2016 Eisner Award nominees showcase the year's best comic books

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Apr 21, 2016, 8:19 AM EDT

Some fans can’t wait to watch the spectacle of the Oscars, others count down the days until the Emmys, but the artistic honors I most look forward to being awarded each year are the comic-book industry’s Eisners. Named after the legendary creator of The Spirit and the inventor of the graphic novel, Will Eisner, the Eisners have been highlighting the best and brightest in comic books since they were first given out in 1988. Now it’s that time of year again, when the nominees are announced, giving fans time to debate who will win when they are given out at San Diego Comic Con on July 22.

The 2016 nominees are notable in that they include a record 61 nominations between 49 women, up over the 44 nominated for last year’s awards. With the comic industry under heavy scrutiny by fans for representation of all kinds, it’s encouraging to see such prominent evidence of progress. The most nominated titles were Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover’s webcomic Bandette, Ed Piskor’s musical history series Hip-Hop Family Tree, Rep. John Lewis’ graphic novel autobiography March, Book Two and Argentinian comic The Eternaut, each with nominations in three different categories, but the awards encompassed a wide array of titles from over 60 different publishers and are sure to provide some high-quality reading material no matter what kind of comic you’re looking for.

Among the more high-profile categories is “Best Writer,” which sees nominations for Star Wars and Doctor Strange writer Jason Aaron, Giant Days’ John Allison, The Fade Out and Velvet writer Ed Brubaker, Monstress writer Marjorie Liu, and Ms. Marvel’s G. Willow Wilson. Up for “Best Penciller/Inker” is Michael Allred for his work on Silver Surfer and Art Ops, Cliff Chiang for Paper Girls, Erica Henderson for Jughead and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Joëlle Jones for Lady Killer and Brides of Helheim, and Nate Powell for March, Book Two.

 “Best New Series” includes Monstress, Bitch Planet, Harrow County, Kaijumax, Paper Girls and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, the latter five out of six of which were included in the Blastr staff’s roundup of the best new series of 2015. We didn’t do quite as well with the “Best Continuing Series” category, however, as we only included Silver Surfer and Southern Bastards on our best ongoings list. Looks like we have some reading to do!

Read on to find out the nominees for the 28th annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, and be sure to let us know your predictions and preferences for who will be leaving San Diego with a trophy.


Best Short Story

“Black Death in America,” by Tom King and John Paul Leon, in Vertigo Quarterly: Black (Vertigo/DC)

“Hand Me Down,” by Kristyna Baczynski, in 24 x 7 (Fanfare Presents)

“It’s Going to Be Okay,” by Matthew Inman, in The Oatmeal, theoatmeal.com/comics/plane

“Killing and Dying,” by Adrian Tomine, in Optic Nerve #14 (Drawn & Quarterly)

“Lion and Mouse,” by R. Sikoryak, in Fable Comics (First Second)

Best Single Issue/One-Shot

A Blanket of Butterflies, by Richard Van Camp and Scott B. Henderson (HighWater Press)

I Love This Part, by Tillie Walden (Avery Hill)

Mowgli’s Mirror, by Olivier Schrauwen (Retrofit/Big Planet)

Pope Hats #4, by Ethan Rilly (AdHouse)

Silver Surfer #11: “Never After,” by Dan Slott and Michael Allred (Marvel)

Best Continuing Series

Bandette, by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover (Monkeybrain)

Giant Days, by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, and Max Sarin (BOOM! Studios/BOOM! Box)

Invincible, by Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, and Cliff Rathburn (Image/Skybound)

Silver Surfer, by Dan Slott and Michael Allred (Marvel)

Southern Bastards, by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour (Image)

Best Limited Series

Chrononauts, by Mark Millar and Sean Murphy (Image)

The Fade Out, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image)

Lady Killer, by Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich (Dark Horse)

Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions, by Bob Fingerman (Image)

The Spire, by Simon Spurrier and Jeff Stokely (BOOM! Studios)

Best New Series

Bitch Planet, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro (Image)

Harrow County, by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook (Dark Horse)

Kaijumax, by Zander Cannon (Oni)

Monstress, by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (Image)

Paper Girls, by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang (Image)

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, by Ryan North and Erica Henderson (Marvel)


Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)

Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion, by Dominque Roques and Alexis Dormal (First Second)

Little Robot, by Ben Hatke (First Second)

The Only Child, by Guojing (Schwartz & Wade)

SheHeWe, by Lee Nordling and Meritxell Bosch (Lerner Graphic Universe)

Written and Drawn by Henrietta, by Liniers (TOON Books)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12)

Baba Yaga’s Assistant, by Marika McCoola and Emily Carroll (Candlewick)

Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War, by Jessica Dee Humphreys, Michel Chikwanine, and Claudia Devila (Kids Can Press)

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor, by Nathan Hale (Abrams Amulet)

Over the Garden Wall, by Pat McHale and Jim Campbell (BOOM! Studios/KaBOOM!)

Roller Girl, by Victoria Jamieson (Dial Books)

Sunny Side Up, by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm (Scholastic Graphix)

Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)

Awkward, by Svetlana Chmakova (Yen Press)

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, by Don Brown (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

March: Book Two, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Top Shelf/IDW)

Moose, by Max de Radiguès (Conundrum)

Oyster War, by Ben Towle (Oni)

SuperMutant Magic Academy, by Jillian Tamaki (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Humor Publication

Cyanide & Happiness: Stab Factory, by Kris Wilson, Rob DenBleyker, and Dave McElfatrick (BOOM! Studios/BOOM! Box)

Deep Dark Fears, by Fran Krause (Ten Speed Press)

Sexcastle, by Kyle Starks (Image)

Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection, by Kate Beaton (Drawn & Quarterly)

UR, by Eric Haven (AdHouse)

Best Digital/Webcomic

Bandette, by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover (Monkeybrain/comiXology)

Fresh Romance, edited by Janelle Asselin (Rosy Press/comiXology)

The Legend of Wonder Woman, by Renae De Liz (DC Digital)

Lighten Up, by Ronald Wimberly (The Nib), thenib.com/lighten-up-4f7f96ca8a7e#.u45ffr3l1

These Memories Won’t Last, by Stu Campbell, memories.sutueatsflies.com/


Best Anthology

Drawn & Quarterly, Twenty-Five Years of Contemporary, Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels, edited by Tom Devlin (Drawn & Quarterly)

Eat More Comics: The Best of the Nib, edited by Matt Bors (The Nib)

24 x 7, edited by Dan Berry (Fanfare Presents)

Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard, vol. 3, edited by David Petersen (BOOM! Studios/Archaia)

Peanuts: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz, edited by Shannon Watters (BOOM! Studios/KaBOOM!)

Best Reality-Based Work

The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978–1984, by Riad Sattouf (Metropolitan Books)

Displacement: A Travelogue, by Lucy Knisley (Fantagraphics)

Hip Hop Family Tree, Book 3: 1983–1984, by Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics)

Invisible Ink: My Mother’s Secret Love Affair with a Famous Cartoonist, by Bill Griffith (Fantagraphics)

March: Book Two, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Top Shelf/IDW)

The Story of My Tits, by Jennifer Hayden (Top Shelf/IDW)

Best Graphic Album—New

Long Walk to Valhalla, by Adam Smith and Matthew Fox (BOOM! Studios/Archaia)

Nanjing: The Burning City, by Ethan Young (Dark Horse)

Ruins, by Peter Kuper (SelfMadeHero)

Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen, by Dylan Horrocks (Fantagraphics)

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, by Sydney Padua (Pantheon)

Best Graphic Album—Reprint

Angry Youth Comics, by Johnny Ryan (Fantagraphics)

Roses in December: A Story of Love and Alzheimer’s, by Tom Batiuk and Chuck Ayers (Kent State University Press)

The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal Omnibus, by E. K. Weaver (Iron Circus Comics)

Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson (Harper Teen)

Soldier’s Heart: The Campaign to Understand My WWII Veteran Father, by Carol Tyler (Fantagraphics)

Best Adaptation from Another Medium

Captive of Friendly Cove: Based on the Secret Journals of John Jewitt, by Rebecca Goldfield, Mike Short, and Matt Dembicki (Fulcrum)

City of Clowns, by Daniel Alarcón and Sheila Alvarado (Riverhead Books)

Ghetto Clown, by John Leguizamo, Christa Cassano, and Shamus Beyale (Abrams ComicArts)

Lafcadio Hearn’s “The Faceless Ghost” and Other Macabre Tales from Japan, adapted by Sean Michael Wilson and Michiru Morikawa (Shambhala)

Two Brothers, by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá (Dark Horse)


Best U.S. Edition of International Material

Alpha . . . Directions, by Jens Harder (Knockabout/Fanfare)

The Eternaut, by Héctor Germán Oesterheld and Francisco Solano Lòpez (Fantagraphics)

A Glance Backward by Pierre Paquet and Tony Sandoval (Magnetic Press)

The March of the Crabs, by Arthur de Pins (BOOM! Studios/Archaia)

The Realist, by Asaf Hanuka (BOOM! Studios/Archaia)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia

Assassination Classroom, vols. 2–7, by Yusei Matsui (VIZ)

A Bride’s Story, vol. 7, by Kaoru Mori (Yen Press)

Master Keaton, vols. 2–4, by Naoki Urasawa, Hokusei Katsushika, and Takashi Nagasaki (VIZ)

Showa, 1953–1989: A History of Japan, by Shigeru Mizuki (Drawn & Quarterly)

A Silent Voice, by Yoshitoki Oima (Kodansha)

Sunny, vol. 5, by Taiyo Matsumoto (VIZ)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips

Beyond Mars, by Jack Williamson and Lee Elias, edited by Dean Mullaney (IDW/LOAC)

Cartoons for Victory, by Warren Bernard (Fantagraphics)

The Complete Funky Winkerbean, vol. 4, by Tom Batiuk, edited by Mary Young (Black Squirrel Books)

The Eternaut, by Héctor Germán Oesterheld and Francisco Solano Lòpez, edited by Gary Groth and Kristy Valenti (Fantagraphics)

Kremos: The Lost Art of Niso Ramponi, vols. 1 and 2, edited by Joseph V. Procopio (Picture This Press/Lost Art Books)

White Boy in Skull Valley, by Garrett Price, edited by Peter Maresca (Sunday Press)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books

Frank Miller’s Ronin Gallery Edition, edited by Bob Chapman (Graphitti Designs/DC)

P. Craig Russell’s Murder Mystery and Other Stories Gallery Edition, edited by Daniel Chabon (Dark Horse)

The Puma Blues: The Complete Saga, by Stephen Murphy, Alan Moore, Michael Zulli, Stephen R. Bissette, and Dave Sim, edited by Drew Ford (Dover)

Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck: The Don Rosa Library, vols. 3–4, edited by David Gerstein (Fantagraphics)

Walt Kelly’s Fairy Tales, edited by Craig Yoe (IDW)

Best Writer

Jason Aaron, Southern Bastards (Image), Men of Wrath (Marvel Icon), Doctor Strange, Star Wars, Thor (Marvel)

John Allison, Giant Days (BOOM Studios!/BOOM! Box)

Ed Brubaker, The Fade Out, Velvet, Criminal Special Edition (Image)

Marjorie Liu, Monstress (Image)

G. Willow Wilson, Ms. Marvel (Marvel)


Best Writer/Artist

Bill Griffith, Invisible Ink: My Mother’s Secret Love Affair with a Famous Cartoonist (Fantagraphics)

Nathan Hale, Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor (Abrams)

Sydney Padua, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage (Pantheon)

Ed Piskor, Hip-Hop Family Tree, vol. 3 (Fantagraphics)

Noah Van Sciver, Fante Bukowski, Saint Cole (Fantagraphics)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team

Michael Allred, Silver Surfer (Marvel); Art Ops (Vertigo/DC)

Cliff Chiang, Paper Girls (Image)

Erica Henderson, Jughead (Archie), Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (Marvel)

Joëlle Jones, Lady Killer (Dark Horse), Brides of Helheim (Oni)

Nate Powell, March, Book Two (Top Shelf/IDW)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist

Federico Bertolucci, Love: The Tiger and Love: The Fox (Magnetic Press)

Colleen Coover, Bandette (Monkeybrain)

Carita Lupattelli, Izuna (Humanoids)

Dustin Nguyen, Descender (Image)

Tony Sandoval, A Glance Backward (Magnetic Press)

Best Cover Artist

David Aja, Hawkeye, Karnak, Scarlet Witch (Marvel)

Rafael Albuquerque, Ei8ht (Dark Horse), Huck (Image)

Amanda Conner, Harley Quinn (DC)

Joëlle Jones, Lady Killer (Dark Horse), Brides of Helheim (Oni)

Ed Piskor, Hip-Hop Family Tree (Fantagraphics)

Best Coloring

Laura Allred, Lady Killer (Dark Horse); Silver Surfer (Marvel); Art OPS (Vertigo/DC)

Jordie Bellaire, The Autumnlands, Injection, Plutona, Pretty Deadly, The Surface, They’re Not Like Us, Zero (Image); The X-Files (IDW); The Massive (Dark Horse); Magneto, Vision (Marvel)

Elizabeth Breitwiser, The Fade Out, Criminal Magazine, Outcast, Velvet (Image)

John Rauch, The Beauty (Image); Batman: Arkham Knight, Earth 2: Society (DC); Runaways (Marvel)

Dave Stewart, Abe Sapien, BPRD Hell on Earth, Fight Club 2, Frankenstein Underground, Hellboy in Hell, Hellboy and the BPRD, (Dark Horse); Sandman: Overture, Twilight Children (Vertigo/DC), Captain America: White (Marvel), Space Dumplins (Scholastic Graphix)


Best Lettering

Derf Backderf, Trashed (Abrams)

Steve Dutro, Blood-C, Midnight Society, Plants vs Zombies (Dark Horse)

Lucy Knisley, Displacement (Fantagraphics)

Troy Little, Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Top Shelf/IDW)

Kevin McCloskey, We Dig Worms! (TOON Books)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism

Alter Ego, edited by Roy Thomas (TwoMorrows)

Back Issue, edited by Michael Eury (TwoMorrows)

Comic Riffs blog by Michael Cavna, washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/

Hogan’s Alley, edited by Tom Heintjes (Hogan’s Alley)

Jack Kirby Collector, edited by John Morrow (TwoMorrows)

Best Comics-Related Book

Harvey Kurtzman: The Man Who Created Mad and Revolutionized Humor in America, by Bill Schelly (Fantagraphics)

King of the Comics: One Hundred Years of King Features Syndicate, edited by Dean Mullaney (IDW/LOAC)

Only What’s Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts, by Chip Kidd and Geoff Spear (Abrams ComicArts)

Out of Line: The Art of Jules Feiffer, by Martha Fay (Abrams ComicArts)

Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel, by Paul Levitz (Abrams ComicArts)

Best Academic/Scholarly Work

The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art, edited by  Frances Gateward and John Jennings (Rutgers)

Boys Love Manga and Beyond: History, Culture, and Community in Japan, edited by Mark McLelland et al. (University Press of Mississippi)

Graphic Medicine Manifesto, by M. K. Czerwiec et al. (Penn State University Press)

Superheroes on World Screens, edited by Rayna Denison and Rachel Mizsei-Ward (University Press of Mississippi)

Unflattening, by Nick Sousanis (Harvard University Press)

Best Publication Design

Beyond the Surface, designed by Nicolas André, Sam Arthur, Alex Spiro, and Camille Pichon (Nobrow)

The Eternaut, designed by Tony Ong (Fantagraphics)

Eventually Everything Connects, designed by Loris Lora, Sam Arthur, Alex Spiro, and Camille Pichon (Nobrow)

King of the Comics: One Hundred Years of King Features Syndicate, designed by Dean Mullaney (IDW/LOAC)

Only What’s Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts, designed by Chip Kidd (Abrams ComicArts)

Sandman Gallery Edition, designed by Graphitti Designs and Josh Beatman/Brainchild Studios (Graphitti Designs/DC)