(As I understand it, a comicsmith or creative-team had only to show their completed work, argue its merit, and lay-out a budget/plan for publication to be eligible for the Xeric Award, a one-time grant that simply paid out that planned publishing cost-budget.)
I can imagine few more beautiful things.
Ryan Alexander-Tanner (@ohyesverynice) was a winner of the Xeric for his short piece "Television" #1 back in 2oo7. He created with education reformer Bill Ayers (@BillAyers) a graphic novel about teaching I reviewed last July. Brendan C. Leach (@iknowashortcut) also won just this past year for his "Pterodactyl Hunters in the Gilded City". We spoke together at great length about it back in October. Both works were named by me among the best of the best last year. You can see the full list of grant recipients including Megan Kelso, Jason Lutes, Adrian Tomine, James Sturm, Jason Little (@beecomix), Danijel Zezelj, Josh Neufeld (@joshneufeld), Ryan Dunlavey (@RyanDunlavey) and Fred van Lente (@fredvanlente), Nathan Schreiber (@nathanschreiber), and Jeff Lemire (@JeffLemire), on Xeric's website here.
Unfortunately, according to this announcement on Xeric's website, they will cease the annual giving of the Xeric Award in 2o12.
[via The Center for Cartoon Studies' Facebook wall]
In Laird's own words:
"Roughly twenty years ago, I started something called the Xeric Foundation. It came about because, with the success of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" property that Kevin Eastman and I had created back in 1983, there were a lot of people asking for money. Many of these requests were legitimate and came from real need, and I wanted to find a way to deal with them in a fair and organized fashion.
I also wanted to help out struggling comic book creators. Having started TMNT with Kevin as a self-published venture, I knew very well how critical even a relatively small amount of money could be for success at that nascent stage.
The advent of essentially free web publishing has forever altered the way aspiring comic book creators can get their work out into the public eye. With this in mind, I have decided that it makes sense that the Xeric Foundation will no longer provide grants to self-publishing comic book creators, and instead devote all of its available grants funds to charitable organizations."
Yeah. That last part is a little weird. But logical.
On the other hand, are we really to believe that this has nothing to do with the current economic recession?
This truth is the Xeric has come to stand as a mark of quality, an indicator of who might be expected to produce remarkable work in the coming years, as well as a piece of concrete proof that the American comics industry is a small community in which the large figures interact with the small ones and really GIVE BACK.
Taking that away from the world is a sad thing.
P.S. ~ Of course... more money being donated to charity. Who's going to argue with that? Not this guy.