I’ve talked about comic book awards here before — specifically, the Eisners, which I likened to the Oscars of comics. But this week the Ignatz nominees were announced, and I’ll confess that I often like Ignatz Award winners/nominees more.  They’re aimed at awarding independent comics (more or less — in any case, you won’t see DC or Marvel superheroes on the list) and tend to have a lot more variety than the Eisners. — and the winners will be announced at SPX (the Small Press Expo, a convention aimed at small/independent comics and publishers.  So, for those of you who aren’t really into superheroes and other mainstream stuff, all of these titles are worth checking out. I”ll talk about a few that I particularly like and recommend.

–My very favorite Jaime Hernandez received THREE nominations! Especially awesome since he was snubbed at the Eisners. Seriously, read Love and Rockets, how many times do I have to tell you. He’s up for Outstanding Artist, Outstanding Story (for a story that made me straight-up sob), and Love and Rockets is up for Outstanding Series.

–I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about Kate Beaton and Hark a Vagrant before, but it’s up for outstanding collection. You can read it all online too, but it is a great little package of a book, and Kate Beaton for sure deserves all of our money. She does hilarious comics mainly about history and literature, and her art is GREAT.

–Big Questions by Anders Nilsen is a collection of his Big Questions minicomics, but works really well as one volume (one big volume). Nilsen is the author of the comic/sketchbook/travelogue Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow, which has maybe made me cry harder than any other comic. And I have honestly cried about a lot of comics (see above).

–Kevin Huizenga’s Ganges is up for outstanding series and it really is. I like his art a lot, and everyman character Glenn Ganges is weird and wonderful, dealing with everyday issues like insomnia and talking to his neighbors.

–I like the webcomic category a lot this year, but SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki is seriously one of my favorite ongoing comics. It’s about weirdly gifted teenagers at an even weirder school, and it’s weirdly full of pathos.

Those are just the few I want to highlight as being especially great—but like I said, everything nominated is interesting and worth looking into.

In more mainstream news, this week Joe Kubert died. He worked for DC for years, particularly on Sergeant Rock, but also wrote the graphic novel Yossi, where he imagined his life if his family hadn’t moved from Europe to America during the Holocaust. Riveting stuff. So any and all of his work is recommended this week as well.