The Eisner Award nominees have been announced! Congratulations to every single person and publisher that received these prestigious nominations!
As per the SDCC website, “Voting for the awards is held online, and the ballot will be available at www.eisnervote.com. All professionals in the comic book industry are eligible to vote. The deadline for voting is June 14. The results of the voting will be announced in a gala awards ceremony on the evening of Friday, July 19 at a gala awards ceremony at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. Jackie Estrada is the Eisner Awards Administrator.”
If you are a comic book industry professional, please make it a point to vote in these awards. Every vote counts! Voting opens on Monday, April 29th.
Here’s the list of every category with their respective nominations below:
“Ethyl Byrne,” by Cecil Castelluci and Scott Chantler, from Mine!: A Celebration of Liberty and Freedom for All Benefiting Planned Parenthood has been nominated for an Eisner Award in the Best Short Story category.
Mine! is a comics anthology with dozens of stories about trailblazing women, civil rights leaders, a person’s first time going to a PP clinic, debunking myths about sex, STI screenings, HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, fantastical stories with superheroes, Greek mythology, and a future both with and without Planned Parenthood.
Mine! also includes work from previous Eisner Award winners Neil Gaiman, Mark Waid, Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, Eric Shanower, Shannon Wheeler, Mike Norton, Andrew Aydin, Paul Levitz, Dennis O’Neil, and many other nominated creators.
We’re very proud of this story, and so we present the full story of Ethel Byrne for you here:
Ethel Byrne – Page 1
Ethel Byrne – Page 2
Ethel Byrne – Page 3
Ethel Byrne – Page 4
Ethel Byrne – Page 5
The other nominees for Best Short Story are:
“Forgotten Princess,” by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Antonio Sandoval, in Adventure Time Comics #13 (kaboom!)
You can vote for the Eisner Awards at http://www.eisnervote.com/ All professionals in the comic book industry are eligible to vote. The deadline for voting is June 15. The results of the voting will be announced in a gala awards ceremony on the evening of Friday, July 20 at Comic-Con in San Diego.
Imagine that you find yourself far away from home. You’re in a room with six other people, five of whom are strangers to you. Also in the room are enormous piles of books and magazines.
All of them comics.
You have three and a half days to read all the books and magazines and establish some kind of hierarchy to evaluate them and the people who made them.
Sounds pretty sweet, doesn’t it? But, just like sweets, a diet of just these things, force-fed over 80 hours, gets kind of nauseating.
This is what it was like to be an Eisner judge. It was exhausting. My head hurts from wearing my glasses so long, and from my eyes focusing on so many different styles of lettering. My back hurts from sitting in chairs. My stomach rebels at the truly awesome amounts of junk food I consumed.
Being an Eisner judge trapped in that room was also pretty amazing. I’d done as much reading as I could in advance, but I was delighted to find more things I didn’t know about that were fabulous. Best of all, I found some books I would have dismissed as not my type that turned out to be gorgeous. I love it when my expectations are confounded.
It was delightful to meet the other judges. Dawn, the two Robs, Jamie and Alan each had much different tastes than I did (and from each other), but that made our deliberations much more interesting. We were a librarian, a critic, a retailer, an academic and me, the marketing person, so we all looked at comics differently. It also meant that when I recommended something that someone else really liked, I had a sense of triumph something like making a successful soufflé.
In the first day and a half, we eliminated all the books that we felt were average or worse. A lot of things I kind of liked were included here, perhaps because my appreciation of minor idiosyncrasies far exceeds that of the marketplace.
The much harder part was getting that list down to five (sometimes four, sometimes six) nominees in each category. We used a rating system of one through five, five being the highest, and weren’t allowed to give more than five fives in any category. For me, this caused a lot of heartache, because often there were seven or more books I thought deserved fives.
This is where Jackie Estrada really shone. I’ve known Jackie more than 25 years. We were part of the founding team of Friends of Lulu. She’s married to Batton Lash, one of my favorite people. Still, I was profoundly impressed by how well she runs the Eisners. She kept us on a schedule. She encouraged our laughter and banter while also keeping us reading. She fed us very well. Hardest of all, she made it look like doing all those things was easy.
We promised to keep the nominations confidential until the nominees could be contacted, so I can’t talk about that. I can say that none of us got all of our first choices, but all of us got some of them. There were a few (very few) books on which we all agreed. I think you’ll be able to figure those out when the lists are announced. If there is any news you can use in this column, it’s that you run out and read those titles.
It’s been a day and a half since I left the Eisner judging room. I’ve taken a few long walks. I’ve started to eat vegetables again. Soon, I hope, I will be able to read another comic book.
You know that person at your high school reunion, the one who complains loudly about how hard she has to work to maintain her city place, her country house, and her condo in Bermuda? And how she can’t find good help anymore?
I’m about to be the comics industry version of that person.
When I first agreed to be a judge for the Eisner Awards, I mostly thought I would get to read a bunch of comics, have opinions, and get to show off. Utopia, right?
I had no idea.
I mean, I read a lot of comics. I spend $50 to $60 on an average week, sometimes more, plus I’ll order graphic novels online when I happen upon something appealing. I follow reviews and Top Ten lists. Every week, I try to find at least one new title to sample. I try to champion diversity in the medium, both in the kinds of creators who get work and the kinds of stories they tell. The least I can do, if I’m going to talk the talk, is to walk the walk.
And boy, are my feet killing me.
I knew I wasn’t reading everything. I knew there were several new generations of creators that I didn’t know about and who were working seriously on books that challenged my assumptions about what comics could be. I just hadn’t considered how many different directions they could go.
Twenty years ago, I used to joke that comics was the only entertainment in which the term “alternative” referred to the semi-autobiographical stories of straight white men. I mean, really, rock’n’roll had more diversity, Broadway had more diversity (and off-Broadway even more, and get out of the city and anything could happen). Poetry, ballet and modern dance, opera, orchestras — all had more diversity in their farm teams, if not on their marquees yet.
Comics has caught up. Comics might be doing better than the rest.
There are all kinds of new stories, too. Yes, autobiography is still a large (and entertaining!) category, but there are many other kinds of non-fiction. Some of these books seem to want to be textbooks, but a lot are just the graphic-story equivalent of the rabbit hole we descend when we start to look up stuff on Wikipedia.
There are adaptations of prose novels and short stories, weird shaggy dog gags with perfect bindings, and even a few how-to books.
Every day, I try to read one or two. The pile on my coffee table isn’t getting significantly smaller, but I hope to get through at least the most discussed book before the committee gets together at the end of April.
So, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and read some of the free books I was sent. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.
It hasn’t been easy for me to keep this to myself, especially since telling it would enable me to enjoy so much bragging. I had basically told only my knitting group and my cat sitter. With one exception, none of these people cared.
Besides reading even more comics than I do already, I’m not sure what this job entails. I expect a certain amount of graft, although that will probably take the form of free books that I need to read to do my job properly. Thus far, there have been no offers of fat envelopes of cash, nor has anyone sent any nubile young boys to my door.
(If you would like to send a nubile young boy to my door, or if you are a nubile young boy who would like to meet me, please make the case for yourself in the comments. Don’t just show up. I have a doorman.)
I do take this responsibility seriously. Which means I have homework. Lots of homework.
Even though I’ve been reading comics for more than 55 years, there is so much I don’t know. There are so many corners of the graphic-story medium that I just pop into now and then. Biographies? Non-fiction? Memoirs? These are not part of the pillar of books that topple from my night-table.
So far, I have only stuck my littlest toe into the waters, reading a few things from year-end “Ten Best” lists. It is possible that, through random chance, I chose the wrong books first. Or perhaps my feelings about the current state of world affairs colored the tone of voice in which I read.
Those first few books I read were so dreary!
There is every reason in the world for artists to want to tell stories that might strike me as dreary. The purpose of art is to illuminate the world in new and different ways, some of which will be scary or sad or pessimistic. Art might be entertaining, but it does not have to be.
Still, sometimes I think that there is a bias in our culture against pleasure. If something is fun, it can’t also be serious and important. I see this most in teenagers, who embrace despair with the kind of zeal that one can only feel when rejecting everything one’s parents ever said. Certainly, that was true for me.
And then I got older, and lost people I loved to war and disease and disagreements, and, eventually, pessimism didn’t seem so romantic anymore. I embraced my love of laughter and super-heroes.
I continue to do so.
It is my fondest hope that I will find books like this among those clamoring for my attention this year. I feel like I owe it to comics.
Time was when I was young and had not yet outgrown the need for hair that in the dead of winter, a lady friend and I rambled west and found ourselves in the San Francisco area. We crossed that big bridge and called on my Aunt Ethel, whom I had seen maybe once in my life when I was a little kid and who had no idea that we were coming. Knock knock, I’m your great nephew from Missouri you wouldn’t be able to pick from a lineup and this is my friend Anne and by the way, we have no place to stay and almost no money…
She was a nice lady, Ethel was, and she gave us room and board for a few days until we were ready to rehit the road. She was also a radical whose recently departed husband had been a pioneer union organizer in an era when, according to one story, union members went to meetings in groups armed with rifles. Anne and I were lefties in our early 20s and we were not big fans of unions. My father had gotten unwelcome attention from the Teamsters and in general we believed that unions were corrupt havens for the thug class.
Ethel, on the other hand, was one with Woody Guthrie and the other populists and believed the union movement to be a shining hope for the exploited and mistreated working man. So we disagreed, but we did it politely, and we were in a friendly mood when we left Ethel’s house in Corte Madera. I don’t know how or when Ethel died and I’m sorry about that. I should have stayed in touch.
Then I went to live in New York and pretty much forgot about organized labor until I became a member of the Academy of Comic Book Arts. ACBA’s mission was never very clear to me, but in broad, blurry strokes it was intended to be the voice of all us scruffy comics freelancers. What ACBA really did accomplish was to hold an annual awards banquet and hand out certificates (and later statuettes) to people who had done exemplary work before there were Eisners and/or Harveys. But there were no negotiations with management and when ACBA sort of faded away in 1977, the day to workaday situation of the comics creators hadn’t changed.
It’s gotten way better. We’re now guaranteed royalties, back end money, foreign use payments, various ancillary payments when other media get involved. We sign contracts and the bucks arrive and I’m okay with that. I hate bookkeeping – tax time is a trip to an unexplored corner of hell – and I’m willing to trust the folks out in Burbank.
But pensions? Medical benefits? Vacation pay? Maternity pay or its equivalent? Those are still not available to many of the gallant mavericks who slap ink onto paper and provide you with entertainment. Are we advocating unions? Shrug.
It may be that unions are remnants of a past century and there are other kinds of negotiating bodies possible to us now. Or it may be that the need for unionization is evolving into something else. But one service unions can still provide is fundraising. They can allow politicians unbeholden to billionaires to accumulate enough capital to mount a decent campaign. And at the moment, there are very few organizations able to do that.
And, you know, fossil that I am, I kind of like the two party system.
The room was large and dim, the food tasty, the entire evening pleasant. We were at this year’s Eisner Awards Banquet, held annually at the San Diego Comic Con International as a venue for presenting the Eisner Awards, named for the man who probably deserves to be called comic books’s greatest practitioner and used to honor people who have made outstanding contributions to Will Eisner’s chosen province. We saw and were glad to see some folk we hadn’t seen in years – decades? – and that was nice.
And I learned something about this quirky enterprise that has kept me fed and clothed for…what? – close to 50 years now?
I won’t keep you in suspense. What I learned was how diverse comic book publishing has become. Oh, back in my younger days I occasionally read what some termed underground comix and way back in 1995 I was honored to be mentioned in the thank-you section of Howard Cruse’s superb graphic novel Stuck Rubber Baby. So yeah, I knew you didn’t have to wear a costume, have a double identity and devote your waking hours vanquishing evildoers to get your picture in a comic book.
But I didn’t realize, until the Eisners, how much comics had diversified. I’m guessing that because the direct sales market provided a place for interested parties to go and buy comics creators who saw the form as hospitable to much, much more than tales of fantasy-adventure realized that their work could be seen and even sold and sat down and did that work. And readers did see it and did buy it and all that helped comics to be recognized for what they had always been, a communications medium and – whisper this – an art form.
So there I sat, back to the dining table, looking at a stage flanked by two large screens on which were projected images of comic book covers. The fantasy-melodrama writers and artists were well-represented: no surprise and maybe cause for belief in a just universe – people should get what they deserve – but not the only game in town. All those storytellers with their pencils and inks and computers, not interested in derring-do as subject matter, but attracted to panel art as a narrative form, a means to do what has been done for tens of centuries by those with a need to shout and sing and scrawl and tell their stories,
For comics, it’s been a long climb from trash lit to respectability, from flimsy magazines a kid with a whiff of rebel bout him read behind geography books to the mainstream and – ye gods! – respectability. I’m not sure how I feel about that respectability, but my fellow celebrants at the Eisner Awards seemed to be handling it just fine.
Unlike my esteemed colleague Jen Krueger, I watched the Academy Awards all the way through on Sunday (although at the same time I was also fixing dinner, playing fetch with my cat, and incessantly checking my e-mails, and then later trying to find a position in bed so I could see but still be horizontal).
I like to watch award shows for different reasons than most people, at least if I believe the Internets. All those technical awards that everybody hates? Those are my favorites. I love to see someone who is not a celebrity recognized for his or her work. I love to see them get their moment literally in the spotlight. I imagine their mothers at home, kvelling.
Yeah, I know that last week I promised you the third and final part of that earth-shattering rant that, as you know, went hugely viral and made me the new darling of the Internet.
I promised to report on what I’d have learned – evidence that supported or refuted my thesis about Mainstream Comics being unable to escape from the corner they’ve painted themselves into – at the publishers’ booths in the exhibit halls of the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con.
But I made that reckless and foolhardy promise before I’d actually been to the San Diego Comic-Con – or, at least, to what it has metastasized into in recent years. Oh, I’d heard all the stories, of course. But none of them do justice to the actual experience, which taught me that you can’t, in fact, learn anything at the San Diego Comic-Con…because can’t really hear anything over the sound of dozens of Jumbotrons trying to sell you things you don’t want, or see anything for the crush of, uhm, imaginatively-garbed bodies slowly taxiing through the Area 51-like hangar like some flying fortress of presumably human flesh.
Wait. I take that back. There are some things you can learn at Comic-Con. And, because I won’t be able to concentrate well enough to resume the serious business of earth-shattering rants until I can see and hear again – and the anti-depressants kick in three days from now – I’d like instead to share some of them with you.
1. There is a definite limit to the number of times you can tolerate bleeding from the chest because you are being poked by some asshole wearing Wolverine claws.
2. SDCC makes you grateful for word processing apps on smartphones. Mainly because there are so many competing WiFi hotspots in the exhibit halls, you can’t use the phone for anything else. I am, in fact, writing this column on my phone, during my hour-long walk back to my hotel. No prob; I love hour-long walks. Good exercise. Unfortunately, my hotel is only three blocks from the convention center.
3. Best way to deal with being poked in the chest for the third time by some asshole wearing Wolverine claws: Fling a handful of your blood in his face and chant, “Nyah-nyah, I’ve got the Hanta Virus…”
4. Always remember, when tempted to accept an invitation to the Eisner Awards, that they are not merely a new version of the old Inkpot Awards banquet, because they are no longer, in fact, a banquet. And when you are sitting through 30-minute anecdotes from dead artists’ children, reminiscing about how their dad sculpted “Eskimos” from soap bars when they were five, you will really want to be having the dinner you didn’t eat earlier because you thought you were gonna get food.
5. No one presenting or accepting an Eisner Award is as funny as they think they are, and the ones who are supposed to be, aren’t. And Doctor Who cast members who try to be are just FAAABulously embarrassing. However, this rule does not apply to Chip Kidd, who made me believe the Eisners really are the Oscars of the comics industry because now they have their own Bruce Vilanch. But only when Chris Ware wins something.
6. None of the panels or “events” is as entertaining as the looks on the faces of the guys picketing out front with “You’re a crawling piece of shit but Jesus loves you anyway” signs, while people dressed as the entire cast of Supernatural shuffle past them. Especially not the events you can’t get into without coming down with a virus by camping out on the sidewalk all night.
7. The virus you get from camping out on the sidewalk all night is very effective in dealing with getting poked in the chest by assholes wearing Wolverine claws.
8. The Eisner Awards are not, in fact, “the Oscars of the comic book industry.” The Oscars are smart enough to video, in a separate, earlier ceremony – and play back at the main event only in judiciously-edited clips – the awards for Best Translation of A Graphic Novel You Will Never Read About A Subject You Don’t Understand Originally Published In a Language You’ve Never Heard Of Before.
9. In the convention center there is one Starbucks concession for every 10 guests, and by Sunday at noon every Grande Hazelnut Frappuccino® is being spiked by 150-proof Captain Morgan’s, and you are wondering how you can find an asshole wearing Wolverine claws so you can hire him to stab you in the chest.
Please Note: The above are Just Jokes. I actually enjoyed the convention (as a guest) enormously, and the staff is terrific. Still the best show in the business, serious about comics amid all the Hideous Hollywood Hype, and everyone – guests and paid members alike – are treated well. My thanks to all the folk at SDCC for a memorably fun weekend!
Almost thirty years after his critically acclaimed Blood & Judgment series, fan-Favorite writer/artist Howard Chaykin returns to The Shadow for a new Dynamite Entertainment mini series, The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow.
Official Press Release:
Dynamite is proud to announce that legendary writer/artist Howard Chaykin will write his first new tale of The Shadow in nearly thirty years. The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow will take place three decades prior to the events of his critically acclaimed Blood & Judgment series. Chaykin will reprise his creative role both as writer and artist for this new venture.
“I’m delighted and grateful to Dynamite for the opportunity to work once again on so legendary a character as The Shadow,” says Chaykin. “My new miniseries, The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow, tells the secret story behind the Shadow’s disappearance in 1949.” While this new series marks his return to Shadow storytelling, he hasn’t strayed far from the character in recent years, contributing gorgeous cover artwork for Dynamite’s variety of Shadow series.
Blood and Judgement
“The Shadow: Blood & Judgment is one of my favorite comic series of all time,” says Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite. “It absolutely blows my mind, still to this day. I can’t even begin to express how much this means to me as the publisher of the series and how much as a fan of Howard’s series. Howard Chaykin’s return to the character is going to be phenomenal. And in a move that will certainly keep his fans on their toes, he’s setting Midnight in Moscow up not as a direct sequel to his earlier work, but years and years beforehand, at an exciting and critical moment in the Shadow’s history. I have such tremendous respect for Howard as a storyteller, a true modern master of the comic book medium.”
Howard Chaykin is a modern legend in the comics industry, with an exceptionally respected body of work spanning four decades. He is perhaps best known for American Flagg!, a series published by First Comics in 1982. Chaykin wrote and illustrated the first twelve issues exclusively, and was praised by critics and readers alike. In 1985, Chaykin wrote and drew The Shadow for DC Comics, the acclaimed run that would later be collected by Dynamite as The Shadow: Blood & Judgment. He is the recipient of Inkpot and Eisner Awards. His extensive library of comics work includes such titles as Star Wars, Black Kiss, American Century, Challengers of the Unknown, Blackhawk, Hawkgirl, Blade, Punisher War Journal, and Satellite Sam. He was also executive script consultant for The Flash television series on CBS, and later worked on action-adventure programs such as Viper, Earth: Final Conflict, and Mutant X.
Blood and Judgement
The Shadow began its existence in 1930 as a narrative voice on the Street and Smith radio program Detective Story Hour. The audience thrilled to the serialized adventures of this mysterious figure, whose mythos expanded to include Occidental mysticism, hypnotic powers over weak criminal minds, and twin .45 caliber handguns. With a keen intellect and relentless drive, The Shadow hunted criminals without mercy in an era when gumshoe detectives and bootlegging mobsters was a thrilling yet fearsome reality. The character’s popularity has endured for over 80 years, bolstered by appearances in radio serials, novels, comic books, films, and more. In recent years, Dynamite published a groundbreaking and well-received Shadow series launched by comic writer Garth Ennis (Preacher), with further tales crafted by Victor Gischler and Chris Roberson. Lamont Cranston’s grim alter-ego has also appeared in such related series as The Shadow: Year One, Masks, and The Shadow / Green Hornet: Dark Nights.
Blood and Judgement
About Dynamite Entertainment: Dynamite was founded in 2004 and is home to several best-selling comic book titles and properties, including The Boys, The Shadow, Vampirella, Warlord of Mars, Bionic Man, A Game of Thrones, and more. Dynamite owns and controls an extensive library with over 3,000 characters (which includes the Harris Comics and Chaos Comics properties), such as Vampirella, Pantha, Evil Ernie, Smiley the Psychotic Button, Chastity, Purgatori, and Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt. In addition to their critically-acclaimed titles and bestselling comics, Dynamite works with some of the most high profile creators in comics and entertainment, including Kevin Smith, Alex Ross, John Cassaday, Garth Ennis, Jae Lee, Marc Guggenheim, Mike Carey, Jim Krueger, Greg Pak, Brett Matthews, Matt Wagner, and a host of up-and-coming new talent. Dynamite is consistently ranked in the upper tiers of comic book publishers and several of their titles – including Alex Ross and Jim Krueger’s Project Superpowers – have debuted in the Top Ten lists produced by Diamond Comics Distributors. In 2005, Diamond awarded the company a GEM award for Best New Publisher and another GEM in 2006 for Comics Publisher of the Year (under 5%) and again in 2011. The company has also been nominated for and won several industry awards, including the prestigious Harvey and Eisner Awards.