2005 Nominees Announced!

Discussion of the yearly awards for best comic in various categories.

Postby MissMab on Thu Jun 09, 2005 11:16 pm

Oof. Please dont take my word as the say all of this awards...in all honestly I might not know as much of what I'm talking about as I think I do and I could be very wrong. In all respects I do hope I'm very wrong.

I'm only involved in the sense I have sat way far back in the shadows observing and so I dont know the innerworkings. I have seen a lot of really talented and deserving smaller or individually published comics get crunched by the heels of a more popular or more in-group comic who is friends with a good deal of other webcomic artists. Then again I've seen that happening in almost every aspect, and the award acts more like another example than the result. Being a small personally owned comic is really rough at times for doing anything.

(I will say that in retrospect I have seen some smaller and lesser known comics strike out of the blue like freaking ninjas.)

But more depressingly, I have seen some really great talents become very angry and jaded at the awards or webcomics in general which causes them to abandon the whole thing. Because not to sound tired and cliche, that really is when the whole system fails on itself and there is no hope. Some of my favorite comics are those that arent part of a big group or immensly well known. They are the ones that likely would never make it into these awards for the recognition I feel they deserve.

I wish there was a way to do something to fix that. And blah ye gods I talk too freaking much when its late at night. X_x
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Alpha Shade's Big Ad Budget

Postby Ptolemy18 on Sat Jun 11, 2005 1:56 pm

BloodKnight wrote:
And you berate Alpha Shade for buying advertising, but it works, and if you want to get popular that badly, maybe you should do the same.


How am I berating something when simply mentioning that they advertise a lot?


Where are all these ads for Alpha Shade? Like on what sites? I haven't seen them...
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Postby Zortic on Sun Jun 12, 2005 7:23 pm

BloodKnight wrote:The point is...you are putting comics that either were already nominated last year or won an award already. For an award program, this literally makes no god damn sense.

2004 - best artwork award goes to MacHall
2005 - Machall is nominated for best artwork *again*


First of all, I didn't put that comic on the ballot, the voters did. Also, the award is specifically for the work of that comic in the previous year. So in 2004 it was nominated for it's performance in 2003, this year it's being nominated for the strips that were presented in 2004, and voters should currently be looking at strip performances for 2005. So, yes, the TV show analogy is much more appropriate than comparing it to movies. Thinking that Penny Arcade is "completed" because it won an award is kind of rediculous.

Honestly if they wanted to make it fair, they would have compiled a list of sites eligable for each of the categories. A lot of work I'm sure, but then the lesser known comics would have gotten a fair shake at a nomination because voters would have gone out and looked at the sites they never heard of before making nominations... They also should have allowed up to 7 or even 10 nominations per category. This helps eliminate ties and again gives lesser known comics a fair shake


The 7 to 10 nominations isn't a bad idea, we can discuss that for next year. But as for compiling a list of sites for each category... That's exactly what we do. How can we be doing it that would be more fair?

I have to confess that I've slacked off on my comic awareness this year. If I was solely responsible for choosing nominees I guarantee you that there would be a lot less variety then you're already seeing in the nominees. Allowing the entire webcomic community to supply nominees is the best way of bringing more variety to the process. I've said it a million times but... There's no reason any of you should be paying any attention to my opinions on which comics are "outstanding", the more voters that participate, the more impartial it's going to be.

the "Open Field" excuse just sounds like laziness...
So Iguess it boils down to, do they want the CCA Award to actually mean something? or is it just another "Joe Schmoe's Cool Comic Award (hosted by geocities)"


This confuses me. Allowing everyone to participate makes it less "Joe Schmoe's Cool Comic Award" then just making it a "Mark Mekkes' Cool Comic Award"? My perception is that that everyone has a list of their personal favorites on their sites, what makes these awards different (and popular) is that it represents the opinions of more people than just me.

in case it didn't occur to you PEOPLE DON"T TEND TO ENTER CONTESTS THEY KNOW THEY CAN"T WIN.


It seems to me that this is where most of the complaining begins. People who are whinning about not being nominated are the ones screaming that it's "unfair", if your goal is to truely reward the best strips out there, you would be encouraging us to keep the nominations as broad and open as possible so you could nominate whoever you want to. Everyone who want's me (or some other specific group) to choose nominees seem to assume that our opinions are going to match theirs. There's no reason to believe that.

so what you're saying is you don't expect to win because you don't whore your comic enough...

well seeing as you've been involved with this awhile, and apparently you've seen no change, and apparently no one here willing to really make changes but they'll ask for your suggestions...and then promptly ignore them


Every suggestion is looked at and discussed, but that doesn't mean they're all implimented. Ask yourself seriously "am I making this suggestion to make the awards better? Or do I want changes so I can win an award?"

Unfortunately, popularity is part of the contest. Should I be upset that Scott Kurtz is making more money than me because he has more business sense then I do? Or should I work at developing my marketing skills? There's no reason to expect Scott to start sending me money just to be "fair", is there?

I do appreciate all of the discussion. The only way we're going to continue to be better is for you to continue to challenge us to think and look at our process to make it better. I just ask that you make the suggestions for the right reasons, not just to get yourself on the ballot.

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Postby Dutch! on Sun Jun 12, 2005 7:28 pm

Read my stuff, Mark, and put me on the ballot!! :D
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Postby William G on Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:27 am

Take a look at that list, look at the variety and quality of what's on there. It's much better than in the previous gamer-dominated years. People seem to be actually getting the message that this thing is only as good as what the voters put into it. So if you think there's a comic out there that didnt get recognized like it should have, pester your fellow creators to register and nominate it next year.

It's some simple shit.

Of course, I got a problem with the Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi being up there. It's like giving a literary award to a Harry Potter fanfic.
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Postby Zortic on Mon Jun 13, 2005 6:46 pm

William G wrote:Of course, I got a problem with the Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi being up there. It's like giving a literary award to a Harry Potter fanfic.


That one was discussed carefully. The bottom line is that that category is about the "execution" of character rendering, not the "originality" of the characters. (Much like when people debate about who their favorite Batman artist is.)
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Postby William G on Tue Jun 14, 2005 3:13 am

Well, that's what I guessed happened.

But really, that leaves it open to the interpretation that you guys condone intellectual property theft. I doubt anyone would raise a stink about it though
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Postby BloodKnight on Thu Jun 16, 2005 5:12 am

So, yes, the TV show analogy is much more appropriate than comparing it to movies. Thinking that Penny Arcade is "completed" because it won an award is kind of rediculous.


TV shows get canned all the time before the first few episodes. There is a filter they have to go through.

Webcomics have no such filter. They are literally thousands of webcomics, even though the majority of them are shit, but there is no hoops for them.

So treating webcomic awards like they were a continous TV isn't the right way to go. While a TV show has maybe a dozen or so competitors, webcomics have thousands.
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Postby Zortic on Thu Jun 16, 2005 10:57 am

BloodKnight wrote:Webcomics have no such filter. They are literally thousands of webcomics, even though the majority of them are shit, but there is no hoops for them.


Of course, that's exactly why we have a nomination round and a final vote. The nomination round is the "filter". But I don't see how the amount of competition negates the television analogy? They are still ongoing products who have produced new work since last year's awards.

As you pointed out, there are thousands of webcomics, so there's no way a small group of people can be aware of them all. The only way they can all be represented is to allow the entire community to make nomination suggestions, and the only way to objectively judge them is by the number of nominations.

Of course that's just the way these awards are set up. There has never been any reason why someone else couldn't go out, read every webcomic in existance and give out their own awards. I would applaud anyone capable of doing such a thing. There's no reason that system would negate these awards, it'd just be a different way of doing things.
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Postby Shaenon Garrity on Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:39 am

I've had criticisms about the WCCAs in the past (um, Homestar Runner?), and I know it's transparently lame to turn around and praise them as soon as my comic gets nominated for something, but dammit, this year's nominations are the best the WCCAs have had so far. Mark Iradian's claims notwithstanding, there are a lot of extremely deserving comics on the list that, to my knowledge, have never been so much as nominated before: Copper, Dicebox, Digger, The Stiff, Acid Keg, Daily Dinosaur, Hereville, It's About Girls. I'm pleasantly surprised.

I still think categories like "Character Design" are a bit silly, as are the genre categories. But if we must have genre categories, would it be possible to add "Outstanding Nonfiction/Autobio Comic"? It seems ridiculous for every comic that isn't about some nerd thing to be squeezed into the "Reality" category, and it's just weird to have autobio comics like "American Elf" and "Smile" competing in that category with fictional comics that just happen to not have elves in them.
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Postby Dutch! on Thu Jun 16, 2005 1:27 pm

BloodKnight wrote:
So, yes, the TV show analogy is much more appropriate than comparing it to movies. Thinking that Penny Arcade is "completed" because it won an award is kind of rediculous.


TV shows get canned all the time before the first few episodes. There is a filter they have to go through.

Webcomics have no such filter. They are literally thousands of webcomics, even though the majority of them are shit, but there is no hoops for them.

So treating webcomic awards like they were a continous TV isn't the right way to go. While a TV show has maybe a dozen or so competitors, webcomics have thousands.


He only said 'more appropriate', not that it's the perfect way to do things...
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Postby Xuanwu on Sun Jul 03, 2005 8:04 am

This is an issue I've seen debated for several years: how can the WCCA on one hand allow for popular opinion and on the other hand also recognize outstanding comics of various popularity? I don't think anyone will disagree with the statement that there are numerous less popular comics whose quality rivals that of any of the 500-pound gorillas (Megatokyo, Penny Arcade, etc.).

I can see Mark's arguments and understand them: these awards are designed to award continuous effort, not discrete. Thus, they are more like the Emmies and less like the Oscars. Remember that Seinfield won a basketload of awards before its end; it's because the judges decided that it continually churned out quality material.

Still, I also agree with those discontent over the award's seeming bias towards the mainstream. Admittedly, it is better now than it used to be, perhaps reflecting the growing size of the webcomic community and thus greater variations in taste. I can see a number of solutions that might help level the playing field more:

1. Don't make past winners ineligible to be nominated, but set the bar higher. For example, let's say Mac Hall wins Best Art this year. So, next year, set a number of minimum nominations needed to qualify as a nominee, but make that number higher for Mac Hall (a handicap). This still measures comic popularity and allows past winners to succeed, but the handicap means they have to be even better than last year to win. This is similar to the winner of the Super Bowl facing a tougher roster of teams the following year than those who lost in the playoffs.

2. Set tiers of awards based on readership. So comics with readership above 100,000, like Venus Envy, would compete in one tier, while those under 10,000, like Tsunami Channel, would be in another. The difficulty here is logistics since different comics update on different schedules. So how do you measure the readers? Monthly average of unique hits might do.

3. Allow comics to submit written summaries and sample art in profile pages hosted by the CCA. Comics interested in winning the CCA could advertise on the site, getting their name out there so people becoming aware. Thus, even if they don't win or aren't nominated, CCA would play a role in increasing readership of good comics that may otherwise slip between the cracks.

4. Start a new contest! This contest could be exclusively for smaller comics, with commonly popular comics (like some of the above mentioned) barred from nomination. Run both of them at the same time. That way the spirit of the original CCA stays intact and smaller comics now have their own competition to get their existence spread so they can eventually earn enough word of mouth to compete on the big scale.

What do you think?
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Postby Zortic on Tue Jul 05, 2005 6:48 pm

I guess the problem is that I don't really see the problem. Out of the 125 or so awards that we've given out over the last five years, the comic with the most wins only has 9 (none of which were this year). No one is ALWAYS winning, there are constantly new titles appearing in these awards and winning. This year had several titles I had never heard of.

Actually, I really appreciate the way you've presented you arguments, and it's always beneficial to make us think about what we're doing. So please don't take these replies the wrong way.

Xuanwu wrote:1. Don't make past winners ineligible to be nominated, but set the bar higher. For example, let's say Mac Hall wins Best Art this year. So, next year, set a number of minimum nominations needed to qualify as a nominee, but make that number higher for Mac Hall (a handicap). This still measures comic popularity and allows past winners to succeed, but the handicap means they have to be even better than last year to win. This is similar to the winner of the Super Bowl facing a tougher roster of teams the following year than those who lost in the playoffs.


Why should a comic be punished for being Outstanding? As you pointed out above, Seinfield continued to be effective and successful over the years. Do you really think there was any attempt to give "Murder She Wrote" an extra boost in the Emmy's because it wasn't as popular as Seinfeld? What would happen to the Emmy's if "Murder She Wrote" won simply because all of the more popular shows had already won? Would that make the Emmy's more creditable, or less?

I'm always amused by all these eleborate ways to over complicate these awards. Remember that those of us that are organizing and tallying these nominations are volunteers, we aren't getting paid and we're barely scrounging up a few minutes a day to do this as it is. We're always frantic for more help from people who are eager to make things more complicated, but unwilling to actually contribute more then their suggestions to make more work for us.

Also, I want to point out that one of our top winners is Count Your Sheep. This comic received all of it's wins in the same year that it won Outstanding Newcomer. So this suggestion would do nothing to knock a brand new popular comic from winning awards (and since it is one of the top winners, I can only assume that the goal is to knock down successful new/unpopular comics as well, right? :wink: )

Xuanwu wrote:2. Set tiers of awards based on readership. So comics with readership above 100,000, like Venus Envy, would compete in one tier, while those under 10,000, like Tsunami Channel, would be in another. The difficulty here is logistics since different comics update on different schedules. So how do you measure the readers? Monthly average of unique hits might do.


And how do you judge that? How many people really want their readership numbers known? How many people would try to "pad" their numbers to get into an easier weight class? Again, we're adding a lot of complication without offering any additional help.

Xuanwu wrote:3. Allow comics to submit written summaries and sample art in profile pages hosted by the CCA. Comics interested in winning the CCA could advertise on the site, getting their name out there so people becoming aware. Thus, even if they don't win or aren't nominated, CCA would play a role in increasing readership of good comics that may otherwise slip between the cracks.


Since the goal is to create an award process that everyone is going to want to be nominated for, amassing a list of every webcomic on the internet with summaries would be just as impossible as it would be for a viewer to go through them all. It's just as easy for voters to go to the actual websites to get a first hand opinion.

Xuanwu wrote:4. Start a new contest! This contest could be exclusively for smaller comics, with commonly popular comics (like some of the above mentioned) barred from nomination. Run both of them at the same time. That way the spirit of the original CCA stays intact and smaller comics now have their own competition to get their existence spread so they can eventually earn enough word of mouth to compete on the big scale.


I've always been a big fan of this idea. There's no reason that the WCCA's need to be the only game in town. The only catch is that we're too busy doing what we do to do something else.

There have been several attemts to do what you suggest, but unfortunately they never seem to last for more then a year or two. It just doesn't seem to generate the kind of interest and respect that the WCCA's do with their current arrangement. So what it comes down to is a system that has survived and grown over the years, or adopt a model that has proven to fail. I would love for someone to prove me wrong, but I'm personally kind of nervous to take that leap. Any attempt to water down these awards is going to hurt them.

The one thing that nobody seems to mention is that we do have two segments to the voting. The nomination round and the final voting round. This is done precisely to keep the most popular comic from winning, popular comics may get on the ballot, but once voters have a list of nomiees, they can look them over and create an edjucated choice. To some extent, there already is that kind of check and ballance system set up.

Unfortunately popularity is part of the game, an Outstaning comic is going to generate attention. Whenever I hear this kind of argument, it always seems to be less about "how can I be allowed to include my favorite comic?" and more about "how can I get my comic nominated?" We are all fellow webcartoonits, we all share many of the same forums and email lists. If anyone sees a comic that they think deserves to be on the ballot, it's very easy for us to spread the word and give it the attention it deserves.

Any attempt to water down the effectiveness of these awards is going to hurt them. I know it makes them harder to win, but it also makes them more satisfying to win. As I've said before, we aren't children who need to make sure everyone in the class wins some kind of award so no one gets left out. We are professionals who are working hard in a very competative environment. As cartoonists we should all be striving to bring ourselves up to WCCA level of acheivement, not lowing the standards to make it easier for us.

But I really do appreciate your input (even if it may not sound like it) :)

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Postby Steverules on Wed Jul 06, 2005 6:04 pm

Zortic wrote:I guess the problem is that I don't really see the problem.

I agree. I don't see a problem with the award system, either. There are thousands of online comics and there is no way you could do this without somebody feeling like they got the shaft. The truth is you can't nominate everyone and excluding the years previous winners does what? Open up one spot that 1000 other comics want to fill. And of those 999 will feel like they got shafted. Some of the suggestions would be a nightmare to impliment. I say leave it as is.
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Postby William G on Sun Jul 10, 2005 7:26 am

There's no problem with the awards. Okay, in the past there's been a need to filter what's a comic and what isnt, but that's not a flaw with the process itself.

Popular vote can lead to all sorts of "How the fuck did this moron win?!" moments, (USA, November, 2004) but if there's blame to be tossed around for an "unsatisfactory" result, it can't be tossed at the awards themselves. The blame for "unsatisfactory" results lie completely on the shoulders of the people complaining.

Basically, if you think shit comics are the only ones that win every year, start showing people the comics you think are much more deserving. Tell people WHY "Small Comic X" is much more deserving than VG Cats or Mac Hall or what have you... It worked this year, what with a lot of previously low-profile comics getting the nod, it can work again next year.

So when it comes down to it, it's all down to what the voters know. And they aint going to learn about new comics unless they're told about them. If you're not doing that, then YOU, oh dissatisfied ones, are "the problems with the WCCAs"(tm)

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