Last night, America was shocked and horrified to see the latest chapter of a captivating story unfold on live television. Johnny Manziel, better known as Johnny Football to his fans and "That douchebag we hang out with because he has a lot of money" to his friends, made an obscene gesture directed at an opposing team during a preseason game between the Cleveland Browns and the Washington Racist Nickname about Native Americans. Manziel raised his middle finger at the Washington bench during the third quarter after throwing an interception, raising the ire of all of America, since we don't have better things to do like watching an entire US city have their rights taken away after one of their unarmed citizens was shot dead on the streets by police.
After the game, Manziel was asked to explain why he flipped the bird in Washington's direction. "Words were exchanged," a contrite Manziel said. "They were all like 'Yo, Johnny, did you see who got nominated for the Ignatz Awards,' and I told them I didn't want to know right now, but they told me anyways."
The Ignatz Awards are prestigious honors handed out at SPX in September for superior small press and creator owned comics. Manziel explained that he over frets over which nominees should win the awards after they are announced, and was trying to avoid that distraction this year. "Now I just can't decide who should win Outstanding Artist," he told the press. "I mean, Ed Piskor and Sam Bosna and Kim Dietch and Sophie Goldstein and Jesse Recklaw are all so talented, you know?"
Manziel's coach, Mike Pettine, told reporters that while Manziel's frustrations are understandable, it's something he would have to work to overcome. "It's not that I don't love small press comics," Pettine said. "I don't know a single football player or coach who doesn't, but Johnny needs to learn that it's not his job to decide if The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley, The Boxer, Boxers and Saints, This One Summer, or War of Streets and Houses will win the Outstanding Graphic Novel award. I don't ask the Ignatz Judges to call plays and throw 40 yard passes, and he shouldn't worry about which worthy nominee is going to win an award."
Pettine noted that NFL locker rooms are filled with passionate comic book fans who are very passionate about comic book awards. He added that there's always at least one fistfight every preseason over disagreements involving the Eisner Awards, which are typically handed out shortly before camp begins. "And don't even get me started on the Harvey Awards," Pettine added. "They hand those out the night before the first game of the season. Bunch of assholes those guys are."
Washington players admitted to using the Ignatz Awards to upset Manziel after the game, stating that they knew that Manziel's rookie status left him susceptable to distraction. "We were asking Johnny all sorts of questions all night," said Washington linebacker Brian Orakpo. "You could tell he just couldn't decide who should win the Outstanding Minicomic Award: Nick Drnaso's The Grassy Knoll or Sophie Goldstein's House of Women or Yumi Sakugawa's Never Forgets or Carlos Gonzalez's Test Tube #1 or Ian Sampson's Up to the Top. But if he wants to make it in the NFL, he needs to learn to make quick decisive decisions about these sort of things. Otherwise, he's just a warm body for me to sack."
Manziel was contrite about the incident, but didn't apologize about his love of small press comics. "There's three things that I'm passionate about," he said. "Football, being an rich, entitled douchebag and small press comics. Asking me to curb my passion about small press comics is like asking me not to take pictures of me preparing to snort blow with $100 bills. And I'm not ever going to stop that."
The full list of Ignatz Award nominees can be found below.
Sam Bosma, Fantasy Basketball
Kim Deitch, The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley
Sophie Goldstein, Darwin Carmichael Is Going to Hell, Edna II, House of Women
Ed Piskor, Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 1
Jesse Reklaw, Couch Tag
Outstanding Anthology or Collection
• Amazing Facts and Beyond, Kevin Huizenga and Dan Zettwoch
• The End, Anders Nilsen
• Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2, Leslie Stein
• Sock Monkey Treasury, Tony Millionaire
• QU33R, Various (edited By Robert Kirby)
Outstanding Graphic Novel
The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley, Kim Deitch
The Boxer, Reinhard Kleist
Boxers and Saints, Gene Luen Yang
This One Summer, Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
War of Streets and Houses, Sophie Yanow
• “Brownout Biscuit,” from Octoups Pie: Dead Forever, Meredith Gran
• Destination X, John Martz
• The Grassy Knoll, Nick Drnaso
• “Jobs” from Life Zone, Simon Hanselmann
• “Mom” from Viewotron #2, Sam Sharpe
Promising New Talent
Luke Howard, Trevor
Cathy G. Johnson, Jeremiah, Boy Genius, Until It Runs Clear
Nick Offerman, Orange, Onions
Keiler Roberts, Powdered Milk
Daryl Seitchik, Missy
The Black Feather Falls, Ellen Lindner
Demon, Jason Shiga
Powdered Milk, Keiler Roberts
Sky in Stereo, Sacha Mardou
Towerkind, Kat Verhoeven
Blammo #8, Noah Van Sciver
Cosplayers, Dash Shaw
It Will All Hurt #2, Farel Dalrymple
Misliving Amended, Adam Buttrick
Wicked Chicken Queen, Sam Alden
The Grassy Knoll, Nick Drnaso
House of Women, Sophie Goldstein
Never Forgets, Yumi Sakugawa
Test Tube #1, Carlos Gonzalez
Up to the Top, Ian Sampson
Outstanding Online Comic
Band for Life, Anya Davidson
Big Dogs at Nite, Dane Martin
Demon, Jason Shiga
On Hiatus, Pete Toms
Vattu, Evan Dahm