Nikoline Werdelin for the win!

It’s been a week and half since the big show, but I still think this year’s Ping awards deserve a few words for what little international audience this site still has after months of hibernation.

The Ping awards is an annual set of awards given to comics in Denmark in the manner of the Angoulême Fauves or the American Eisners. Founded by the Danish Comics Council, the awards are a revivification of a differently conceived, hall of fame-type award of the same name which was bestowed on single creators through the early nineties, as well as of the awards programme hosted by the comics biennial from 2004-2010. The Pings are named after one of the best known characters created by one of the greatest Danish cartoonists, Robert Storm Petersen, aka. Storm P. (1882-1949).

The Pings are a collaboration between the comics site Nummer9, the comics magazine Strip!, the Animation Workshop in Viborg (where a major new cartooning programme was launched last year), and the Storm P. Museum in Copenhagen, and the comics festival Copenhagen Comics. They are awarded in a number of categories in the same manner as so many other awards of their kind.

Ping statuettes lined up, waiting for the winners

This year was the third consecutive the revivified Pings were awarded. It happened at the concert hall Vega in Copenhagen. In a remarkable step up, the Hall of Fame award, given to a cartoonist or other comics person for their life and work in comics, was hosted by the Danish minister of culture, Marianne Jelved, one of the most respected veteran politicians in Denmark. The award went to Nikoline Werdelin, author of the great comic strip Homo Metropolis, which has been running intermittently in Danish newspapers since 1984. (I’ve written an introduction to her and her work here). She was also given the most prestigious award of the night, that for ‘Best Danish Comic’ for her latest collection of Homo Metropolis strips. The Pings, in other words, turned into a celebration of one of Denmark’s greatest living cartoonists.

Among other notable awards, the one for best editorial cartoonist (which was a new category added to the roster this year) went to the incomparable Philip Ytournel who has done more than any other to innovate within his genre in the last half decade or so with his hilarious, formally inventive and frequently intelligent work for the daily Politiken. Last year he upped his game when he wrote and drew an entire installment of the paper’s books section devoted to the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard on the 200th anniversary of his birth.

Minister of culture Marianne Jelved and Nikoline Werdelin

The award for ‘Best international comic’ published in Danish went to Emmanuel Guibert’s La Guerre d’Alan (aka. Alan’s War), while that for ‘Best international comic’ (ie. not published in Denmark yet) went to Joe Sacco’s The Great War.
Here’s a full overview:

Best Danish Comic: Homo Metropolis 2010-2012 by Nikoline Werdelin

Best International Comic in Danish: Alans krig by Emmanuel Guibert

Best International Comic: The Great War by Joe Sacco

Best comic for children/young readers: Pssst! by Annette Herzog and Katrine Clante

Editorial Cartoonist of the Year: Philip Ytournel (Politiken)

Best Danish online comic: Det sarahkastiske hjørne by Sarah Glerup

Best Danish Debut: Troldmændene fra Vestmannaeyjar by Thomas Mikkelsen

Hall of Fame Award: Nikoline Werdelin

Full disclosure: I sit on the organising committee of the Ping awards and was part of the jury. The Ping is a critics award: nominations are made by contributors to Nummer9 and Strip! while the jury is composed of three more or less continuing members (representing the Danish Comics Council, Nummer9 and the Copenhagen Comics) and four rotating members selected for variety and expertise.

Philip Ytournel with his award

Read more and see photos from the show (there will also be a special video at some point) at the Ping website and Facebook page. Photos by Alexander Almegaard and Niels Larsen.