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This year’s Eisner Award nominees were announced yesterday. The award, named after famed Golden Age cartoonist Will Eisner (creator of “The Spirit” and a graphic novel innovator), are awarded each year at the also-famous San Diego Comic-Con during the summer. The Eisner is usually considered the highest award in the comic book/graphic novel medium. A similar award, the Reuben, is awarded by the National Cartoonists Society to newspaper comic strip cartoonists. Superheroes (mostly) need not apply here, as most nominees/winners tend to be from independent or smaller-press artists.
You’ll notice I haven’t written much about the Eisners in the past. That might be due to my not usually having read most of what’s nominated, similar to the Oscars usually nominating movies I haven’t seen or didn’t want to see. My esoteric tastes in comics also don’t help much in that regard. Still, I thought I’d give writing about some of the categories ago, at least for those where something I’ve actually read has been nominated.
Fantagraphics (publisher of various graphic novels) dominates this year’s nominees, followed by Image (thanks in part to “Saga”) and IDW. Other publishers also put in appearances, of course. Boom Studios earned four nominations, thanks to “Adventure Time.” Marvel saw seven nominations (plus one shared one) largely thanks to “Hawkeye” and its “Wizard of Oz” adaptation. DC, meanwhile, only saw two nominations (plus one shared one), for “Batwoman” and Vertigo title “The Unwritten.”
A full list of nominees are available here.
Best Humor Publication
- Adventure Time, by Ryan North, Shelli Paroline, and Braden Lamb (kaboom!)
- BBXX: Baby Blues Decades 1 & 2, by Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman (Andrews McMeel)
- Darth Vader and Son, by Jeffrey Brown (Chronicle)
- Naked Cartoonists, edited by Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)
I’ve read the newspaper comic strip “Baby Blues” in the past, though haven’t read it much recently. The publication in question here is a 20th anniversary hardcover collection of highlights from the strip’s run. The other nominees include: what I assume is a trade paperback of the “Adventure Time” comic (which has various other nominations this year); “Naked Cartoonists,” a collection of cartoons by various cartoonists showing themselves (mostly) naked; and “Darth Vader and Son,” a series of cartoons showing what’d happen if Vader himself really did behave as Luke’s father (in a suburban-Dad-meets-“Star Wars” way). No idea which one will win it all here…
Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books
- Crime Does Not Pay Archives, edited by Philip Simon and Kitchen, Lind & Associates (Dark Horse)
- David Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil Born Again: Artist’s Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
- Wally Wood’s EC Stories: Artist’s Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
- Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man, by Carl Barks, edited by Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)
- Young Romance: The Best of Simon & Kirby’s Romance Comics, edited by Michel Gagné (Fantagraphics)
I’ve read the “Uncle Scrooge” compilation, and it’s quite nicely done, including a section discussing each story reprinted. The other nominees include: “Young Romance,” the pioneering romance comic; “Crime Does Not Pay,” the also-pioneering crime comic; “Daredevil Born Again: Artist’s Edition,” a volume reprinting artwork from the classic mid-1980s Daredevil storyline “Born Again”; and a collection of EC Comics work by artist Wally Wood (later the co-creator of DC Comics’ Power Girl). Again, not sure which one would win the award here, though they’re all classics.
Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism
- Alter Ego, edited by Roy Thomas (TwoMorrows)
- ComicsAlliance, edited by Joe Hughes, Caleb Goellner, and Andy Khouri, www.comicsalliance.com
- The Comics Reporter, edited by Tom Spurgeon, www.comicsreporter.com
- Robot 6, produced by Comic Book Resources, http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/
- tcj.com, edited by Timothy Hodler and Dan Nadel (Fantagraphics)
I’ve read most of the above listed sites/publications before. I’ll note that most of the nominees don’t belong on the “periodical” side, reflecting the Web’s dominance in modern comics journalism. I usually read Comics Alliance and Robot 6, and have also read some of “Alter Ego.”