The nominees for this year’s Eisner Awards have been announced.  Only the biggest of nerds really care.  So if you’re not them, skip this post.  I bet the next one will have a funny picture, anyway.  But if you’re one of my nerdy faithful, hit the break for my take on some of the major categories…..

Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)

▪    The Cape, by Joe Hill, Jason Ciaramella, and Zack Howard (IDW)
▪    Fables #100, by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, and others (Vertigo/DC)
▪    Hellboy: Double Feature of Evil, by Mike Mignola and Richard Corben (Dark Horse)
▪    Locke & Key: Keys to the Kingdom #1: “Sparrow,” by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
▪    Unknown Soldier #21: “A Gun in Africa,” by Joshua Dysart and Rick Veitch (Vertigo/DC)

It’s no shocker that Joe (“Stephen King’s son”) Hill got four noms total—with two in this category alone.  Comicdom loves it when real novelists embrace our genre.  That said, I’m hoping Unknown Soldier pulls this one out.  It’s truly a magnificent series—and comics rarely embrace political themes (and when they do so, they tend to be hamfisted about it).  The series is deep and complex, as well as emotionally moving and even, maybe, informative.  My second choice would be to give it to Hellboy, if only because Mignola has done so much for the world of comics—from supporting indies to showing that major films based on comics could hew true to the printed mythos.

Best Writer/Artist

▪    Dan Clowes, Wilson (Drawn & Quarterly)
▪    Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit (IDW)
▪    Joe Kubert, Dong Xoai, Vietnam 1965 (DC)
▪    Terry Moore, Echo (Abstract Studio)
▪    James Sturm, Market Day (Drawn & Quarterly)
▪    Naoki Urasawa, Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys (VIZ Media)

Joe gets my vote on principle alone.  Best war-comic creator ever, no question.

Best Continuing Series

▪    Chew, by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image)
▪    Echo, by Terry Moore (Abstract Studio)
▪    Locke & Key, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
▪    Morning Glories, by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma (Shadowline/Image)
▪    Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, by Naoki Urasawa (VIZ Media)
▪    Scalped, by Jason Aaron and R. M. Guéra (Vertigo/DC)

Really?  So nothing Marvel or mainstream DC is better than Locke and Key or Scalped?  Not even Deadpool MAX?  Hmm.  These awards are typically pretty snobby, I suppose.  I don’t really “get” Chew and I haven’t read Echo or 20th Century Boys.  Locke and Key bored me.  So I’ll go with Scalped.  I don’t always love it, but I often like it.  And sometimes I love it.  I think I’d love it more if it were bigger–Guera’s art often seems cramped and dark.

Best Limited Series

▪    Baltimore: The Plague Ships, by Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, and Ben Stenbeck (Dark Horse)
▪    Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love, by Chris Roberson and Shawn McManus (Vertigo/DC)
▪    Daytripper, by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá (Vertigo/DC)
▪    Joe the Barbarian, by Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy (Vertigo/DC)
▪    Stumptown, by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth (Oni)

I can’t argue with any of these except the Fables stuff.  Not a fan.  Any of these would be fine winners.  But if I were picking, I’d go with Stumptown.  I loves me some Greg Rucka.

Best New Series

▪    American Vampire, by Scott Snyder, Stephen King, and Rafael Albuquerque (Vertigo/DC)
▪    iZombie, by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred (Vertigo/DC)
▪    Marineman, by Ian Churchill (Image)
▪    Morning Glories, by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma (Shadowline/Image)
▪    Superboy, by Jeff Lemire and Pier Gallo (DC)

So much horror, so little time.  Since I didn’t like American Vampire or iZombie (and I’m not afraid to admit it), I’ll pull for Morning Glories here.  I haven’t read more than one issue because I’m waiting for the trade, but I liked what I saw.

Best Writer

▪    Ian Boothby, who writes Simpsons books (Bongo)
▪    Joe Hill, Locke & Key (IDW)
▪    John Layman, Chew (Image)
▪    Jim McCann, Return of the Dapper Men (Archaia)
▪    Nick Spencer, Morning Glories, Shuddertown, Forgetless, Existence 3.0 (Image)

Again with the indie snobbery?  Do we really want the Eisner awards to ignore the two publishers who actually make money and generate new readers on a regular business?  Anyway, of these I’m going with Spencer again.  Or Boothby—the Simpson comics are actually pretty damn good.

I’m also going to throw in two plugs for some nominated works that I think are worth your time and money:

·         The Marvelous Land of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, adapted by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young (Marvel) is nominated for best adaptation.  It’s well-written, but the real star is Skottie Young, who in my view is one of the most innovative, exciting comic artists working today.

·         Nominated for “Best U.S. Edition of International Material” is The Killer: Modus Vivendi, by Matz and Luc Jacamon (Archaia Press).  It’s a book that’s so different, so innovative, that you’ll probably have to read it twice just to get where it’s going.  Great example of comics as literature.

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