The 2015 Eisner Award nominations were released this morning, and this year’s slate is stacked with phenomenal work. I read a lot of comics, so I’m going to highlight some of the most interesting and competitive categories.
I’ll eat my hat if this doesn’t go to Multiversity: Pax Americana, written by Frank Morrison, with pencil by Frank Quitely and colors by Nathan Fairbairn (more on him later). Morrison and Quitely are a legendary team (We3, New X-Men, All-Star Superman), and the elevator pitch on this issue is that it’s their take on Watchmen. That pitch really doesn’t do it justice, though. It’s an impressive experiment in the structure of comics that warrants dozens of rereads.
There’s a lot of great books here, but Saga is going to win again, because it’s Saga.
As of next Wednesday, The Sandman: Overture is the only nominee in this category that won’t be finished. The highly anticipated return of Neil Gaiman’s breakout book has been delayed. A lot. My money is on The Private Eye by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin, not just because it’s a great book about a post-internet world, but because their digital-only pay-what-you-want independent model turned a lot of heads.
Before the nominations came out, I expected this to go to The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson. I still do (the team is doing the best work of their already impressive careers), but the competition is intense. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are killing it with the old Hollywood noir The Fade Out, and Lumberjanes by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson, and Brooke A. Allen isn’t just the best all-ages book on the stands; it’s one of the best books out period.
Would you believe there are two superhero books in this category? Skottie Young’s Rocket Raccoon and Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber’s D-list supervillain comedy Superior Foes of Spider-Man both made the cut. I think it’s a longshot, but I’d love to see Superior Foes take the prize. That book was a gem.
This one is probably going to a heavyweight like Brian K. Vaughan or Grant Morrison, but I really want Kelly Sue DeConnick to win. She’s done fantastic work making Carol Danvers the most famous woman in cape comics, and Bitch Planet is shaping up to be something special with just 3 issues out. I’m also really surprised to see Kieron Gillen missing from this category, though Jason Aaron and G. Willow Wilson are great choices to round it out.
It’s so exciting to see Babs Tarr nominated for her work on Batgirl, doubly so because this is her first comic work ever. Put your money on Fiona Staples, Frank Quitely, or Mike Allred, though. That is, if you gamble on the Eisners (and if you do, get help). The other half of Team Wicked + Divine is missing here, too. No nomination for Jamie McKelvie.
Dave Stewart and Laura Allred are perennial nominees in this category, because they color so many books without ever missing a beat. Matt Wilson’s work on The Wicked + The Divine alone is enough to make him worthy of the award, but he’s also a huge part of what makes Daredevil and Thor so great. Shocking to see Nathan Fairbairn missing for his work on Multiversity and the new color editions of Scott Pilgrims, among other things. Also surprising to see Rico Renzi left out, since his colors on Spider-Gwen helped make her a phenomenon last year.
Todd Klein is back after a voluntary absence of several years, so he’ll be winning another Eisner.
Comics Alliance is nominated for the fourth time, and I’m hoping they win it this time. A lot of comics news sources are press release factories that pander to the lowest common denominator, but Comics Alliance is working hard to push the industry and the medium forward with smart, insightful editorial pieces, fascinating interviews, and looks at lesser-known creators.