The Webcomicker

Who watches the watchmen?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Wicca? Wecca? Wokka?

Title banner from the Webcartoonists' Choice Awards (as if you didn't know that already).

So let's talk about the Webcartoonists' Choice Awards for a moment, shall we?

Personally, I'm a fan of them. I think that having an annual set of awards determined by an independent counsel of judges with a very well defined set of rules and bylaws is a good thing. It gives a lot of webcomics increased exposure (I mean, jiminy crickets, look at Inverloch!), it gives recognition to those that excel, it provides an event where fans from all walks of webcomics can come together and share in each other's goodness.

I especially love the awards presentation ceremony, with different webcomics stars actually presenting the awards in comic strip form. That's just so perfect I think I owe a beer to whoever thought up the idea. Last year's ceremony was tons of fun, and with Chex hosting this year, it's gonna be just like Billy Crystal hosting the Oscars. Only better.

All that being said, there are a couple things I don't like about the WCCAs, some issues which I feel need to be addressed for this annual event to truly become a crowning achievement in webcomics. In my opinion, the real problem with the awards is that they just feel so darn AMATEUR. Does anyone else get this impression? I mean, this is the sixth year they've thrown the darn thing, and while I admit I haven't followed the past years with terrible scrutiny, everything this year seems so thrown-together-at-the-last-momentish.

First off, the new website looks nice and snazzy. Great job guys. But after about thirty seconds clicking around the site, you realize this snazzy look is just a thin veneer covering a void of information like the skin of a balloon. They've got a nice announcement that things are underway, a statement of purpose, a much needed but hardly prime content set of rules, and a set of categories for the awards. What they don't have are the pieces of information that people are likely to come to the site looking for: the nominees and the judges. Not to be overly critical here, but without those pieces of information, who cares about the rules and the statement of purpose? I know the nominees have been announced elsewhere on the web, but that's hardly an excuse to not have the information readily available on the WCCA site itself. I mean, come on. And I see a promise of a judge list, but no actual list. Is it really that hard to make a list of people? That's like twenty minutes of HTML work. Tops.

Another frustrating thing about the WCCAs is that there's no real prize for winning. You get a little bit of recognition, I suppose. But in general I don't think you'll see a huge spike in readership from getting nominated for or winning a WCCA. I truly believe that everyone nominated for an award has truly earned their nomination, and has put their heart and soul into their webcomic. And I think those that win are those that truly went above and beyond in the past year, and they deserve to be rewarded with more than just a pat on the back. Now, I'm not saying we should set up a prize fund (that could be rather tricky), but wouldn't it be neat if the winner of each category got an honest-to-goodness, physically real trophy they could put on their bookshelf? I'd donate into a fund to pay for that. There's 27 categories, and guessing on 20 dollar trophies (although I'd bet you could get them cheaper than that) you'd only have to raise 540 dollars, and for an event with exposure like the WCCAs, that wouldn't be too hard! I think a little added incentive would make the awards that much more special.

And now, if I may get a bit snarky, there are a couple of pet peeves I have with the awards. First of all, why is the URL for the site ? It obviously should be , which is actually available, by the way... I know you don't want to change sites, but is it that hard to put up a redirect? Keep both domains for the extra twenty bucks a year and I'll be a lot happier. Secondly, the awards need a better abbreviated name. The Wiccas just isn't working out for me, and I don't think it's the best idea for our biggest annual event to be associated with the practice of witchcraft. But that's me talking. That being said, I'm not sure I can think of a better abbreviation (as evidenced by the title of this post), but hey, the Academy Awards get shortened to the Oscars, so maybe we can think of something completely unrelated. *shrug*

In any case, I encourage everyone to follow the WCCAs as well as you can, and definitely show up for the ceremony when it happens. It's already a good thing, it just needs some legwork to become a truly great thing, and I'm guessing that the sort of thing that will only happen with audience support.


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