In my inbox today is a press release from Portland-based Top Shelf Comix, properly tooting their own horn on a first time eent in the history of comics. Portland-based comics author Craig Thompson swept the comics industry awards this year, winning every award he was nominated for in recognition of the stunning accomplishment of his second graphic novel, the brick-like, 500-page opus Blankets.

Here’s what the press release has to say:

Top Shelf would like to congratulate Craig Thompson for doing something that’s never been done in the history of comics: Sweep the Eisner, Harvey, and Ignatz Awards in a single category — and he did it twice! BLANKETS not only swept the awards in the “Best Original Graphic Novel” category, but Craig took home all three “Best Cartoonist/Outstanding Artist” awards as well. This is a rare feat indeed! If you haven’t read BLANKETS yet, you really need to see what all the fuss is about. You’re in for a real treat.

I couldn’t agree more. I loved Blankets when I read it last fall, and of all the interviews with comics people I did last year, interviewing Craig about this work was easily my favorite interviewing experience. It’s rare to have the opportunity to discuss a work of genius with the creator just before the work begins to develop a reputation. It was a chance to talk with a young man who was aware of having accomplished something special but who had not yet begun to incorporate others’ appreciation for the art into his expectations and understandings of how the world looks at him. He struck me as having a solid head screwed on his shoulders and I hope to see further amazing things from his pen.

I ran the whole long Craig Thompson interview here at the end of last year and also a brief conversation I had with him about Portland compared to Seattle as a comics-creator community.

Congratulations, Craig! Do it again!