2013 Eisner Award Nominees Announced!

Clockwise from left, judges Frank, Adam, Michael, CH, Katie, and John

On this, one day after my 48th birthday, I’m proud to help trumpet the nominees for the 2013 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards—which I, as one of six Eisner judges, helped to select!

Working with fellow judges Michael Cavna, Adam Healy, Katie Monnin, Frank Santoro, and John Smith, as well as Eisner Award administrator Jackie Estrada, was an unalloyed delight: a rare, exhilarating mountaintop experience for which I will always be grateful. Our extended get-together in San Diego was an intense, eye-opening comics summit—an intellectual jolt in the best sense. I read and reread a lot of comics, made new friends, and found myself debating a year’s worth of excellent comics and comics scholarship. What a trip!

Michael Cavna Adam Healy Dr. Katie Monnin, as drawn by Rachel Bowman

Frank Santoro John Smith

The process began for me last September, when I was asked and immediately agreed to serve as a judge. The full panel of judges was made public in December. By then all of us judges, and Jackie, were in steady communication by email. As the New Year approached, we began taking note of the many best-of-year lists put together by critics, newsblogs, and magazines. As winter wore on, a slow trickle of emails turned into a steady stream, then a flood. We judges began highlighting favorite titles of the past year. But it was during our four-day judging summit in San Diego, right after Easter, that our discussions shifted into high gear, and sometimes became outright debates.

From morning to night, we gathered in a hotel conference room that was STACKED with comics—seriously, the room had that papery, bookstore smell—and carved our initial huge list of submissions (something in the neighborhood of 30 pages of close-set type) down to a merely large semifinalist list, which we then began wrangling over and whittling down in earnest. Every night, after dinner, I took a big stack of comics back to my hotel room and read until midnight or 1:00 a.m., then got up the next day, returned to the conference room, and resumed talking. A final marathon day of voting round the table—including numeric scoring and sometimes re-scoring as well as qualitative discussion—brought the semifinal list (something like 9 pages) down to the final list of four, five, or six nominees in each of 29 categories.

Every one of us judges surely had his or her disappointments; our points of view were distinct, and our aesthetic interests sometimes very different if not downright divergent. Some judges surprised me by voting against expectations (hell, I surprised myself at times). Yet our shared seriousness, mutual respect, and genuine enjoyment of each other’s company really shone through. We all took the job very seriously. In the end, we crafted what I believe is a fair and solid list of top-flight comics and books about comics—the best that 2012 had to offer. A smart list that tells a lot about the current state of the art!

Thanks to Michael Cavna for this awesome sketch of yours truly!

Again, I’ll always be thankful for this experience, and for what it has taught me about comics and the comics community. I’d gladly spend time with every one of my fellow judges again, and I hope to. Here are the nominees:

Best Short Story

  • “A Birdsong Shatters the Still,” by Jeff Wilson and Ted May, in Injury #4 (Ted May/Alternative)
  • “Elmview” by Jon McNaught, in Dockwood (Nobrow)
  • “Moon 1969: The True Story of the 1969 Moon Launch,” by Michael Kupperman, in Tales Designed to Thrizzle #8 (Fantagraphics)
  • “Moving Forward,” by drewscape, in Monsters, Miracles, & Mayonnaise (Epigram Books)
  • “Rainbow Moment,” by Lilli Carré, in Heads or Tails (Fantagraphics)

Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)

  • Lose #4: “The Fashion Issue,” by Michael DeForge (Koyama Press)
  • The Mire, by Becky Cloonan (self-published)
  • Pope Hats #3, by Ethan Rilly (AdHouse Books)
  • Post York #1, by James Romberger and Crosby (Uncivilized Books)
  • Tales Designed to Thrizzle #8, by Michael Kupperman (Fantagraphics)

Best Continuing Series

  • Fatale, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image)
  • Hawkeye, by Matt Fraction and David Aja (Marvel)
  • The Manhattan Projects, by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra (Image)
  • Prophet, by Brandon Graham and Simon Roy (Image)
  • Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image)

Best New Series

  • Adventure Time, by Ryan North, Shelli Paroline, and Braden Lamb (kaboom!)
  • Bandette, by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover (Monkeybrain)
  • Fatale, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image)
  • Hawkeye, by Matt Fraction and David Aja (Marvel)
  • Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image)

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7)

  • Babymouse for President, by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (Random House)
  • Benny and Penny in Lights Out, by Geoffrey Hays (Toon Books/Candlewick)
  • Kitty & Dino, by Sara Richard (Yen Press/Hachette)
  • Maya Makes a Mess, by Rutu Modan (Toon Books/Candlewick)
  • Zig and Wikki in The Cow, by Nadja Spiegelman and Trade Loeffler (Toon Books/Candlewick)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12)

  • Adventure Time, by Ryan North, Shelli Paroline, and Braden Lamb (kaboom!)
  • Amulet Book 5: Prince of the Elves, by Kazu Kibuishi (Scholastic)
  • Cow Boy: A Boy and His Horse, by Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos (Archaia)
  • Crogan’s Loyalty, by Chris Schweizer (Oni)
  • Hilda and the Midnight Giant, by Luke Pearson (Nobrow)
  • Road to Oz, by L. Frank Baum, adapted by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young (Marvel)

Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)

  • Adventure Time: Marceline and the Scream Queens, by Meredith Gran (kaboom!)
  • Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller, by Joseph Lambert (Center for Cartoon Studies/Disney Hyperion)
  • Ichiro, by Ryan Inzana (Houghton Mifflin)
  • Spera, vol. 1, by Josh Tierney et al. (Archaia)
  • A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, adapted by Hope Larson (FSG)

Best Humor Publication

  • Adventure Time, by Ryan North, Shelli Paroline, and Braden Lamb (kaboom!)
  • BBXX: Baby Blues Decades 1 & 2, by Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman (Andrews McMeel)
  • Darth Vader and Son, by Jeffrey Brown (Chronicle)
  • Naked Cartoonists, edited by Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)

Best Digital Comic

Best Anthology

  • Dark Horse Presents, edited by Mike Richardson (Dark Horse)
  • No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics, edited by Justin Hall (Fantagraphics)
  • Nobrow #7: Brave New World, edited by Alex Spiro and Sam Arthur (Nobrow)
  • 2000 AD, edited by Matt Smith (Rebellion)
  • Where Is Dead Zero?, edited by Jeff Ranjo (Where Is Dead Zero?)

Best Reality-Based Work

  • Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller, by Joseph Lambert (Center for Cartoon Studies/Disney Hyperion)
  • The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song, by Frank M. Young and David Lasky (Abrams ComicArts)
  • A Chinese Life, by Li Kunwu and P. Ôtié (Self Made Hero)
  • The Infinite Wait and Other Stories, by Julia Wertz (Koyama Press)
  • Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo & Me, by Ellen Forney (Gotham Books)
  • You’ll Never Know, Book 3: A Soldier’s Heart, by C. Tyler (Fantagraphics)

Best Graphic Album—New

  • Building Stories, by Chris Ware (Pantheon)
  • Goliath, by Tom Gauld (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • The Hive, by Charles Burns (Pantheon)
  • Unterzakhn, by Leela Corman (Schocken)
  • You’ll Never Know, Book 3: A Soldier’s Heart, by C. Tyler (Fantagraphics)

Best Adaptation from Another Medium

  • Chico and Rita, by Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal (Self Made Hero)
  • Homer’s Odyssey, adapted by Seymour Chwast (Bloomsbury)
  • Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score, adapted by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
  • Road to Oz, by L. Frank Baum, adapted by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young (Marvel)
  • A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, adapted by Hope Larson (FSG)

Best Graphic Album—Reprint

  • Cruisin’ with the Hound, by Spain (Fantagraphics)
  • Ed the Happy Clown, by Chester Brown (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Everything Together: Collected Stories, by Sammy Harkham (PictureBox)
  • Heads or Tails, by Lilli Carré (Fantagraphics)
  • King City, by Brandon Graham (TokyoPop/Image)
  • Sailor Twain, or The Mermaid in the Hudson by Mark Siegel (First Second)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips

  • Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim, vol. 2, edited by Dean Mullaney (IDW/Library of American Comics)
  • Mister Twee Deedle: Raggedy Ann’s Sprightly Cousin, by Johnny Gruelle, edited by Rick Marschall (Fantagraphics)
  • Percy Crosby’s Skippy, vol. 1, edited by Jared Gardner and Dean Mullaney (IDW/Library of American Comics)
  • Pogo, vol. 2: Bona Fide Balderdash, by Walt Kelly, edited by Carolyn Kelly and Kim Thompson (Fantagraphics)
  • Roy Crane’s Captain Easy: The Complete Sunday Newspaper Strips, vol. 3, edited by Rick Norwood (Fantagraphics)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books

  • Crime Does Not Pay Archives, edited by Philip Simon and Kitchen, Lind & Associates (Dark Horse)
  • David Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil Born Again: Artist’s Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
  • Wally Wood’s EC Stories: Artist’s Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
  • Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man, by Carl Barks, edited by Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)
  • Young Romance: The Best of Simon & Kirby’s Romance Comics, edited by Michel Gagné (Fantagraphics)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material

  • Abelard, by Régis Hautiere and Renaud Dillies (NBM)
  • Athos in America, by Jason (Fantagraphics)
  • Blacksad: Silent Hell, by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido (Dark Horse)
  • The Making of, by Brecht Evens (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Monsieur Jean: The Singles Theory, by Philippe Dupuy and Charles Berberian (Humanoids)
  • New York Mon Amour, by Benjamin LeGrand, Dominique Grange, and Jacques Tardi (Fantagraphics)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia

  • Barbara, by Osamu Tezuka (Digital Manga)
  • A Chinese Life, by Li Kunwu and P. Ôtié (Self Made Hero)
  • Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, by Naoki Urasawa (VIZ Media)
  • Nonnonba, by Shigeru Mizuki (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Thermae Romae, by Mari Yamazaki (Yen Press/Hachette)

Best Writer

  • Ed Brubaker, Fatale (Image)
  • Matt Fraction, Hawkeye  (Marvel); Casanova: Avaritia (Marvel Icon)
  • Brandon Graham, Multiple Warheads, Prophet (Image)
  • Jonathan Hickman, The Manhattan Projects (Image)
  • Brian K. Vaughan, Saga (Image)
  • Frank M. Young, The Carter Family (Abrams ComicArts)

Best Writer/Artist

  • Charles Burns, The Hive (Pantheon)
  • Gilbert Hernandez, Love and Rockets New Stories, vol. 5 (Fantagraphics)
  • Jaime Hernandez, Love and Rockets New Stories, vol. 5 (Fantagraphics)
  • Luke Pearson, Hilda and the Midnight Giant, Everything We Miss (Nobrow)
  • C. Tyler, You’ll Never Know, Book 3: A Soldier’s Heart (Fantagraphics)
  • Chris Ware, Building Stories (Pantheon)

Best Penciller/Inker

  • David Aja, Hawkeye (Marvel)
  • Becky Cloonan, Conan the Barbarian (Dark Horse); The Muse (self-published)
  • Colleen Coover, Bandette (Monkeybrain)
  • Sean Phillips, Fatale (Image)
  • Joseph Remnant, Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland (Zip Comics/Top Shelf)
  • Chris Samnee, Daredevil (Marvel); Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom (IDW)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)

  • Brecht Evens, The Making Of (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Juanjo Guarnido, Blacksad (Dark Horse)
  • Teddy Kristiansen, The Red Diary/The RE[a]D Diary (MAN OF ACTION/Image)
  • Lorenzo Mattotti, The Crackle of the Frost (Fantagraphics)
  • Katsuya Terada, The Monkey King vol. 2 (Dark Horse)

Best Cover Artist

  • David Aja, Hawkeye (Marvel)
  • Brandon Graham, King City, Multiple Warheads, Elephantmen #43 (Image)
  • Sean Phillips, Fatale (Image)
  • Yuko Shimizu, The Unwritten (Vertigo/DC)
  • J. H. Williams III, Batwoman (DC)

Best Coloring

  • Charles Burns, The Hive (Pantheon)
  • Colleen Coover, Bandette (Monkeybrain)
  • Brandon Graham, Multiple Warheads (Image)
  • Dave Stewart, Batwoman (DC); Fatale  (Image); BPRD, Conan the Barbarian, Hellboy in Hell, Lobster Johnson, The Massive (Dark Horse)
  • Chris Ware, Building Stories (Pantheon)

Best Lettering

  • Paul Grist, Mudman (Image)
  • Troy Little, Angora Napkin 2: Harvest of Revenge (IDW)
  • Joseph Remnant, Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland (Zip Comics/Top Shelf)
  • C. Tyler, You’ll Never Know, Book 3: A Soldier’s Heart (Fantagraphics)
  • Chris Ware, Building Stories (Pantheon)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism

Best Comics-Related Book

  • The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist, edited by Alvin Buenaventura (Abrams ComicArts)
  • Marie Severin: The Mirthful Mistress of Comics, by Dewey Cassell (TwoMorrows)
  • Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, by Sean Howe (HarperCollins)
  • Mastering Comics, by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden (First Second)
  • Team Cul De Sac: Cartoonists Draw the Line at Parkinson’s, edited by Chris Sparks (Andrews McMeel)
  • Woodwork: Wallace Wood 1927–1981, edited by Frédéric Manzano (CasalSolleric/IDW)

Best Educational/Academic Work

  • Autobiographical Comics: Life Writing in Pictures, by Elisabeth El Refaie (University Press of Mississippi)
  • Comics Versus Art, by Bart Beaty (University of Toronto Press)
  • Crockett Johnson & Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature, by Philip Nel (University Press of Mississippi)
  • Lynda Barry: Girlhood Through the Looking Glass, by Susan E. Kirtley (University Press of Mississippi)
  • The Poetics of Slumberland, by Scott Bukatman (University of California Press)

Best Publication Design

  • Building Stories, designed by Chris Ware (Pantheon)
  • Dal Tokyo, designed by Gary Panter and Family Sohn (Fantagraphics)
  • David Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil Born Again: Artist’s Edition, designed by Randy Dahlk (IDW)
  • Mister Twee Deedle: Raggedy Ann’s Sprightly Cousin, designed by Tony Ong (Fantagraphics)
  • Wizzywig, designed by Ed Piskor and Chris Ross (Top Shelf)

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5 responses to “2013 Eisner Award Nominees Announced!

  1. Charles, this is an exciting list of nominees and I enjoyed reading about the selection process. You gotta have “that papery, bookstore smell” or it’s not a party. As always, I enjoy the clarity of your writing. As a contributor to Dark Horse Presents, I’m glad to see it recognized again. As your fan, I’ll see you at the awards!

  2. A great summary of what is one of the most intense and exhilarating experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve actually kept my printout of the the initial list (also about 30 single-spaced pages), just to take out and marvel at from time to time.

    Glad you enjoyed it!

    • charleshatfield

      Thanks, Karen! It was a blast and a challenge, one of the highlights of my years as a comics critic. Knowing how the sausage is made turns out to be not so bad. :)

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