It's hard to believe that an entire year has passed since the last Dontmindme.com Wilhelm Awards. A lot has happened in the last 12 months, and there are a lot of things and people which are, if not very, at least moderately deserving of a Wilhelm Award. Some of the winners were formally nominated during the last year, while others are now for the first time being mentioned in association with this prestigious prize.
If you'd like to learn more about the Wilhelms, visit the Wilhelm Awards Page. There you can find out the explanation behind the name, listen to the actual Wilhelm scream, and see previous winners and nominees. But for now, on with the awards.
Best Song Cover: I like the Bee Gees. Sure, their music tends to the cheesy, but I happen to enjoy cheese. As much as the Bee Gees have an extensive catalogue of songs, there are a few tracks that one will hear frequently, mostly ones that were on the Saturday Night Fever sound track. Of course, with an extensive catalogue there are a lot of weaker songs in the mix. One of these, "Inside and Out", was completely forgettable as a Bee Gees song. But as a cover song, it has been done brilliantly by Feist.
If you aren't familiar with Feist, she's perhaps better known as Leslie Feist, member of such bands as By Divine Right and Broken Social Scene. Her version of "Inside and Out" still feels like a Bee Gees song, but modern and catchy, not a 1970s relic. If you haven't heard it, you should definitely give it a listen. I think you'll agree that it deserves to win the Wilhelm for Best Song Cover.
Best Generic Food Product: When you think corn flakes, do you think edible but weak flakes that aren't exactly tasty? Do you picture the inexplicably poultry-branded box from Kellogg's? I used to, but not any more. Not since I happened to buy a box of Our Compliments Corn Flakes. These Sobey's brand corn flakes are better than the Kellogg variety at every turn. The flakes are thicker and heavier, which allows them to have a more recognizable corn taste, which is the whole reason to eat corn flakes in the first place. What's more, they cost a fair amount less than the brand name flakes. As generic food products go, they're just about perfect. While the other nominee in this category this year is ice cream, and therefore much tastier than any corn flakes could ever be, Our Compliments Corn Flakes capture the essence of quality generic food and that is enough to win the Wilhelm for Best Generic Food Product.
Most Shameless Plug: Blogs are so hot right now. It seems that half the people I know have one. Some have two or three. While a few blogs become wildly popular, the vast majority of them have small audiences and infrequent updates. Of course, since many blogs are aimed at a very specific target audience, that's fine.
The Dontmindme staff blog didn't exactly take off the way we hoped it would, but really, it was designed as a convenient place for the editor-in-chief to post pictures of his baby son. He didn't post enough pictures with enough regularity, however, so his wife, who happens to be a contributing editor here herself, decided to start her own blog. It's called Life with Sean, and it mostly features pictures of, quite frankly, the most adorable baby to be born in the last century. And there you have the winner of the Wilhelm for Most Shameless Plug.
Best New Webcomic: New webcomics appear all the time, but only a very few rise above the crowd to receive much attention. Artistic talent and good writing are obviously important elements in webcomic success, but a clever concept can be just as useful. An awesome name is also a great asset. This brings us to a relative newcomer to the world of web comics, the Adventures of Dr. McNinja. It's about a doctor who is also a ninja. Really, do you need more explanation than that? If you need more info, it's done in black and white, it's a good mix of action and comedy, and the title character battles foes including pirates, banditos, Paul Bunyan, Ronald McDonald, and velociraptors. From that description you have probably already clicked the link above or you never want to visit the winner of the Wilhelm for Best New Webcomic.
Special Award for Creativity and Innovation: Most people who can really only run one project at a time, and are kept fairly busy just doing that. Some may have the occasional side project, but that's usually where it ends. Not with Ryan North. He's been doing Dinosaur Comics for four years now, he runs another webcomic called Whispered Apologies which features art from various contributors, and dialogue supplied by North and the other editors. As well, he runs a message board for his and a couple of other comics.
But wait, there's more! He also developed RSSpect, which lets people build and manage RSS feeds for their sites, which is terribly handy if you want to use syndication but don't know or want to learn XML. While that is impressive, the webcomic search engine Oh No Robot is another Ryan North project, and it has indexed over 50,000 individual comics from over 600 different series.
Most recent, and most impressive, however, is Project Wonderful. If you want to buy or sell advertising space on the web, and you want transparency, control, potentially free advertising, and a very reasonable commission rate, PW is the place to start. It's only been running a few months now and already hundreds of sites are selling ad space on the network.
To recap, that's five different web projects, each of which is awesome in its own special way. And we haven't even mentioned that Ryan has two books for sale on the dinosaur comics site. How impressive is that. Ryan North is the obvious choice for the Wilhelm Special Award for Creativity and Innovation.