprinted, but Moomin went unnoticed.
Our editor Tom Devlin envisioned the series as sturdy oversized portrait books, a size that could easily fit in the hands of both children and adults. In ten years, we have sold almost 300,000 units. Once never licensed outside of Scandinavia, the Moomin comic strip is now reprinted in 25 countries.
The world of Moomin is filled with magical characters including Moominmamma, Moominpappa, Little My, Snorkmaiden,and more, characters whose foibles mirror our own society. Through Moomin, Tove celebrates individualism, she challenges norms, she says it is ok to be alone, to be different. Moomin teaches us to love life and that we shouldn’t take things too seriously. A reminder that seems especially potent today.
When you are a Moomin fan, you see Tove in all of the stories. You recognize her distinct, carefree individualism mixed with playful cynicism. The Moomins can be selfish, cruel, and petty but more often than not they are generous and nurturing—just like all of us.
We have published ten volumes of Moomin strips and are reissuing them in paperbacks. I have read the strips a million times and I love them even more with every reading. We just published Club Life in Moominvalley, where Moominmamma is rejected from a boys' club, and makes her own damn club. My coworker remarked that Tove Jansson's stories are “universal and feminist in their bones.”
Female comics professionals know what it feels like to be denied admittance, we know that it’s an industry that is inherently a boys club and that the canon-making of great cartoonists is seen through the eyes of men, sadly, more often than not. Many of us make our own damn clubs.
So tonight’s induction is especially important, and we thank the Eisners, San Diego Comic-Con, and all of the voters for widening the comics canon beyond dudes, superheroes, and North America.
Most of all, we thank you for recognizing one of the best cartoonists the world has ever seen and one of the best comics strips to have graced the medium. I am proud to be part of this community tonight that recognizes Tove Jansson -- the cartoonist.
D+Q 25 BEST ANTHOLOGY AWARD SPEECH:
While making this book I would often remark that our history is quite boring. We’re not RAW, we’re not Fantagraphics. Our story is that a nice Canadian man set out to publish great comics and he succeeded. But in so doing, Chris Oliveros founded the most artist-friendly comic book company in the history of comics. A company where an artist doesn’t have to settle for freedom over sales. Where an artist doesn’t have to choose between production values and a royalty. Chris also has built the most employee friendly company, and I know this from working with him for 13 years. And as we know, the bar in comics is quite low for either of those criteria, and only more so together. Chris Oliveros is the most humble man in comics and we are better for it.
We would like to thank our authors. We publish the best cartoonists in the world, cartoonists who believe in small business, who believe in artistic freedom, who believe in Drawn & Quarterly, who believe that success lies in a small Canadian publisher, and who believe in David over Goliath. I want you all to know that we never take your faith in us to publish your comics lightly.
We have had three authors pass away in our D+Q family during the last year or so. Yoshihiro Tatsumi in March 2015 at the age of 80; Shigeru Mizuki last November at the age of 93; and two weeks ago, Geneviève Castrée, who passed away from stage four cancer at the age of 35, leaving behind her husband and baby daughter. We would like to dedicate this Eisner to Geneviève, who in many ways exemplifies D+Q. A proud Canadian, a proud Quebecker, a feminist, a parent, a good friend, and a fully formed artist right out of the gate. I urge you to read her piece in this anthology and her memoir Susceptible.
Thank you Geneviève. We miss you so much.