The Comics Studies Society

CSS Prizes 2017

The Comics Studies Society is proud to recognize outstanding contributions to the study of comic art with three inaugural prizes: the CSS Book Prize, the CSS Article Prize, and the Hillary Chute Award for Best Graduate Student Conference Presentation.

The 2017
CSS Book Prize goes to Brannon Costello of Louisiana State University for Neon Visions: The Comics of Howard Chaykin (Louisiana State University Press). The judges hailed Costello’s volume as “an exemplary study of a major comics artist, yet a comics artist who has been under-studied in the academy. Costello's attention to visual storytelling is admirable.”

The 2017
CSS Article Prize is awarded to Benoît Crucifix of University of Liège & UC Louvain for “Cut-up and Redrawn: Charles Burns's Swipe Files" published in Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society 1.3. Judges praised Crucifix for “An excellent article that casts some much-needed theoretical light on swiping, an artistic practice that has so far been mostly neglected in Comics Studies. Crucifix’s approach is theoretically sophisticated and the article promises to be generative of new scholarship.”

The 2017
Chute Award for Best Graduate Student Conference Presentation is awarded to Alex Smith of the University of Cincinnati for “Breaking Panels: Gay Cartoonists’ Radical Revolt.” The judges recognized Smith’s for how effectively he analyzes the work of queer cartoonists of the underground comix scene to offer a trenchant queer critique of the foundations of the field.

The judges also recognized three other graduate students with honorable mentions in this category:
Michael Grifka of the Ohio State University for “Reading Beyond the Printed Page: Comics and Their Supplements Online;” Maite Urcaregui of University of California, Santa Barbara for “Comics Ephemerality;” and Andrea Horbinski of University of California, Berkeley for “Something Postmodern.”

A planned fourth prize for public scholarship was not awarded this year, but the Executive Board encourages contributors to re-apply next year as it further refines the definition and scope of the prize.

Each prize comes with a $300 cash award and a plaque, which will be awarded at the CSS conference, “Mind the Gaps!” to be held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on August 9-11, 2018.

The CSS Executive Board expresses its thanks to the pool of judges who volunteered their time to review the submission: Timothy Caron, Dale Jacobs, Frederik Køhlert, Rachel Miller, Leah Misemer, Elizabeth Nijdam, Barbara Postema, Suzanne Scott, Philip S. Smith, Qiana Whitted, Benjamin Woo, and Daniel Worden. The board also thanks the committee who coordinated the judges: Jared Gardner, Susan Kirtley, Martha Kuhlman (chair), and Matthew J. Smith.
  • Comics Studies Society Article Prize
    The CSS Article Prize recognizes scholarly journal articles and anthology chapters that significantly advance the field of Comics Studies—that is, articles or essays that greatly add to our understanding of comic art and/or its historical, cultural, critical, or theoretical contexts.

    Eligibility and qualifications: With this prize, the CSS aims to celebrate high-quality, research-oriented articles about comic art or Comics Studies, written in English and published in print journals and/or online journals, or as chapters in books and/or e-books by either academic or other publishers.
  • Gilbert Seldes Prize for Public Scholarship
    The Seldes Prize acknowledges the best public scholarship in Comics Studies from the previous year, published online or in non-academic periodical formats.

    The Seldes Prize is named in honor of Gilbert Seldes, the pioneering American cultural critic who almost a century ago first celebrated the comics, the most “despised” of the “lively arts,” and called for their proper study and appreciation. Comics Studies as a field emerged out of the writings and research of individuals who followed in Seldes’ footsteps, studying and preserving the history of a form that few academic institutions would embrace until the waning years of the 20th century. Even as Comics Studies becomes more fully integrated into the 21st-century academy, it is this long tradition of public criticism and scholarship that continues to serve as its life’s blood.

    Eligibility and qualifications: The Seldes Prize is awarded to the writer (or, in the case of collaborative work, writers) judged best by the prize committee, based on a portfolio of up to three pieces of up to 2000 words each. For writers working in longer forms, the total word count of the submitted portfolio must be limited to 6000 words. The winner can be an academic (that is, employed by an academic institution) but the site of publication must be “public” and non-academic (that is, unaffiliated with an academic institution).

    The Gilbert Seldes Prize is co-sponsored by CSS and Inks editor Jared Gardner.
  • Comics Studies Society Book Prize
    The CSS Book Prize recognizes scholarly books that significantly advance the field of Comics Studies—that is, books that greatly add to our understanding of comic art and/or its historical, cultural, critical, or theoretical contexts.

    Eligibility and qualifications: With this prize, the CSS aims to celebrate high-quality, research-oriented monographs and edited collections about comic art or Comics Studies, written in English or translated into English (based upon the year of English publication), and published in book and/or e-book format by either academic or other publishers. Periodicals are not eligible for this prize. Archival editions of comics or comic art will not be eligible for this prize unless they incorporate a substantial scholarly component including original research.
  • The Hillary Chute Award for Best Graduate Student Conference Presentation
    The Graduate Student Caucus (GSC) of the Comics Studies Society (CSS) is invested in encouraging finely-crafted and innovative comics scholarship by members of the graduate student community. To actively promote the writing and dissemination of such scholarship, the GSC seeks submissions for “The Hillary Chute Award for Best Graduate Student Conference Presentation.” The award is named after Hillary Chute, whose pioneering work as a comics scholar paved the way for feminist and political readings of graphic autobiography. Presentations will be judged by blind review based on overall quality and contribution to the field of comics studies.

    Eligibility and qualifications: In order to qualify for this award, applicants must prove upon request their status as a graduate student at the time of the presentation. All conference presentations given during the 2017 calendar year on the subject of comics, cartooning, and caricature qualify for this award. Valid and current membership in the Comics Studies Society is also required.
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