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:
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.
Most may think my creative output over the last few years has been little more than bitching about that company that must not be named. Not true. Not true at all.
I have been busy creating some of the best work of my career…only to have them stolen.
Stolen I say! Taken from me by those who have duped you all into thinking it was they who created such masterworks.
My first creation, the Overstreet Guide to Cosplay says on the cover it was written by Melissa Bowersox, Eddie Newsome and Carrie Wood.
Ha! I say ha! I’ve been cosplaying since I was a young boy growing up in the south back in the 1930s. I remember when I came up with the idea to cosplay; I was around oh I don’t know some age when I said out loud; “I have invented cosplay.”
Melissa Bowersox, Eddie Newsome and Carrie Wood were walking by the Trump Plantation where my family had worked for decades teaching the Trumps’ real estate at just that very moment.
They heard me and started being nice to me. They picked my brain of all my cosplay knowledge and once I told them I was going to write a book they made sure I told no one but them of my brilliance. And brilliant it is! With well over 200 pages of just about anything and everything you want to know about my invention, Melissa Bowersox, Eddie Newsome and Carrie Wood have stolen. A great book indeed!
Alas, I wish I could say they were the only people who ripped me off but, no, my genius has been pilfered yet again!
While vacationing in Cuba in the 1950s after realizing the mistake my family made teaching the Trumps real estate (which we only did as a way to teach them to read), it occurred to me I should create a black superhero that would set the standard for all black superheroes.
I was some age at the time and remembered, first I would create the “graphic novel,” then I would create Brotherman, then I would combine them using my talent to write, draw and color.
I did so and the result was Brotherman Revelation.
This massive volume contains a long awaited return to Big City and continues the saga stolen from me by Dawud Anyabwile, Guy A. Sims and Brian McGee. I can’t tell you how I trusted those three believing them when I was told they just wanted to “…hear what I had in mind…”
What I had in mind was a graphic novel truly worthy of the the medium and I achieved it only to have it ripped away from me as if I had nothing whatsoever to do with it!!
They cleverly waited 50 plus years to release my work under their names. My original work was set to be published in 1954 but was not to be. The House Un-American Activities Committee prevented my ground breaking work by blacklisting me!!
So hurt was I by this it took me until 2016 when I was this age to once again venture into my creative mind. But this time I would be smart. This time I would tell some friends my idea and they would work with me to protect it!
So, I created A Vampire in Hollywood! An incredible romp through the world of Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd lawyers to monsters! Genius! I know, I’m a genius!
This time I’m going to get my due! I told no one but Batton Lash and Jackie Estrada…
It would be my guess that, until recently, most people who loved comic books were not the sort who were popular in high school. We weren’t prom kings and queens. We weren’t elected to student council. Sometimes, we weren’t even the stoners.
Therefore, to people who are as socially insecure as I am, it’s possible to feel that comics is not the safe haven of fandom that it was in the old days. (To be fair, when I’m really feeling it, I’m too insecure to feel accepted anywhere, which is my problem, not yours.)
It was not always like that. And two books by my pal Jackie Estrada celebrate the days when comic book folks could create a place where we were the cool kids.
For those of you who don’t know, Jackie runs the Eisner Awards, and she is publisher of Exhibit A Press. Since the 1970s she’s taken zillions of photographs at various comic book events, especially the San Diego Comic-Con. She was influential in adding Artists’ Alley to conventions. I know her best through Friends of Lulu, since we were both on the first few Boards of Directors.
Both books are organized in similar ways. The photographs are grouped in chapters, starting with the legends of the field — Jack Kirby, Harvey Kurtzman, Will Eisner, Bob Kane, Siegel and Shuster, Stan Lee, and their ilk — then to writers, artists, inkers and colorists, editors, marketing people, retailers and others. A lot of the same people appear in each volume, usually with more hilarious hair in Volume 1.
Each photo has a caption explaining who the person or people are, their work at the time, and sometimes, why they are making such ridiculous faces. Jackie herself is in many of them, enjoying the company of her friends and “family.”
Because the comics industry was very much like a family. Especially in that first volume, we see a group of people who are being noticed for their achievements by their peers, often for the first time. In those long ago, pre-Internet days, there weren’t always credits in comics, so finding out who was responsible for your favorite stories could require some real sleuthing. Maybe I’m projecting, but I see surprise and pride in those faces, enjoying some well-deserved recognition and appreciation.
Instead of being ridiculed for liking and making comics, they are finally with a group of people who share that affection.
I didn’t go to many comics events until the 1990s. In the late 1970s and 1980s, I tended to just go to New York-based parties, usually with Denny O’Neil, because, as a freelance writer, I appreciated passed hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. I knew the folks at Upstarts (Walter Simonson, Howard Chaykin, Frank Miller, Bill Sienkiewicz) and, later, when I worked at Marvel, I knew Archie Goodwin, Mary Wilshire, Trina Robbins and Louise Simonson. I met Howard Cruse at a Village Voice holiday party.
I recognize a few of the people in the first volume, but it’s the second one that sends me back to my high school neuroses. There are my colleagues at DC. There are people who make me squee and people who make me blush and people who I think are so cool that I can only stammer around them. There are people whose work I love but with whom I never connected personally, and people I adore whose work occasionally leaves me cold.
Jackie can’t be everywhere, and there are, inevitably, some people who I think should be represented and aren’t. Among these are Larry Hama, Mark Millar, Bob Rozakis, Lou Stathis, Gerry Jones, Keith Giffen and Shelly Bond. Maybe they loomed larger in my experience than they did in Jackie’s. That’s fair. Maybe they were just camera shy. That’s fair, too.
I want to be in the photographs with all of these folks, just like Jackie is, but I am not, and that makes me feel unpopular. As an adult woman of 62, these emotions are unbecoming.
You, Constant Reader, will probably not find yourself awash in insecurity when you look at these pages. Instead, you’ll see (especially if you get both books) how an entertainment industry grew up and grew close. You’ll see curly shag haircuts give way to well-trimmed styles (or baldness). You’ll see more women and people of color as the years go on. You’ll notice some of the legendary older folks passing on, but loads of talented new kids hoping for a place at the table.
Because our table is now the cool kids table. Everyone wants to be with us.