From the Small Press Expo website: The 2009 nominees for the Ignatz Awards were announced this week, and for the first time (or at least as far as I know), a Japanese manga has been nominated in two categories. Was it a graphic novel by critical darlings Osamu Tezuka or Yoshihiro Tatsumi? Nope -- the manga that got the nod two times in the Outstanding Graphic Novel and Outstanding Story categories is Disappearance Diary by Hideo Azuma from Fanfare - Ponent Mon.
Hideo Azuma's humorous and astonishingly matter-of-fact tale of his adventures as a homeless person, as a blue-collar stiff and in rehab was passed over by the Eisner Awards this year, which makes the dual Ignatz noms a nice surprise.
Disappearance Diary is up against some stiff competition, as it's pitted against Chris Ware's Acme Novelty Library, and stories by alternative comics luminaries like Lilli Carre, Carol Tyler and Dave Lapp -- but does it have a chance to make a mark for manga at this annual indie comics festival?
We'll find out when Small Press Expo attendees cast their votes at SPX 2009 on Saturday and Sunday, September 26 and 27, 2009 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. The Ignatz Awards will be given out at a 'gala awards ceremony' on Saturday, September 26 at 9:00 pm.
What? You're not familiar with the Ignatz Awards? I'll let the SPX website explain why this nomination is such a big deal:
"The Ignatz Awards are named for the character in the classic comic strip Krazy Kat by George Herriman, is a festival prize that recognizes outstanding achievement in comics and cartooning. The ballot is created by a panel of five cartoonists and is then voted on by the attendees at the event. This offers a unique reflection of the views the professionals and their fans."
I won't be at SPX this year (Why, oh why is the the same weekend as New York Anime Festival?) but I'll be rooting for you, Azuma-sensei! If you haven't picked up Disappearance Diary yet, check out this online preview at Fanfare - Ponent Mon. New York Magazine picked it as one of 2008's Top 10 Graphic Novels too, so perhaps it shouldn't be suprising that the Ignatz judges picked this quirky but memorable manga memoir for this indie honor.
Image credit: © Hideo Azuma