Last month, during a virtual Comic Con International, the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were announced. Commonly shortened to the Eisners, these prizes, given for creative achievement in American comic books, are sometimes referred to as the comics industry’s equivalent of the Oscar Awards. Below is a selection of winners available to borrow from the Eisenhower collection. See a complete list of winners.
Best Graphic Album—New
Pulp by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Max Winters, a pulp writer in 1930s New York, finds himself drawn into a story not unlike the tales he churns out at five cents a word-tales of a Wild West outlaw dispensing justice with a six-gun. But will Max be able to do the same when pursued by bank robbers, Nazi spies, and enemies from his past? One part thriller, one part meditation on a life of violence, Pulp is unlike anything award-winning Brubaker and Phillips have ever done before.
Best Limited Series
Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber
Superman’s best friend and Daily Planet photographer Jimmy Olsen tours the bizarre underbelly of the DC Universe in this new series featuring death, destruction, giant turtles, and more, combining Silver Age energy with a distinctly modern sensibility! It’s a centuries-spanning whirlwind of weird that starts in Metropolis and ends in Gotham City. Award-winning writer Matt Fraction makes his DC debut with Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, an irreverent, hijinks-filled journey across the weirdest and wildest corners of the DCU.
Best New Series
Black Widow by Kelly Thompson and Elena Casagrande
Something is very wrong with Natasha: She’s…happy?! Kelly Thompson. Black Widow. ‘Nuff said! The best-selling, Eisner Award-nominated writer of CAPTAIN MARVEL joins rising-star artist Elena Casagrande to change everything for Natasha Romanoff! The Widow has been a spy almost as long as she’s been alive. And she’s never stopped running, whether she was working for the good guys or the bad. But retirement definitely agrees with the world’s deadliest woman as she revels in the perfect life she never dreamed she could have. But scratch the surface of that perfect life and you’ll find something very wrong lurking beneath it – and a woman like Nat just can’t help but scratch. Beyond San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge lies a mystery only the Marvel Universe’s greatest spy can solve! Prepare for a can’t-miss thrill ride!
Best Publication for Early Readers
Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki
In this lively, rousing picture book from Caldecott Honoree Jillian Tamaki, a crew of resourceful neighbors comes together to prepare a meal for their community. With a garden full of produce, a joyfully chaotic kitchen, and a friendly meal shared at the table, Our Little Kitchen is a celebration of full bellies and looking out for one another. Bonus materials include recipes and an author’s note about the volunteering experience that inspired the book.
Best Publication for Kids
Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru
The year is 1946, and the Lee family has moved from Chinatown to Downtown Metropolis. While Dr. Lee is eager to begin his new position at the Metropolis Health Department, his two kids, Roberta and Tommy, are more excited about being closer to the famous superhero Superman! Tommy adjusts quickly to the fast pace of their new neighborhood, befriending Jimmy Olsen and joining the baseball team, while his younger sister Roberta feels out of place when she fails to fit in with the neighborhood kids. She’s awkward, quiet, and self-conscious of how she looks different from the kids around her, so she sticks to watching people instead of talking to them. While the Lees try to adjust to their new lives, an evil is stirring in Metropolis: the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan targets the Lee family, beginning a string of terrorist attacks. They kidnap Tommy, attack the Daily Planet, and even threaten the local YMCA. But with the help of Roberta’s keen skills of observation, Superman is able to fight the Klan’s terror, while exposing those in power who support them-and Roberta and Superman learn to embrace their own unique features that set them apart.
Best Publication for Teens
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang
Gene understands stories—comic book stories, in particular. Big action. Bigger thrills. And the hero always wins. But Gene doesn’t get sports. As a kid, his friends called him “Stick” and every basketball game he played ended in pain. He lost interest in basketball long ago, but at the high school where he now teaches, it’s all anyone can talk about. The men’s varsity team, the Dragons, is having a phenomenal season that’s been decades in the making. Each victory brings them closer to their ultimate goal: the California State Championships.
Once Gene gets to know these young all-stars, he realizes that their story is just as thrilling as anything he’s seen on a comic book page. He knows he has to follow this epic to its end. What he doesn’t know yet is that this season is not only going to change the Dragons’s lives, but his own life as well.
Menopause: A Comic Treatment edited by MK Czerwiec
Like so many other issues surrounding women’s reproductive health, menopause has been treated as a cultural taboo. On the rare occasions that menopausal and perimenopausal women are depicted in popular culture, they are stereotypically cast as the butt of demeaning jokes that encourage us to laugh at their deteriorating bodies and emotional volatility. The result is that women facing menopause often feel isolated and ashamed. In a spirit of community and support, this collection of comics presents a different view of menopause that enables those experiencing it to be seen and to feel empowered.
The contributors include Lynda Barry, Maureen Burdock, Jennifer Camper, KC Councilor, MK Czerwiec, Leslie Ewing, Joyce Farmer, Ellen Forney, Ann M. Fox, Keet Geniza, Roberta Gregory, Teva Harrison, Rachael House, Leah Jones, Monica Lalanda, Cathy Leamy, Ajuan Mance, Jessica Moran, Mimi Pond, Sharon Rosenzweig, Joyce Schachter, Susan Merrill Squier, Emily Steinberg, Nicola Streeten, A. K. Summers, Kimiko Tobimatsu, Carol Tyler, Shelley L. Wall, and Dana Walrath.
Best Reality-Based Work
Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio by Derf Backderf
On May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard gunned down unarmed college students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State University. In a deadly barrage of 67 shots, 4 students were killed and 9 shot and wounded. It was the day America turned guns on its own children-a shocking event burned into our national memory. A few days prior, 10-year-old Derf Backderf saw those same Guardsmen patrolling his nearby hometown, sent in by the governor to crush a trucker strike. Using the journalism skills he employed on My Friend Dahmer and Trashed, Backderf has conducted extensive interviews and research to explore the lives of these four young people and the events of those four days in May, when the country seemed on the brink of tearing apart. Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio, which will be published in time for the 50th anniversary of the tragedy, is a moving and troubling story about the bitter price of dissent-as relevant today as it was in 1970.
Best Graphic Memoir
The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist by Adrian Tomine
What happens when a childhood hobby grows into a lifelong career? The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist, Adrian Tomine’s funniest and most revealing foray into autobiography, offers an array of unexpected answers. When a sudden medical incident lands Tomine in the emergency room, he begins to question if it was really all worthwhile: despite the accolades and opportunities of a seemingly charmed career, it’s the gaffes, humiliations, slights, and insults he’s experienced (or caused) within the industry that loom largest in his memory. Tomine illustrates the amusing absurdities of how we choose to spend our time, all the while mining his conflicted relationship with comics and comics culture. But in between chaotic book tours, disastrous interviews, and cringe-inducing interactions with other artists, life happens: he fumbles his way into marriage, parenthood, and an indisputably fulfilling existence.
Best Graphic Album—Reprint
Seeds and Stems by Simon Hanselmann
In 2016, Hanselmann began producing Xeroxed zines starring the depressive Megg (a green-skinned witch), her abusive boyfriend Mogg (an actual cat), their submissive roommate Owl (a vaguely humanoid owl), and the self-destructively hedonistic Werewolf Jones (half human, half wolf) in print runs of 300 to 500 copies, with hand-painted covers, custom stamps and hologram security stickers. Seeds and Stems collects all of these out-of-print, self-published stories produced by the artist between 2016-2019, along with a generous smattering of rarities from various anthologies and magazines. Megg and Mogg and friends explore the worlds of lucid dreaming, banking scams, cinema, mixed drinks, alien invasions, and budget vasectomies in this varied collection of rare and often experimental adventures, designed and curated entirely by the artist.