Check out the Eisner Award Nominees

We here at NFNT are always excited to see the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award nominations arrive every year (as we have two past judges on staff, speculation and discussion is particularly fun.)  As one of those past judges (my stint was in 2007), I can say from my own experience that for librarians the nominations are frequently more valuable than the eventual list of winners.  The judges work incredibly hard to create a diverse and representative list every year, and this year’s 27 categories are remarkable for their breadth and quality.  Every year the nominations bring titles to my attention for worthy inclusions in my collections.

A librarian has been included in the judging panel every year since Kat Kan in 2006, and this year the intrepid librarian and author Jesse Karp represents the profession.  We also have School Library Journal Good Comics for Kids editor and all-around excellent comics journalist Brigid Alverson in the mix as someone very aware of libraries and comics for younger readers.  Strange Adventures comics store owner Calum Johnston, Beanworld’s creator Larry Marder,  professor of English at Oregon University Ben Saunders, and secretary on the Board of Directors of Comic-Con International Mary Sturhann round out this year’s judging panel.  Eisner Awards Administrator Jackie Estrada does an excellent job creating balanced judging panels, and I do rather wish I could have been a fly on the wall during this year’s discussions.

Of particular interest to librarians:

  • This year the judges were so excited by the number and quality of titles for younger readers that they created three categories: Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7), Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12), and Best Publication for Young Adults (Ages 12-17).  This is particularly exciting to those of us who’ve been vaguely puzzled by some of the past year’s selections on the young reader front.
  • It’s also always interesting to see book publishers creep into the Awards given the past dominance of comics publishers, so I for one am pleased to see titles from First Second, Abrams, Candlewick, Pantheon, included.

The comics industry is well aware of the Eisners, and as with any good list of nominations, everyone loves to pick apart and critique such lists, but I’m curious to hear from our readers.  How do Eisner Award titles perform in your library’s collection?  How have you used the lists in the past?  Do you take them into account when ordering?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Without further ado, here are this year’s Eisner Award nominations:

Best Short Story
“A Brief History of the Art Form Known as Hortisculpture,” by Adrian Tomine, inOptic Nerve #12 (Drawn & Quarterly)
“Harvest of Fear,” by Jim Woodring, in The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror #17 (Bongo)
“The Seventh,” by Darwyn Cooke, in Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition(IDW)
“The Speaker,” by Brandon Graham, in Dark Horse Presents #7 (Dark Horse)

Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)
Daredevil #7, by Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera, and Joe Rivera (Marvel)
Ganges #4, by Kevin Huizenga (Fantagraphics)
Locke & Key: Guide to the Known Keys, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
Princeless #3, by Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin (Action Lab)
The Unwritten #24: “Stairway to Heaven” by Mike Carey, Peter Gross, and Al Davison (Vertigo/DC)

Best Continuing Series
Daredevil, by Mark Waid, Marcos Martin, Paolo Rivera, and Joe Rivera (Marvel)
Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, by Naoki Urasawa (VIZ Media)
Rachel Rising, by Terry Moore (Abstract Studio)
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli (Marvel)
Usagi Yojimbo, by Stan Sakai (Dark Horse)

Best Limited Series 
Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X, by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener (Red 5)
Criminal: The Last of the Innocent, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Marvel Icon)
Flashpoint: Batman – Knight of Vengeance, by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso (Vertigo/DC)
The New York Five, by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly (Vertigo/DC)
Who Is Jake Ellis? by Nathan Edmondson & Tonci Zonjic (Image)

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7)
Beauty and the Squat Bears, by Émile Bravo (Yen Press)
Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking, by Philippe Coudray (Candlewick/Toon Books)
Dragon Puncher Island, by James Kochalka (Top Shelf)
Nursery Rhyme Comics, edited by Chris Duffy (First Second)
Patrick in a Teddy Bear’s Picnic, by Geoffrey Hayes (Candlewick/Toon Books)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12)
The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold, by Sholly Fisch, Rick Burchett, and Dan Davis (DC)
Amelia Rules: The Meaning of Life … And Other Stuff, by Jimmy Gownley (Atheneum)
The Ferret’s a Foot, by Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue (Graphic Universe/Lerner)
Princeless, by Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin (Action Lab)
Snarked, by Roger Langridge (kaboom!)
Zita the Space Girl, by Ben Hatke (First Second)

Best Publication for Young Adults (Ages 12-17)
Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol (First Second)
Around the World, by Matt Phelan (Candlewick)
Level Up, by Gene Yang and Thien Pham (First Second)
Life with Archie, by Paul Kupperberg, Fernando Ruiz, Pat & Tim Kennedy, Norm Breyfogle et al. (Archie)
Mystic, by G. Willow Wilson and David Lopez (Marvel)

Best Anthology
Dark Horse Presents, edited by Mike Richardson (Dark Horse)
Nelson, edited by Rob Davis and Woodrow Phoenix (Blank Slate)
Nursery Rhyme Comics, edited by Chris Duffy (First Second)
The Someday Funnies, edited by Michel Choquette (Abrams ComicArts)
Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular and the New Land, edited by Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle (Abrams ComicArts)

Best Humor Publication
The Art of Doug Sneyd: A Collection of Playboy Cartoons (Dark Horse Books)
Chimichanga, by Eric Powell (Dark Horse)
Coffee: It’s What’s for Dinner, by Dave Kellett (Small Fish)
Kinky & Cosy, by Nix (NBM)
Milk & Cheese: Dairy Products Gone Bad, by Evan Dorkin (Dark Horse Books)

Best Digital Comic 
Bahrain, by Josh Neufeld, www.cartoonmovement.com/comic/24
Battlepug, by Mike Norton, www.battlepug.com
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, by Tony Cliff, www.delilahdirk.com
Outfoxed, by Dylan Meconis, www.dylanmeconis.com/outfoxed
Sarah and the Seed, by Ryan Andrews, www.ryan-a.com/comics/sarahandtheseed01.htm

Best Reality-Based Work
Around the World, by Matt Phelan (Candlewick)
Green River Killer: A True Detective Story, by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case (Dark Horse Books)
Marzi: A Memoir, by Marzena Sowa and Sylvain Savoia (Vertigo/DC)
Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths, by Shigeru Mizuki (Drawn & Quarterly)
Vietnamerica, by GB Tran (Villard)

Best Graphic Album – New
Bubbles & Gondola, by Renaud Dillies (NBM)
Freeway, by Mark Kalesniko (Fantagraphics)
Habibi, by Craig Thompson (Pantheon)
Ivy, by Sarah Olekysk (Oni)
Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, adapted by Ramón K. Pérez (Archaia)
One Soul, by Ray Fawkes (Oni)

Best Graphic Album – Reprint
Big Questions, by Anders Nilsen (Drawn & Quarterly)
The Death Ray, by Dan Clowes (Drawn & Quarterly)
Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition, by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
WE3: The Deluxe Edition, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (Vertigo/DC)
Zahra’s Paradise, by Amir and Khalil (First Second)

Best Archival Collection/Project – Strips
Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim, by Alex Raymond and Don Moore, edited by Dean Mullaney (IDW/Library of American Comics)
Forgotten Fantasy: Sunday Comics 1900-1915, edited by Peter Maresca (Sunday Press)
Prince Valiant vols. 3-4, by Hal Foster, edited by Kim Thompson (Fantagraphics)
Tarpé Mills’s Miss Fury Sensational Sundays, 1944-1949, edited by Trina Robbins (IDW/Library of American Comics)
Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse vols. 1-2, by Floyd Gottfredson, edited by David Gerstein and Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)

Best Archival Collection/Project – Comic Books
Government Issue: Comics for the People: 1940s-2000s, edited by Richard L. Graham (Abrams ComicArts)
The MAD Fold-In Collection, by Al Jaffee (Chronicle)
PS Magazine: The Best of Preventive Maintenance Monthly, by Will Eisner (Abrams ComicArts)
The Sugar and Spike Archives, vol. 1, by Sheldon Mayer (DC)
Walt Simonson’s The Mighty Thor Artist’s Edition (IDW)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material
Bubbles & Gondola, by Renaud Dillies (NBM)
Isle of 100,000 Graves, by Fabien Vehlmann and Jason (Fantagraphics)
Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot, by Jacques Tardi and Jean-Patrick Manchette (Fantagraphics)
The Manara Library, vol. 1: Indian Summer and Other Stories, by Milo Manara with Hugo Pratt (Dark Horse Books)
Night Animals: A Diptych About What Rushes Through the Bushes, by Brecht Evens (Top Shelf)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia
A Bride’s Story, by Kaoru Mori (Yen Press)
Drops of God, by Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto (Vertical)
Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths, by Shigeru Mizuki (Drawn & Quarterly)
Saturn Apartments, vols. 3-4, by Hisae Iwaoka (VIZ Media)
Stargazing Dog, by Takashi Murakami (NBM)
Wandering Son, vol. 1, by Shimura Takako (Fantagraphics)

Best Writer
Cullen Bunn, The Sixth Gun (Oni)
Mike Carey, The Unwritten (Vertigo/DC)
Jeff Jensen, Green River Killer: A True Detective Story (Dark Horse Books)
Jeff Lemire, Animal Man, Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown, Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. (DC); Sweet Tooth (Vertigo/DC)
Mark Waid, Irredeemable, Incorruptible (BOOM!); Daredevil (Marvel)

Best Writer/Artist
Rick Geary, The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti (NBM)
Terry Moore, Rachel Rising (Abstract Studio)
Sarah Oleksyk, Ivy (Oni)
Craig Thompson, Habibi (Pantheon)
Jim Woodring, Congress of the Animals (Fantagraphics), “Harvest of Fear,” in The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror #17 (Bongo)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
Michael Allred, iZombie (Vertigo/DC); Madman All-New Giant-Size Super-Ginchy Special (Image)
Ramón K. Pérez, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand (Archaia)
Chris Samnee, Captain America and Bucky, Ultimate Spider-Man #155 (Marvel)
Marcos Martin, Daredevil (Marvel)
Paolo Rivera/Joe Rivera, Daredevil (Marvel)

Best Cover Artist
Michael Allred, iZombie (Vertigo/DC)
Francesco Francavilla, Black Panther (Marvel); Lone Ranger, Lone Ranger/Zorro, Dark Shadows, Warlord of Mars (Dynamite); Archie Meets Kiss (Archie)
Victor Kalvachev, Blue Estate (Image)
Marcos Martin, Daredevil, Amazing Spider-Man (Marvel)
Sean Phillips, Criminal: The Last of the Innocent (Marvel Icon)
Yuko Shimizu, The Unwritten (Vertigo/DC)

Best Coloring
Laura Allred, iZombie (Vertigo/DC); Madman All-New Giant-Size Super-Ginchy Special (Image)
Bill Crabtree, The Sixth Gun (Oni)
Ian Herring and Ramón K. Pérez, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand (Archaia)
Victor Kalvachev, Blue Estate (Image)
Cris Peter, Casanova: Avaritia, Casanova: Gula (Marvel Icon)

Best Lettering
Deron Bennett, Billy Fog, Jim Henson’s Dark Crystal, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, Mr. Murder Is Dead (Archaia); Helldorado, Puss N Boots, Richie Rich (APE Entertainment)
Jimmy Gownley, Amelia Rules! The Meaning of Life … And Other Stuff (Atheneum)
Laura Lee Gulledge, Page by Paige (Amulet Books/Abrams)
Tom Orzechowski, Manara Library, with L. Lois Buholis(Dark Horse); Manga Man(Houghton Mifflin); Savage Dragon (Image)
Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo (Dark Horse)

Best Comics-Related Journalism
The AV Club Comics Panel, by Noel Murray, Oliver Sava et al., www.avclub.com/features/comics-panel/
The Beat, produced by Heidi MacDonald et al., www.comicsbeat.com
The Comics Journal, edited by Gary Groth, and The Comics Journal website, www.tcj.com, edited by Timothy Hodler and Dan Nadel (Fantagraphics)
The Comics Reporter, produced by Tom Spurgeon, www.comicsreporter.com
TwoMorrows Publications: Alter Ego edited by Roy Thomas, Back Issue edited by Michael Eury, Draw edited by Mike Manley, and Jack Kirby Collector edited by John Morrow

Best Educational/Academic Work
Alan Moore: Conversations, ed. by Eric Berlatsky (University Press of Mississippi)
Cartooning: Philosophy & Practice, by Ivan Brunetti (Yale University Press)
Critical Approaches to Comics: Theories and Methods, edited by Matthew J. Smith and Randy Duncan (Routledge)
Hand of Fire: The Comics Art of Jack Kirby, by Charles Hatfield (University Press of Mississippi)
Projections: Comics and the History of 21st Century Storytelling, by Jared Gardner (Stanford University Press)

Best Comics-Related Book
Archie: A Celebration of America’s Favorite Teenagers, edited by Craig Yoe (IDW/Yoe Books)
Caniff: A Visual Biography, edited by Dean Mullaney (IDW/Library of American Comics)
Drawing Power: A Compendium of Cartoon Advertising, edited by Rick Marschall and Warren Bernard (Fantagraphics/Marschall Books)
Genius Isolated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth, designed by Dean Mullaney (IDW/Library of American Comics)
MetaMaus, by Art Spiegelman (Pantheon)

Best Publication Design
Genius Isolated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth, designed by Dean Mullaney (IDW/Library of American Comics)
Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, designed by Eric Skillman (Archaia)
Kinky & Cosy, designed by Nix (NBM)
The MAD Fold-In Collection, designed by Michael Morris (Chronicle)
Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition, designed by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)

  • Bill Davidson

    I’m glad to see a least a couple artists I follow (Daniel Clowes, Rick Geary, Craig Thompson). I suppose I could stand to broaden my horizons. I’m not up-to-date on superhero comics. (I’m still trying to read all the DC and Marvel books from the ’70s that I couldn’t afford to buy as a kid.) Anyway, the Eisner Award Nominee list seems like a good place to start.