Best Original Graphic Novel
Ostensibly a “Best Afrodisiac Stories Ever Told” reprint collection, Jim Rugg’s tales of a pimp super hero function as both a loving send-up of the Blaxploitation genre and of funnybook publishing trends in the 1970s and 80s.
And the winner is…
This was a really tough category this year. But much as I loved the pure fun and superior design work of the other nominees, Weathercraft goes home with the Dorky because it was the work of the greatest depth and sheer artistic merit. Jim Woodring always works in dense visual symbolism, often to the point that it only makes sense to the artist himself. But here, he turns in a work where the landscape and everything in it reveals layers of hidden meaning, and tells a story that’s as beautiful as it is disturbing and strange.
It was also a real workout for my funnybook reading muscles. Normally, “reading” the pictures in a comic is something that happens unconsciously for me and, I suspect, for most funnybook lifers. But with no words to rely on here, I found myself slowing down and reading Woodring’s richly-detailed pictures much more carefully. That not only paid off for this book (which abundantly rewards close reading), but has also made me a better funnybook reader all the way around.
That alone might be enough to give Weathercraft the nod, but it’s also just a damn fine piece of weird-ass funnybooks. And that, of course, is what we live for around these parts.