KCU Pitchfest 2022 Winners!

Congratulations to our winners!!!! We had 90 submissions, and based on the votes by our judges panel, we selected three winners and four runners-up.⁣⁣ (For a complete explanation of how voting worked, visit this link.)

Without further ado, we are so excited to announce our winners! Click on the title or image to view the full pitch.

1st place: Mi Tio Hernán
by Alondra Araujo-Ruiz

Semi-out Anibal Montes-Escobar takes a huge risk and expresses their genderfluidity during the last week of school, but their parents punish them by forcing them to spend their summer with their estranged tio (uncle) Hernán in order to “masculinize” them. (YA)

2nd place: Cramming
by Brigitta Blair

The life of an overachieving girl is thrown off-center when she has to wear a scoliosis back brace. (Middle grade)

3rd place: Three Bee Honey
by Jon & Desi St. Amant

Claire, a lonely worker bee, has to keep up with the demands of her hive and train two sisters. A close call with a spider leads them to discover an irresistible music scene among other bugs, but eventually they must choose between their love of music and loyalty to family. (Middle grade)

4th place: Whoa Nellie!
by Gibson & Rori

A simple letter of protest to a chauvinist newspaper editorial leads young Nellie Bly and her friend Meg to face despotic oil tycoon HC Frick, and an editor’s city-wide search…to offer Nellie a job. (Middle grade)

5th place (tied): Peggy Moran and the Secret of Fog Castle by Trygve Faste

When her Aunt Margaret is blamed for the theft of a priceless nautical chart and subsequently disappears, Peggy strikes out to find her with the help of her friend Jack and a mischievous cat named Fog. To find her and the chart, Peggy must solve a host of clues and risk blinding mist and crashing waves. (Middle grade)

5th place (tied): To the End
by Katie Risor

12 year old Daisy’s dreams come true when she meets Webster, a real-life Forest Guardian who falls into the human world and needs Daisy’s help to get back home. The search for a way back to the Treetops unravels a bigger mystery than Daisy could have imagined. (Middle grade)

Special mention: Randy Needs 1000 Good Deeds by Bailey Culver

There’s this kid named Randy who’s dead, and scored a big zero on the morality scale. Lucifer strikes Randy a deal: If he can commit 1000 good deeds before his 17th birthday, he can go to Heaven. If he fails, he goes to Hell. But how can Randy possibly survive high school and accomplish 1000 good deeds with a meddling dad who’s not only devilish but EMBARRASSING? (YA)

You can view all the submissions here: kidscomicsunite.com/kids-comics-pitchfest-2022/

What’s next?

Industry Announcement Goes Out on January 11th, 2023

We will be announcing the winners to a large mailing list of industry pros on January 11th, 2023. You can help us spread the word around that time by linking to the gallery on your social media accounts or blog and using the hashtag #kcupitchfest.

We Owe Many Thanks to Many People!

A HUGE thank you to the judges for the herculean task of reviewing all the pitches and submitting their votes in a timely manner. You can view our esteemed panel of judges here.

And a GIGANTIC thank you to all the writers and artists who submitted a pitch! It takes a lot of gumption to put yourself out there in this public way, and we applaud your hard work and courage! We hope you got something valuable from this experience.

We also thank our corporate sponsor, Too Corporation Markers, for supplying a set of Copic markers to each of the top three winners. Copic markers are high-end alcohol-based markers made in Japan that are prized by mangaka and comics creators around the world. First place received this amazing set of 36 markers, while second and third place receive this fun starter pack of 12 markers.

Winners also receive a year’s subscription to Kids Comics Studio, free enrollment in the Kids Comics Intensive course, and top billing in the KCU Pitchfest online gallery.

Finally, although the competition has “winners,” the purpose of this event is to showcase all the talent in the community!!

Many of the submissions that didn’t place among the top five were still selected as favorites by the judges. One of our favorite takeaways from this competition is what a wide range of pitches the judges picked — it definitely reinforced the truism that you just need to find that one agent/one editor who believe in you and your work.

If you’re looking for tips on how to improve your work and make your pitch even better, read this article compiling all the specific tips we received from the judges after they finished reviewing the submissions.

Now, go forth and continue making awesome comics!

About Janna Morishima

Janna Morishima is the founder of Kids Comics Unite and a literary agent who specializes in graphic novels and visual storytelling. She started her publishing career at Scholastic, where she was one of the co-founders of the Graphix imprint. She then became director of the Kids Group for Diamond Book Distributors, where she worked with publishers such as Marvel, Dark Horse, and Oni Press, and helped launch Françoise Mouly’s Toon Books imprint. In addition to her background in publishing, she has worked as an associate producer for documentary films, and as an assistant teacher in a kindergarten and a teacher in a high school for teens in the juvenile justice system. She later launched and ran the NYC Department of Education’s “NYC Reads 365” literacy initiative.

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