The webcomics blog about webcomics

The Kids Table Is Always More Fun Anyway

This is a week later than I expected the story to break, but that’s life. Daily Grind Iron Man Challenge grim survivor contestant Michael Payne happens to be a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, which give out this little thing called the Nebula Award that you may have heard of. Payne is, in particular, a member of the jury for the Andre Norton for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, given out annually by the SFWA for the best YA SF/fantasy novel of the year. In addition to the open nominations voting process, the collective members of the jury can add up to three titles to the nominations list, and:

[T]his year I asked Amulet Books to send around copies of Barry Deutsch‘s Hereville ’cause it’s been one of my favorite comics since he started posting it at Girlamatic all those years ago. After reading all the books submitted to us, the jury agreed on two titles to add to the Norton ballot, and one of them was indeed Hereville.

Hereville‘s not on Girlamatic anymore, but you can still find the original 57 page story online. Consensus is that this is the first time a graphic story has been nominated for a Norton (and perhaps the second time for any of the Nebula categories), but I’m more interested in the fact that this appears to be the first Nebula (which is a rather respected literary award) nomination for what’s ultimately a webcomic.

This page has opined in the past about the declining difference in meaning between “webcomics” and “just comics”, and Deutsch’s work underscores this, I think. The Nebulas don’t have a separate category for comics, much less webcomics — Hereville is being judged the peer of works in different presentations and forms, and we’ll see more of this in the future. Not because [web]comics are getting better (although certainly some of them are, and some of them are crap, and some in past were masterworks that were overlooked), but just because more people (like Payne) in the future will have had experience of them, and not think it odd to say, Hey, we should consider this, it’s really good.

It’s not about agendas or secret campaigns or undue influence, it’s about familiarity. We may have turned a corner, this funny little subniche of a popular-yet-marginalized artform, and it’s possibly one of those corners you don’t turn back from. Like it or not, the best of [web]comics is going to have a seat at more tables in the future.

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