The evening begins with Jackie Estrada introducing MC Bill MOrrison, who recounts a wonderful deram of comics before admitting he’s having a nightmare of nervousness appearing before the gathered crowd. Of course he is silly as everyone loves Bill Morrison. Morrison introduces the even more loved Jane Weidlin, who was once a member of the much-loved Go-Gos.
And we’re off!
The Bill Finger Award is first up and Paul Dini and Mark Evanier are presenting it. WHO WILL GET THE FINGER THIS TIME?
Why it’s Gardner Fox as the deceased winner. Roy Thomas accepts who recounts Fox’s career creating many great characters. “Google him!” Thomas urges.
The living iwnner is Sabrina creator George Gladir, who has a 47-year career writing Archie comics. Gladir acknowledges the “Ahtists” he worked with and says they really deserve the awards.
A break in the action as Jackie describes the rules and introduces judges and sponsors.
Jerru Duggan and Brian Posehn are the first “celebrity” presenters, although we know they are just nerds like us. Posehn is wearing the Alex Ross Vampire George Bush t-shirt. Posehn goes on to say that just being nominated sucks because you don’t win! Preach it, Brian! First award —
Best Publication for a Younger Audience
* Gumby, by Bob Burden and Rick Geary (Wildcard)
Yay! Burden and Geary! Burden brings up a gang of helpers to share the high. Burden thanks editors Diana Shutz and Bob Schreack for getting the Gumby comic started 20 yeras ago, which they won an Eisner for back then, as well. “One of the things about Gumby that really echoes throughout the whole book and the business is it’s supposed to be fun, so let’s have some fun.” urges Burden. Geary thanks Steve Oliff the colorist and his wife Deborah for her tolerance for his bizarre career.
Nest award is Digital Coimics, and the presenter s struggling manfully over some of the names, but Posehn apologies.
Best Digital Comic
* Sam and Max, by Steve Purcell, telltalegames.com/community/comics/samandmax/issue-3
Legardy Purcell is on hand to accept wearing a straw boater. Purcell sgives a good piece of advice: don’t pick the cute girl bicycle cab driver — the burly guy is better to make it on time back to the awards.
The next award is announced in Klingon by Posehn!!! A great moment in Eisner history. This is getting pretty funny, although his accent is more Romulan, in our opinion. Kasimir Strzepek is already in Kingon!
* Hope Larson, Gray Horses (Oni)
Larson friend Mike Holmes from Halifax is up to accept. Living in Halifax everyone is friends!
Morrison announces that Paramount has optioned “Esiner AWards: The MOtion Pictures” with Michael Chiklis as Bill Morrison. Wiedlin will be portrayed by William Shatner.
James Sime and Kristen Blaylock are nest presenters. Sime is his usual natty self in a striped suit, and Blaylock is elegant in a black jewel-nacked dress.
* Dave Stewart, BPRD, Conan, The Escapists, Hellboy (Dark Horse); Action Comics, Batman/The Spirit, Superman (DC)
Well that was no surprise…to anyone but Stewart who is humble in the face of his overwhelming excellence.
Next up lettering…will Todd Klein win AGAIN?
* Todd Klein, Fables, Jack of Fables, Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall, Pride of Baghdad, Testament (Vertigo/DC); Fantastic Four: 1602, Eternals (Marvel); Lost Girls (Top Shelf)
YES! “Here I am again,” says the oft winning Klein. “IO appreciate this very much as always,” says the lettering master, even while mourning his lost luggage.
Back for best Anthology. A tight category! So many indie favorites here.
* Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall, by Bill Willingham and various (Vertigo/DC)
….annnnnd to no one’s surprise the more mainstream — but still indie-powered anthology wins. Shelly Bond and Jill Thomson are on stage as Bill Willingham accepts. Bond looks sharp in a white Pop inspired ensemble, and Thompson is rocking a long white dress. Jeams Jean and Mark Wheatley are also on the stage wearing more casual attire. At least they are wearing long pants.
Next up! Russ Manning Award presented by Steve Rude, a former winner. We should note here that the presenters and winners are being accompanied by music cues, including the Star Wars theme for Rude. Rude is emotional remembering his win back in the 80s. ‘He tells a story, “Drawing is not enough, you must have a style. Style is not enough you must be able to tell a story. If you have all that and you have spirit you have grabbed all the elements to be a superior talent.”
Rude messes up and forgets to name the nominees but the winner is Mouse Guard’s David Petersen.
MC Morrison acknowledges the nominee snafu and mentions the noms so they can get their applause.
PERSONAL ASIDE: Everyone says the Eisners are …a long night….but with our new spot over on the side live blogging it’s a whole new thrill.
The next opresenters are….PAUL POPE AND WHITNEY MATHESON???? Hsssssssssssss! Whitney is wearing a balck and white frock and Paul Pope is wearing a black wifebeater. WHITNEY MATHESON! We were a judge in the 90s! We were a presenter when you were just a pig tailed school girl! Boo! Hiss
Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips
* The Complete Peanuts, 1959–1960, 1961–1962, by Charles Schulz (Fantagraphics)
Eric REynolds accept,s and we all know Eric has a big Crush on Jane Wiedlin! Sure enough he gets his pictures taken with her and waves with triumph! This is the comic book equivalent of Adrien Brody and Halle Berry.
Whitney is calling Paul Foxy during a computer glitch. WHITNEY YOU HUSSEY! LEAVE PAUL ALOLNE! WE SAW HIM FIRST! Paul is talking about old archival comics to defuse the tension. Come on now kis, Whitney is using old jokes from the monolog. Come on now if the BEat were there there would be laughs galore.
OH DEAR GOD, they are reduced to a PALDROME CONTEST. A MAN A PLAN A CANAL PANAMA! Come on kids. Sit on a potato pan Otis. Luckily Matheson and Pope are the cutest presenters so far.
Time out for AV problems. Av the achilles heel of all live presenters.
Matheson says I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DOWNFALL OF THE EISNER AWARDS. Our Triumph is complete.
Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books
* Absolute Sandman, vol. 1, by Neil Gaiman and various (Vertigo/DC)
“I’ve been joking about the fact that you could actually kill somebody with Absolute Sandman. It hasn’t happened so far,” quips Gaiman who calls up colorist Danny Vozzo, the hero of the reprint. Gaiman thanks everyone who was stupid enough to carry one around in case they ran into Gaiman to sign it, “the biggest the heaviest and the most likely to kill you.”
We’ve had a few glasses of wine now, so buckle your seat belts, you’re in for a bumpy ride.
Best U.S. Edition of International Material
* The Left Bank Gang, by Jason (Fantagraphics)
YAY we love Jason, and now Eric can complete his stalking of Jane Wiedlin!
Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Japan
* Old Boy, by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi (Dark Horse Manga)
Samantha Robinson from Dark Horse is up to accept.
Next up, Bill Morrison mentions that Sergio Aragones is in his 25th year of Groo and is up to present the Hall of Fame Awards. YAY first a wonderful moment as Ramona Fradon comes up to accept her award that she wasn’t here to get last year. She gets a well-deserved standing ovation.
“They always said, if you live long enough you get one of these,” says Fradon. “I want to thank the folks at DC for always having an open door for me, particularly Paul Levitz, who I’ve watched grow into a fine young man now.” She thanks her editors and Will Eisner always a hero of hers. “I want to say fianlly to thank all you folks out there who have refused to grow and continued to support comics over the years.
The first HoF is Robert Kanigher, Paul Levitz, that young whipper snapper, accepts. Levitz was just over at the Zuda party showing us the interface. Levitz admits that Kanigher was a “notoriously difficult” writer and editor, but a great contributor to comics, creating Metal Men.
The second Judges choice is Ogden Whitney, accepted by Dan Nadel. who is wearing a blue and white striped polo shirt. Why is it that women know they have to get dressed up for this but a guy can wear a black wife beater.
Next the regular awards We’re rooting for Cliff Sterett.
Ross Andru and Mike Esposito are the first winners. Daniel Herman, Esposito’s publisher accepts on their behalf with…a long speech that involves prosecco.
The next winner is Dick Ayers, upholding the tradition of a LIVING Hall of Famer! Ayers is very honored and thanks Eisner up in the sky, and “you fans, and you people who put out this convention.” He goes into how he met Eisner …in 1942 he was aware of his work but didn’t meet him…we traverse the years in which Eisner lived in the same town as Ayers, then somehow an insurance guy hooks them up. Ayers admits he proud and speechless because he never thought it would happen, but “I got it!”
Okay, we are now an hour in. there are, by our count, 18 AWARDS to go. Now you know why people joke about the Eisners. Especially when you are sitting on the floor hooked up to a power outlet.
There is another HoF winner…Wayne Boring. The jokes write themselves. Mike Carlin accepts. “Wayne Boring drew a kick ass Superman,” says Carlin, demonstrating a Wayne Boring Superman pose.
WAIT THERE IS A FOURTH WINNER…huh? Were there that many in the past. It’s Joe Orlando, and Levitz is back and admits it’s very special to get it from Sergio, one of Orlando’s dearest friends. Levitz reads a note from Karen Orlando.
We’re happy for all the winners, but sad that Lilly Renee didn’t win when she is in attendance at the con.
ASIDE, it’s very cold in the corner we’re sitting in, and our laptop is the warmest thing within reach.
Next up retailer Joe Ferrera comes up accompanied by his own recording of “If I were a Rich man.”
The Spirit of Retailing Award is Carr D’Angelo of Earth 2. People texting us from the Oni Party. Temptation.
Ellen Forney and Alison Bechdel are the next presenters. Bechdel is natty in a white shirt, Forney has a form fitting green dress.
Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
* Mark Buckingham/Steve Leialoha, Fables (Vertigo/DC)
Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)
* Jill Thompson, “A Dog and His Boy” in The Dark Horse Book of Monsters; “Love Triangle” in Sexy Chix (Dark Horse);”Fair Division,” in Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall (Vertigo/DC)
Winner Thompson thanks Steve Rude for teaching her about Andrew Loomis.
Forney and Bechdel stop the show to salute women cartoonsits by saluting Madonna and Britney Spears and kissing. HAWT!!!!
Best Cover Artist
* James Jean, Fables, Jack of Fables, Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall (Vertigo/DC)
We are always happy when James wins an award since we helped discover him, but it’s his fourth win in a row, and he humbly claims JG Jones should have won for drawing weekly covers for 52.
Eric Powell and sidekick come up in some comedy gear and go into a long comedy routine to announce …
Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism
* Alter Ego, edited by Roy Thomas (TwoMorrows)
Well, we’re thrilled by this result, for many reasons…losing feeling in our fingers and forced to leave the room….So cold…losing feeling…Elizabeth, I’m coming to join you……