If comics are to continue to evolve and permeate the consciousness of a broader readership we need far more breakout books like Supercrash and, by definition, far more Darryl Cunninghams out there.
Darryl Cunningham may see himself as first and foremost a cartoonist rather than a comics journalist – a term he admits to being uncomfortable being labelled with for very understandable reasons here – but those readers he so effectively enlightened as to the causes of the global financial crisis in his book Supercrash: How to Hijack the Global Economy this year can hardly be faulted if they applied that designation to him.
Cunningham is a comics creator who has become established as one of the most important voices in British comics over the last several years. From the myth-busting investigations of Science Tales to his candid and informative graphic essays on mental health issues in Psychiatric Tales, he has proven time and again his mastery of the comics form to make complex and involved issues accessible to a wider audience.
This year it was the meticulously researched Supercrash: How to Hijack the Global Economy from Myriad Editions (re-titled The Age of Selfishness for its U.S. publication by Abrams) that propelled Cunningham’s distinctive (but ever versatile) use of the comics form to the forefront of the new wave of graphic reportage.
Split into three sections that look into the origins of the politics of selfishness and the philosophy of Ayn Rand, the reasons behind the financial collapse of the 2000s and who was responsible, and the global state of play post-crash, Supercrash is a book that brings astonishing clarity to a notoriously convoluted topic.
It’s that ability to break down complicated subject matter into easily digestible and compelling narratives without ever compromising the points he is making that clearly impressed both the Broken Frontier staff and readership.
In a formidably strong category for Best Writer (Independent/Creator-Owned) – and one that contained a number of popular genre fiction nominations – it was Cunningham’s work in exploring and analysing the intricacies of (and ethical issues surrounding) global economics that beat out the arguably more “commercial” and closer to the comics mainstream titles on the ballot.
Darryl Cunningham’s triumph in this category this year isn’t just a nod to an example of great work in the medium, it’s also recognition of everything that sequential art can be, and the greater potential readership it could and should be appealing to as a form. And that, of course, is a vital point to underline because Supercrash is a book that appeals equally to readers outside the traditional core comics audience as it does to those within the confines of the form’s committed fanbase.
If comics are to continue to evolve and permeate the consciousness of a broader readership we need far more breakout books like Supercrash and, by definition, far more Darryl Cunninghams out there…