2016 Doug Wright Awards Jury appreciations: PIGSKIN PETERS
For New Comics #6 + 7, by Patrick Kyle
Delivered by Betty Liang, May 14, 2016, 12th annual DWAs
This year’s Pigskin Peters award goes to Patrick Kyle’s New Comics in part because they so vividly live up to their name. They are a testing ground for new approaches to comics, a mad scientist’s laboratory, brimming with robots and Draculas and magical fungi. Kyle’s curious, adventurous work pushes at the extreme boundaries of the form.
Pages overflow with wild mark-making, or else they’re empty of anything except straight rigid lines. One issue comes printed on cheap newsprint, while the next is painstakingly risographed. A story abruptly stops to make way for a catalogue of objects out of a role-playing game, or to ask readers to draw on the page themselves. Characters proclaim that they’re not who we think; blocky typeface gives way to flowing handwriting; abstract paintings abruptly take over the proceedings.
No matter what new experiment he’s busy concocting, Patrick Kyle makes comics that are unpredictable, florid, and bizarrely funny. For all these reasons, and many more, the nominating committee has chosen to recognize the remarkable Patrick Kyle. Congratulations!
2016 Doug Wright Awards Jury appreciations: SPOTLIGHT AWARD
Dakota McFadzean Don’t Get Eaten By Anything
Delivered by Maurice Vellekoop, May 14, 2016, 12th Annual DWAs
Dakota McFadzean’s collection of strips — which encompasses two of the six years he produced a daily, four-panel comic — stood out among this award’s diverse nominees for its originality, intelligence, humour, and self-assurance.
McFadzean’s use of scale is also impressive. These strips run the gamut from quietly existential to violently strange to straightforward fart jokes, while their physical settings range from underground to outer space. Many are spill-your-drink funny. These are the kinds of comics you stick on your fridge or office door and leave there for years.
In their recurring themes and characters — the chatty birds, child-eating monsters, lonely ghosts, and aspirational dogs — we also get a compelling glimpse into the moods and rhythms of McFadzean’s own life. This is an artist who appears not to be struggling against the constraints of the ambitious task he’s set himself (though that must have sometimes been the case) but rather flourishing creatively within its confines.
2016 Doug Wright Awards Jury appreciations: BEST BOOK
For Dressing by Michael DeForge
Delivered by Nathalie Atkinson, May 14, 2016, 12th Annual DWAs
This year’s Best Book, DRESSING by Michael DeForge, offers pithy commentary that probes modern life, institutions and intimate relationships. It mixes the psychedelic, the outlandishly absurd, the darkly humorous and the profoundly sad.
Cumulatively, its finely observed dispatches burrow and leave a lasting impression – of malaise, of melancholy, of wit – not least because the talent for leaving things open-ended, unresolved yet still satisfying, make this a book that is worth revisiting.
Whether it’s a satire of tech start-ups, anatomizing a family holiday where microbe-like creatures are dwarfed by the fantasy landscape of gravy boats and pie slices or an unsettling dystopian tale of facial recognition software, each story is instantly compelling, yet /sui generis/. Each shows a deep understanding of the narrative possibilities of the comics medium, and explores them with inventive use of form. That ranges from a series of single-panel pages or annotated splash illustrations to intricate and nesting multi-panel grids, with each story consistently developing a fresh (and often unconventional) colour palette and strategy.
Even a loose sketchbook draft demonstrates an artist in complete control of storytelling, showing restraint in pacing to dole out powerful, poignant and perfectly-timed beats. This is a work of outstanding and exciting originality. Congratulations Michael.