It's hard to overstate the motivational boost winning an award can give you, particularly in comics. Creating comics is often a thankless job, or worse, but a little recognition from your peers and audience can go a long way. The Stumptown Comics Fest is one of the most respected indie comics conventions in the land, and in 2009, Emily Stackhouse and Nicholas Shahan won an award for Outstanding DIY for their minicomic Brazilianoir. These small press creators are back with another self-published book, Miners Mutiny, a Western tale of drama and strife set during the California Gold Rush.
By this point, we all know that comics are bigger than Marvel and DC. Dark Horse, Fantagraphics, Top Shelf, and Adhouse are all major factors in the comics industry these days. The Big Two get the lion's share of the coverage for a variety of reasons, and the short end of the stick goes to the self-publishers and minicomics creators who don't have the huge PR machine that pushes books into the public eye.

Sometimes, though, it's nice to spotlight the little guy. Stackhouse and Shahan's Miners Mutiny is set in a California mining town right after the Gold Rush, inspired by their childhoods growing up in Grass Valley, a former California gold mining town. "We were surrounded by the remnants of the Gold Rush, took regular school field trips to the mines and all that, however it didn't strike me as interesting, until I moved away from it," said Stackhouse. I love Tall Tales and the spirit of the West, hoping to capture some of it with Miners Mutiny."

In the comic, a mysterious man named California Bill walks into Dusty Pines, and as these stories go, a ruckus gets kicked up in his wake. We've got a five-page preview, and if you're on the West Coast, your local comic shop may be able to order it. If not, you can email Stackhouse and Shahan or visit their blog and they can send a (signed) copy directly to you.