Yesterday’s Eisner Award nominees announcement set off the usual round of commentary and reactions. For ourselves, we thought it was a wide-ranging list that hit many of the high spots of the year. There were a few MIAs: Dash Shaw’s BOTTOMLESS BELLY BUTTON was blanked (although BODY WORLD got a webcomic nod), Jeff Smith’s RASL got a pass, and, as Evan Dorkin put it in his remarks, “No love for Love and Rockets vol 1? Really? Wow. How we can so often take Los Bros for granted is beyond me.”
While literary comics did not dominate the list — a fact which is quite arguable — this year, for perhaps the first time, there was no single nomination that made us spew into a paper cup. In fact, there were quite a few that recognized folks who really did deserve a shout-out. We were particularly happy to see Rick Geary get some recognition for the amazing work he’s been doing, year in and year out. Our beloved CAT-EYED BOY by Umezu also got a nomination, so we have nothing to complain about.
The nominees for what is generally seen as the pinnacle of North American comics awards have been announced, and as I read through the list I was struck by how many surprises there were to be found this year. Overall, it’s a solid list of honorees, and I don’t think many in the industry will take umbrage by those chosen for the final cut (for the full list of nominees, click here). I have no doubt that those that step up on stage at the awards ceremony at the 2009 Comic-Con International San Diego on July 24. Here are some random thoughts about the choices that the Eisner judges made this year. Bear in mind, this column isn’t about my picks for the winner, but rather some stray thoughts about the choices and even the categorization themselves.
Perhaps the biggest shocker of the announcement was the absence of perennial lettering winner, Todd Klein. With 13 previous Eisner wins under his belt, Klein was quite gracious on his blog:
I’ve already gotten a few emails expressing surprise, but I’ve actually been expecting it for years. I’ve had a good run, lots of nominations, lots of wins. I’m fine with giving others a chance, and look forward to applauding the winner at this year’s ceremony.
Indeed, sitting in the audience will be quite the novelty for Klein. According to his Wikipedia page:
Klein has won thirteen of the last fourteen “Best Letterer/Lettering” Eisner Awards — that’s every Eisner lettering award except one since the award was first was given out in 1993. He has won the Best Letterer Harvey Award eight times, the first time in 1992 and the most recent one in 2005.