I hear that James Stokoe managed to secure five nominations, the most of any creator, between his one-shot “Sobek” from Shortbox, and “Grunt” his book of art and unpublished comics from Dark Horse. Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of Stokoe’s work, so I hope he secures at least one win from these nominations. If he manages to go five-for-five, then I’d be happy with that too. As for everyone else who is nominated, I’ll tell you right now that I didn’t read everything that was nominated. For good or for ill (more likely the latter than the former), this didn’t stop me from forming some opinions on who should win in their specific categories.
Best Short Story:
- "Hot Comb," by Ebony Flowers, in Hot Comb (Drawn & Quarterly)
- "How to Draw a Horse," by Emma Hunsinger, The New Yorker,
- "The Menopause," by Mira Jacob, The Believer, "Who Gets Called an 'Unfit' Mother?" by Miriam Libicki, The Nib, "You're Not Going to Believe What I'm About to Tell You," by Matthew Inman, The Oatmeal
Inman was robbed when he didn’t win for “When Your House is Burning Down, You Should Brush Your Teeth.” This injustice will not be rectified until he finally wins an Eisner for one of his stories. The fact that “You’re Not Going to Believe What I’m About to Tell You” is an excellent analysis of our polarized climate that doesn’t forsake his uniquely warped sense of humor is just further evidence that he deserves an Eisner on his shelf.
Best Single Issue/One-Shot
- Coin-Op No. 8: Infatuation, by Peter and Maria Hoey (Coin-Op Books)
- The Freak, by Matt Lesniewski (AdHouse)
- Minotäar, by Lissa Treiman (Shortbox)
- Our Favorite Thing Is My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, by Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
- Sobek, by James Stokoe (Shortbox)
Stokoe nomination number one.
Best Continuing Series
- Bitter Root, by David Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene (Image)
- Criminal, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image)
- Crowded, by Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, and Ted Brandt (Image)
- Daredevil, by Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto (Marvel)
- The Dreaming, by Simon Spurrier, Bilquis Evely et al. (DC)
- Immortal Hulk, by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, and Ruy José et al. (Marvel)
“Bitter Root” kind of stretches the definition of this category since it has only recently started to release the issues comprising its second arc. While I haven’t read “Crowded” or this latest incarnation of “Daredevil,” the fact that they’re nominated here serves as a good incentive to start. “Bad Weekend” is a good enough reason for “Criminal” to win, but I’d rather wait until I read “Cruel Summer” first, and that graphic novella will have its own place to shine. Finally, while I do like “Immortal Hulk,” “The Dreaming” is not only a better example of how to perpetuate an existing IP, but a more rewarding one when you consider that it’s also a worthy follow-up to “The Sandman.”
Best Limited Series
- Ascender, by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen (Image)
- Ghost Tree, by Bobby Curnow and Simon Gane (IDW)
- Little Bird by Darcy Van Poelgeest and Ian Bertram (Image)
- Naomi by Brian Michael Bendis, David Walker, and Jamal Campbell (DC)
- Sentient, by Jeff Lemire and Gabriel Walta (TKO)
Lots of love for Jeff Lemire in this category. Not sure why, though. I do plan on reading “Naomi” at some point; though, it has to pass into trade paperback form first. You know, like everything that Bendis writes at DC that isn’t one of his creator-owned titles.
Best New Series
- Doctor Doom, by Christopher Cantwell and Salvador Larocca (Marvel)
- Invisible Kingdom, by G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward (Berger Books/Dark Horse)
- Once & Future, by Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora (BOOM! Studios)
- Something Is Killing the Children, by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell'Edera (BOOM! Studios)
- Undiscovered Country, by Scott Snyder, Charles Soule, Giuseppe Camuncoli, and Daniele Orlandini (Image)
“Undiscovered Country” and “Something is Killing the Children” are on my “to read” list. Between the three series here that I have read, “Once & Future” is an easy pick. Why? Because if you asked me which volume I’d like to read next between that series, “Invisible Kingdom,” and “Doctor Doom” then “Once & Future” is the easy answer.
Best Humor Publication
- Anatomy of Authors, by Dave Kellett (SheldonComics.com)
- Death Wins a Goldfish, by Brian Rea (Chronicle Books)
- Minotäar, by Lissa Treiman (Shortbox)
- Sobek, by James Stokoe (Shortbox)
- The Way of the Househusband, vol. 1, by Kousuke Oono, translation by Sheldon Drzka (VIZ Media)
- Wondermark: Friends You Can Ride On, by David Malki (Wondermark)
James Stokoe nomination number two. Also, I can understand why vol. 1 of “The Way of the Househusband” is being nominated since the humor displayed there is novel. Don’t expect to see it in this category next year, though. I was also surprised to learn that a new volume of “Wondermark” had been published in reading these nominations. I’ll have to go pick it up now.
Best Graphic Album—Reprint
- Bad Weekend by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image)
- Clyde Fans, by Seth (Drawn & Quarterly)
- Cover, vol. 1, by Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack (DC/Jinxworld)
- Glenn Ganges: The River at Night, by Kevin Huizenga (Drawn & Quarterly)
- LaGuardia, by Nnedi Okorafor and Tana Ford (Berger Books/Dark Horse)
- Rusty Brown, by Chris Ware (Pantheon)
“Cover” was arguably the best of Bendis’ creator-owned titles that saw release when he started writing for DC last year, while I’ve heard plenty of good things about “LaGuardia” in addition to its cultural relevance. Still, “Bad Weekend” was a phenomenal work that was great not just by the standards of “Criminal,” but the Brubaker/Phillips oeuvre as a whole. They absolutely deserve the award for that.
Best Adaptation from Another Medium
- Giraffes on Horseback Salad: Salvador Dali, the Marx Brothers, and the Strangest Movie Never Made, by Josh Frank, Tim Hedecker, and Manuela Pertega (Quirk Books)
- The Giver, by Lois Lowry and P. Craig Russell, (HMH Books for Young Readers)
- The Handmaid's Tale: The Graphic Novel, by Margaret Atwood, adapted by Renee Nault (Nan A. Talese)
- HP Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness, vols. 1–2, adapted by Gou Tanabe, translation by Zack Davisson (Dark Horse Manga)
- The Seventh Voyage, by Stanislaw Lem, adapted by Jon Muth, translation by Michael Kandel (Scholastic Graphix)
- Snow, Glass, Apples, by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran (Dark Horse Books)
- Craig Russell and Jon J. Muth did YA and Russian sci-fi adaptations last year? This is why it’s always good to look through the Eisner nominations. Between the two titles in this category that I actually read, however, I’d give it to “Snow, Glass, Apples,” over “At the Mountains of Madness,” as the former didn’t feel diminished in transitioning to a sequential art format in comparison to the latter.
Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia
- BEASTARS, by Paru Itagaki, translation by Tomo Kimura (VIZ Media)
- Cats of the Louvre, by Taiyo Matsumoto, translation by Michael Arias (VIZ Media)
- Grass, by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, translation by Janet Hong (Drawn & Quarterly)
- Magic Knight Rayearth 25th Anniversary Edition, by CLAMP, translation by Melissa Tanaka (Kodansha)
- The Poe Clan, by Moto Hagio, translation by Rachel Thorn (Fantagraphics)
- Witch Hat Atelier, by Kamome Shirahama, translation by Stephen Kohler (Kodansha)
ALRIGHT, the category I look forward to more than any other in a given year, and… they nominated nothing I read. If I was going to give the award to the title that I was most interested in reading, then “The Poe Clan” would get the nod since my appreciation of Moto Hagio’s brand of crazy shojo manga manages to trump my interest in seeing Taiyo Matsumoto draw cats. Still, I have to ask, “What the hell, Eisner judges?” Did none of you read “Die Wergelder,” or “I Am A Hero” last year?
Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books
- Alay-Oop, by William Gropper (New York Review Comics)
- The Complete Crepax, vol. 5: American Stories, edited by Kristy Valenti (Fantagraphics)
- Jack Kirby's Dingbat Love, edited by John Morrow (TwoMorrows)
- Moonshadow: The Definitive Edition, by J. M. DeMatteis, Jon J Muth, George Pratt, Kent Williams, and others (Dark Horse Books)
- Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo: The Complete Grasscutter Artist Select, by Stan Sakai, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
- That Miyoko Asagaya Feeling, by Shinichi Abe, translation by Ryan Holmberg, edited by Mitsuhiro Asakawa (Black Hook Press)
I just want to point out that if Sakai gets the Eisner for this category, “Grasscutter” will now be a two-time Eisner-winning story. This is after it originally won the award for best serialized story back in ‘99.
- Bobby Curnow, Ghost Tree (IDW)
- MK Reed and Greg Means, Penny Nichols (Top Shelf)
- Mariko Tamaki, Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass (DC); Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me (First Second/Macmillan); Archie (Archie)
- Lewis Trondheim, Stay (Magnetic Press); Maggy Garrisson (SelfMadeHero)
- G. Willow Wilson, Invisible Kingdom (Berger Books/Dark Horse); Ms. Marvel (Marvel)
- Chip Zdarsky, White Trees (Image); Daredevil, Spider-Man: Life Story (Marvel); Afterlift (comiXology Originals)
If you’ll permit me to be negative: That Zdarsky is being nominated for “Spider-Man: Life Story” should disqualify him from winning, regardless of how good his other titles are.
- Nina Bunjevac, Bezimena (Fantagraphics)
- Mira Jacob, Good Talk (Random House); "The Menopause" in The Believer (June 1, 2019)
- Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, Grass (Drawn & Quarterly)
- James Stokoe, Sobek (Shortbox)
- Raina Telgemeier, Guts (Scholastic Graphix)
- Tillie Walden, Are You Listening? (First Second/Macmillan)
Stokoe nomination number three. While I’m rooting for him here, I imagine that my nieces would be pulling for Telgemeier in this particular competition.
Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
- Ian Bertram, Little Bird (Image)
- Colleen Doran, Snow, Glass, Apples (Dark Horse)
- Bilquis Evely, The Dreaming (DC)
- Simon Gane, Ghost Tree (IDW)
- Steve Pugh, Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass (DC)
- Rosemary Valero-O'Connell, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me (First Second/Macmillan)
All due respect to the other nominees, but have you SEEN Evely’s work on “The Dreaming?” She had damn well better win this category!
Best Comics-Related Book
- The Art of Nothing: 25 Years of Mutts and the Art of Patrick McDonnell (Abrams)
- The Book of Weirdo, by Jon B. Cooke (Last Gasp)
- Grunt: The Art and Unpublished Comics of James Stokoe (Dark Horse)
- Logo a Gogo: Branding Pop Culture, by Rian Hughes (Korero Press)
- Making Comics, by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly)
- Screwball! The Cartoonists Who Made the Funnies Funny, by Paul Tumey (Library of American Comics/IDW)
Stokoe nomination number four.
Best Publication Design
- Grunt: The Art and Unpublished Comics of James Stokoe, designed by Ethan Kimberling (Dark Horse)
- Krazy Kat: The Complete Color Sundays, by George Herriman, designed by Anna-Tina Kessler (TASCHEN)
- Logo a Gogo, designed by Rian Hughes (Korero Press)
- Madness in Crowds: The Teeming Mind of Harrison Cady, designed by Paul Kopple and Alex Bruce (Beehive Books)
- Making Comics, designed by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly)
- Rusty Brown, designed by Chris Ware (Pantheon)
Stokoe nomination number five.
That’s my tour of the Eisner nominations that are important to me. The full list can be found at any respectable comics site, as well as Bleeding Cool. Oh, and in addition to the comics nominated this year, Nell Brinkley (creator of the Brinkley Girl) and E. Simms Campbell (African-American cartoonist and contributor to the likes of Esquire, Life, Playboy and more) are also being inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame. Four more inductees will also be selected from a pool including: Alison Bechdel, Howard Cruse, Moto Hagio, Don Heck, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Francoise Mouly, Keiji Nakazawa, Thomas Nast, Lily Renée Peter Phillips, Stan Sakai, Louise Simonson, Don and Maggie Thompson, James Warren, and Bill Watterson.
Were I on the voting panel, Hagio, Sakai, and Watterson would make it in with no problem. As for the fourth… let’s go with Bechdel since the beginning and ending of “Fun Home” were pretty great after all.