is a complete list of all the nominees.
Not a bad batch, in my opinion, but I can't say that I'm in complete agreement on some of the nominations. Of course, I'm not an Eisner judge, so the decision is really not up to me.
I appreciate the creator driven aspect of the awards (I mean it is the creators being nominated, more so than the books), and while I think that most of the super hero themed works nominated are deserving of honor, I do honestly have to wonder about the level of variety. I mean, any super hero books nominated were either created by Ed Brubaker or Darwyn Cooke, Batman: Year 100
and All Star Superman
Also, is Fables
really that good? It's an enjoyable read, but I gave up on it after a few issues. Has it really gotten that much better? It's one of those books, like Y: The Last Man
, that I (could) enjoy the hell out of and read regularly, but would never say it's one of the best comics ever.
These are probably two of the most overrated comics in the market today. Like I said, I enjoy the shit out of some BKV aktion as much as the next nerd, but Y
is by far one of his weaker masterpieces. And to be completely honest, just because a comic book is really good at being a great comic book, doesn't mean that it really reaches the literary aspirations that everyone seems to be forcefully injecting into the medium.
And while some of the more hyped nominees like Yang's American Born Chinese
and Alison Blechdel's Fun Home
certainly achieve a fairly high level of literariness, it's far from breaking new ground (no matter what the NY Times says).
That being said, there are quite a few nominees who, in my opinion, have done some really amazing work in the medium, if not in terms of literary aspirations, than by all means cinematic, or visual, or even comical.
Brian Chippendale's Ninja
(Best Graphic Album - New) is seriously some next level shit. Not necessarily new new ground for any of the Fort Thunder cartoonists, but the packaging and presentation is some of the best I've seen. Yes, I'm a sucker for over-sized books that don't fit in my book shelf, and yes I also own Lost Girls
(AKA The Giant Purple Brick), and the packaging of Ninja
blows it away.
I don't think that I can hype Scandinavian cartoonist Jason enough. Eli and I had a conversation recently where we debated which cartoonists and writers were breaking new ground in the medium. Jason was among my list, but Eli contested my opinion, by stating that good cartooning isn't enough to break new ground. I argued that it was if the craftsmanship of the cartoonist was so pure and so refined that it actually defined the language of the medium to come. Jason is very close to being at this point, and his nominated book The Left Bank Gang
, is perhaps the best example of his work's potential available states-side. It's also one of the most powerful books I've read in a long long time. Comics or otherwise.
A few more quick notes:
- Lewis Trondheim's A.L.I.E.E.E.N. is probably my favorite book that First Second put out last year, which says a lot since they put out some really amazing books last year
- I'm actually not too familiar with most of the manga in the Best US Edition of International Material - Japan category, but I read the volumes of Old Boy released by Dark Horse. It's good, but is it really worth an Eisner?
- The fact that Tatsumi's Abandon the Old in Tokyo really brings up some serious questions about what can be considered a "comic book" and a "comic strip". Eddie Campbell defines a comic book as a long-form comic strip, and a graphic novel as a longer-form comic strip. The stories included in Abandon the Old in Tokyo are all about 4 - 6 pages in length and were included in an ongoing erotic manga anthology. So do short stories like this count as "strips" or "books"? Considering the limitations of the newspaper and the differences in graphic design, I would venture to say that a few of the Tatsumi stories are probably equal in density as any Sunday Peanuts strip. I don't know. I could be wrong.
- That being said, Tatsumi sort of kills the "competition" in the Best Archival Collection/Project - Comic Books category, but would be given a run for his money in the Best Archival Collection/Project - Strips category.
- I'm very disappointed with the judges choices for Best Digital Comics. None of them are that great. I would pick Dan Goldman's fucked-up psychedelic roommate dramedy, Kelly, over Shooting War any day. And seriously, Bee?
- I didn't think Kramers Ergot 6 was that great a collection. There have been better volumes of the anthology, and better anthologies released last year.
- Ivan Brunetti should win every category that he is nominated for.
- Except Best Humor Publication, which would necessitate that Bob Burden's Flaming Carrot Comics win because the Flaming Carrot saved my life.
- I still have not read his Gumby book. I know I should though.
- Does Young Avengers really count as a "continuing series" at this point since, it's, you know, no longer continuing?
- I am seriously giving myself palpitations trying to decide whether to root for Paul Pope's Batman: Year 100 mini-series, or Tony Millionaire's Sock Monkey. Sock Monkey!!
- I can't believe Stan Fucking Lee got nominated for an Eisner Award. Seriously? Seriously?!? What's next?
In a completely unrelated note, I still have no computer at home. So blogging is still sort-of suspended. A lot of really good stuff came out this week, and I downloaded a bunch of awesome stuff to read. So if I get a new computer soon, expect some furious comic blogging.
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