SDCC 2021: Eisner Awards Nominations announced – Image Comics, Fantagraphics lead the charge

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Comic-Con International, the organisers of the annual Will Eisner Industry Awards, has released the nominees for the thirty-two categories and publishers Image Comics and Fantagraphics in leading the charge with an impressive haul – they join in celebration writer Gene Luen Yang who has garnered five nominations in the individual categories:  he collects three his work on DRAGON HOOPS and two for DC Comics’ SUPERMAN SMASHES THE KLAN.

Image Comics find themselves named in seventeen categories (with an additional eleven, shared) – including four in the Best Continuing Series categories (BITTER ROOT, THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH, GIDEON FALLS and STILLWATER), three in the Best New Series (CROSSOVER, THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH and KILLDELPHIA) and all six of the Best Writer nominees (see below – I ain’t typin’ all that out and leaving good folks behind).

Eleven categories feature Fantagraphics – with three nuzzling the Best Graphic Album: Reprint nods (EIGHT-LANE RUNAWAYS, FANTE BUKOWSKI: THE COMPLETE WORKS and SEEDS AND STEMS), three each in both the Strips and Comic Books catagories for Best Archival Collection/Project and many more besides.

However, it wouldn’t be the Eisner Awards without some controversy and this year is no exception with many observers noting that the majority of those nominated are, well, not to put too fine a point on it… blokes. In a year when the power and influence of diversity has become one of the guiding lights in many industries, it seems that the comics primary gala has taken a noted step backward.

It’s difficult to work out of this is simply showcasing the hard work of the many gentlemen that are the majority in the industry or a comment that is little more distressing that the not-chaps still can’t make the bigger impression when it comes to recognition.

Still, someone has to be afforded shiny baubles and the winners of the Oscars of the comics industry will be revealed on the Friday of ComicCon@Home, taking place on the weekend of 23th to the 25th of July. Here’s hoping that the live stream will be a slightly slicker affair than last years: hosted by Phil LaMarr and Eisner Award organiser Jackie Estrada, the results were unveiled, sure, but with none of the sheen that one would expect from one of the biggest nights in the comics calendar.

We’ll find out soon enough – and we’ll be doing our best to get those winners out to the wider world as soon as they’re revealed. Watch this space… and we’ve interviewed a few of the nominated over the past year and a half – the video links are included below:


2021 EISNER AWARDS NOMINATIONS

Best Short Story
  • “Garden Boys” by Henry McCausland, in Now #8 (Fantagraphics)
  • “I Needed the Discounts” by Connor Willumsen, in The New York Times (January 3, 2020)
  • “Parts of Us,” by Chan Chau, in Elements: Earth, A Comic Anthology by Creators of Color (Ascend Press)
  • “Rookie,” by Greg Rucka and Eduardo Risso, in Detective Comics #1027 (DC)
  • “Soft Lead,” by Chan Chau, https://chanchauart.com/comics#/soft-lead/
  • “When the Menopausal Carnival Comes to Town,” by Mimi Pond, in Menopause:A Comic Treatment (Graphic Medicine/Pennsylvania State University Press)

Best Single Issue
  • The Burning Hotels, by Thomas Lampion (Birdcage Bottom Books)
  • Hedra, by Jesse Lonergan (Image)
  • The Other History of the DC Universe #1, by John Ridley and Giuseppe Camuncoli (DC)
  • Sports Is Hell, by Ben Passmore (Koyama Press)
  • Stanley’s Ghost: A Halloween Adventure, by Jeff Balke, Paul Storrie, and Dave Alvarez (Storm Kids)

Best Continuing Series
  • Bitter Root, by David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene (Image)
  • Daredevil, by Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto (Marvel)
  • The Department of Truth, by James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds (Image)
  • Gideon Falls, by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino (Image)
  • Stillwater, by Chip Zdarsky and Ramón K Pérez (Image/Skybound)
  • Usagi Yojimbo, by Stan Sakai (IDW)

We interviewed the creative team behind THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH, last September:


Best Limited Series
  • Barbalien: Red Planet, by Jeff Lemire, Tate Brombal, and Gabriel Hernandez Walta (Dark Horse)
  • Decorum, by Jonathan Hickman and Mike Huddleston (Image)
  • Far Sector, by N. K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell (DC)
  • Strange Adventures, by Tom King, Mitch Gerads, and Evan “Doc” Shaner (DC Black Label)
  • Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber (DC)
  • We Live, by Inaki Miranda and Roy Miranda (AfterShock)

Best New Series
  • Black Widow, by Kelly Thompson and Elena Casagrande (Marvel)
  • Crossover, by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw (Image)
  • The Department of Truth, by James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds (Image)
  • Killadelphia, by Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander (Image)
  • We Only Find Them When They’re Dead, by Al Ewing and Simone Di Meo (BOOM! Studios)

We have been lucky to have had the chance to speak to both Donny Cates and Al Ewing over the past year:


Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)
  • Bear, by Ben Queen and Joe Todd-Stanton (Archaia/BOOM!)
  • Cat Kid Comic Club, by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic Graphix)
  • Donut Feed the Squirrels, by Mika Song (RH Graphic/RH Children’s Books)
  • Kodi, by Jared Cullum (Top Shelf)
  • Lift, by Minh Lê and Dan Santat (Little, Brown Young Readers)
  • Our Little Kitchen, by Jillian Tamaki (Abrams Books for Young Readers)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12)
  • Doodleville,by Chad Sell (Knopf/BFYR/RH Children’s Books)
  • Go with the Flow, by Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann (First Second/Macmillan)
  • Mister Invincible: Local Hero, by Pascal Jousselin (Magnetic Press)
  • Snapdragon, by Kat Leyh (First Second/Macmillan)
  • Superman Smashes the Klan, by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru (DC)
  • Twins, by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright (Scholastic Graphix)

Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)
  • Check, Please! Book 2: Sticks & Scones, by Ngozi Ukazu (First Second/Macmillan)
  • Displacement, by Kiku Hughes (First Second/Macmillan)
  • Dragon Hoops, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second/Macmillan)
  • Fights: One Boy’s Triumph Over Violence, by Joel Christian Gill (Oni Press)
  • A Map to the Sun, by Sloane Leong (First Second/Macmillan)
  • When Stars are Scattered, by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed (Dial Books)

Best Humor Publication
  • The Complete Fante Bukowski, by Noah Van Sciver (Fantagraphics)
  • Department of Mind-Blowing Theories, by Tom Gauld (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • FANGS, by Sarah Andersen (Andrews McMeel)
  • Wendy, Master of Art, by Walter Scott (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber (DC)
  • What If We Were . . ., by Axelle Lenoir (Top Shelf)

Best Anthology
  • Ex Mag, vols. 1–2, edited by Wren McDonald (PEOW)
  • Guantanamo Voices: True Accounts from the World’s Most Infamous Prison, edited by Sarah Mirk (Abrams)
  • Hey, Amateur! Go From Novice to Nailing It in 9 Panels, edited and curated by Shelly Bond (IDW Black Crown)
  • Los Angeles Times, edited by Sammy Harkham (NTWRK)
  • Menopause:A Comic Treatment, edited by MK Czerwiec (Graphic Medicine/Pennsylvania State University Press)
  • Now, edited by Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics)

Best Reality-Based Work
  • Big Black: Stand at Attica, by Frank “Big Black” Smith, Jared Reinmuth, and Améziane (Archaia/BOOM!)
  • Dragon Hoops, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second/Macmillan)
  • Invisible Differences: A Story of Asperger’s, Adulting, and Living a Life in Full Color, by Mme Caroline and Julie Dachez, translation by Edward Gauvin (Oni Press)
  • Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio, by Derf Backderf (Abrams)
  • Paying the Land, by Joe Sacco (Metropolitan/Henry Holt)
  • Year of the Rabbit, by Tian Veasna, translation by Helge Dascher (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Graphic Memoir
  • Banned Book Club, by Kim Hyun Sook, Ryan Estrada, and Ko Hyung-Ju (Iron Circus)
  • Dancing After TEN: A Graphic Memoir, by Vivian Chong and Georgia Webber (Fantagraphics)
  • Ginseng Roots, by Craig Thompson (Uncivilized)
  • I Don’t Know How to Give Birth! by Ayami Kazama, translated by Julie Goniwich (Yen Press)
  • The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist, by Adrian Tomine (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • When Stars Are Scattered, by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed (Dial Books)

Best Graphic Album—New
  • The Book Tour, by Andi Watson (Top Shelf)
  • Dragman, by Steven Appleby (Metropolitan)
  • Flake, by Matthew Dooley (Jonathan Cape)
  • Labyrinth, by Ben Argon (Abrams)
  • Paul at Home, by Michel Rabagliati, translation by Helge Dascher and Rob Aspinall (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Pulp, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image)

Best Graphic Album—Reprint
  • Black Hammer Library Edition, vol. 2, by Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormstom, Emi Lenox, and Rich Tommaso (Dark Horse)
  • Criminal Deluxe Edition, vol. 3, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image)
  • Eight-Lane Runaways, by Henry McCausland (Fantagraphics)
  • Fante Bukowski: The Complete Works, by Noah Van Sciver (Fantagraphics)
  • Herobear and the Kid: The Heritage, by Mike Kunkel (Astonish Factory)
  • Seeds and Stems, by Simon Hanselmann (Fantagraphics)

Best Adaptation from Another Medium
  • Constitution Illustrated, by R. Sikoryak (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Parable of the Sower: The Graphic Novel Adaptation, by Octavia E. Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy and John Jennings (Abrams)
  • Sapiens: A Graphic History: The Birth of Mankind, vol. 1, by Yuval Noah Harari, adapted by David Vandermeulen and Daniel Casanave (Harper Perennial)
  • Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, adapted by Ryan North and Albert Monteys (Archaia/BOOM!)
  • Superman Smashes the Klan, adapted by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru (DC)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material
  • Altitude, by Olivier Bocquet and Jean-Marc Rochette, translation by Edward Gauvin (SelfMadeHero)
  • Gamayun Tales I: An Anthology of Modern Russian Folk Tales, by Alexander Utkin, translation by Lada Morozova (Nobrow)
  • Goblin Girl, by Moa Romanova, translation by Melissa Bowers (Fantagraphics)
  • Irena Books 2-3, by Jean-David Morvan, Severine Tréfouël, and David Evrard, translation by Dan Christensen (Magnetic Press)
  • When You Look Up, by Decur, translation by Chloe Garcia Roberts (Enchanted Lion Books)
  • The Winter of the Cartoonist, by Paco Roca, translation by Erica Mena (Fantagraphics)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia
  • I Had That Same Dream Again, by Yoru Sumino and Idumi Kirihara, translation by Beni Axia Conrad (Seven Seas)
  • I Wish I Could Say “Thank You,” by Yukari Takinami, translation by Yukari Takeuchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
  • A Journal Of My Father, by Jiro Taniguchi, translation by Kumar Sivasubramanian (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)
  • Ping Pong, vols. 1–2, by Taiyo Matsumoto, translation by Michael Arias (VIZ Media)
  • Remina, by Junji Ito, translation by Jocelyne Allen (VIZ Media)
  • Spy x Family, vols. 1–3, by Tatsuya Endo, translation by Casey Loe (VIZ Media)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips 
  • The Flapper Queens: Women Cartoonists of the Jazz Age, edited by Trina Robbins (Fantagraphics)
  • Gross Exaggerations: The Meshuga Comic Strips of Milt Gross, by Milt Gross, edited by Peter Maresca (Sunday Press/IDW)
  • Krazy & Ignatz 1919-1921 by George Herriman, edited by RJ Casey (Fantagraphics)
  • Little Debbie and the Second Coming of Elmo: Daily Comic Strips, August 1960–September 1961, byCecil Jensenedited by Frank Young (Labor of Love)
  • Pogo The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips: Volume 6: Clean as a Weasel, by Walt Kelly, edited by Mark Evanier and Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books
  • Art Young’s Inferno, by Art Young, edited by Glenn Bray (Fantagraphics)
  • Atlas at War! edited by Michael J. Vassallo (Dead Reckoning)
  • The Complete Hate, by Peter Bagge, edited by Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics)
  • Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salty Sea, by Hugo Pratt, translation by Dean Mullaney and Simone Castaldi (EuroComics/IDW)
  • Little Lulu: The Fuzzythingus Poopi, by John Stanley, edited by Frank Young and Tom Devlin (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Man and Superman and Other Stories, by Harvey Kurtzman, edited by J. Michael Catron (Fantagraphics)

Best Writer
  • Ed Brubaker, Pulp, Reckless (Image); Friday (Panel Syndicate)
  • Matt Fraction, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen (DC); Adventureman, November vols. 2–3, Sex Criminals (Image)
  • Jonathan Hickman, Decorum (Image); Giant-Size X-Men, X-Men (Marvel)
  • Jeff Lemire, Barbalien, Black Hammer, Colonel Weird: Cosmagog (Dark Horse); The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage (DC Black Label);Family Tree, Gideon Falls (Image)
  • James Tynion IV, Something Is Killing the Children, Wynd (BOOM! Studios); Batman (DC); The Department of Truth (Image); Razorblades (Tiny Onion)
  • Chip Zdarsky, Stillwater (Image/Skybound), Daredevil, Fantastic Four/X-Men (Marvel)

Here’s our chat with writer James Tynion IV, held last August:


Best Writer/Artist
  • Junji Ito, ReminaVenus in the Blind Spot (VIZ Media)
  • Pascal Jousselin, Mister Invincible: Local Hero (Magnetic Press)
  • Trung Le Nguyen, The Magic Fish (RH Graphic/RH Children’s Books)
  • Craig Thompson, Ginseng Roots (Uncivilized)
  • Adrian Tomine, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Gene Luen Yang, Dragon Hoops (First Second/Macmillan)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
  • Michael Allred, Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams (Insight Editions)
  • Marco Chechetto, Daredevil (Marvel)
  • Jorge Corona, Middlewest (Image)
  • Bertrand Gatignol, Pistouvi (Magnetic Press)
  • Mitch Gerads/Evan “Doc” Shaner, Strange Adventures (DC Black Label)
  • Sanford Greene, Bitter Root (Image)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)
  • Benjamin Adam, Soon (Europe Comics)
  • Alice Chemama, The Zolas (Europe Comics)
  • Jared Cullum, Kodi (Top Shelf)
  • Decur, When You Look Up (Enchanted Lion Books)
  • Antonio Lapone, Gentlemind (Europe Comics)
  • Anand RK/John Pearson, Blue in Green (Image)

Best Cover Artist
  • Jamal Campbell, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (BOOM! Studios); Far Sector (DC)
  • Simone Di Meo, We Only Find Them When They’re Dead (BOOM! Studio)
  • Mike Huddleston, Decorum (Image)
  • Dave Johnson, Butcher of Paris (Dark Horse)
  • Peach Momoko, Buffy the Vampire Slayer #19, Mighty Morphin #2, Something Is Killing the Children #12, Power Rangers #1 (BOOM! Studios); DIE!namite, Vampirella (Dynamite); The Crow: Lethe (IDW); Marvel Variants (Marvel
  • Ramón K. Pérez, Stillwater (Image/Skybound)

Best Coloring
  • Laura Allred, X-Ray Robot (Dark Horse); Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams (Insight Editions)
  • Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Middlewest (Image)
  • Gipi, One Story (Fantagraphics)
  • Marte Gracia, Empyre, X of Swords (Marvel)
  • Dave Stewart, Promethee 13:13 (comiXology); Black Hammer (Dark Horse); Gideon Falls (Image); Spider-Man #4-#5 (Marvel)
  • Matt Wilson, Undiscovered Country (Image); Fire Power (Image/Skybound); Thor (Marvel)

Best Lettering
  • Mike Allred, Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams (Insight Editions)
  • Deron Bennett, Bear, The Sacrifice of Darkness (Archaia); King of Nowhere, Something Is Killing the Children, We Only Find Them When They’re Dead (BOOM! Studios); Far Sector, Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red, Martian Manhunter (DC); Excellence (Image/Skybound); A Dark Interlude, Dark One, Relics of Youth, Resonant, Shadow Service, Vampire: The Masquerade: Winter’s Teeth (Vault); Ping Pong (VIZ Media)
  • Aditya Bidikar, Barbalien: Red Planet, Grafity’s Wall Expanded Edition (Dark Horse); John Constantine, Hellblazer (DC); A Map to the Sun (First Second); The Department of Truth, Lost Soldiers (Image); Giga, The Picture of Everything Else (Vault)
  • Clayton Cowles, Aquaman, Batman, Batman and the Outsiders, Strange Adventures, Superman: Man of Tomorrow, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen (DC); Adventureman, Bitter Root, Bog Bodies, Die (Image); Reaver (Image/Skybound); Morbius, X Of Swords (Marvel)
  • Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo (IDW)
  • Rus Wooton, Wonder Woman: Dead Earth (DC); Decorum, Monstress (Image); Die!Die!Die!, Fire Power, Oblivion Song, Outcast, Stillwater (Image/Skybound) 

It was our pleasure to showcase the incredible talents of Aditya Bidikar in a cracking conversation in November:


Best Comics-Related Journalism/Periodical

We spoke to Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou about the importance and imapact of being nominated and winning an Eisner for your work in this chat from August 2018:


Best Comics-Related Book
  • American Daredevil: Comics, Communism, and the Battles of Lev Gleason, by Brett Dakin (Comic House/Lev Gleason)
  • Ditko Shrugged: The Uncompromising Life of the Artist Behind Spider-Man and the Rise of Marvel Comics, by David Currie (Hermes Press)
  • Drawing Fire: The Editorial Cartoons of Bill Mauldin, edited by Todd DePastino (Pritzker Military Museum & Library)
  • The History of EC Comics, by Grant Geissman (TASCHEN)
  • Invisible Men: The Trailblazing Black Artists of Comic Books, by Ken Quattro (Yoe Books/IDW)
  • Masters of British Comic Art, by David Roach (2000AD)

Best Academic/Scholarly Work
  • Comic Art in Museums, edited by Kim A. Munson (University Press of Mississippi)
  • Comic Studies: A Guidebook, edited by Charles Hatfield and Bart Beaty (Rutgers University Press)
  • The Content of Our Caricature: African American Comic Art and Political Belonging,by Rebecca Wanzo (New York University Press)
  • Webcomics, by Sean Kleefeld (Bloomsbury)
  • Who Understands Comics: Questioning the Universality of Visual Language Comprehension, by Neil Cohn (Bloomsbury)

Best Publication Design
  • Chasin’ the Bird: Charlie Parker in California deluxe edition, designed by David Chisholm and Tyler Boss (Z2 Comics)
  • Dbury@50: The Complete Digital Doonesbury, by G.B. Trudeau, designed by George Corsillo and Susan McCaslin(Andrews McMeel)
  • J & K, designed by John Pham (Fantagraphics)
  • The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist, designed by Adrian Tomine and Tracy Huron (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Original Art: The Dan Clowes Studio Edition, designed by Daniel Clowes (Fantagraphics)

Best Digital Comic
  • Friday, by Ed Brubaker and Marcos Martin (Panel Syndicate)
  • Genius Animals? by Vali Chandrasekaran and Jun-Pierre Shiozawa, geniusanimals.net
  • Gentlemind, by Juan Díaz Canales, Teresa Valero, and Antonio Lapone, translation by Jeremy Melloul (Europe Comics)
  • Promethee 13:13, by Andy Diggle and Shawn Martinbrough (comiXology Originals/Delcourt)
  • Olive, by Véro Cazot and Lucy Mazel, translation by Jessie Aufiery (Europe Comics)
  • Soon, by Thomas Cadène and Benjamin Adam, translation by Margaret Besser (Europe Comics)

Best Webcomic

Courtesy of the Comics Beat, who summerised it all a lot better than I ever could:

The 2021 Eisner Awards judging panel consists of comics retailer Marco Davanzo (Alakazam Comics, Irvine, CA), Comic-Con Board member Shelley Fruchey, librarian Pamela Jackson (San Diego State University), comics creator/publisher Keithan Jones (The Power Knights, KID Comics), educator Alonso Nuñez (Little Fish Comic Book Studio), and comics scholar Jim Thompson (Comic Book Historians). The Awards administrator is Jackie Estrada.

Following some irregularities with the voting website last year, a new two step procedure has been implemented. The first step is for prospective voters to apply at https://form.jotform.com/211246268258054. After filling out the form, eligible voters will be invited to go to the ballot and cast their votes.

Those who were invited to vote for the Hall of Fame will automatically be invited to fill out the new ballot. All professionals in the comic book industry are eligible to vote. The deadline for voting is June 30.

More information about the Eisner Awards can be found at http://www.comic-con.org/awards/eisner-awards-current-info

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