Who Won the Cartoonist Studio Prize?

Reading between the lines.
March 1 2013 7:55 AM

Announcing the Winners of the Cartoonist Studio Prize

Here’s to the best graphic novel and Web comic of 2012.


The debate over which 10 graphic novels and 10 Web comics would be shortlisted for the Cartoonist Studio Prize went on for days over email and the phone. The debate over which book and Web comic should win the prize was less arduous but still tough, considering the quality of the nominees. But in the end all three judges—Slate Book Review editor Dan Kois, the faculty and students at the Center for Cartoon Studies, and this year’s guest judge, legendary New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly—agreed that these two works represented the cream of an excellent crop.

Congratulations to our two winners, who each receive $1,000 and, of course, eternal glory.

The winner of the Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Graphic Novel of the Year is Chris Ware, for Building Stories. This massive cartoon epic—made up of 14 books, pamphlets, and broadsheets—is a feat of ambitious storytelling that doesn’t shy away from the microscopically detailed character study that has set Ware’s work apart his entire career.

Building Stories.
A page from Building Stories

Courtesy of Pantheon Books

The rest of the cartoonists on the shortlist:

Lilli Carré for Heads or Tails.
Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido for Blacksad: A Silent Hell.
Tom Gauld for Goliath.
Brandon Graham for King City.
Jesse Jacobs for By This Shall You Know Him.
Na Liu and Andres Vera Martinez for Little White Duck: A Childhood in China.
Luke Pearson for Hilda and the Midnight Giant.
Julia Wertz for The Infinite Wait and Other Stories.
Frank M. Young and David Lasky for The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song.


The winner of the Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Web Comic of the Year is Noelle Stevenson, for Nimona. This twice-weekly series about a medieval supervillain who takes on an irritating sidekick is funny and vibrant, with wonderful energy in Stevenson’s illustrations and a wicked wit in her storytelling. In recent weeks the story has been expanding surprisingly into a kind of deadpan epic, which suggests the comic has a long way to go before it’s done.


Courtesy of Noelle Stevenson

The rest of the cartoonists on the shortlist:


Ryan Andrews for Sarah and the Seed.
Gabrielle Bell for Lucky.
Boulet for Bouletcorp.
Vince Dorse for Untold Tales of Bigfoot.
Patrick Farley for The First Word.
Dakota McFadzean for The Dailies.
Randall Munroe for xkcd.
Winston Rowntree for Subnormality.
Jillian Tamaki for SuperMutant Magic Academy.

Congratulations to both our winners and to all the nominees. So many worthy comics were entered that these decisions were unbelievably difficult—and that’s not even considering exceptional cartoonists whose work was published by our judges and who were therefore ineligible, like Joseph Lambert and R. Kikuo Johnson. We’ll announce the shortlist for the 2014 award next February!



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