What, you've never heard of the Stan Lee Excelsior Award? Well then, you must not be a teenager in the U.K. The awards were started last year by a teacher in Sheffield, and students in 17 different schools voted for their favorite graphic novels. This year, 66 schools participated. The books must be suitable for readers aged 11-16, and yes, Stan Lee did authorize the use of his name, although other than that he doesn't seem to be personally involved (however, the website does say organizers work closely with the Stan Lee Foundation).
Here's what's interesting about this shortlist: It reflects what tweens and teens are actually reading, as opposed to what the adult gatekeepers think they should be reading. That means the list is fascinatingly eclectic and also devoid of any award winners — I know when I was a kid, that foil Newbery Award seal was the kiss of death. Things don't seem to have changed much. Here's the 2012 shortlist:
- Star Wars: Blood Ties
- Gate 7
- Wuthering Heights (Quick Text Version)
- FF, Vol. 1
- Marineman: A Matter of Life and Depth
- Sita: Daughter of the Earth
- Green Lantern: Secret Origin
Now that's eclectic! Last year, the manga Black Butler took first place, Bryan Talbot's Grandville, Mon Amour was second, and the graphic novel version of Twilight came in third. So when someone asks whether the kids these days are reading superheroes, manga, or original graphic novels, you can safely answer "Yes!"
(via the Forbidden Planet blog)