As always, they’ll be announced at Baltimore Comic-Con, and I’ll be there with my two wee ones, hoping to get a glimpse of Stan Lee, among other things.  Typically, the awards eschew typically the commercial (Marvel and DC), but this time we see either (and often both) of those publishers in just about every category.  I know this is an indie blog, and I dig the rebellious, experimental nature of independence in music, but when it comes to comic books, the entire art form is in jeopardy.  And Marvel or DC go down, we all go down.  So it’s nice to see them getting some support.  Here’s my comments on the major categories.

Best American Edition Of Foreign Material

• AX: Alternate Manga, edited By Sean Michael Wilson And Mitsuhiro Asakawa, Top Shelf

• Blacksad, Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido, Dark Horse Comics

• It Was The War Of The Trenches, Jacques Tardi, Fantagraphics

• The Killer: Modus Vivendi, Matz And Luc Jacamon, Archaia

• Torpedo Volume 2, Jordi Bernet, IDW

I don’t usually write about this category, but I have to throw some support out there for The Killer, a truly extraordinary and different book about what it’s like to be a hitman.  The art is unusual and the storyline provocative.  If you get a chance, you really ought to check it out.  I’d vote for it here, but I don’t know anything about the other entries, so it’s enough for me to tell you to go buy The Killer; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Best New Series

• American Vampire, Scott Snyder, Stephen King and Rafael Albuquerque, Vertigo/DC Comics

• Echoes, Joshua Hale Fialkov and Rashan Ekedal, Top Cow

• Gutters, Lar Desouza, Ed Ryzoski and Ryan Sohmer,

• Kill Shakespeare, Anthony Del Col and Conor Mccreery, IDW

• Sixth Gun, Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt, Oni Press

• Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee, Marvel Comics

Here’s where I admit to not enjoying Kill Shakespeare or American Vampire, two books that everyone loves.  I did enjoy Sixth Gun, but I’m voting for Thor here.  The book was a brilliant reimagining of the character, and it was terrific to read a book that is appropriate for all ages but not dumbed down. It was also nice to read a serious comic book that was about love and hope, and not all darkness and violence.  Great, great series.

Most Promising New Talent

• Barry Deutsch, Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, Amulet Books

• Comfort Love And Adam Withers, Rainbow In The Dark

• Chris Samnee, Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Marvel Comics

• Scott Snyder, American Vampire, Vertigo/DC Comics

• Nick Spencer, Morning Glories, Image Comics

This is a very tough category for me—although I don’t know the first two nominees’ work.  Samnee, Snyder and Spencer are all deserving here, so I’m going outside the envelope: I’m voting for Snyder for his work with Batman on Detective Comics.  Finally, a Bat-writer worthy of taking on the character in Morrison’s absence.  Most Batman books are mediocre, relying on concept over quality, but Snyder’s run—about a murder victim found in the belly of whale in the lobby of a bank (no, that’s not a typo) is nothing short of incredible.  But if I had to pick just between these here, I’d probably go with Spencer.

Best Cover Artist

• Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit, IDW

• Jenny Frison, Angel, IDW

• Marcos Martin, Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel Comics

• Mike Mignola, Hellboy, Dark Horse Comics

• Frank Quitely, Batman and Robin, DC Comics

The reason I vote for Mignola here is that I don’t really like most Hellboy comics, but his covers always make me want to buy them anyway.

Best Continuing Or Limited Series

• Chew, John Layman and Rob Guillory, Image Comics

• Daytripper, Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba, Vertigo/DC Comics

• Echo, Terry Moore, Abstract Studio

• Fantastic Four, Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham, Marvel Comics

• Locke & Key: Keys To The Kingdom # 1, Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriquez, IDW

• Love And Rockets: Volume 3, Jaime And Gilbert Hernandez, Fantagraphics

I haven’t read Daytripper, but plan to.  I don’t like Chew (I know that’s sacrilege, but I think it’s too high concept for me) or Locke & Key or Love And Rockets.  I think they really missed the boat here by not including Sweet Tooth, X Force, and, more than any other, DeadpoolMAX.  So Hickman gets it by default.  I do enjoy the F4 stuff he’s doing, but it’s not life-changing or anything.  On the other hand, he actually made Fantastic Four interesting, which ain’t easy.  But still, nobody’s reading DPM and you all really, really should be.  It’s hilarious and disturbing, all at once.

Best Writer

• Cullen Bunn, Sixth Gun, Oni Press

• Joshua Hale Fialkov, Echoes, Top Cow

• Roger Langridge, Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Marvel Comics

• Ryan Sohmer, Gutters,

• Mark Waid, Irredeemable, BOOM! Studios

It’s a toss up for me between Landgridge and Waid, but I’ll give the edge to Bunn.

Best Artist

• Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit, IDW

• Dean Haspiel, Cuba : My Revolution, Vertigo/DC Comics

• Brian Hurtt, Sixth Gun, Oni Press

• Ed Ryzowski, Gutters

• Chris Samnee, Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Marvel Comics

I’ll go with Cooke.  I didn’t like the comic all that much, but the art is great.

Best Cartoonist

• Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit, IDW

• Jaime Hernandez, Love and Rockets, Fantagraphics

• Jeff Lemire, Sweet Tooth, Vertigo/DC Comics

• Bryan Lee O’Malley, Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, Oni Press

• Jeff Smith, RASL, Cartoon Books

What’s the difference between a cartoonist and an artist, and how does Cooke get into both for the same work?  I dunno.  But Jeff Lemire’s work gives me chills, so it gets my vote.  No contest.

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