New York, New York (November 11, 2023) — The first-ever JewCie Awards, dedicated to recognizing exceptional contributions from artists, storytellers, and creators who have harnessed their talents to enrich Jewish storytelling through the dynamic medium of comics, have successfully concluded. This year’s awards ceremony featured nominees from around the world, including the Netherlands, Israel, Portugal, France, and the United States, who have devoted their creativity and passion to bringing Jewish stories to life through the art of comics.
CJH President Dr. Gavriel Rosenfeld opened the ceremony by acknowledging the challenging times for Jews worldwide and the distressing trends observed since the eruption of the Israel-Hamas war.
“Jewish comic books and graphic novels have always reflected the ups and downs of the Jewish historical experience. Jewish comics have routinely coped with the effects of trauma and loss. For this reason, all of us here at the Center have determined that holding this convention, exhibit, and awards ceremony is not only appropriate but necessary,” said Dr. Rosenfeld.
The distinguished panel of judges, each representing various areas of excellence within the field of Jewish comics, had the challenging task of selecting the winners. The esteemed panel of judges included:
- Danny Fingeroth (Chair)
- Brian Michael Bendis
- Jeremy Dauber
- Paul Levitz
- Ken Krimstein
- Julian Voloj
- David F. Walker
- Karen Green
- Arnon Z. Shorr
- Alex Rae
- Chari Pere
The winners of the 2023 JewCie Awards include:
Artist Honoree of the Year: Asaf Hanuka Asaf Hanuka, an Israeli comic book writer, artist, and illustrator living in Tel Aviv, was recognized for his outstanding contributions to Jewish content.
Writer Honoree of the Year: Neil Kleid Graphic novelist Neil Kleid, based in New Jersey, received this award for his exceptional work on graphic novels such as Ninety Candles, Brownsville, and The Big Kahn.
The Macherke Award: Trina Robbins Trina Robbins, who has been writing graphic novels, books, and comics with Jewish subjects for nearly half a century, was honored for her extensive career contributions to Jewish comics. Robbins’ work has encompassed a wide range of subjects, from the Eisner-nominated A Minyen Yidn to her graphic biography of Holocaust survivor Lily Renee, and her creation of the teenage superheroine, GoGirl!
The Macher Award: Jules Feiffer Jules Feiffer, a Bronx-born cartoonist who won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning and is considered one of the most widely read satirists in the country, received the Macher Award for his illustrious career contributions to the field of comics.
According to JewCE Co-creator Dr. Miriam Mora, these awards are more than recognition of their creative works, but of their influence on the genre. “The Macher and Macherke awards are being given to creators who have spent their lives not only producing content that defines their genres but also contributing to greater understanding of the industry and its history by publishing various works on comics history, women in comics, and comics criticism.”
A special moment in the evening came when the JewCie Award for Contemporary Topics was announced by Roy Schwartz and was awarded to Rutu Modan, who was unable to attend from her home in Israel. Her friend, Dana Elkis Blanks, accepted on her behalf. Modan is a writer and illustrator from Tel Aviv whose work has been praised for its unflinching and earnest examinations of the intersections of human emotion, property, violence, ethics, and land in Israel.
Emmy and Ringo Award-winning cartoonist Dean Haspiel read a few words from Asaf Hanukah who also could not attend but was awarded Artist Honoree of the Year.
The winners in various categories:
- Diverse Representation: Dani Colman for The Unfinished Corner.
- Historical Narrative: Salva Rubio, Antonio Iturbe, Loreto Aroca for the graphic novel The Librarian of Auschwitz.
- Fictional Narrative: Barry Deutsch for the Hereville Trilogy.
- Autobiographical Narrative: Roz Chast for her memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
- Combatting Prejudice: Peter Kuper
The 2023 JewCie Awards showcased the incredible talent and dedication of creators who are enriching Jewish storytelling through the powerful medium of comics. The event served as a testament to the enduring importance of Jewish narratives in the world of comics.