Why the GLAAD Media Awards Should Recognize Comics Artists

Comics Features
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Yesterday morning, GLAAD announced the nominees for the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards to “recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community and the issues that affect our lives.”

The nominee list contains the predictable award-show mix of the expected and the confounding. Amazon’s hit TV show Transparent, the controversial but crowd-pleasing tearjerker The Normal Heart­ (in the uncontested category of Outstanding TV Movie or Mini-Series) and punk rock game-changer Transgender Dysphoria Blues from scene stalwarts Against Me! are all up for trophies, as is Melissa McCarthy’s universally panned “passion project” Tammy, in what is sure to be the film’s only non-Razzie nomination.

The Comic Book category is stacked with excellent choices that cover a range of queer experiences, which makes this an especially painful year for GLAAD to continue to ignore the artists who work to turn these GLAAD-appreciated scripts into complete comics. Here’s how the nominations are listed on the official website:

Hawkeye, written by Matt Fraction (Marvel Comics)

Lumberjanes, written by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis (BOOM! Studios)

Memetic, written by James Tynion IV (BOOM! Studios)

Rat Queens, written by Kurtis J. Wiebe (Image Comics)

Saga, written by Brian K. Vaughan (Image Comics)

Including a specific “written by” field is a small step up for GLAAD, who in years past has drawn criticism for attributing comics solely to writers, without indicating that other creators were involved in the book. For an award ceremony that still primarily recognizes outstanding film and television, it’s easy to see the justification GLAAD must make in excluding artists: writers traditionally conceive of characters, plots and dialogue, which make up most of what GLAAD considers the “fair, accurate, and inclusive representation” of LGBTQ characters.