The Small Press Expo (SPX) announced the full list of nominees for the 2014 Ignatz Awards this week; with an aim to celebrate outstanding achievements in independent and alternative comics and cartooning, the awards are named after George Herriman’s brick-wielding mouse from his Krazy Kat comic strip, recognising exceptional work within the medium. Nominees are determined by a panel of cartoonists, this year comprised of Whit Taylor, Melissa Mendes, Thien Pham, Darryl Ayo, and Austin English, with votes cast only by attendees during SPX to decide the eventual winners.

This year's slate of nominees is a pretty wide range of books and authors, which is an indicator of how encompassing the terms and area of independent and alternative comics have become. I'm especially pleased to see Sophie Goldstein recognised for the superb House of Women, Sophie Yanow for War of Streets and Houses, John Martz's Destination X (which I thought had gone largely unnoticed upon release last September), Cathy G. Johnston in the promising new talent category, Jason Shiga for his online comic, Demon -- which is simply one of the best comics this year and you should be reading -- and Farel Dalrymple's It Will All Hurt #2. This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki makes the list, too --- I expect that book to win a whole host of awards -- along with Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoet, as it's the only 2014 book about which I've heard unanimously good to excellent things across the board.

Regardless of what you think about awards, the one thing I love about them is that they always introduce me to a host of new artists and work, simply by checking out titles that look interesting, or on the strength of cover images (which you can view over at the SPX website, linked above) and I'd urge you to do the same with at least a couple of the excellent authors and books from the complete list of nominees below.

Outstanding Artist
• Sam Bosma, Fantasy Basketball
• Kim Deitch, The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley
• Sophie Goldstein, Darwin Carmichael Is Going to Hell, Edna II, House of Women
• Ed Piskor, Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 1
• Jesse Reklaw, Couch Tag

Outstanding Anthology or Collection
• Amazing Facts and Beyond, Kevin Huizenga and Dan Zettwoch
• The End, Anders Nilsen
• Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2, Leslie Stein
• Sock Monkey Treasury, Tony Millionaire
• QU33R, Various (edited By Robert Kirby)

Outstanding Graphic Novel
• The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley, Kim Deitch
• The Boxer, Reinhard Kleist
• Boxers and Saints, Gene Luen Yang
• This One Summer, Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
• War of Streets and Houses, Sophie Yanow

Outstanding Story
• Brownout Biscuit from Octoups Pie: Dead Forever, Meredith Gran
• Destination X, John Martz
• The Grassy Knoll, Nick Drnaso
• Jobs from Life Zone, Simon Hanselmann
• Mom from Viewotron #2, Sam Sharpe

Promising New Talent
• Luke Howard for Trevor
• Cathy G. Johnson for Jeremiah, Boy Genius, Until It Runs Clear
• Nick Offerman for Orange, Onions
• Keiler Roberts for Powdered Milk
• Daryl Seitchik for Missy

Outstanding Series
• The Black Feather Falls, Ellen Lindner
• Demon, Jason Shiga
• Powdered Milk, Keiler Roberts
• Sky in Stereo, Sacha Mardou
• Towerkind, Kat Verhoeven

Outstanding Comic
• Blammo #8, Noah Van Sciver
• Cosplayers, Dash Shaw
• It Will All Hurt #2, Farel Dalrymple
• Misliving Amended, Adam Buttrick
• Wicked Chicken Queen, Sam Alden

Outstanding Minicomic
• The Grassy Knoll, Nick Drnaso
• House of Women, Sophie Goldstein
• Never Forgets, Yumi Sakugawa
• Test Tube #1, Carlos Gonzalez
• Up to the Top, Ian Sampson

Outstanding Online Comic
• Band for Life, Anya Davidson
• Big Dogs at Nite, Dane Martin
• Demon, Jason Shiga
• On Hiatus, Pete Toms
• Vattu, Evan Dahm

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