The winners of the 2021 GINCO-Awards have been announced on Comic Solidarity’s Youtube channel and as livestream from the Comic Invasion Berlin (CiB) on September 5, 2021.
The award committee 2021, comprised of Kristina Gehrmann, Vanessa Ossa, Markus Pfalzgraf, Büke Schwarz, and Ali Schwarzer has honored the following works with 300,-€:
Best Comic for Young Readers
Laudatio: „In Der Geburtstag, a short story by Thilo Krapp, we meet the student Florian, who shows up without invitation at his classmate's costume birthday party -- dressed as a princess, because there is no given motto; he also doesn't (yet) want to be recognized as Florian by his classmate right away. Loosely based on ‚Cinderella,‘ this comic touches with a great deal of sensitivity on complex issues such as gender, sexual orientation, and identity; in a child- and age-appropriate manner without lecturing, with a simple, affirmative message: You can be whoever you want, even a princess, and that's okay! Thilo Krapp's narratively expressive, charming drawings have a very lively effect and believably convey the courage and insecurity of the main character. Especially in a short comic, every panel counts, and here they read smoothly and convincingly convey changing environments. With the atmospheric and enchanting color scheme by Kami Wallner (a magician with light and color!) the work becomes a modern fairy tale with a happy ending.“
- Kristina Gehrmann
Laudatio: „The Webcomic YOU tells the story of a teenager with Asian appearances who grows up with racism and is only able to react to it in one way: with the desire not to be seen, not to be heard. Only one special encounter helps her realize that the time has come to stand up for herself. The webcomic was drawn and written by Le Trang Hong, an illustrator who grew up in Leipzig. In four chapters named after the seasons, she narrates how the schoolgirl meets a young person her own age one day and — impressed by his self-confidence and civil courage — gradually learns that she can, and even must, defend herself against racism: ‚I learned to stay silent. I learned to look away. But I must learn to unlearn.‘ The texts and drawings enter into a wonderful symbiosis. Le always tell just enough, so that the images can unfold their full effect. While reading the comic, you can almost hear the silence that threatens to crush the protagonist. You can feel the powerlessness she has to struggle with when she is again the only one who has to show her ID at a ticket inspection. Le succeeds in this through a panel composition that gives the content room to breathe wherever it is necessary. The racist experience on the streetcar, followed by an fierce exchange, is accelerated by the densely packed drawing, In contrast, Le depicts isolation with plentyful of white space between panels: ‚This was the little world I lived in.‘ There's something else Le manages to do impressively: Although racism is omnipresent, she weaves such experiences into the story in such a way that it is not crushed by this difficult subject. We thus get to experience a protagonist in YOU who, with a little support, manages to grow and to rise above.“
- Ali Schwarzer
Laudatio: „‚Have you had that operation yet?‘ This highly appropriate title captures nicely what Peer Jongeling's book is all about: His comic short stories deal with thoughtless questions and what they can trigger in trans people. After an overview of his most important terms — which does not come across as lecturing and which even people with an affinity for the topic should still find useful — four main characters lead us through their stories. These four bring very different transgender themes with them, and yet reflect so many aspects in their faces, drawn in reduced style, that they can evoke very different emotions in the reader. Those who decide to get invested — which is extremely easy thanks to the likeable, accessible stories — can learn a lot: sometimes it would be better to ask a clarifying question. But sometimes these are just too much, and that's perfectly okay, too. What is important to Peer Jongeling: that the stories of fictional characters, as well as their true stories of his own surrounding, stand merely for themselves, that they make no claim to speak for (all) trans people in general. This works brilliantly. And yet, there is something universal about this book: it touches on emotions and contradictions that many readers, with or without experience in trans* issues, can find themselves in, or at least learn to understand. And not to mention, this small, so important volume from Jaja Verlag is drawn in a beautiful dark blue and printed on great paper that just feels good. The jury is decided on this one: 5 out of 5 stars. Or maybe even 6.“
- Markus Pfalzgraf
- Büke Schwarz
Laudatio: „In Kathrin Klingner's longform comic Über Spanien Lacht die Sonne worlds collide. On the one hand, we accompany protagonist Kitty in her everyday office life. These scenes show a cultivated corporate culture, polite, detached and with rigid structure. The new colleagues are friendly, they have funny nicknames and little inside jokes. They order food for lunch breaks, on Fridays they go out together. It's a regular nine-to-five job. But when we watch Kitty at work, we are introduced to a completely different world: Kitty manages internet comments and has to decide, what is to be approved and what is to be deleted. The comments are dominated by right-wing ideas and verbal violence — verbal violence that both Kitty and the other staff and employees face incessantly; verbal violence that we as readers have to deal with, especially since most of the slurs are probably not new to us. They are long part of our digital everyday life. Just like Kitty, we live in a world where, on the one hand, everything is normal while, on the other hand, hate speech is blown unabashedly into the ether. It has become part of the routine. Protocols to deal with them have been established. There is personnel assigned to take care of it. From this contrast, the comic quietly unfolds its powerful message. A pressing topic, told in simple black-and-white linework and with compelling characters. For us as jury, a clear winner in the category ‚Best Longform Comic‘.“
- Vanessa Ossa
Dear to Our Hearts 2021
In addition to the winners of the main categories, there were other submissions that particularly touched and moved our award committee and which therefore should — or had to — be awarded as well!
These two comics were ‚Dear to Our Hearts‘ and awarded 150,-€ each:
Laudatio: „‚That's exactly what it was like!! Awesome!‘ That's what I was thinking the whole time when I was reading Life in Pixels. Life in Pixels, that's the name of author and artist Seda Demiriz' webcomic about growing up and living in a world that is going digital. On Instagram, she takes us twice a week on a beautiful trip down memory lane — with all its fascinations, discoveries, and experiences surrounding the time when the Internet was really still uncharted territory. The artist evokes a pleasant feeling of nostalgia with great precision. In addition, Seda Demiriz impresses with the great diversity of her characters, drawn with much attention to detail. This blend of diversity and character depiction simply makes it a great delight to accompany the five characters in their daily experiences. Both the English language and the reduced drawing style with broad strokes fit very well to this time of departure into a digital future. Her style also makes it easy to read the comic on tablet and smartphone. The artist makes the comic appear on the web with much self-reflective humor, giving it just the right platform. And because I can hardly wait until the next comic comes out, Life in Pixels is ‚Dear to my Heart‘ for the GINCO-Award 2021!
- Büke Schwarz
Laudatio: „That this extremely comprehensive story has not yet found a publisher is actually hard to believe. All the better that this gem has found its way into the world through self-publication. Some readers will notice sooner, others later, that literary and (pop) cultural references and quotations are smartly taken up and interwoven, which at first seem to have nothing to do with each other: Bertolt Brecht meets Judith Butler, Goethe meets Björk. The result is a collage in which the author and artist nevertheless builds up a self-contained plot. The story about a mysterious shopkeeper with unclear origins, an obscure criminal case and its unraveling, unfolds at first unwieldily, but turns out to be nothing but ingenious — supported by distorted, oblique perspectives and a continuously changing, dynamic panel layout. Notions of mistrust and suspicion, being a stranger and being made a stranger, and even gender issues and cross-dressing are themes addressed. This longform debut, created in a project course at HAW Hamburg with thanks to Sascha Hommer and Anke Feuchtenberger (according to the imprint), is impressive and will hopefully soon be available in print to a wider audience.“
- Markus Pfalzgraf
Once again, we would like to congratulate all winners and thank the 2021 Committee for reviewing all submissions.