The prestigious (for comics anyway) Eisner awards have been nominated, and, of course, I haven’t read most of the books on there because I mostly read capes, and mostly Marvel at that, and the Eisners tend to be about indie creativity rather than mainstream popularity or hot-fun action. But that doesn’t stop me from having some opinions about some of the major categories . . .
Best Limited Series or Story Arc.
Nominees: Blackest Night (DC); Incognito, (Marvel Icon); Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka (VIZ Media); “Old Man Logan” story arc (Marvel); The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Marvel).
First of all, I haven’t read “Pluto,” so it shouldn’t win. And at the risk of committing sacrilege, I like Brubaker’s superhero work but his crime comics leave me a little cold, so that takes out Incognito. Blackest Night was a lot of fun, but the first three (and a half) issues were lengthy exposition that made for good reading only if you were a DC Nerd of the highest order. And it’s final payoff—that DC won’t resurrect dead people anymore—is completely unbelievable. I’ve only read parts of Old Man Logan, and I loved what I saw, but I have to go with Oz. Eric Shanower’s knowledge of the original books is bottomless, and he managed to create original characters here that didn’t simply crib from the iconic film. And Skottie Young’s art is some of the best kid-friendly but adult-savvy art I’ve ever seen. And I do mean EVER. If you haven’t picked this up just for the pictures alone, shame on you. I’d also pick Oz for the Best Publication for Kids category, but Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute, another nominee, is a very close second.
What should have been nominated: Tony Stark’s mind melting story, or Geoff Johns’ Adventure Comics run, even though that one had a few missteps.
Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)
Nominees: Brave & the Bold #28: “Blackhawk and the Flash: Firing Line” (DC); Captain America #601: “Red, White, and Blue-Blood” (Marvel); Ganges #3 (Fantagraphics); The Unwritten #5: “How the Whale Became” (Vertigo/DC); Usagi Yojimbo #123: “The Death of Lord Hikiji” (Dark Horse).
I don’t have a lot to say here because I haven’t read any of these except Cap, but I can safely say: Pick any of these except that one. I know it was a big deal to bring Gene Colan back, but all it did was remind me why I wasn’t so crazy about him in the first place.
Nominees: Ed Brubaker for Captain America, Daredevil, Marvels Project, Criminal, Incognito; Geoff Johns for Adventure Comics, Blackest Night, The Flash: Rebirth, Superman: Secret Origin; James Robinson for Justice League: Cry for Justice (DC); Mark Waid for Irredeemable, The Incredibles; and Bill Willingham for Fables.
This is the toughest category for me to pick. I’ve never been a huge Fables fan (I like it, but don’t get what all the hype is about), and ditto everything Mark Waid has ever done, so those two are easy to eliminate. Justice League hasn’t been good since the second nominee in this category left the book, so that leaves just two: Ed and Geoff. Both are great, and both are nominated for great work. But I’m giving the edge to Ed because he took his characters to places they’d never been before and, at the end of the day, Blackest Night didn’t change much about the DCU. It resurrected a few characters, but there wasn’t any development of those characters.
Who should have been in this category: Garth Ennis, Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis.
Best Continuing Series
Nominees: Fables, by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Andrew Pepoy et al. (Vertigo/DC); Irredeemable, by Mark Waid and Peter Krause (BOOM!); Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, by Naoki Urasawa (VIZ Media); The Unwritten, by Mike Carey and Peter Gross (Vertigo/DC); The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard (Image).
The answer here is so obvious it’s painful. The Walking Dead is like nothing you’ve ever read before: A long form story, with no obvious arcs or cliffhangers. It’s real life. With zombies.
What should have been here: The Boys, New Avengers, Batman and Robin.