BEST LOCAL CARTOONIST (1999)
Although Chris Monroe's work is made in Duluth, its greatest audience is here in the Cities: Her regular comic strip is currently one of the best reasons to read the local news weekly Pulse. Each issue, Monroe's scratchy, winsome Violet Days meanders through everyday topics: the merits of various candies, the habits of squirrels, the shoplifting rituals of young girls. And each quick meditation is delivered with a deadpan tone that indicates a sharp wit honed against life's frailties and absurdities. Within Monroe's nuanced acceptance of every ambivalence and bittersweet occurrence, there's a whispered hope for all of us. Sure, squirrels are absurd, and little girls sometimes steal--but how could we love them any other way?