First time I've reposted something. I won't make a habit of it. I always planned to repost this after the 2010 Observer/Cape prize was announced mainly because I've connected with more followers via Twitter and the blog and I thought you/they might like to see it.
As it happens this year's winner is one of the people who commented on the original post and someone I have real admiration for (his comment seems quite ironic now). You can see Stephen Collins' winning entry here, although it worked best in the full spread of the Observer Review section yesterday. Hopefully this exposure will lead to a Stephen Collins book, something I'd happily pre-order now.
The style of Stephen's strip is a kind of metamorphosis/magic realism that I've always loved, a style I will always associate with the short story Axolotl by Julio Cortazar. As I said to him via Twitter yesterday it also reminded me of Dylan Thomas's Map of Love. Literary allusions aside what makes this so great is that it is a comic strip and it could only be a comic strip. It's in a different league to previous winners and gives the prize a genuine credibility many felt it lacked.
There's a suspicion among many UK creator's that Observer and Cape have a fear of comics and feel the need to throw an arty or literary veil over comics to give them credibility. This ignores the real quality of great literature and art - they are of their own form and are often great precisely because they are aware of their own form. A comic strip that could only be a comic strip. Stephen Collins' strip is precisely that - what it is not is a 'Graphic Short Story'.
It's comic strip, and it's a bloody good one.