San Diego Comic-Con may still be months away, but the hype is real. The nominees for the 31st annual Eisner Awards are here, and comics publishers Image and DC lead the list. Here's a look at some of the nominees and how things shook out.
Image received a total of 19 nominations and became the first comics publisher to sweep the Best New Series category. "It’s always exciting to be nominated for anything," the company's publisher and chief creative officer, Eric Stephenson, said in a statement, "but to receive as many nominations as we did this year is a powerful testament to the sheer volume of creativity produced by the amazing writers and artists we work with here at Image.”
Check out the rundown of nominees for Best New Series:
Best New Series
- Bitter Root, by David Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Green (Image)
- Crowded, by Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, and Ted Brandt (Image)
- Gideon Falls, by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino (Image)
- Isola, by Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl (Image)
- Man-Eaters, by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk (Image)
- Skyward, by Joe Henderson and Lee Garbett (Image)
DC came right behind Image with a total of 17 nominations. DC owes a number of these nominations to creator Tom King and his work on the Batman and Mister Miracle series alongside Mitch Gerads. The comic series Mister Miracle (DC) and fantasy-adventure Isola (Image) garnered the most nominations, including one for Best Writer.
Here's who else rounded out the Best Writer category:
- Alex de Campi, Bad Girls (Gallery 13); Twisted Romance (Image)
- Tom King, Batman, Mister Miracle, Heroes in Crisis, Swamp Thing Winter Special (DC)
- Jeff Lemire, Black Hammer: Age of Doom, Doctor Star & the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows, Quantum Age (Dark Horse); Descender, Gideon Falls, Royal City (Image)
- Mark Russell, Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, Green Lantern/Huckleberry Hound, Lex Luthor/Porky Pig (DC); Lone Ranger (Dynamite)
- Kelly Thompson, Nancy Drew (Dynamite); Hawkeye, Jessica Jones, Mr. & Mrs. X, Rogue & Gambit, Uncanny X-Men, West Coast Avengers (Marvel)
- Chip Zdarsky, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, Marvel Two-in-One (Marvel)
Moving back to the publisher side of things, IDW and LionForge each snagged 10 nominations. FirstSecond is right behind them with nine. Eleven people are sporting more than one nomination, which goes to show you the incredible talent and hustle of comics creators. Writer and editor Alex de Campi is nominated for four Eisners for her work in the anthology Twisted Romance and femme fatale graphic novel Bad Girls.
Here's a breakdown of the anthology nominees:
- Femme Magnifique: 50 Magnificent Women Who Changed the World, edited by Shelly Bond (Black Crown/IDW)
- Puerto Rico Strong, edited by Marco Lopez, Desiree Rodriguez, Hazel Newlevant, Derek Ruiz, and Neil Schwartz (Lion Forge)
- Twisted Romance, edited by Alex de Campi (Image)
- Where We Live: A Benefit for the Survivors in Las Vegas, edited by Will Dennis, curated by J. H. Williams III and Wendy Wright-Williams (Image)
It's nice to see the Eisners highlighting small-press publishers like ShortBox. ShortBox has two nominations this year, one for Homunculus, by Joe Sparrow, and the second for Beneath the Dead Oak Tree, by Emily Carroll. ShortBox curates and publishes work from an array of international artists. They are dedicated to improving diversity within the field of comics publishing.
Best Single Issue/One-Shot
- Beneath the Dead Oak Tree, by Emily Carroll (ShortBox)
- Black Hammer: Cthu-Louise, by Jeff Lemire and Emi Lenox (Dark Horse)
- No Better Words, by Carolyn Nowak (Silver Sprocket)
- Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #310, by Chip Zdarsky (Marvel)
- The Terrible Elisabeth Dumn Against the Devils in Suits, by Arabson, translated by James Robinson (IHQ Studio/ Image)
If we're doing a bit of tea leaf reading here, what can this year's nominations tell us? Many of the picks this year are meta-narratives about the state of comics themselves, as seen in the reality-bending limited series Eternity Girl (Vertigo/DC). Comics this year have examined what it means to be a superhero, not only for the kind of power it bestows but the physical and mental limitations of that power. There's been a more self-reflective look at the superhero genre, and the Eisner nominations mirror this.
This year's nominees also trend toward the experimental and progressive, with works Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles (DC) and Man-Eaters (Image) both receiving a nomination. Comics inevitably reflect the world around us, but this year's nominations applaud comics for investing in and reckoning with our reality. Both Exit Stage Left and Eternity-Girl warped reality with the help of their graphic and bold use of color. As we know, comics are nothing without the team of pencillers, inkers, letterers, and artists who help bring them to life.
Here's a peek at the nominations for Best Coloring:
- Jordie Bellaire, Batgirl, Batman (DC); The Divided Earth (First Second); Days of Hate, Dead Hand, Head Lopper, Redlands (Image); Shuri, Doctor Strange (Marvel)
- Tamra Bonvillain, Alien 3 (Dark Horse); Batman, Doom Patrol (DC); Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Multiple Man (Marvel)
- Nathan Fairbairn, Batman, Batgirl, Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman Earth One, Vol. 2 (DC); Die!Die!Die! (Image)
- Matt Hollingsworth, Batman: White Knight (DC): Seven to Eternity, Wytches (Image)
- Matt Wilson, Black Cloud, Paper Girls, The Wicked + The Divine (Image); The Mighty Thor, Runaways (Marvel)
This year's nominees are spread out over 31 categories. Categories reflect the diverse range of work being created and published in the U.S. today in graphic, comics, and webcomic form. The nominees represent over 170 print and online titles from more than 50 publishers, double dang.
The full list of nominations can be found here.
The winners will be announced on July 19 at San Diego Comic-Con. Voting for the awards is held online, and the ballot will be available at www.eisnervote.com. The deadline for voting is June 14.