The Hooded Man Caliburn Prize for Comic Creation (The Caliburn Prize) is a UK comic-based literary grant which recognises new and unpublished voices in the world of comic and graphic novel creation, sponsored by the author Tony Lee through his digital-first publishing imprint, Hooded Man Media, and in association with the London Film & Comic Con (Showmasters Events), The Comic Book Legal Defence Fund (CBLDF) and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).

It is open to all unpublished UK-based comic creators, with an end goal of assisting them in completing their first finished book.

The Hooded Man Caliburn Prize for Comic Creation (The Caliburn Prize) is a UK comic-based literary grant which recognises new and unpublished voices in the world of comic and graphic novel creation, sponsored by the author Tony Lee through his digital-first publishing imprint, Hooded Man Media, and in association with the London Film and Comic Con (Showmasters), The Comic Book Legal Defence Fund (CBLDF) and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).

It is open to all unpublished UK-based comic creators, with an end goal of assisting them in completing their first finished book.

The Caliburn Prize

The Hooded Man Caliburn Prize for Comic Creation (The Caliburn Prize) is a UK comic-based literary grant which recognises new and unpublished voices in the world of comic and graphic novel creation, sponsored by the author Tony Lee through his digital-first publishing imprint, Hooded Man Media, and in association with the London Film & Comic Con (Showmasters Events), The Comic Book Legal Defence Fund (CBLDF) and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). It is open to all unpublished UK-based comic creators, with an end goal of assisting them in completing their first finished book.

To be considered, entrants must submit a project containing eight pages of finished comic, a finished cover with logo, a one-page synopsis of the story and a one-page biography list of all creators involved.

The winning entry will be awarded a prize fund of £2,500 at the 2024 London Film & Comic Con in July, to support the completion of their work, a free table and hotel at the 2025 London Film & Comic Con, a year’s membership of both the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund (CBLDF) and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), and an hour-long zoom call with Oriana Leckert, Director of Publishing for Kickstarter. Entries are open from 1st January 2024 – 31st May 2024.

The shortlisted candidates will move on to a judging panel including award winning writers, artists, editors, publishers, literary agents and other experts in the industry.

 

 

“Winning the 2023 Caliburn Prize has had a huge impact on my creative life as a comic book artist. It has granted access to a host of industry professionals whose input has been invaluable as well as assisting me in successfully Kickstarting my first full length graphic novel.

To have a prize that offers such a range of opportunities, in addition to financial support and recognition within this often undervalued industry is fantastic and ensures that new creators have a better chance of finding an audience and levelling up their practice.”

Michael Lomon, 2023 Caliburn Prize recipient

 

The 2024 Judging Panel

Gail Simone

Gail Simone is a New York Times #1 Bestselling American writer best known for her work in comics on DC’s Birds of Prey, Batgirl, Dynamite Entertainment’s Red Sonja, and for being the longest running female writer on Wonder Woman to date. Other notable works include Clean Room, Secret Six, Welcome to Tranquility, The All-New Atom, and Deadpool.

She enjoyed a long-running stint on The Simpsons comics, and has also written for television and video games.

A winner of both the Eisners and the Harvey awards, her work has been nominated for a number of awards including the GLAAD Media Award, and she is the recipient of a 2017 San Diego Comic Con Inkpot Award.

Mark Buckingham

Mark Buckingham has been working in comics for thirty-six years, and is known for his work on numerous comics including Miracleman, Hellblazer, Sandman, Death, Shade the Changing Man, Generation-X, Doctor Strange, Batman: Shadow of the Bat, Doctor Who, The Titans, Peter Parker: Spider-man, and Dead Boy Detectives.

Mark is best known as the regular artist on Fables for Vertigo/DC Comics, working with its writer and creator Bill Willingham, for which they have earned numerous comic industry awards.

Mark is currently working with Neil Gaiman, as both artist and co-writer, on completing their ground-breaking Miracleman series for Marvel Comics.

oriana leckert

Oriana Leckert is the Director of Publishing at Kickstarter, where she helps creators bring a marvellous array of literary projects to life. She’s written and edited for Vice, MTV News, Slate, Hyperallergic, Gothamist, Atlas Obscura, and many more.

Her first book, Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity (Monacelli, 2015), grew out of a multi-year project chronicling the rise and fall of under-the-radar creative places across New York City.

Jake Devine

Jake Devine was born and raised in South London, and studied English & Creative Writing and Media Production at the University of Chichester where he could bring his love of books, movies and TV to life.

After graduating and a few years of varied jobs, Jake undertook an internship at Titan Comics which eventually led to a full-time role in the editorial team.

Jake is currently Group Editor, leading and overseeing the editorial team, whilst also editing titles such as Rebel Moon, Doctor Who, Bloodborne, Gun Honey and an array of other comics.

He has worked with notable brands such as Disney, Marvel, Sony, Netflix, and Bandai among others. 

james wills

James Wills is the Managing Director of Watson, Little Literary Agency, where he looks after a dynamic and wide-ranging list of writers, as well as some of the most exciting names in comics, including Amrit Birdi, Emma Vieceli and Alan Moore.

He has a BA in English and Italian and an MA in 20th Century Literature from the University of Leeds and is a former Secretary of the Association of Authors’ Agents.

rich johnston

Rich Johnston is a British comics creator and columnist who founded, and is now head writer for, the comics news site Bleeding Cool – one of the largest pop-culture and comic websites in the world. The Comics Journal once described him as having claimed to be “the oldest extant comics news reporter on the Internet,” having worked in comic news reporting since 1994 on Usenet.

His past columns include “All The Rage” (for Silver Bullet Comic Books), and “Lying in the Gutters” (for Comic Book Resources).

Within comics, Rich has written Doctor Who for IDW and The Many Murders of Miss Craybourne for Dark Horse, among many others. He is best known in comics for his BOOM Studios parody comics of Marvel Studios films.

Sonia Leong

Sonia Leong is a comic book/Manga artist and author of popular drawing guides including Draw Manga: Complete Skills (Search Press) and Beginning Manga (Franklin Watts).

Her award-winning debut graphic novels include Manga Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet (Self Made Hero). She’s worked on Doctor Who (BBC Books), Assassin’s Creed (Titan), Domo-kun (TokyoPop) and Bravest Warriors (VIZ), amongst many others.

She also illustrates for children’s books, fashion, advertising, film and television, recently appearing on CBBC’s Britain’s Best Young Artist as a judge.

She is the Director of Sweatdrop Studios, a UK-based independent comic publisher and is currently working on the Chronicles Of Ciel, a series of illustrated fantasy light novels.

Robert Napton

Robert Napton is a comic book writer and editor, and is currently the Senior Vice President and Publisher at Legendary Comics, in Los Angeles.

A prolific comic writer, he has written several hundred comics throughout his career including Warlord of Mars, Battlestar Galactica, Dark Wraith of Shannara, and most recently Godzilla Awakening, as well as the creator series Deity, Cutter, Blackbeard, and many more.

In addition to Legendary, he has also worked for Image, Dynamite, Marvel, and Del Rey/Random House.

Alliance of Independent Authors
Hooded Man Media
London Film and Comic Con
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

SUBMISSIONS

The Caliburn Prize for Comic Creation consists of:

A £2,500 grant, announced in July 2024 at the London Film & Comic Con, for assistance in finishing the submitted project.

A free table and hotel room for the following year’s London Film & Comic Con, where the winner can promote the work.

A year’s membership (x1) for the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund (CBLDF).

A year’s membership (x1) for the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).

An hour-long zoom call with Oriana Leckert, Director of Publishing for Kickstarter, where you will gain the best advice for creating a winning Kickstarter campaign.

HOW TO ENTER

1. Before entering the prize, first check the eligibility criteria below, to make sure you’re eligible to apply for the award. The Caliburn Prize is only open to unpublished UK-based comic creators, or teams.

2. Check the opening and closing dates for submissions and read the conditions of entry, below.

3. Ensure your submission is fully complete when you send it in – it needs to be a single PDF document consisting of a cover with logo, eight finished pages of story, a one-page full synopsis of the comic and a biography page of all involved, including their roles in the submission. You will not be able to change your entry once it has been submitted.

4. Most queries are answered in the FAQs section below, but if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, please contact us.

5. When you are happy with your work, save it into a single PDF document, as mentioned above, and submit it using the below form.

The entry portal will open from 1st January 2024 and will close at 11:59pm (GMT) on 31st May 2024. You will not be able to submit your entry outside of these dates.

The judges’ decisions are anonymous and final.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

For the purposes of the Caliburn Prize, an “unpublished UK comics creator (or team)” must be:

  • Unpublished professionally, globally, in comics work. This includes work for hire, small press anthologies or creator owned work in crowdfunded campaigns that have made over £5,000 in donations, or webcomics on platforms with over 10,000 page reads per page. All of these are, for the Prize, classed as professional published works, as most will have paid a fee or a royalty percentage.If you are a team, all members of the team must be the same, unless you can prove that any work for hire aspect of the book has already been paid and receives no other renumeration from this.You can however be self-published, as long as you have not breached any of the ceilings mentioned above; selling at conventions at a table has been allowed as many unpublished creators begin this way.If you are unsure, email us at caliburnprize@hoodedmanmedia.com with your question.
  • UK based at the time of submission. This is a contest for UK-based creators, but is open to anyone living in the UK, regardless of their home nation. Please note however, that submissions having a “stunt creator” on the team – ie a foreign creator, who’s only in the country during the moment of submission – will be looked upon unkindly.
  • All members of the submission team must be over 18 at the time of submission. Due to legal reasons, we cannot accept submissions from people younger than 18, even through a guardian.

CONDITIONS OF ENTRY

  • All submissions must be made through the official entry portal below. We regret that entries sent to any of our contact e-mail addresses will not be considered.
  • Hooded Man Media will make all final decisions on eligibility. Decisions will be final, will refer to our stated criteria and no further communication will be entered into on the matter.
  • To be eligible, all submissions must have been made by 11:59 p.m. on 31st May 2024 via the awards website. Submissions received after this time will not be considered.
  • Incomplete submissions will not be considered or acknowledged.
  • Creators / teams may only enter one submission to the prize. Multiple submissions will not be considered. Also, any teams that have the same entrant (letterer, artist etc) as another submission will not be considered, so check carefully if working with others.
  • The submission must be the entrant’s own original work, and created as a single author or team.
  • If you are shortlisted for an award, you will be asked to prove your identity and place of residence, if relevant to your submission.
  • Hooded Man Media retains the right to withdraw and reclaim the financial value of the Prize if it is later discovered that a winner has made false representations about any aspect of their submission.
  • The Caliburn Prize is not open to employees or affiliates of Hooded Man Media, Caliburn Comics or Tony Lee (the Sponsor).
  • The judges’ decision is final, and no correspondence or debate about the judging process will be entered into.
  • Shortlisted authors must be available to participate in media and PR for the Prize, if required. The winner will be invited to the 2024 London Film & Comic Con to receive their award, but this is not a requirement.
  • We reserve the right to vary the conditions of entry and make any changes to the schedule as are necessary.
  • As the Sponsor will readily attest, self-publishing is a successful form of publishing. Therefore, work that has already been self-published or sold at conventions in any format is not eligible for entry to the Prize, because all submissions must be unpublished in any form. This also includes work previously shown in published or online / digital anthologies.
  • By entering your work for the Caliburn Prize for Comic Creation you are tacitly confirming to us that the work you are submitting is your own, and nobody else’s, and that you have read and agree to these Conditions of Entry.
  • We will inform all applicants to the Prize, whether successful or unsuccessful, of the outcome of their application once the judging process is complete.
  • We regret that, owing to the large volume of applications, we are unable to enter into individual correspondence with writers about submissions that have not been shortlisted, or give individual feedback on every submission. the judges’ decisions will also be anonymous, and we will not be giving feedback based on these.
  • If you have any further queries about the Caliburn Prize, please refer in the first instance to the FAQs section below. If you cannot find an answer to your query, please e-mail us at caliburnprize@hoodedmanmedia.com and we will try to respond as quickly as possible.

FAQs

How do I know if I can enter the Caliburn Prize?
Please look at the Eligibility Criteria and Conditions of Entry sections above.

Can I apply for the Prize if I have already been shortlisted in a previous year?
You may reapply for the Caliburn Prize if you have been shortlisted in previous years, but not if you have been a previous winner.

Is there an age limit for entrance?
You must be aged eighteen at the time of entry.

I’ve never created a comic before, and I’ve never done a course in it. Should I bother?
Yes. many of the greatest comic creators never learned how to do this in school. You can only get better by doing it.

My submission has appeared in a blog, but not in a printed comic or GN. Does that count as ‘unpublished’?
‘Unpublished’ means that the work in question has never appeared in magazines, websites (including blogs), novels, comics or anthologies, and that it hasn’t appeared in other formats such as screenplays, audio dramas, podcasts, etc. Therefore, submissions that have already been published online as part of a blog article have been published, and are not eligible for entry.

However, if your submission is part of a greater whole, or a book being created from a  short story, we can examine this on a case by case basis.

Can I enter work from a previously self-published book, or digital comic?
Self-published print or digital comics are published works, and therefore fall outside the eligibility criteria.

Can I enter if I already have a book deal with a comics publisher for the work?
The Caliburn Prize is intended to support works in progress, not to promote works that are already completed, and for which a publishing deal has been secured. A ‘book deal’ is defined as a contract with a publisher whereby you are paid an advance for your writing and/or a royalty for any book sales that follow, and therefore is not eligible.

My Letterer is established in the industry, but we’ve only hired them for the lettering, and they’ve been paid. As they don’t get anything else, does this make me ineligible?
The Caliburn Prize understands that some roles are harder to create than others, and sometimes experts in that field need to be brought in. If you can show in the work for hire agreement that they won’t receive any more royalties etc, then a “stunt casting” can be accepted, but submissions with this will be checked on a case by case basis.

You ask for a one-page synopsis. What is that?
A synopsis is a summary of the story you intend to create, giving a high concept / log line for the comic, followed by a short breakdown of the full story, including the end. It should give the judges a clear understanding of where you intend to take your story, including character development and story arc.

You ask for eight pages – do they have to be the first eight?
No. The eight pages can be anywhere from the book, but they must be sequential, so that the story flows when reading.

Do you take my intellectual property when I submit the entry?
No. By submitting your work, you are agreeing to it being read and considered by awards sifters, judges and staff of Hooded Man Media. The copyright of your submitted work stays with you / your team at all times, and we will not exert or ask for any rights over your work at any time.

What about Data Privacy?
Your submission will be deleted once the judging process is complete. You will only receive future correspondence from Hooded Man Media that you have specifically signed up for, and you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never share your data or personal information with any other businesses or organisations, and we abide by all relevant data protection legislation.

What about Equality?
Hooded Man Media, Caliburn Comics, Tony Lee and all associates of the Caliburn Prize for Comic Creation believe that all individuals should be treated fairly and on the basis of merit and without prejudice. Applications to the Prize are considered without reference to age, cultural background, class, disability, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, faith or an individual’s health status.

I’m part of a team. How do we split the guild memberships?
If you win the Prize, you will gain memberships to both the Alliance of Independent Authors, and the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund. Both of these are single memberships, so it’s up to you who gets what!

Hows does the Kickstarter meeting work?
Oriana Leckert, Director of Publishing for Kickstarter has graciously offered to give the winners an hour long zoom call about their work, answering any crowdfunding questions you may have. This will be organised between you and Ms Leckert after the ward is given in July 2024.

SUBMIT ENTRY

    Your name

    Your email

    Why 'Caliburn?'

    Caliburn is one of the many names given to the swords of King Arthur, and is often labelled as the ‘sword in the stone’ that Arthur pulls out to gain his destiny.

    This gave Hooded Man Media founder Tony Lee the idea of calling this prize the “Caliburn Prize” – because like the sword, the person (or team) that gains this award can also use it to shape their comics destiny.

    The Caliburn Prize for Comic Creation is dedicated to the memory of Doreen Lee.