Tagged: Chris Ware

#SDCC: Semi-liveblogging the Eisner Awards

The 21st annual Eisner Awards, the “Oscars” of the comics industry, will be given out at a gala ceremony at a brand-new location: the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton Bayfront. This year’s special them is “Comics and All That Jazz.” Scheduled presenters include writer/actors Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911, Balls of Fury), acclaimed comics creators Jeff Smith and Terry Moore, actor/comedian Patton Oswalt, actor/musician/writer Bill Mumy, actress/musician Jane Wiedlin, and G4’s Blair Butler, with many more to be announced.

Other prestigious awards to be given out include the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award, the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, and the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing. The master of ceremonies is Bongo Comics’ Bill Morrison.

We’re going to cover it as best as we can here… boldfacing the winners as they are announced.

8:46: Neil Gaiman tweets: “on my way to present eisner award. Car just pulled over for illegal left turn. Will we make it?”

9:03: Heidi MacDonald tweets: “No phone coverage in Indigo Ballroom so NO live Twitter Eisner Awards. #techfail”

Hmm. This will make life challenging. Time to get a goat to sacrifice…

9:12: Neil made it.

9:14: First winner of the night: Best Publication For Kids: Tiny Titans, by Art Baltazar and Franco (DC)

9:16: Best Publication for Teens/Tweens: Coraline.

9:28: Robot6 enters the liveblogging! And they report:

Best Coloring: Dave Stewart, Abe Sapien: The Drowning, BPRD, The Goon, Hellboy, Solomon Kane, The Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse)

Best Lettering: Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library #19 (Acme)

Best webcomic: Finder, by Carla Speed McNeil

9:45: Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team: Guy Davis, BPRD (Dark Horse)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist: Jill Thompson, Magic Trixie, Magic Trixie Sleeps Over (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

9:51: Best Cover Artist: James Jean, Fables (Vertigo/DC); The Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse)

9:54: Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism: Comic Book Resources, produced by Jonah Weiland

10:06: Running back and forth posting here and tweeting each award individually is exhausting… but it’s all worth it for you. :-*

Best Comics-Related Book: Kirby: King of Comics, by Mark Evanier (Abrams)

Best Publication Design: Hellboy Library Editions, designed by Cary Grazzini and Mike Mignola (Dark Horse)

10:14: Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books: Creepy Archives, by various (Dark Horse)

10:17: I’m soooooo glad my iPhone app is updating me on all the Eisner winners.

10:24: Best Humor Publication: Herbie Archives, by “Shane O’Shea” (Richard E. Hughes) and Ogden Whitney (Dark Horse)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material: The Last Musketeer, by Jason (Fantagraphics)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Japan: Dororo, by Osamu Tezuka (Vertical)

10:47: Jane Wiedlin tweets: “Im @ Eisner Awards getting ready 2 present. Major wardrobe malfunction in pedicab on way here. Front zipper burst on dress exposed all 2 all!”

10:55: Whoops, missed some:

  • Tate’s Comics in Fort Lauderdale won the Spirit of Retailing Award.
  • Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award presented by Mike Royer — winner is Eleanor Davis, writer/artist of Stinky

Hall of fame inductees:

11:11: The home stretch! Here we go!

Best Writer: Bill Willingham, Fables, House of Mystery (Vertigo/DC)

Best Writer/Artist: Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library (Acme)

Best New Series: Invincible Iron Man, by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca (Marvel)

Best Limited Series: Hellboy: The Crooked Man, by Mike Mignola and Richard Corben (Dark Horse)

11:15: Best Continuing Series: All Star Superman. by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (DC)

Continuing?!? Since when? Take it away and give it to Miss Congeniality. (That’s Andrew Pepoy, right?)

11:22: Best Short Story: “Murder He Wrote,” by Ian Boothby, Nina Matsumoto, and Andrew Pepoy, in The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror #14 (Bongo)

Hey, Andrew did get an award right after I said to give him one! I promise to use my powers only for good…

11:33: The last batch:

Best Anthology: Comic Book Tattoo: Narrative Art Inspired by the Lyrics and Music of Tori Amos, edited by Rantz Hoseley (Image)

Best Reality-Based Work: What It Is, by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Graphic Album—Reprint: Hellboy Library Edition, vols. 1 and 2, by Mike Mignola (Dark Horse)

Best Graphic Album—New: Swallow Me Whole, by Nate Powell (Top Shelf)

Thanks to the liveblogging of Heidi MacDonald and JK Parkin at CBR and all the various Twitter folks who were eyes and ears for us tonight. I owe all of you. And I’m really glad I didn’t have to pay for the Eisner Award iPhone app.

Full list of nominees with winners bolded after the jump.


Review: ‘ACME Novelty Library, No. 19’ by Chris Ware

Review: ‘ACME Novelty Library, No. 19’ by Chris Ware

ACME Novelty Library, No. 19
By Chris Ware
Drawn & Quarterly, October 2008, $15.95

First of all, it’s just struck me how odd it is that the cartoonist universally referred to as “Chris Ware” is only credited as “F.C. Ware” – and that in tiny indicia and similar eye-straining matter – in his own stories and publications. One might almost posit a crippling social phobia or overwhelming shyness on the cartoonist’s part, a personality much like his usual viewpoint characters. (But then one remembers never to assume an artist is anything like his creations; it’s rarely useful.)

The last annual issue of [[[ACME Novelty Library]]]number eighteen, for those who have difficulty counting backwards – collected the “Building Stories” sequence, mostly from The New York Times Magazine’s “Funny Papers” sections, but this volume returns to “Rusty Brown,” the long story that ran through most of issues sixteen and seventeen and does not seem to be done yet. These pages, a typically arch and distanced note by Ware informs us, “originally appeared in somewhat different form in the pages of [[[The Chicago Reader]]] between 2002-2004, and thus should not be interpreted as an artistic response to recent criticisms and/or reviews of this periodical.”

This time the focus isn’t on the title character, but on his father Woody – first, through a dramatization of a science-fiction story by Woody (luridly, but honestly, titled “[[[The Seeing Eye Dogs of Mars]]]”) and then through a sequence of events in Woody’s life as a young man in the ‘50s, fresh out of school and working as an obituary writer on a newspaper. Those events do lead to the writing of “[[[Seeing Eye]]],” and, near the end, back to the frame story of Rusty’s youth in the 1970s.

Do I need to tell you that young Woody Brown is painfully shy, ridiculously introverted, barely in control of his emotions, socially inept, clueless when it comes to the most basic patterns of living in a society, and completely unable to make any of his thoughts or feelings clear in any form of communication under any circumstances? Or did you already assume that when I mentioned that he was the main character in a Chris Ware comic?


Review: ‘The ACME Novelty Date Book, Vol. 2’ by Chris Ware

Review: ‘The ACME Novelty Date Book, Vol. 2’ by Chris Ware

The ACME Novelty Date Book, Vol. 2: 1995-2002
By Chris Ware
Drawn & Quarterly, December 2007, $39.95

In typical Chris Ware fashion, this is an attractively (and extensively) packaged book – so much so, in fact, that what this book precisely is isn’t immediately clear. Is it some kind of notebook, journal, or calendar, perhaps? No, it’s Ware’s sketchbook, or perhaps selected pages from that sketchbook, from the years in the title.

Drawn & Quarterly published the first volume of the “[[[ACME Novelty Date Book]]]” in 2003, which included sketchbook pages from 1986 through 1995. That book covered most of Ware’s twenties, starting when he was in college in Austin, Texas and following him forward as he developed the early ACME characters and themes. That first book also had a wide variety of materials; Ware was young and trying out different art styles, but he’d mostly settled down into his current mode by 1995.

So Vol. 2, as Ware mentions himself partway through it, is mostly made up of three kinds of entries: drawings from life, journal entries, and some short comics strips (mostly autobiographical). There are also some sketches and ideas for [[[ACME Novelty Library]]], and the occasional joke or reference to older comics, but, mostly, it’s those big three.


Comics and Chris Ware in Virginia Quarterly Review

Comics have long battled against proponents of "serious literature," who have often decried comics as a less intellectual medium than prose.

In the past few years, comics have become increasingly accepted into popular culture, and now it seems they’re well established in the literary world too.

The Virginia Quarterly Review, one of the elite literary magazines, ran a special comics issue this spring, which I just happened across on a recent trip to the bookstore.

It features a cover by Art Spiegelman (seen at right) and, best of all, a new story from Chris Ware. The fictional biography of Jordan W. Lint shows the character’s life through a glance at single days of his existence.

You can see a preview at the VQR Web site, right here.

Review: ‘Ghost Stories’ by Jeff Lemire

Review: ‘Ghost Stories’ by Jeff Lemire

Lemire is in the middle of an impressive thematically-related trilogy of stories about a rural bit of Ontario, Canada – the first book was Tales from the Farm, in early 2007, and the third, [[[The Country Nurse]]], will be along in October of this year. [[[Ghost Stories]]] is the middle book, but it’s a completely independent story – you don’t need to know anything about Tales to read it.

Ghost Stories: Essex County, Vol. 2
By Jeff Lemire
Top Shelf, September 2007, $14.95

Lou Lebeuf is an old, alcoholic, deaf man, living alone on the farm that was his younger brother’s and their father’s before him. He’s also either going senile or just doesn’t care about his current life – and who would? there’s not much to it – so he ignores his new home-care nurse and instead wanders through the memories of his younger days. At first he remembers growing up on that farm, playing hockey with his younger, bigger brother Vince, but he soon moves into the main plot of Ghost Stories.

Lou came up to Toronto to play semi-pro hockey for the Grizzlies around 1950, and Vince followed him up in 1951 — Lou was a solid, smart player, but Vince was a giant bull of a man, dominating the ice once he got angry enough. But, unfortunately for both of them, accompanying Vince on that trip in 1951 was his fiancee, Beth Morgan. Lou was strongly attracted to Beth, and, once — the night after the Grizzlies made the playoffs that March — Lou and Beth had quick, secret sex on a rooftop.


Review: Chris Ware’s ‘ACME Novelty Library, Vol. 18’

Review: Chris Ware’s ‘ACME Novelty Library, Vol. 18’

ACME Novelty Library, Vol. 18
By Chris Ware
Drawn & Quarterly, 2007, $18.95

My friend and former colleague James Nicoll once said “Whenever I find my will to live becoming too strong, I read Peter Watts.” For me, Chris Ware fills the same function – Ware’s work is almost terminally depressing, but executed with such craft and skill that it’s impossible to look away.

This edition of [[[ACME Novelty Library]]] continues Ware’s current graphic novel, “Building Stories” – at least, that’s what this has been called before; there’s no page with that or any other title in this book – with a series of interconnected short stories about an unnamed woman who lives on the top floor of that apartment building. (Parts of this volume also appeared in The New York Times Magazine in 2007 as part of their cruelly-misnamed “Funny Papers” feature – Ware might have been the most bleak thing in that comics space so far, but all of it has been serious, most of it has been dour and none of it has been funny.)


Graphic Novel Review: The Best American Comics 2007

Graphic Novel Review: The Best American Comics 2007

With two years of The Best American Comics down now, it’s clear just how much the individual editor can influence the choice of comics. Last year, Harvey Pekar leaned towards autobiographical comics and towards long, complete works. For this second year, Chris Ware similarly goes where we’d expect him to go and picks a lot of formalist stories — but also a lot of autobiography, particularly the overly-serious type. It’s dangerous to compare annuals in any case, especially when they change editors, but I have to admit that I thought 2006 was a stronger book than 2007; this year’s edition contains a batch of “experimental” comics that I found pointless and a pure waste of space.

And there’s also the meta-question of what are the “best comics,” since even the “100 Distinguished Comics” list in the back matter — from series editor Anne Elizabeth Moore, and which also apparently served as the first cut of stories from which Ware built this anthology — lists only a tiny handful of stories from the major comics publishers. So this series is essentially for the best American independent comics — not superheroes, or adventure stories of any type from the big companies. Perhaps future volumes will challenge that idea, but, for now, there’s no sign that Best American is open to anything more fantastic or adventurous than Charles Burns’s great horror comic Black Hole.


Mainstream news covers comics

Mainstream news covers comics

Our weekly check on what mainstream news sources are saying about comics: