A comic by Olivia Walch, winner of the The Washington Post‘s “America’s Next Great Cartoonist” Contest
Just in time for Comic-Con, The Washington Post has announced the winner of its “America’s Next Great Cartoonist” contest, and it’s 21-year-old Olivia Walch, a rising senior at William & Mary (where she’s the cartoonist for the student newspaper). Walch’s single-panel comic, “Imogen Quest,” received the most votes in two rounds of reader voting and impressed a panel of celebrity judges including the Marvel-ous Stan Lee, Garry Trudeau of Doonesbury fame, and “Pearls Before Swine” creator Stephan Pastis. Her prize? A one-month stint in The Washington Post Style section and $1,000. Walch bested the approximately 500 other contest entrants by going meta, creating what the Post describes as “whimsically rendered people [that] seem to be deconstructing the accepted notions of a comic strip even as they are populating one.” Meanwhile, the contest was more than a scouting expedition. The Post also intended the American Idol-flavored initiative as “an affirmation of the popularity of the newspaper’s print and online comics,” which are heartening words at a time when newspapers nationwide are cutting editorial cartoons and comics. Chuckle over the work of all ten “America’s Next Great Cartoonist” finalists here.