There is always some shock when the Eisner Award nominees for the year are announced. This thing got included, that thing was left off. It’s natural. In recent years the judges have seemingly gone the way of recognizing more things in more categories and spreading around the wealth then singling out a few books/creators for TITANIC-level encomiums. Even the PR for this year’s nominees praised the list’s diversity—and 26 different publishers were mentioned, 15 with one nomination each.
But as always, there was one omission that seemed to stun a lot of people, us included.
Jaime Hernandez’s “The Love Bunglers” was not nominated even a single time.
As the graphic novel review editor for PW, I’ve read an awful lot of the books on the Eisner list, even the ones in the kids and academic categories. And there are a lot of them. And they are very good. The judges were fair and balanced and recognized some good honest work. But this good, honest work is not even in the same continent as Jaime Hernandez and “The Love Bunglers.”
Dan Nadel called it, “A piece of art that says that you should allow fear and sadness into your life, but not let those things cripple you.”
Bob Temuka wrote: “While it’s no surprise that Jaime Hernandez is still producing magnificent and beautiful comics, it is also still incredible to see how big his storytelling balls are, man.”
Adrian Tomine said: “Concise, moving, and incredibly bold, it’s like a cartooning master class in the span of fifty pages, and a tremendous reward to the long-term reader.”
Rob Clough wrote:
“The last chapter of “The Love Bunglers” was a tour-de-force, a walk-off grand slam of a story that was thirty years in the making. I doubt there were any dry eyes on the part of long-time fans of the series while reading this, yet every single moment was completely earned organically.
I read “The Love Bunglers” on the train from San Diego to Los Angeles and I cried. Douglas Wolk texted me that he had cried while I was crying. It encompasses the mysteries of life, the mistakes we make, and the joys we can find out of the ashes as well as any work of art in any medium ever produced.
But no Eisner nomination.
Now, however, by chance, it turns out one of the short stories that was nominated is not eligible:
The Guy Davis short story “The Phototaker” has been removed from the 2012 Eisner Awards ballot after it was determined to be ineligible. “The ‘Phototaker’ Eisner nomination was a mix up,” Davis wrote on Twitter. ” Jackie Estrada messaged me after I posted asking about the original English version, which came out in Metal Hurlant #9 (2003). So it’s not eligible for the 2012 Eisner nomination and has been removed. Thanks for all the congratulations yesterday, but I’m happy to clear this up and have it removed from the running.”
So there are only FOUR short story nominations now. Will another story be called on to fill the hole?
Another chance to get it right, Eisner judges?
I dunno, maybe the mysteries and wonder of “The Love Bunglers” are only apparent to long time Jaime readers. Maybe people who never read LOVE AND ROCKETS before can’t appreciate a master cartoonist at the peak of his powers. It’s kind of a weird mirror world funhouse view of the superhero industry….continuity has us all blinded.
Maybe. Whatever happens, I know what I’m writing in!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.