Not only has $37K gone from Jeff and Vijaya into the pockets of greatly promising artists, I think the cartoonists have been really well-selected: Katie Skelly (whose win made Frank Santoro cry), Kevin Czap, Kat Fajardo and Keren Katz (that's her art in this post). I think people will be similarly delighted by this year's winner as they have by those selected by that hard-working committee in the last several years. By focusing on a significant award to a single cartoonist, Jeff & Vijaya have been able to make a real impact on those cartoonists' lives, frequently pushing them past some career fussiness to a next stage -- however that is defined. It brings attention, and it brings a very real resource. I've enjoyed getting to know each of these artists and watching their art develop, in the very modest way I get to be involved as a kind of weird, shouting man on their behalf (the show is given out on the floor of our festival).
This is Jeff and Vijaya's achievement, though, and I'd like to personally thank them for it. We're at the beginning of a potentially tough comics cycle. At these times, I take strength and solace from people doing kind things that help others. So thanks, guys, and congratulations on Year #5 getting underway in two weeks and a day. I hope the past winners continue to feel the effect of this astounding act of generosity. I hope some of you out there reading might take a second to send Jeff and Vijaya a message as well. And I hope some of my siblings in comics press might consider running with the PR.