Damonkey Business: The Best WebAward One Can Give is Link-Lovin’

The Best WebAward One Can Give is Link-Lovin’

Spring has sprung, the grass has ris’, I wonder where the birdies is?

Lining up to register for the WCCAwards, that’s where.

Spring has sprung, the grass has ris’, I wonder where the birdies is?

Lining up to register for the WCCAwards, that’s where.

The WebCartoonists’ Choice Awards is gearing up for its third annual vote-fest, and already a few hundred ‘toonists are signed up or waiting to be let in by the event doorman (their Registrar). With the coming of this new awards season, all the old questions and discussions are sprouting up from the freshly-turned webpasture: "Who can vote?" "Who can I vote for?" "Why do the popular comics always seem to win?" "Can I nominate myself?" "Is this thing rigged?" "Who died and made these amateur jokers King?"

The event makes for an interesting study in human behavior, really.

We’ve got two types of gung-ho participants – the minority idealist "we really DO want to acknowledge the best and the brightest out there!" types, and the more common, pragmatic "well, if I don’t vote for my comic, who will?" types. Fortunately, even the latter are fairly responsible with their voting, usually only entering their own comic in the pertinent categories. Of course, there are always exceptions: last year’s event found at least a dozen ballots with the same comic names literally cut-and-pasted in EACH AND EVERY possible category.

After that come the coy and aloof participants. They’re the ones who try not to sound too interested or impressed with the event, those who’ll point out problems and flaws, who’ll say that a better system is needed. Often, though, these very same people will also subtly mention in passing that if you vote for them, hey, it’s cool, they’re hip, they can force themselves to accept an award from a flawed event.

Then there are those who really don’t care about such awards. They either disagree with the entire concept of giving awards ("Shut your whining for get-rich-quick recognition and keep drawing if you want to get better/more popular!"), or, like Scott Kurtz said oh-so-memorably once (and I paraphrase), "We need an award that isn’t just about a bunch of amateurs kissing each other’s asses."

Each approach has its own merits, I suppose – even if the only merit to nominating your black-and-white, four-panel, non-animal Fantasy comic for the Best Color, Best Infinite Canvas, Best Anthro, and Best Reality-based categories is to show how big a dumbass you are.

However, while people scream for or against the event, while they fuss and fight over who deserves to win or not, and then rush to blame the event organizers for running a shoddy show when only the "same popular comics" nab most of the awards, let me remind you of a few things:

One, the event organizers do not determine the results. Every cartoonist who votes does. So if you’re not happy with the results, ask yourself what’s wrong with the voters, not what’s wrong with the event.

Two, while it’s cool to see that last year’s event had about 350 registered voters, and this year’s event is already at half that number after less than a week’s worth of registration, remember that there are THOUSANDS of webcomics out there, and ergo, thousands of eligible voters. If all the nay-sayers who say they’d have voted/done things differently had actually participated, then yeah, the results may in fact have been different.

Three, if you think about it, the WCCAwards are nothing more than – and this is something that the event founder himself agrees with completely – just another form of link-love. In a sense, each webcartoonist who has a links page on their site is an awards-giver: the award they’re offering is that of exposure and recognition. While there are some who are advocates of blind link-exchanging, most ‘toonists prefer to link solely to comics they like and want to share with others… those they think are deserving of such notice. The WCCAwards just goes one extra step, and asks the cartoonist community to pastiche themselves up a nice composite links list, really.

So this year, after seeing the whole voting brou-ha-ha go down, if you find yourself disagreeing with the list of award recipients, then offer up your own form of recognition to those whom you think would have been more fitting "winners."

Let the link-love flow to let the people know.

That’s how the quality stuff will show.

Disclaimer: Damonk is the WCCA Registrar/Bouncer.