ICN Awards 2017: Analysis And Editor’s Picks

The ICN Winners have been revealed. I thought I’d go through them and let people know which creators were in the mix for the various categories (there is no shame in second place).  I also thought I’d give my picks for those that are interested. I’m not trying to bury the winners, they are all worthy winners, I’m just giving my opinions.

BEST ARTIST PUBLISHED IN IRELAND

The awards: Clare Foley ended up with quite a lead on this one but it was very close between second place Ahmed Rafaat, and winner in 2016, Nathan Donnell in third place. Clare was runner-up in two other categories (see below). She may have won if everybody who voted for her also voted for Frozen Waste. Her voters were big contributors to the number of votes Rogue Comics received.

Editor’s pick: I have to go with Leeann Hamilton as her book Hoda Machine blew me away. It really showed her versatility as an artist. She mixed serious science fiction in the lead story with hilarious lampooning with an Irish sensibility.

BEST WRITER PUBLISHED IN IRELAND

The awards: Danny McLaughlin made it two years in a row with the same kind of lead as Clare Foley. There were joint runners-up with India Swift and Emmet O’Brien. Ciaran Marcantonio was hot on their heels.

Editor’s pick: Again, I go with Leeann Hamilton for the same reason as before. She was able to adapt her art to meet the tone of her stories.

BEST IRISH ARTIST PUBLISHED OUTSIDE IRELAND

The awards: Mark Reihill ran away with this one (as he did with every category he was involved in) with the most votes of anybody in any category. The other contenders just about added up to his tally. Second place went to Eoin Coveney who himself was quite a bit ahead of the rest of the pack.

Editor’s pick: I have to go with Phil Barrett. I was very impressed with his first foray into graphic novels with Savage Town. It had a lot of character.

BEST IRISH WRITER PUBLISHED OUTSIDE IRELAND

The awards: One of the more competitive categories as it could easily gone a number of ways. Garth Ennis narrowly beat out Mike Lynch but the others weren’t far behind.

Editor’s pick: I’m as split as the public on this one. Michael Carroll had a great year with his Judge Dredd epic being published in a trade. 2017 also saw the return of Half Past Danger so Stephen Mooney has to be in the conversation. Heck all of them do. I do lament the fact that there weren’t more female creators to nominate in this category as Jordie Bellaire showed what they can do with her impressive writing debut. I’m going to go with a Savage Town contributor again and pick Declan Shalvey who also produced great work for Marvel Comics.

 BEST COLOURIST PUBLISHED IN IRELAND

The awards: Ellie wright beat out close competition from Triona Farrell who almost became the second person to win an ICN Award and enter the ICN Hall of Fame in the same year (a feet only achieved by Michael Carroll thus far).

Editor’s pick: I honestly can’t pick with this one as Ireland seems to be the number one spot for producing colourists. It is extremely competitive at an independent level.

BEST COLOURIST PUBLISHED OUTSIDE IRELAND

The awards: Chris O’Halloran who had a bit of a break-out year as he got to work on some Marvel books. It was quite competitive here with the rest of the nominees being neck and neck.

Editor’s pick: I have to go with the people on this one.

BEST LETTERER

The awards: It was quite competitive contest but Alice Coleman broke away in the end. Kerrie Smith was next in line.

Editor’s pick: Again, I have to go with the people on this one.

BEST WEBCOMIC

The awards: Another competitive contest where the winner, in this case Twisted Doodles, broke away from the rest. Fate narrowly beat Tiny Wooden Pieces to second place.

Editor’s pick: I think I’d go with Twisted Doodles as it is my kind of humour. It would narrowly beat last year’s winner, NHOJ.

BEST IRISH CREATOR COMIC PUBLISHED IN IRELAND

The awards: Last year’s winner makes it too in a row. Solstice almost completely ran away with it but Frozen Waste became a contender. If everybody who voted for Clare Foley voted for it, this would have been a close run thing.

Editor’s pick: Hoda Machine. See above.

BEST IRISH CREATOR COMIC PUBLISHED OUTSIDE IRELAND

The awards: Off Girl ran away with this one with more than twice the votes of its nearest competitor which was last year’s winner, 2000AD.

Editor’s pick: Savage Town as it was the most Irish thing that was published outside Ireland.

BEST NEWCOMER / BREAKTHROUGH

The awards: Another Mark Reihill runaway victory. I had expected Stephen Byrne to get this one considering his popularity but he was narrowly beaten by second place Karl O’Rowe.

Editor’s pick: I have to go with Fionnuala Doran as her book, The Trial of Roger Casement, really impressed me. I’m looking forward to seeing more from her.

BEST IRISH COMIC RELATED EVENT

The awards: The behemoth that is Dublin Comic Con wins again. It was getting quite competitive as it looked like Enniskillen Comic Fest might catch up towards the end.

Editor’s pick: Tough choice but I really enjoyed Enniskillen. It has a narrower focus than other cons but it does it well.

BEST IRISH COMIC SHOP

The awards: It is back to back wins for Angry Cherry as they ran away with it but not as much as it looked like early on as The Comic Vault began to catch up.

Editor’s pick: I’m going neutral on this one. I will say it is nice to see new stores popping up in different areas of the country. I know existing stores offer delivery but I think there’s nothing like having a bricks and mortar place to visit.

BEST IRISH ANTHOLOGY

The awards: This was extremely competitive but The Cork Monster Comic managed to edge out Tales Of A Fractured Mind and Specimen.

Editor’s pick: Tales Of A Fractured Mind as the writing spoke to me. Specimen was great though and was extra special to me as I had a story in it. Dearbhla Kelly did a great job on design.

OVERALL BEST IRISH COMIC

The awards: Another Solstice versus Frozen Waste contest.

Editor’s pick: For me, it is a Hoda Machine versus The Trial of Roger Casement. Hoda Machine takes it as it showed the diverse talent of Leeann Hamilton.

BEST IRISH COMIC COVER

The awards: Karl O’Rowe’s Death Sworn cover narrowly defeated Fiona Boniwell’s SOMA: Eden cover.

Editor’s pick: Dearbhla Kelly’s Specimen design stood out for me this year.

BEST PUBLISHER

The awards: Revolve Comics easily took one. Newcomers Rogue Comics narrowly took second place.

Editor’s picks: I have to go with Rogue Comics. They had a year that involved building a name and putting together a team that should mean a big year for them in 2018. They also managed to produce some great titles. I must also mention Buttonpress who continue to set the standard for regularly producing quality comics.

BEST COMIC RELATED/FEATURED IRISH PODCAST

The awards: Last year was a slug out between The Irish Pubcast and ComicCity Cast and this year was much the same.

Editor’s picks: Should probably go neutral on this but I think people who follow me on social media know I’m a ComicCity Cast guy. They go the correct length for me and mix in WWE. I must also mention the return of Liam Geraghty to podcasts. He still has the best interview I have ever heard, with Gerry Hunt. I really enjoy his new podcast Meet Your Maker especially as it mixes in some comic creators.