The Ignatz Awards are intended to recognize outstanding achievements in comics and cartooning by small press creators or creator-owned projects published by larger publishers. They have been awarded each year since 1997, but skipped a year in 2001 due to the show's cancellation after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Recipients of the award are determined by the votes of the attendees of the annual Small Press Expo (SPX, or The Expo its corporate name), a weekend convention and tradeshow showcasing creator-owned comics. Nominations for the Ignatz Awards are made by a five-member jury panel consisting of comic book professionals.
The jury panel remains anonymous until the announcement of the awards. Jurors are prohibited from nominating their own work. However, there is no prohibition of one jury member's work being nominated for an award by his or her fellow jurors.
The Ignatz Awards are named in honour of George Herriman and his strip Krazy Kat, which featured a brick-wielding mouse named Ignatz.
SPX is currently held in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside the US capital, Washington DC.
The Ignatz is awarded in the following categories:
- Outstanding Artist
- Outstanding Anthology or Collection (added in 2005)
- Outstanding Graphic Novel (added in 2005)
- Outstanding Story
- Promising New Talent
- Outstanding Series
- Outstanding Comic
- Outstanding Minicomic
- Outstanding Online Comic (added in 2001)
The following categories have been discontinued:
- Outstanding Graphic Novel or Collection (1997–2004, replaced in 2005 by two separate awards)
- Outstanding Debut Comic (2000–2008)
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