The Doug Wright Awards are a relatively new creation.
Founded in 2004, they are named after the Canadian cartoonist who was hugely popular from the 1950s to '70s. In fact, Wright was sometimes referred to as the Charles Schultz of Canada. His best-known strip, Nipper, first appeared in Montreal Standard in the mid-20th century at a time when weekly magazines were a staple in nearly every household across this country.
Those days are long gone and along with them Wright fell into a cultural void. That was until Canadian comic artist Seth and journalist Brad Mackay, who writes graphic novel reviews for Globe and Mail, decided Canadian cartoonists needed an icon and shined a spotlight on Doug Wright's legacy.
And thankfully they did.
In addition to creating and naming the awards after Wright, Seth and Mackay brought together his work for a new generation of comic fans in The Collected Doug Wright: Canada's Master Cartoonist, a biography and portfolio published in 2009. In addition to being an exhaustive collection of Wright's art, it's a fantastic document of Canadian cultural and art history.
The award includes three categories covering a wide spectrum of work being created by Canadian cartoonists.
Previous winners include talented cartoonists such as Quebec's Michael Rabagliati and Toronto's Jeff Lemire.
The winners are chosen by juries consisting of people like filmmaker Don McKeller, professor and philosopher Mark Kingwell, and newspaper columnist Andrew Coyne.
The winners announcement is part of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) program.