(I'm actually surprised I'm not seeing more. Xerics are awarded to help with actual production costs only, and they require that your book is either complete or nearly complete creatively to even enter the competition. It seems to me that if the only thing you have left to do is print a story, you would want to put a fair amount of it online in an effort to promote it, or at the very least gauge a level of support. But what do I know? I've only got an MBA in Marketing!)
Anyway, I thought I'd share some of said examples.
Justin Murphy's Cleburne strikes me for a few reasons. First, he's already got his MySpace page updated to note the Xeric win. The man's on the ball with his marketing. Second, he's pulled in some "mainstream" help by way of inker Al Milgrom and colorist J. Brown. Unusual for an indie book. The most significant part, though, comes from his solicitation copy...
The controversial and true story of Irish immigrant and Confederate General Patrick Cleburne and his plan to enlist slaves to fight for the South during the American Civil War. According to Cleburne’s proposal all African Americans who served the Confederacy as soldiers would receive their freedom upon enlistment. This was a revolutionary concept for its day and sent Cleburne’s life spiraling down a perilous road. Set during the critical year of 1864, and culminating in the bloody Battle of Franklin, CLEBURNE is a tale of unbeatable courage in the face of racism, conspiracy and war.I'm not sure which impresses me more: that Murphy's tackling what many consider a delicate issue, or that it's a true story. Either way, it sounds very powerful and poignant.
Second, we have stef lank's TeaTime which she's already selling from her web site. The samples she includes on the site are without narration or dialogue, and the only words appear as part of the art. It's a difficult task for any artist to work in that way, and to see results so well-executed is a delight. Although there aren't quite enough pages online to really get into the story, I have the feeling it leads to a fulfilling payoff at the end.
Last, but by no means least, is my personal favorite: Eroyn Franklin's Another Glorious Day at the Nothing Factory. This looks to border on being an illustrated storybook instead of a real comic per se, but the delicate cut-paper work and the stark white shapes on the black background are quite astounding on the merits of Franklin's technical ability alone...More of Franklin's sample pages can be found here.
I'll finish by citing my standing rule regarding buying good comics: you can't wrong with a Xeric winner.