The Myriad First Graphic Novel Competition is a celebrated project that was launched in 2012, and ran in 2014, 2018 and 2020. A summary of the previous competitions can be found here. It offered the winner, or winners, the opportunity to have their completed graphic novel published by Myriad. Entrants were asked for 15-30 pages of a graphic work-in-progress, fiction or non-fiction. The four competitions have provided a unique opportunity for creators to see their debut graphic novel in print, furthering Myriad’s mission to encourage and nurture new talent, and to provide opportunities for established artists who have not previously embarked upon a full-length work. The 2018 and 2020 competitions were both supported by the Lakes International Comic Art Festival.
Myriad’s graphics list includes the four competition winners Gareth Brookes (The Black Project, 2012), Jade Sarson (For the Love of God, Marie!, 2014), Jenny Robins (Biscuits, 2018) and Veronika Muchitsch (Cyberman, 2022). Myriad has also published six other shortlisted authors, as well as works by authors longlisted for the competition.
Below is a report of the 2020 competition.
MYRIAD FIRST GRAPHIC NOVEL COMPETITION 2020 WINNER:
CYBERMAN BY VERONIKA MUCHITSCH
Comic artist Veronika Muchitsch from Falmouth has won Myriad’s fourth First Graphic Novel Competition with an extract from her story Cyberman recording the life of a blogger who streams online 24 hours a day, hardly leaving his apartment.
Cyberman by Veronika Muchitsch
‘We were seduced into being unwitting voyeurs of Ari’s life and conversations with his followers, as she painted what she saw on screen. This is a portrait that you can almost feel.’ said Myriad Creative Director Corinne Pearlman.
‘Beautiful story, beautiful artwork, very timely and prescient for where we are in the world today. We just all fell in love with that one, and when you see it you will too, I’m sure.’ said fellow judge Zoe Adjonyoh, London chef and writer.
The winner was revealed in a live video (view here) at the 2020 Lakes International Comic Arts Festival, supporters of the competition since 2018. Works by Denise Dorrance, Ed Firth, Pete Shearn, Pietro Soldi, Anthony Smith & Tobias Taitt, and Myfanwy Tristram were praised by all the judges for their excellence.
Said curator and art critic Sacha Craddock: ‘The experience of judging has been thrilling. The longlist had taken me all over the place, formally, conceptually and emotionally, and the shortlist, amazing, again and again. I’m madly impressed.’
Said Dr Ian Williams, judge and former competition runner-up: ‘The finalists were of outstanding quality. Any one of them would have been a worthy winner, but we agreed that the final winner pushed the medium of a graphic novel into areas we hadn’t really seen before.’
Julie Tait, founder and director of LICAF, said: ‘It really was an extraordinary shortlist and I felt very privileged to be part of the judging.’
Veronika Muchitsch said: ‘I’m entirely at a loss for words but I’m working on it! I’m truly excited to be working with Myriad and I can’t wait to see this project becoming a book. Ari was very happy to know that I was making a book of his life, but sadly he passed away last November.’
Veronika Muchitsch – a comic book artist based in Falmouth, Cornwall. With an interest in observing solitude and the way we inhabit and experience the world, her comics are a declaration of love to people who create their own worlds in the digital age.
OTHER FINALISTS OF THE FIRST GRAPHIC NOVEL COMPETITION 2020 SHORTLIST
• Denise Dorrance Polar Vortex
• Ed Firth Chillout
• Veronika Muchitsch Cyberman
• Pete Shearn Missing People
• Pietro Soldi Everything I Ever Knew Is on Earth
• Anthony Smith & Tobias Taitt Black
• Myfanwy Tristram Satin and Tat
Denise Dorrance – an American-born cartoonist and illustrator. Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, she moved to London where her sharply ironic work appears regularly in magazines and newspapers and in 2013 a collection of her cartoons was published, titled “It’s All About Mimi”. Her first graphic novel (a work in progress) recently won the Rosalind B. Penfold award.
Ed Firth – an East London-based portrait artist and zine maker, as well as founder/facilitator of East London Life Drawing. He started creating books and zines in childhood, gradually drifting into animation and club VJing, until his transition into sequential art in 2019, producing semi-autobiographical slices of life that don’t flinch from the bleaker side of human nature.
Pete Shearn – has been happily creating comic strips for his own amusement over many years. He recently took the leap into graphic novel writing. His work aims to shine a light on issues affecting society, while also portraying the foibles and peculiarities of everyday life. Pete works for the NHS and lives in the third most fashionable suburb of Stockport, England.
Pietro Soldi – was born in 1990 in São Paulo, Brazil, and since last year has been living in London. He publishes his comics online since 2017 and recently has started dedicating his time exclusively to comics and illustrations. Pietro is 6′ 4″ so he’s easily spottable from a distance or in a crowded place.
Anthony Smith – worked for a few comic publishers before moving into advertising. There he worked as a creative for a number of years at several top agencies. He then returned to illustration, and in recent years has had numerous cartoons published in the national press.
Tobias Taitt – was raised as a child of the state in the 70s and 80s. He became passionate about UK history, specifically the untold lives of its citizens. He believes their stories should be recorded for future generations, just as he has done with his own.
Myfanwy Tristram – drawing comics since the 80s, contributing to anthologies, exhibitions and books as well as self-publishing her work within the UK’s vibrant small press scene. In 2018 she launched Draw The Line, a global collective of comic artists illustrating ways to question the political status quo.
MYRIAD FIRST GRAPHIC NOVEL COMPETITION 2020 LONGLIST
Click HERE to read about each of their submitted works
• Tim Catherall
• Denise Dorrance
• Ed Firth
• Christine Humphreys
• Mathew Jackson
• Lesley MacNiven & Heather Charters
• Gary McKeever
• John Miers
• Alex Moore
• Aleesha Nandhra
• Angelina Olkhovskaya & Anita Bruvere
• Veronika Muchitsch
• Kim L Pace
• Michael Parker & Cecily Salt
• Jane Porter
• Teresa Robertson
• Pete Shearn
• Pietro Soldi
• Tobias Taitt & Anthony Smith
• Myfanwy Tristram
MYRIAD FIRST GRAPHIC NOVEL COMPETITION 2020 JUDGES
- Dr Ian Williams, author of The Bad Doctor and The Lady Doctor. Founder, Graphicmedicine.org
- Sacha Craddock, independent art critic, writer and curator
- Corinne Pearlman, creative director, Myriad Editions
- Zoe Adjonyoh, award-winning chef, author of Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen Cookbook and contributor to the New Daughters of Africaanthology
- Julie Tait, founder and director, Lakes International Comic Art Festival