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April 8, 2010


Your 2010 Eisner Award Nominees

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The Eisner Awards nominations for 2010 were released earlier today. David Mazzucchelli's return to comics Asterios Polyp leads all nominees with four, while Naoki Urasawa has five nominations spread across two works, Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka and 20th Century Boys. To the best of my knowledge this is the first time a manga creator has picked up the most nominations, and that seems worth noting. Mazzucchelli's return is also worth noting, obviously, one of those semi-miraculous events we take for granted in this Age Of Comics Abundance.

Otherwise, the nominees seem remarkably spread out amongst several publishers, with longtime Eisner dominant force DC Comics picking up its usual boatload (20), Fantagraphics taking its more-often-than-not Place position (17 and one shared), relative newcomer Abrams picking up eight, and sometimes shut-out victim Marvel coming in with a healthy eight of its own. Dark Horse (4 and two shared) seemed relatively down this year, as did Drawn & Quarterly (4). You can read the press release here for more counts by creator and publisher. Congratulations to all the nominees.

imageAs for analysis, what I'm hearing back from about a dozen or so people is disappointment about individual nominations. A few are targeted as just lousy nominees, probably most vocally one for James Robinson's writing on a superhero book called Cry For Justice. (Robinson's response here.) I haven't read the book, although its sounds pretty crazy. Other than that, though, I'm hearing from folks that are extolling the virtues of an individual book or a set of books that they thought might be included: frequent-nominee Jason, or last year's category winner and obvious marketplace leader Comic Book Resources, or the never-better Hernandez Brothers, or Matt Fraction, or Dash Shaw.

Honestly, I think this is one of those things where there are ton of at least pretty good works and pretty good creators out there right now and it's really, really hard to design an awards program that can sort them out. I'm not sure there's ever been an aggressive ethos in comics for sorting out the best from very good, at least not since that became more difficult than determining that "Spring 1982" is a better comic than the Project Pegasus run in Marvel Two-In-One. In fact, a lot of people I know that vote on the nominees openly do so in support of friends, or projects they worked on, or publishers they like, or creators for whom they root -- one underlying idea used in defense of that practice being they're all nominees and they're all pretty worthy of consideration and it's only a stupid awards program, so who cares?

With so many comics worthy of a nomination, I'm guessing that what you get in the final count tends to reflect the overlapping tastes of the judges within that wider and arguably equally worthwhile grouping, more so than the results of sustained dialogue and agonizing over all of the books that could possibly make each list. Let me be clear: I'm sure there is dialogue. I'm told there is dialogue. But seeing as it took me five months of constant fretting on the exercise bike to decide whether or not Genesis was better than Pim and Francie, I'm guessing the dialogue at the Eisners nominating weekend has to be focused in some ways or it would go on forever.

It feels churlish to me to write about the nominations process because CR has been nominated every year so far. However it works, it seems to work for us. Then again, that puts us in the position to notice the Eisners' arbitrary weirdness: we've always lost to someone new, and then that person doesn't show up in the nominations the next year. For the most part, comics journalism entities have been stable across the board for a few years now, not just here at our web site but generally. I don't think of it as a field where someone new roars across the sky and then disappears, do you? Or to put it another way, it's not like Alter Ego has noticeably good and bad years at this point, at least not to my eye, and I'm a fan. What we get in that category and generally is what the new group of judges thought each individual year and what the voters want to vote for. I'm just glad I get to sit up at the front table for the ceremony.

In a way you might be able to argue that the Eisners do reflect the times: that it's a pretty good system by which we recognize a certain set of pretty good books and pretty good creators and sometimes great ones and maybe one or two crappy ones that someone else likes and then leave off a bunch that could have made it but didn't. I don't know. That's probably stretching it. There might be a way to restructure to have a more rigorous vetting process -- the Eisners pulled off a genius move several years ago that has kept mainstream comics and alt-comics from clashing all the time by leaning certain categories one way or the other -- but until that comes to pass I'm at least reasonably satisfied with what we have. It's an industry award, for pete's sake, and we're the Island Of Misfit Toys of entertainment industries. Aim that gun. Shoot that jelly. This year it hit Ken Dahl and Eleanor Davis and The Brinkley Girls. Next year maybe it hits Blaise Larmee and Dan Nadel and The Ti-Girls. I'm not sure we can do a whole lot better than that.

*****

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Best Short Story
* Because I Love You So Much, by Nikoline Werdelin, in From Wonderland with Love: Danish Comics in the 3rd Millennium (Fantagraphics/Aben malen)
* Gentleman John, by Nathan Greno, in What Is Torch Tiger? (Torch Tiger)
* How and Why to Bale Hay, by Nick Bertozzi, in Syncopated (Villard)
* Hurricane, interpreted by Gradimir Smudja, in Bob Dylan Revisited (Norton)
* Urgent Request, by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim, in The Eternal Smile (First Second)

*****

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Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)
* Brave & the Bold #28: Blackhawk and the Flash: Firing Line, by J. Michael Straczynski and Jesus Saiz (DC)
* Captain America #601: Red, White, and Blue-Blood, by Ed Brubaker and Gene Colan (Marvel)
* Ganges #3, by Kevin Huizenga (Fantagraphics)
* The Unwritten #5: How the Whale Became, by Mike Carey and Peter Gross (Vertigo/DC)
* Usagi Yojimbo #123: The Death of Lord Hikiji by Stan Sakai (Dark Horse)

*****

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Best Continuing Series
* Fables, Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Andrew Pepoy et al. (Vertigo/DC)
* Irredeemable, Mark Waid and Peter Krause (BOOM!)
* Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys, Naoki Urasawa (VIZ Media)
* The Unwritten, Mike Carey and Peter Gross (Vertigo/DC)
* The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard (Image)

*****

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Best Limited Series or Story Arc
* Blackest Night, Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, and Oclair Albert (DC)
* Incognito, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Marvel Icon)
* Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka, Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki (VIZ Media)
* Wolverine #66-72 and Wolverine Giant-Size Special: Old Man Logan, by Mark Millar, Steve McNiven, and Dexter Vines (Marvel)
* The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Eric Shanower and Skottie Young (Marvel)

*****

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Best New Series
* Chew, John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image)
* Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick, art by Tony Parker (BOOM!)
* Irredeemable, Mark Waid and Peter Krause (BOOM!)
* Sweet Tooth, Jeff Lemire (Vertigo/DC)
* The Unwritten, Mike Carey and Peter Gross (Vertigo/DC)

*****

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Best Publication for Kids
* Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute, Jarrett J. Krosoczeka (Knopf)
* The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook, Eleanor Davis (Bloomsbury)
* Tiny Tyrant Volume One: The Ethelbertosaurus, Lewis Trondheim and Fabrice Parme (First Second)
* The TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics, edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly (Abrams ComicArts/Toon)
* The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum, Eric Shanower, and Skottie Young (Marvel)

*****

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Best Publication for Teens
* Angora Napkin, Troy Little (IDW)
* Beasts of Burden, Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson (Dark Horse)
* A Family Secret, Eric Heuvel (Farrar Straus Giroux/Anne Frank House) * Far Arden, Kevin Cannon (Top Shelf)
* I Kill Giants, Joe Kelly and JM Ken Niimura (Image)

*****

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Best Humor Publication
* Drinky Crow's Maakies Treasury, Tony Millionaire (Fantagraphics)
* Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me, And Other Astute Observations, Peter Bagge (Fantagraphics)
* Little Lulu Vols. 19-21, by John Stanley and Irving Tripp (Dark Horse Books) * The Muppet Show Comic Book: Meet the Muppets, Roger Langridge (BOOM Kids!)
* Scott Pilgrim Volume Five: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe, Brian Lee O'Malley (Oni)

*****

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Best Anthology
* Abstract Comics, edited by Andrei Molotiu (Fantagraphics)
* Bob Dylan Revisited, edited by Bob Weill (Norton)
* Flight 6, edited by Kazu Kibuishi (Villard)
* Popgun Vol. 3, edited by Mark Andrew Smith, D. J. Kirkbride, and Joe Keatinge (Image)
* Syncopated: An Anthology of Nonfiction Picto-Essays, edited by Brendan Burford (Villard)
* What Is Torch Tiger? edited by Paul Briggs (Torch Tiger)

*****

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Best Digital Comic
* Abominable Charles Christopher, Karl Kerschl
* Bayou, Jeremy Love
* The Guns of Shadow Valley, David Wachter and James Andrew Clark
* Power Out, Nathan Schreiber
* Sin Titulo, Cameron Stewart

*****

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Best Reality-Based Work
* A Drifting Life, Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Footnotes in Gaza, Joe Sacco (Metropolitan/Holt)
* The Imposter's Daughter, Laurie Sandell (Little, Brown)
* Monsters, Ken Dahl (Secret Acres)
* The Photographer, Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefevre, and Frederic Lemerier (First Second)
* Stitches, David Small (Norton)

*****

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Best Adaptation from Another Work
* The Book of Genesis Illustrated, R. Crumb (Norton)
* Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation, adapted by Michael Keller and Nicolle Rager Fuller (Rodale)
* Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, adapted by Tim Hamilton (Hill & Wang)
* Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter, adapted by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
* West Coast Blues, Jean-Patrick Manchette, adapted by Jacques Tardi (Fantagraphics)

*****

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Best Graphic Album -- New
* Asterios Polyp, David Mazzuccheilli (Pantheon)
* A Distant Neighborhood Vols. 1-2, by Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
* The Book of Genesis Illustrated, R. Crumb (Norton)
* My mommy is in America and she met Buffalo Bill, Jean Regnaud and Emile Bravo (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
* The Photographer, Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefevre, and Frédéric Lemerier (First Second)
* Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter, adapted by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)

*****

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Best Graphic Album -- Reprint
* Absolute Justice, Alex Ross, Jim Krueger, and Doug Braithewaite (DC)
* A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, Josh Neufeld (Pantheon)
* Alec: The Years Have Pants, Eddie Campbell (Top Shelf)
* Essex County Collected, Jeff Lemire (Top Shelf)
* Map of My Heart: The Best of King-Cat Comics & Stories, 1996-2002, John Porcellino (Drawn & Quarterly)

*****

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Best Archival Collection/Project -- Strips
* Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol. 1, by Berkeley Breathed, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
* Bringing Up Father Volume One: From Sea to Shining Sea, George McManus and Zeke Zekley, edited by Dean Mullaney (IDW)
* The Brinkley Girls: The Best of Nell Brinkley's Cartoons 1913-1940, edited by Trina Robbins (Fantagraphics)
* Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons, Gahan Wilson, edited by Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)
* Prince Valiant, Vol. 1: 1937-1938, Hal Foster, edited by Kim Thompson (Fantagraphics)
* Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz, L. Frank Baum, Walt McDougall, and W. W. Denslow (Sunday Press)

*****

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Best Archival Collection/Project -- Comic Books
* The Best of Simon & Kirby, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, edited by Steve Saffel (Titan Books)
* Blazing Combat, Archie Goodwin et al., edited by Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)
* Humbug, Harvey Kurtzman et al., edited by Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)
* The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures, Dave Stevens, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
* The TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics, edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly (Abrams ComicArts/Toon)

*****

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Best U.S. Edition of International Material
* My mommy is in America and she met Buffalo Bill, Jean Regnaud and Emile Bravo (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
* The Photographer, Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefevre, and Frédéric Lemerier (First Second)
* Tiny Tyrant Volume One: The Ethelbertosaurus, Lewis Trondheim and Fabrice Parme (First Second)
* West Coast Blues, Jean-Patrick Manchette, adapted by Jacques Tardi (Fantagraphics)
* Years of the Elephant, Willy Linthout (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)

*****

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Best U.S. Edition of International Material -- Asia
* The Color Trilogy, Kim Dong Haw (First Second)
* A Distant Neighborhood Vols. 1-2, by Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
* A Drifting Life, Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Oishinbo a la Carte, written by Tetsu Kariya and illustrated by Akira Hanasaki (VIZ Media)
* Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka, Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki (VIZ Media)
* Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys, Naoki Urasawa (VIZ Media)

*****

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Best Writer
* Ed Brubaker, Captain America, Daredevil, Marvels Project (Marvel) Criminal, Incognito (Marvel Icon)
* Geoff Johns, Adventure Comics, Blackest Night, The Flash: Rebirth, Superman: Secret Origin (DC)
* James Robinson, Justice League: Cry for Justice (DC)
* Mark Waid, Irredeemable, The Incredibles (BOOM!)
* Bill Willingham, Fables (Vertigo/DC)

*****

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Best Writer/Artist
* Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter (IDW)
* R. Crumb, The Book of Genesis Illustrated (Norton)
* David Mazzuccheilli, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon)
* Terry Moore, Echo (Abstract Books)
* Naoki Urasawa, Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys, Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka (VIZ Media)

*****

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Best Writer/Artist-Nonfiction
* Reinhard Kleist, Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness (Abrams ComicArts)
* Willy Linthout, Years of the Elephant (Fanfare/Ponent Mon) * Joe Sacco, Footnotes in Gaza (Metropolitan/Holt)
* David Small, Stitches (Norton)
* Carol Tyler, You'll Never Know: A Good and Decent Man (Fantagraphics)

****

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Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
* Michael Kaluta, Madame Xanadu #11-15: "Exodus Noir" (Vertigo/DC)
* Steve McNiven/Dexter Vines, Wolverine: Old Man Logan (Marvel)
* Fiona Staples, North 40 (WildStorm)
* J. H. Williams III, Detective Comics (DC)
* Danijel Zezelj, Luna Park (Vertigo/DC)

*****

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Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)
* Emile Bravo, My mommy is in America and she met Buffalo Bill (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
* Mauro Cascioli, Justice League: Cry for Justice (DC)
* Nicolle Rager Fuller, Charles Darwin on the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation (Rodale Books)
* Jill Thompson, Beasts of Burden (Dark Horse); Magic Trixie and the Dragon (HarperCollins Children's Books)
* Carol Tyler, You'll Never Know: A Good and Decent Man (Fantagraphics)

*****

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Best Cover Artist
* John Cassaday, Irredeemable (BOOM!); Lone Ranger (Dynamite)
* Salvador Larocca, Invincible Iron Man (Marvel)
* Sean Phillips, Criminal, Incognito (Marvel Icon); 28 Days Later (BOOM!)
* Alex Ross, Astro City: The Dark Age (WildStorm/DC); Project Superpowers (Dynamite)
* J. H. Williams III, Detective Comics (DC)

*****

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Best Coloring
* Steve Hamaker, Bone: Crown of Thorns (Scholastic); Little Mouse Gets Ready (Toon)
* Laura Martin, The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures (IDW); Thor, The Stand: American Nightmares (Marvel)
* David Mazzuccheilli, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon)
* Alex Sinclair, Blackest Night, Batman and Robin (DC)
* Dave Stewart, Abe Sapien, BPRD, The Goon, Hellboy, Solomon Kane, Umbrella Academy, Zero Killer (Dark Horse); Detective Comics (DC); Northlanders, Luna Park (Vertigo)

*****

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Best Lettering
* Brian Fies, Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? (Abrams ComicArts)
* David Mazzuccheilli, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon)
* Tom Orzechowski, Savage Dragon (Image); X-Men Forever (Marvel)
* Richard Sala, Cat Burglar Black (First Second); Delphine (Fantagraphics/Coconino)
* Adrian Tomine, A Drifting Life (Drawn & Quarterly)

*****

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Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism
* Alter Ego, edited by Roy Thomas (TwoMorrows)
* Comics Alliance, edited by Laura Hudson
* Comics Comics, edited by Timothy Hodler and Dan Nadel (PictureBox)
* The Comics Journal, edited by Gary Groth and Michael Dean and Kristy Valenti (Fantagraphics)
* The Comics Reporter, produced by Tom Spurgeon

*****

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Best Comics-Related Book
* Alan Moore: Comics as Performance, Fiction as Scalpel, Annalisa Di Liddo (University Press of Mississippi)
* The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics, Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle (Abrams ComicArts)
* The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga, Helen McCarthy (Abrams ComicArts)
* Manga Kamishibai: The Art of Japanese Paper Theater, Eric P. Nash (Abrams ComicArts)
* Will Eisner and PS Magazine, Paul E. Fitzgerald (Fitzworld.US)

*****

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Best Publication Design
* Absolute Justice, designed by Curtis King and Josh Beatman (DC)
* The Brinkley Girls, designed by Adam Grano (Fantagraphics)
* Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons, designed by Jacob Covey (Fantagraphics)
* Life and Times of Martha Washington, designed by David Nestelle (Dark Horse Books)
* Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz, designed by Philippe Ghielmetti (Sunday Press)
* Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? designed by Neil Egan and Brian Fies (Abrams ComicArts)

*****
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Ballots will go out mid-April to eligible voters (creators, editors, publishers, retailers) in the database, while a downloadable PDF will be made available on-line for everyone else.

This year's nominations panel was Craig Fischer, Francisca Goldsmith, John Hogan, James Hudnall, and Wayne Winsett.

The award show is Friday, July 23, in conjunction with Comic-Con International. Please stop by my table and console me.
 
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