Last month, at 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 Academy Awards. Below is a selection of winners available to borrow from the Eisenhower collection. See a complete list of winners.
Best Graphic Album—New
Monsters by Barry Windsor-Smith
In 1964, Bobby Bailey is recruited for a U.S. military experimental genetics program that was discovered in Nazi Germany 20 years prior. His only ally, Sergeant McFarland, intervenes to try to protect him, which sets off a chain of events that spin out of everyone s control. As the titular monsters multiply, becoming real and metaphorical, literal and ironic, the story reaches its emotional and moral reckoning.
Best Limited Series
The Good Asian by Pornsak Pichetshote and Alexandre Tefenkgi
Following Edison Harki, a haunted, self-loathing Chinese-American detective on the trail of a killer in 1936 Chinatown, THE GOOD ASIAN is Chinatown noir starring the first generation of Americans to come of age under an immigration ban, the Chinese, as they’re besieged by rampant murders, abusive police, and a world that seemingly never changes.
Best New Series
The Nice House on the Lake by James Tynion IV and Álvaro Martínez Bueno
Everyone who was invited to the house knows Walter—well, they know him a little, anyway. Some met him in childhood; some met him months ago. And Walter’s always been a little…off.
But after the hardest year of their lives, nobody was going to turn down Walter’s invitation to an astonishingly beautiful house in the woods, overlooking an enormous sylvan lake. It’s beautiful, it’s opulent, it’s private—so a week of putting up with Walter’s weird little schemes and nicknames in exchange for the vacation of a lifetime? Why not?
Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)
Chibi Usagi: Attack of the Heebie Chibis by Julie and Stan Sakai
Stan Sakai’s beloved rabbit samurai has won countless fans over his 35-year history, thanks to a clever blend of thrilling action, heartwarming characters, and a realistic portrayal of Japanese culture. Chibi-Usagi brings these fun and thoughtful stories to middle-grade readers as an original graphic novel packed with adorable art and captivating energy.
While fishing for freshwater eels, Chibi-Usagi, Tomoe, and Gen rescue a Dogu, a clay creature from Japan’s prehistory. The Dogu’s village has been enslaved by the Salamander King and his Heebie-Chibi minions and are forced to work in their mines. Chibi-Usagi and his friends must rescue the Dogu people and eliminate the threat of the Salamander King forever in this feature-length story of adventure, humor, and slippery eels.
Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12)
Salt Magic by Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock
When Vonceil’s older brother, Elber, comes home to their family’s Oklahoma farm after serving on the front lines of World War I, things aren’t what she expects. His experiences have changed him into a serious and responsible man who doesn’t have time for Vonceil anymore. He even marries the girl he had left behind.
Then a mysterious and captivating woman shows up at the farm and confronts Elber for leaving her in France. When he refuses to leave his wife, she puts a curse on the family well, turning the entire town’s water supply into saltwater. Who is this lady dressed all in white, what has she done to the farm, and what does Vonceil’s old uncle Dell know about her?
To find out, Vonceil will have to strike out on her own and delve deep into the world of witchcraft, confronting dangerous relatives, shapeshifting animals, a capricious Sugar Witch, and the Lady in White herself–the foreboding Salt Witch. The journey will change Vonceil, but along the way she’ll learn a lot about love and what it means to grow up.
Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)
The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor
Aware of the racial tumult in the years after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Mei tries to remain blissfully focused on her job, her close friendship with the camp foreman’s daughter, and telling stories about Paul Bunyan–reinvented as Po Pan Yin (Auntie Po), an elderly Chinese matriarch.
Anchoring herself with stories of Auntie Po, Mei navigates the difficulty and politics of lumber camp work and her growing romantic feelings for her friend Bee. The Legend of Auntie Po is about who gets to own a myth, and about immigrant families and communities holding on to rituals and traditions while staking out their own place in America.
Best Humor Publication
Not All Robots by Mark Russell and Mike Deodato Jr.
In the year 2056, robots have replaced human beings in the workforce. An uneasy co-existence develops between the newly intelligent robots and the ten billion humans living on Earth. Every human family is assigned a robot upon whom they are completely reliant. What could possibly go wrong? Meet the Walters, a human family whose robot, Razorball, ominously spends his free time in the garage working on machines which they’re pretty sure are designed to kill them.
You Died: An Anthology of the Afterlife edited by Kel McDonald and Andrea Purcell
Death—the one aspect of life we all have in common—is waiting for everyone, yet our practices, beliefs, myths, and stories about it are as diverse as we are. You Died celebrates these vibrant cultural expressions of the great equalizer in a thrilling, life-affirming whirlwind of a book, an inspirational volume to be treasured through times of both loss and abundance (and every day in between).
At turns both brazen and insightful, morose and optimistic, You Died asks a wide array of cartoonist newbloods and all-stars to relate their most unforgettable tales of death and what comes next. Filled with beautifully illustrated accounts of grief and mourning, ancient myths, memorial rites around the globe, afterlife in the far reaches of space, and the simple and touching ways both the living and the dead carry on, this lively collection starts a comforting and much-needed dialogue about death as a natural part of life.
Best Reality-Based Work
The Black Panther Party: A Graphic History by David F. Walker and Marcus Kwame Anderson
Founded in Oakland, California, in 1966, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was a revolutionary political organization that stood in defiant contrast to the mainstream civil rights movement. This gripping illustrated history explores the impact and legacy of the Panthers, from their social, educational, and healthcare programs that were designed to uplift the Black community to their battle against police brutality through citizen patrols and frequent clashes with the FBI, which targeted the Party from its outset. Using dramatic comic book-style retellings and illustrated profiles of key figures, The Black Panther Party captures the major events, people, and actions of the party, as well as their cultural and political influence and enduring significance.
Best Graphic Memoir
Run: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, L. Fury, and Nate Powell
To John Lewis, the civil rights movement came to an end with the signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. But that was after more than five years as one of the preeminent figures of the movement, leading sit–in protests and fighting segregation on interstate busways as an original Freedom Rider. It was after becoming chairman of SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and being the youngest speaker at the March on Washington. It was after helping organize the Mississippi Freedom Summer and the ensuing delegate challenge at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. And after co-leading the march from Selma to Montgomery on what became known as “Bloody Sunday.” All too often, the depiction of history ends with a great victory. But John Lewis knew that victories are just the beginning. In Run: Book One, John Lewis and longtime collaborator Andrew Aydin reteam with Nate Powell—the award–winning illustrator of the March trilogy—and are joined by L. Fury—making an astonishing graphic novel debut—to tell this often overlooked chapter of civil rights history.
Best Adaptation from Another Medium
George Orwell’s 1984: The Graphic Novel, adapted by Fido Nesti
In 1984, London is a grim city in the totalitarian state of Oceania where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind. Winston Smith is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. Drawn into a forbidden love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionary organization called the Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a deadly match against the powers that be.
Best U.S. Edition of International Material
The Shadow of a Man by Benoît Peeters and François Schuiten, translated by Stephen D. Smith
Albert Chamisso, a newlywed of just a few weeks to Sarah, begins to have nightmares. Dr. Polydore Vincent helps him to get rid of the nightmares, but a strange side effect of the treatment is that his shadow is in color afterwards. He struggles with this, losing his wife and his job in the process. He moves to the outskirts of Blossfeldtstad where he meets the lovely Minna. Together they create a light show that becomes very popular in this bittersweet romantic noir tale.
Best U.S. Edition of International Material-Asia
Lovesickness: Junji Ito Story Collection by Junji Ito, translation by Jocelyne Allen
Ryusuke returns to the town where he once lived when rumors begin swirling about girls killing themselves after encountering a bewitchingly handsome young man. Harboring his own secret from time spent in this town, Ryusuke attempts to capture the beautiful boy and close the case…
Starting with the strikingly bloody “Lovesickness,” this volume collects ten stories showcasing horror master Junji Ito in peak form.
Best Comics-Related Book
All of the Marvels by Douglas Wolk
The superhero comic books that Marvel Comics has published since 1961 are, as Douglas Wolk notes, the longest continuous, self-contained work of fiction ever created: over half a million pages to date, and still growing. The Marvel story is a gigantic mountain smack in the middle of contemporary culture. Thousands of writers and artists have contributed to it. Everyone recognizes its protagonists: Spider-Man, the Avengers, the X-Men. Eighteen of the hundred highest-grossing movies of all time are based on parts of it. Yet not even the people telling the story have read the whole thing–nobody’s supposed to. So, of course, that’s what Wolk did: he read all 27,000+ comics that make up the Marvel Universe thus far, from Alpha Flight to Omega the Unknown.
And then he made sense of it–seeing into the ever-expanding story, in its parts and as a whole, and seeing through it, as a prism through which to view the landscape of American culture.