‘George Sprott,’ ‘Hot Potatoe,’ DeForge win big at 2010 Doug Wright Awards

Posted on 08. May, 2010 by in News

 Toronto, May 8, 2010 — Canada’s finest comics and graphic novels were celebrated last night as the 6th annual Doug Wright Awards touched down in Toronto’s Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, in a ceremony hosted by actor Peter Outerbridge (ReGenesis).


Host Peter Outerbridge, as drawn by Seth

This year’s top honours included,

For BEST BOOK, George Sprott: (1894-1975) by Seth (Drawn and Quarterly Books)

For BEST EMERGING TALENT, Michael DeForge Lose #1 (Koyama Press)

For The Pigskin Peters Award, Hot Potatoe by Marc Bell (Drawn & Quarterly)

As the featured event of the 2010 Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF), which is being held at the Toronto Reference Library, the evening also featured a moving tribute to pioneering Canadian cartoonist Martin Vaughn-James (1943 – 2009), who was posthumously inducted into The Giants of the North, The Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame, in a talk delivered by cartoonist Kate Beaton.

The winners were decided by a jury comprised of Matt Forsythe (editor of Drawn.ca, winner of the 2009 Pigskin Peters Award for Ojingogo), Geoff Pevere (Toronto Star book critic; author of Mondo Canuck), Fiona Smyth (artist; cartoonist) and Carl Wilson (editor/writer Globe and Mail, author of Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste).

Speaking on behalf of the jury, Pevere praised the Best Book winner George Sprott as “a portrait of a character, of a country…a country that is no longer with us,” adding that: “It is a work about memory, a work about culture, a work about the past and a work about the future.”

Speaking for Wright Awards nominating committee, which chooses the annual Pigskin Peters Award, Matt Forsythe described Hot Potatoe as “a collection of seven years of work that is insulting and hilarious and sarcastic and sincere,” and continued that it has “influenced a whole wave of comics and artists –myself included.”

Sarah McCoy, the widow of 2010 Giants of the North inductee Martin Vaughan James, wrote a commemorative speech for the occasion which was read during the ceremony. The speech, titled “All My Pleasures Are Like Yesterday”, reads in part:

Martin Vaughn-James, artist, singer, writer, and first-rate draftsman, inventor of the Visual Novel—which took place in Toronto—died nearly 10 months ago. It was July 3rd. He was only 65. The most horrible and saddest day of my life. But as Garcia Lorca writes in one of his most beautiful poems, “Death always comes at five o’clock in the afternoon.” So it was for me. […]

It was in Toronto where we lived for 8 years—and with Stan Bevington at Coach House Press—that Martin came into his own. We were all very young, and positive. Victor Coleman, [who took a photo of M. with an old projector at his home on a lovely island, long before the Tower was built], David Young, and Rick [/Simon], who created alchemy with the images—[he performed miracles on the drawings in the dark room, and it was as hot as hell in there!]—were [all] good friends to both of us.

The Cage and L’Enquêteur could never have been conceived nor executed without the superb books and colour posters that Stan produced. He used to say: “Take as many as you want!” […]

I know that Martin’s spirit, his intelligence, his humanity, his creativity, and insatiable curiosity are still with me. He was an atheist his entire life, but I trust now he is with all his heroes. His death, to me, is tragic, and so premature. I loved him my whole adult life, and now I must learn to live alone for the rest of my days. I shall do so, for you, M.

Read McCoy’s entire speech here All My Pleasures Are Like Yesterday

Martin Vaughan James

Martin Vaughan James

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