Tamaki, Valero-O’Connell and more win 2019 Ignatz Awards

Annual awards presented at the Small Press Expo honor excellence in independent comics, graphic novels and minicomics.

The winners of the 2019 Ignatz Awards were announced this weekend at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland.

The big winners of the night were Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me writer Mariko Tamaki and artist Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, who took home three awards between them, including “Outstanding Graphic Novel.” The political cartoon site The Nib also continued its recent winning streak, taking home the award for “Outstanding Series.”

The Ignatz, named after George Herriman’s brick-wielding mouse from the classic comic strip Krazy Kat, recognizes exceptional work that challenges popular notions of what comics can achieve, both as an art form and as a means of personal expression. The awards have been presented annually since 1997.

The awards presentations were hosted by cartoonist Keith Knight:

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Smash Pages Q&A: Mariko Tamaki

The award-winning author discusses her latest graphic novel from First Second, ‘Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me.’

Mariko Tamaki is the award-winning author of the graphic novels This One Summer and Skim, both of which she made with her cousin, the artist and writer Jillian Tamaki. Mariko has written a number of comics series including Tomb Raider, She Hulk, Supergirland X-23. She’s written graphic novels like Emiko Superstar and the upcoming Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass, in addition to writing a trilogy of Lumberjanes novels and various other works of fiction and nonfiction.

Her new book, with artist Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, is Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, which is just out from First Second Books. Frederica Riley is dating Laura Dean, the most popular girl in school, who is amazing — and a horrible girlfriend. While Freddy is writing to an advice columnist about what she should do, her friends are dealing with their own problems and trying to be delicate, and inanimate objects around Freddy are offering their own ignored Greek chorus in the background. It is a brilliant work that manages to balance comedy and drama, and capture something truly essential about relationships and teenage life.

Tamaki is a featured guest at this weekend’s Queers and Comics Conference in New York, and we spoke recently about the book.

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