Congratulations to ALL who created and submitted work for this year’s contest!
This year saw a move away from the previous years’ use of tumblr as the dominant platform of digital media publishing. A different platform invites different constraints: instagram functions as a hyper-customizable newspaper that gets updated vigorously and endlessly. This year’s use of Instagram begged for a return to the building blocks of comics, thus the creation of comics strips.
Details on this year’s criteria are available HERE.
First Place – A Weeklong Residency at the Rowhouse Residency in Swissvale, PA.
Our decision to award Cory Feder First Place recognizes Feder’s creation of an ambitious yet simple, multi-layered poetic sequence that cuts through notions of language. This is the kind of strip that can be read and re-read ad infinitum to continue gleaning new meaning. Feder’s comic is the kind offhand remark, the cadence of which, you keep thinking about for years. This complex concoction of intuitive drawing and deft use of juxtaposition made for a winning combination.
Second Place – A collection of gag comics by the Comics Workbook gang
In Second Place, Julian Fiebach’s “The Worker”clearly embodies excellence in both conception and execution of the classic 4 panel gag. Here is a testament to the raw power of smart minimalism in cartooning. These strips accomplish universally relatable expressions of the many ways that we engage in (and avoid) work in our lives through a pattern language pared down to its essentials.
Third Place – An original portrait by Audra Stang
The Comics Workbook Competition’s Third Place, “BALLS”, offers an off the wall bit of nonsense. It’s a bizarre laugh that holds together quite well as an absurd re-interpretation of elements Charles’ Schulz world of Peanuts. It carries echoes of grief that crash into pure, unexpected, absurdity. This is a collection of visual chuckles, that accumulate to an absurd 4 panel sequence. A glorious bit of nonsense that begs the question, “WHY?”.
It is our belief that artistic creation is a two way street. An artist, or any other creator, grows in the process of creating; the greater the efforts, the greater the growth. By this measure, comics creators in general – and those who submitted work to this competition in particular – are growing by leaps and bounds, and so, by definition, is the comics form; as in the final analysis, the value of a form is coincident with the work that it contains.
It is our hope that all of the makers who participated in this contest have been TRANSFORMED in some way – artistically, personally, spiritually, and/or physically – by the time and energy dedicated to the creation of their submissions. Everyone who took part in this exercise has completed a hero’s journey.
What I liked about the three winners is a strong sense of intuition and control. I see this aspect in the work of the honorable mentions. This year the judges looked at the entries and tried to frame the winners in a way that reflects the multifaceted jewel that is the world of comics creation in 2018.
Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s contest. And to everyone who may have begun their comic but did not finish it or enter it, please finish it and post it, and we will do our best to get it seen. Tag your post with #compositioncompetition2018 on Instagram.
Juan Fernandez, Pittsburgh PA
The restrictions placed upon the contest entries were derived from The Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers. It is our firmly held belief here at Comics Workbook that restrictions such as the grid are ultimately freeing. We also believe that timing is the essential ingredient to making great comics. How do you study and practice timing in comics? You use the grid.
Please check out the complete list of entries for 2018 at the following link!