- Z2 Comics/Kelsey Hawes
"It's a degree of validation I've never really had," said Hunt, who recently settled in Ohio after stints in Boise, New York and Spain.
The award, which was given Jan. 6, was for his work Carver: A Paris Story, which he wrote and illustrated. The title was published as a trade paperback by Z2 Comics throughout 2016. IGN lauded Carver, saying Hunt and collaborator Paul Pope's work on the series "grab[s] you on the first page and refuse[s] to let go."
- Z2 Comics
Carver beat out a new volume of March, written by Congressman and Civil Rights Leader Rep. John Lewis, as well as popular Batman and Wonder Woman titles.
Despite the accolades for the book and the bump in the series' sales ranking on Amazon—the first issue is currently listed at 78 among mystery graphic novels and 106 in literary graphic novels—Hunt said he didn't expect to win the award, and is unsure how it will affect his career.
"I really don't know how this happened, to be honest," he said.
A Paris Story is the first in a trilogy of action/mystery story arcs surrounding the titular character, Francis Carver, who comes across as part Ernest Hemingway, part Corto Maltese. The next installment in the story will center on Carver's difficult relationships with friends, family and violence—likely amid the backdrop of the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1930s. Hunt described the middle volume of the series as "The Empire Strikes Back of the series: Things might not work out."
The writer/illustrator's current projects include illustrating a one-off, 12-page Star Wars story about bounty hunter Boba Fett and an issue-length story for Image Comics. Carver, however, is a passion project for Hunt, and its critical success came in spite of its limited run of 2,000 copies.
"It's weird to me that this could happen," he said.