Friday, April 15, 2005

Late for the party as usual, I think I'll run through the Eisner Awards nominations, just in case somebody gives a damn what I think. List copied from The Beat. Merci, Heidi.

MASTER NOMINEE LIST, 2005 Eisner Awards

Best Short Story
"Eve O' Twins," by Craig Thompson, in Rosetta 2 (Alternative)
"Glenn Ganges: Jeepers Jacobs," by Kevin Huizenga, in Kramer's Ergot 5 (Gingko Press)
"God" (story on wrap-around dust jacket) by Chris Ware, in McSweeney's Quarterly #13 (McSweeney's)
"The Price," by Neil Gaiman and Michael Zulli, in Creatures of the Night (Dark Horse Books)
"Unfamiliar," by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson, in The Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft (Dark Horse Books)
"Where Monsters Dine," by Troy Hickman, Angel Medina, and Jon Holdredge, in Common Grounds #5 (Top Cow/Image)

Hate to say it, but the only one of these I've read is the Dorkin/Thompson Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft offering, and it was charming but slight. Maybe this isn't such a good idea...

Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)
Demo #7: "One Shot, Don't Miss," by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan (AiT/Planet Lar)
Eightball #23: "The Death Ray," by Dan Clowes (Fantagraphics)
Ex Machina #1: "The Pilot," by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, and Tom Feister (WildStorm/DC)
Global Frequency #12: "Harpoon," by Warren Ellis and Gene Ha (WildStorm/DC)
The Goon #6: "Ilagarto Hombre!," by Eric Powell (Dark Horse)

I overrated Demo 7 at first, and consider it one of the lesser issues now, although I still think it was involving and well drawn. That Eightball story didn't impress me as much as it did some, but it was still excellent and is clearly the best in an inferior field. I didn't care for Ex Machina at all, and still marvel at how overrated Brian Vaughn's work is among fandom, in my opinion of course. That Global Frequency was fine, but the issue before it was better and there were others I would have chosen before #12. Perhaps it was the only one that came out in the past year, I forget. I don't read The Goon, although it looks interesting...I may take the plunge one of these days, but it just doesn't compel me and I can't really figure out why it was included on the list. Party crasher.

Best Serialized Story
Astonishing X-Men #1-6: "Gifted," by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday (Marvel)
Ex Machina #2-5: "State of Emergency," by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, and Tom Feister (WildStorm/DC)
Fables #19-27: "March of the Wooden Soldiers," by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, and Steve Leialoha (Vertigo/DC)
Planetary #19-20: "Mystery in Space/Rendezvous," by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday (WildStorm/DC)
Y: The Last Man #18-20: "Safeword," by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and José Marzan Jr. (Vertigo/DC)

About Vaughan, see my comments above. It completely befuddles me why he's receiving such praise and recognition. The Fables arc was fine, but nothing to get excited about, I was totally underwhelmed by Whedon's X-Men, and really, I thought that the nominated issues of Planetary were great, but not that great. I'm wondering- did the people that chose these draw names out of a hat?

Best Continuing Series
Astonishing X-Men, by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday (Marvel)
Ex Machina, by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, and Tom Feister (WildStorm/DC)
The Goon, by Eric Powell (Dark Horse)
Stray Bullets, by David Lapham (El Capitan)
Y: The Last Man, by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and José Marzan Jr. (Vertigo/DC)

No, no, maybe, don't know-haven't read, and hell no.

Best Limited Series
DC: The New Frontier, by Darwyn Cooke (DC)
Demo, by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan (AiT/Planet Lar)
30 Days of Night: Return to Barrow, by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith (IDW)
WE3, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (Vertigo/DC)
Wanted, by Mark Millar and J. G. Jones (Top Cow/Image)

The inclusion of Wanted is a joke. I can understand the inclusion of New Frontier, but it was a flawed work most notable for the art. Demo was quality stuff and an interesting approach to storytelling, but to me it was so up-and-down I couldn't give it the nod. Haven't read 30 Days. But fortunately, there is a worthy nominee on this list: Grant Morrison's scary/amusing/touching We3. It should have been in stronger company, though.

Best New Series
Astonishing X-Men, by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday (Marvel)
Doc Frankenstein, by the Wachowski Brothers and Steve Scroce (Burlyman)
Ex Machina, by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, and Tom Feister (WildStorm/DC)
The Shaolin Cowboy, by Geof Darrow (Burlyman)

I liked Shaolin Cowboy, but by now I'm beginning to think these nominations are a late April Fool's joke.

Best Publication for a Younger Audience
Amelia Rules!, (Renaissance Press) and Amelia Rules! What Makes You Happy (iBooks) by Jimmy Gownley
Courtney Crumrin in the Twilight Kingdom, by Ted Naifeh (Oni)
Owly, by Andy Runton (Top Shelf)
Plastic Man, by Kyle Baker and Scott Morse (DC)
Tommysaurus Rex, by Doug TenNapel (Image)

Is it me, or does Plastic Man look odd here? It's juvenile, but that doesn't mean it's for kids. Still, it comes down to to series listed here that I liked a LOT: Owly and Courtney Crumrin, and I'd give Owly the nod since the CC story was just a hair less involving than its predecessors.

Best Humor Publication
Angry Youth Comix, by Johnny Ryan (Fantagraphics)
Birth of a Nation, by Aaron McGruder, Reginald Hudlin, and Kyle Baker (Crown)
The Goon, by Eric Powell (Dark Horse)
Kyle Baker, Cartoonist, by Kyle Baker (Kyle Baker Publishing)
Plastic Man, by Kyle Baker and Scott Morse (DC)

The only one of these I've read is, again, Plastic Man, but there's no way it deserves an award. Where's Scurvy Dogs?

Best Anthology
Common Grounds, by Troy Hickman and others, edited by Jim McLauchlin (Top Cow/Image)
The Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft, edited by Scott Allie (Dark Horse Books)
The Matrix Comics, vol. 2, edited by Spencer Lamm (Burlyman)
McSweeney's Quarterly #13, edited by Chris Ware (McSweeney's)
Michael Chabon Presents The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, edited by Diana Schutz and David Land (Dark Horse)

The Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft is the only one of these I've read, so I'll have to defer criticism again. The DHBoW was a fine book, but I don't know if it deserves to win anything.

Best Digital Comic
Athena Voltaire, by Steve Bryant
Bento & Starchky, by zer0 (Peter Branting)
Copper, by Kazu
Jonny Crossbones, by Les McClaine
Mom's Cancer, by Brian Fies
ojingogo, by matt forsythe

Ive seen, but haven't read, Athena Voltaire, but am totally ignorant of the other again, I pass. Boy, some hotshot media pundit I am, huh!

Best Graphic Album-New
Blacksad Book 2: Arctic Nation, by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido (iBooks)
It' a Bird . . ., by Steven T. Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen (Vertigo/DC)
The Originals, by Dave Gibbons (Vertigo/DC)
Suspended in Language, by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Purvis (GT Labs)
Tommysaurus Rex, by Doug TenNapel (Image)

Again, haven't sampled any of these. Gibbons' Originals looked good, but I couldn't afford it. Doug TenNapel is an artist whose work I've liked when I've seen it, so I'd like to check that one out. Don't have any desire whatsoever to read It's A Bird; I tolerated Seagle and Kristiansen on House of Secrets for the longest time, and it was OK, but they're not creators I'll go out of my way to keep up with.

Best Graphic Album/Reprint
Age of Bronze: Sacrifice, by Eric Shanower (Image)
Bone One Volume Edition, by Jeff Smith (Cartoon Books)
The Book of Ballads, by Charles Vess and others (Tor)
Clyde Fans, by Seth (Drawn & Quarterly)
In the Shadow of No Towers, by art spiegelman (Pantheon)
Locas, by Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics)

Uh...haven't read any of these either. I have read most of the Locas stories, by Jaime Hernandez, and liked them a lot, so I can't quibble with that nomination.

Best Archival Collection/Project
The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker, edited by Robert Mankoff (Black Dog & Leventhal)
The Complete Peanuts, edited by Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)
DC Comics Rarities Archives, vol. 1, edited by Dale Crain (DC)
Krazy and Ignatz, edited by Bill Blackbeard and Derya Ataker (Fantagraphics)
Russ Manning's Magnus, Robot Fighter, vol. 1, edited by Katie Moody, Mike Carriglitto, and David Land (Dark Horse Books)

LOVE those Peanuts reprints, got them both (so far) for Christmas. haven't written about them, though. I have always enjoyed reading Krazy Kat whenever possible, but haven't read this particular collection. I'd love to have that Magnus collection; I read a ton of those as a kid. And so it goes.

Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material
Barefoot Gen: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima, vols. 1-2, by Keiji Nahazawa (Last Gasp)
Blacksad Book 2: Arctic Nation, by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido (iBooks)
Buddha, vols. 3-4 by Osamu Tezuka (Vertical)
Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return, by Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon)
Tokyo Tribes, by Santa Inoue (TOKYOPOP)

Uh...pass. Don't know nuttin' about any of these. Well, I've heard of Tezuka and I've heard of Buddha, so there ya go.

Best Writer
Steve Niles, 30 Days of Night: Return to Barrow; 30Days of Night: Bloodsucker Tales; Aleister Arcane (IDW); Freaks of the Heartland; Last Train to Deadsville (Dark Horse)
Greg Rucka, Queen & Country (Oni); Gotham Central (DC)
Brian K. Vaughan, Y: The Last Man (Vertigo/DC); Ex Machina (WildStorm/DC); Runaways (Marvel)
Joss Whedon, Astonishing X-Men (Marvel)
Bill Willingham, Fables (Vertigo/DC)

I was extrememly unimpressed with Aleister Arcane. Rucka is fine, but Brubaker was the star of Gotham Central. Willingham has done some clever work on Fables, but I wouldn't exactly call it Eisnerworthy. You all know what I think about Vaughan, and regarding Whedon...only a few more months before Serenity! Right? This whole category, like most of them so far, is more notable for who's NOT there than who is...

Best Writer/Artist
Paul Chadwick, Concrete: The Human Dilemma (Dark Horse)
Dan Clowes, Eightball #23 (Fantagraphics)
David Lapham, Stray Bullets (El Capitan)
Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo (Dark Horse)
Adrian Tomine, Optic Nerve #9 (Drawn & Quarterly)

Again, is this the best list they could come up with? Chadwick is adequate, nothing more, although his own characters like his work better than real people do; Clowes is brilliant, but hardly the best there is; Sakai is a steady, talented veteran, but is he really that much "better" than anybody else in the field? And I can't really comment on Tomine and Lapham, since I don't read their respective works. The samples I've seen have not been impressive, and I'm more interested in Lapham as a writer/artist than solely as an artist.

Best Writer/Artist-Humor
Kyle Baker, Plastic Man (DC); Kyle Baker, Cartoonist (Kyle Baker Publishing)
Phil Foglio, Girl Genius (Airship Entertainment)
Scott Kurtz, PvP (Image)
Eric Powell, The Goon (Dark Horse)
Johnny Ryan, Angry Youth Comix (Fantagraphics)

Baker sometimes elicits a chuckle in Plas. I don't read the other nominees, so I pass. I'm wondering by now- did someone submit an incomplete list for the panelists to choose from?

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
Charles Adlard, The Walking Dead (Image)
John Cassaday, Astonishing X-Men (Marvel); Planetary (WildStorm/DC); I Am Legion: The Dancing Faun (Humanoids/DC)
Geof Darrow, Shaolin Cowboy (Burlyman)
Cary Nord/Thomas Yeates, Conan (Dark Horse)
Frank Quitely, WE3 (Vertigo/DC)

For me this comes down to Cassaday vs. Quitely, and I'd have to give it to the Q for We3. Darrow does outstanding work in service of a slight story. Good to see Adlard get some recognition, although I think his best work last year was on Marvel's Warlock, for which he's not nominated.

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)
Juanjo Guarnido, Blacksad, Book 2: Arctic Nation (iBooks)
Teddy Kristiansen, It's a Bird . . . (Vertigo/DC)
David Mack, Kabuki (Marvel)
Ben Templesmith, 30 Days of Night: Return to Barrow (IDW)
Michael Zulli, Creatures of the Night (Dark Horse Books)

Mack, I guess. Yawn.

Best Coloring
Peter Doherty, Shaolin Cowboy (Burlyman)
Steven Griffen, Hawaiian Dick: The Last Resort (Image)
Laura Martin, Astonishing X-Men (Marvel); Ministry of Space (Image); Planetary (WildStorm/DC); I Am Legion: The Dancing Faun (Humanoids/DC)
J. D. Mettler, Ex Machina (WildStorm/DC)
Dave Stewart, Daredevil, Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate Six, Captain America (Marvel); Conan, BPRD (Dark Horse)l DC: The New Frontier (DC)

Hm. As long as Lee Loughridge isn't on this list, I can live with it.

Best Lettering
Todd Klein, Promethea; Tom Strong; Tom Strong's Terrific Tales (ABC); Wonder Woman (DC); Books of Magick: Life During Wartime; Fables; WE3 (Vertigo/DC); Creatures of the Night (Dark Horse)
Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo (Dark Horse)
Dave Sim, Cerebus (Aardvark Vanaheim)
Craig Thompson, Carnet de Voyage (Top Shelf); "Eve O'Twins" in Rosetta 2 (Alternative)

Dave Sim. In this category. Puh-leeze. Klein is probably the best there is these days, in this rapidly shrinking field. Has John Workman's name been permanently retired in a hall of fame or something?

Best Cover Artist
Kieron Dwyer, Remains (IDW)
James Jean, Fables (Vertigo/DC); Green Arrow, Batgirl (DC)
Tony Moore, The Walking Dead (Image)
Frank Quitely, Bite Club; WE3 (Vertigo/DC)
Michael Turner, Identity Crisis (DC)

Michael Turner. Jesus wept. The consistently excellent Jean gets my vote. Where's Dave Johnson?

Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition
Frank Cammuso (Max Hamm, Fairy Tale Detective)
Bosch Fawstin (Table for One)
Matt Kindt (Two Sisters; Pistolwhip)
Sean McKeever (A Waiting Place; Mary Jane; Inhumans; Sentinels)
Raina Telgemeier ("Smile," Takeout)

I am sadly unfamiliar with most of these (which is why they're probably nominated, come to think of it). I am familiar only with McKeever, and I fail to see why he's on this far I've found his work bland and unremarkable.

Best Comics-Related Periodical
Comic Art, edited by M. Todd Hignite (Comic Art)
Comic Book Artist, edited by Jon B. Cooke (Top Shelf)
Draw!, edited by Mike Manley (TwoMorrows)
Indy Magazine online (, edited by Bill Kartalopoulos (Alternative)

THE. COMICS. JOURNAL. Although Comic Book Artist isn't bad, and I wish I could afford to buy them all regularly.

Best Comics-Related Book
The Art of Usagi Yojimbo, by Stan Sakai (Dark Horse Books)
Chris Ware, by Daniel Raeburn (Monographics/Yale University Press)
Give Our Regards to the Atom Smashers, edited by Sean Howe (Pantheon)
Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book, by Gerard Jones (Basic Books)
Strangers in Paradise Treasury Edition, by Terry Moore (HarperCollins Perennial)

Unless there's an award for "Most Pretentious", Terry Moore should never be nominated for anything. Haven't read any of the others. Again, is this the best they could come up with?

Best Publication Design
The Art of Usagi Yojimbo, designed by Cary Grazzini (Dark Horse Books)
Clyde's Fans, designed by Seth (Drawn & Quarterly)
The Complete Peanuts, designed by Seth (Fantagraphics)
In the Shadow of No Towers, designed by art spiegelman (Pantheon)
McSweeney's Quarterly #13, designed by Chris Ware (McSweeney?s)

I don't know which one of these should win, but those Peanuts books are mighty handsomely packaged.

Hall of Fame
Judges' Choices: Lou Fine; René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo

Four will be selected from:

Matt Baker
Wayne Boring
Nick Cardy
Yves Chaland
Gene Colan
Johnny Craig
Reed Crandall
Floyd Gottfredson
Frank Hampson
Graham Ingels
Robert Kanigher
William Moulton Marston
Hugo Pratt
Frank Robbins

My choices are bold. I'm wondering- since these are all legendary, outstanding creators, WHY is it necessary to have this baseball-like voting process? Don't they all DESERVE to be in? Haven't they all paid their dues and then some? And it's not even like baseball, where anybody who's been retired for five years is eligible, ensuring that there will be a bunch of second-stringers mixed in with the all-timers. Put 'em ALL in, I say! Then nominate another dozen to put in next year!

And there you have it. Seems like the choosers were trying to please everyone, and in turn have pleased no one.

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