Friday 1st of July saw the first Stan Lee Excelsior Award ceremony take place in Sheffield’s Ecclesfield School. You may recall us blogging about this new award a while ago when organiser Paul Register, the Learning Resource Centre Manager, first filled us in on the awards (see here). Rather nicely they were not chosen by a panel of judges from the industry or similar methods but involved a number of schools in the Sheffield area and several much further afield getting together, with young readers working their way through a long list of works which ranged from manga to 2000 AD and DC Comics titles.
It was designed specifically to work with young readers in the schools and with the school libraries, to not only encourage more reading (and we know comics can be great for that, even with reluctant readers, a fact many wonderful librarians have not been slow to pick up on and events like this can only encourage more librarians and teachers to make use of the medium) but to get the kids thinking and talking about what they read. I thought it was a cracking idea and kudos to Paul and his team for organising it and for securing the support of the mighty Stan Lee himself for their efforts – I do hope it becomes a regular fixture on the awards lists, I like the fact that is it picked by the schoolkids themselves. Anyway, without further ado, the results from the very first Stan Lee Excelsior Awards:
1st Place: Black Butler by Yana Toboso (published by Yen Press)
Winner of the True Believers Award for returning the most Rating Forms – Fir Vale School, Sheffield
I think it is interesting to compare that to the sort of awards lists we normally see – some might think how could anyone value Black Butler more than a magnificent work by the great Bryan Talbot? And I can understand that – I know which of those two would be my choice. But it wasn’t my choice, this was the choice of many high school students, this is what they like reading in comics right now and it is good to see a line-up a bit different from what a more mainstream award chosen by an adult jury or by adult voters may have come up with and also good to see the younger readers making their voices heard on what they like. Hopefully this encourages even more of them to read, both comics and prose, because when you get a young reader hooked on the wondrous object we simply call a book we give them a most amazing gift that will follow them through their entire life.