It's hard to believe that this is the sixth annual CP Comics Contest--whatever happened to Taste Like Chicken?--but the thing shows no signs of fading. Dozens of entries roll in each year, and we never (well, rarely) tire of digging into the pile to find the good stuff. This year's judges were Whitney Sherman, chair of Maryland Institute College of Art's illustration department; Christopher Skokna, editor of this special issue; and Atomic Books co-owner Benn Ray.
Their pick for No. 1: GFY Comix, by Chris Minetree of Baltimore; he gets a year's run in CP, with pay. Of GFY, Ray says, "Chris Minetree has a good, fundamental understanding of what makes a comic a comic. That paired with fresh ideas and a funny delivery make for a winner. I'm not a huge fan of halftones and gray washes to mask a lack of background, but the dark humor behind these big-eyed cute characters is irresistible."
In second place comes 99 Nightmares of Necrophobic Nevin, by AV of Baltimore, who wins $150. "Necrophobic Nevin is a well-designed dream sequence that needs to finish off Nevin at the end of the strip--or just call it Neurotic Nevin," Sherman says.
In third, winning $50, is Woodbine School of Earth, by Willie Costello of Catonsville. Ray calls it "a cross between Mark Trail and Ripley's Believe It or Not. I'm not sure how much of this is fiction and how much is fact, but I'd like to see Woodbine get more absurd, weird, and overblown (and also vary the panel composition). ...I'd read this regularly."
Finally, the judges decided to honor last year's third-place finisher, Laurent Hrybyk of Parkville and his The World Talks Back strip, with runner-up status. No prize, but Sherman says, "Hrybyk's World talks back quietly--maybe we should be listening." (Cris Skokna)