Cape/Comica/Observer Graphic Short Story contest – round-up

This Sunday, the winner of the 10th annual Cape/Comica/Observer graphic short story contest will be announced — the (extra long – I’m sure it’s only been 6 previously?) shortlist can be seen on Paul Gravett’s Facebook page or in Orbital Comics in London, and is as follows:

(Edited to add)
The winner: If You’re So Wise, How Come You’re Dead? by Tor Freeman

Runner-up: Dennis and June by EmilyBob


My first thought? That there are more professional and previously-published comic artists that previously. Also — why do artists never update their blogs? Only one of the above has actually mentioned being on the shortlist as far as I can see.

(Edited to add: I’ve now heard from two of the shortlisted artists that they didn’t know they were on the shortlist – and in one case, only found out when it was too late to see their work on display).

The non-shortlisted entrants

I like to recognise the not insubstantial amount of work and hope that has gone into every entry, even those that didn’t dent the shortlist. In previous years, this exercise has brought to light a wonderful, long list of diverse and highly readable strips that might never otherwise have been evident to many readers. It’s also brought invitations to artists for at least one (that I know of) collaborative comic.

Here are the entries I know about so far. I’ll add more as I find them — and if you would like me to add yours to the list, please send me the link.

Katie Morag, and how illustrators can make a difference

katie morag breastfeeding image

It was great to hear an illustrator on Desert Island Discs yesterday – Mairi Hedderwick, who created the absolutely peerless Katie Morag series.

I was shocked to hear that some libraries actually banned the books for depiction of breastfeeding (?!) but it’s also really heartening that an illustrator can make her own quiet difference by standing ground over such issues. There are actually quite a few breastfeeding images across all the Katie Morag books, as part of the busy jumble of the family’s everyday life.

I also enjoyed hearing about how a grandad was turned into the much more interesting, butch, overalls-wearing, sheep-wrangling grandma character, just by changing her head. When I make modifications to pictures instead of starting from scratch, it never feels quite right, so it’s good to know that in this case, it paid off. The basis for doing so may have been ill-founded (publishers in a certain country weren’t comfortable with seeing a little girl sitting on a male relative’s knee), but the result was a character that perhaps Hedderwick wouldn’t have come to without intervention.

You can listen to the episode here.