It's been nearly a week now and hopefully all of you reading this blog will be aware of which books finished in the Top Three of the 2014 Stan Lee Excelsior Award. If you don't, it's one click away. The blue column on the left. Go have a quick look.
This year's results were surprising and fascinating in many ways and this was something which I discussed at the end of the awards ceremony with those present. I thought it would be worth sharing those thoughts with everyone else - in a handy blog format.
Firstly, it is worth noting that despite this site's recent online poll showing 70% of voters would claim Marvel to be their favourite publisher, Captain America: Castaway in Dimension Z is the first Marvel book to appear in our Top Three. We can only speculate on why Marvel hasn't done all that well in the Excelsior Award previously but I would certainly argue that this should be seen as a huge compliment to writer Rick Remender and illustrator John Romita Jr. (who has just joined DC Comics to draw Superman!) for creating a Cap story that so many people got so invested in.
Secondly, it's worth noting that both Earth 2 and Quantum and Woody beat the previous highest score for this award (set in 2011 by Yen Press' Black Butler). That means that the first volume of James Robinson's and Nicola Scott's parallel world, superhero epic is the most popular book we've ever had on the Excelsior Award! It also means that if Quantum and Woody had been on any previous shortlist, it would have won 1st place! Earth 2 is also the first graphic novel to make the Top Three and win the JABBICA, so congratulations must also go to cover artist Ivan Reis.
Finally, that Earth 2 has won this year's award in such handsome fashion says a heck of a lot about the comics-reading youth of today. It could be argued that it was a bit of a risk to include a book on this year’s shortlist that had an openly gay character like Alan Scott in it. The unashamed depiction of his lifestyle could have been a problem and might even have held the book back from achieving a score that properly reflected its qualities. The fact that it has done so well is a testimony to the values and tolerance that our comics-reading teenagers have. It is also a recognition of their ability to recognise that Earth 2 was not a story about being homosexual but was just a fantastic superhero story where one of the characters just happened to be gay. And that makes me feel proud of what we - librarians, teachers and students - have achieved this year.
Enjoy your summer.