It’s that time of the year again! A night of industry colleagues celebrating their best and brightest! It’s the 2018 Eisner Awards and here at The Beat, it’s my job to guide you through it all! Will Tom King nab another trophy? Will Emil Ferris run the table? Is it Black Hammer’s time to shine? Or perhaps Giant Days? So many tight races! Let’s all find out together, shall we? Keep refreshing, gang!
– Jackie Estrada and Phil LaMarr are out first to explain how the nominees are selected, along with an introduction of each judge (hi Graeme!!)…and then comes a quick discussion of how the voting itself occurs.
– Some nice recognition for the sponsors follows. LaMarr jokes without the Eisners, it would basically be San Diego Movie-Con
– Bill Morrison, Karen Morrison and Anina Bennett are out next. It can’t be the Eisners without Bill Morrison opening the show.
– Bill begins to go down his checklist of practicing his public speaking. What a character! He want everyone in the room to stand up and cheer with 6 words: “let’s hear it for Steve Ditko!” A big ovation follows!
– Best Lettering is the first category!
– Stan Sakai wins it for Usagi Yojimbo and Groo! A legend! Fantastic way to start the evening!
– Best Digital Comic is the next category
– Harvey Kurtzman’s Marley’s Ghost takes the prize. Congrats to ComiXology Originals and Dennis Kitchen and John Lind for this huge win!
– Best Webcomic is the next category, which Morrison clarifies has nothing to do with Spider-Man. (Ba-dump chhhh)
– The Tea Dragon Society wins! Ari Yarwood of Oni Press is out to accept on behalf of Katie O’Neill. O’Neill prepared a statement for Yarwood to read.
– Nichelle Nichols joins Phil LaMarr to announce the award for Best Writer. The crowd goes wild!
– Everyone is in stitches listening to Nichols read off the title Batman/Elmer Fudd. A moment I wish I had recorded.
– It’s a tie! Tom King and Marjorie Liu both win!!! How often does that happen!?!
– King has to top a beautiful acceptance speech by Liu, he says “I can’t believe my wife voted for Marjorie Liu!”
– Best Writer/Artist is the next category. I have a feeling about where this is going, but after the last one, I make no guesses with confidence!
– Emil Ferris takes a well-deserved award for one of 2017’s most essential comics in My Favorite Thing Is Monsters!! A follow-up to her earlier Ignatz win.
– Ferris: “You found a way to make an old lady cry again.”
– Best Cover Artist is up next…
– Sana Takeda wins for Monstress, with Marjorie Liu back on stage to accept. “The one that made me cry” as Nichelle Nichols refers to her.
– Cas Anvar and Benedict Wong, Cas asks Benedict if it ever gets confusing between he and Benedict Cumberbatch on set.
– Best US Edition of International Material is what they’re out to present
– Run for It: Stories of Slaves Who Fought for Their Freedom win. The wonderful Jacq Cohen of Fantagraphics accepts on behalf Marco D’Salete
– Next is Best US Edition of International Material – Asia…
– The winner is My Brother’s Husband Vol 1, a spectacular work. Chip Kidd comes out to accept.
– Kidd jokingly cites how for many years he pleasured himself to the work of Gengoroh Tagame. “If you Google it, you’ll figure that out”.
– He does an amazing impression of Tagame describing the work he had to make to counterbalance the family friendly nature of My Brother’s Husband.
– Best Humor Publication is next
– the award goes to Baking with Kafka by Tom Gauld!
– Felicia Day presents the next slate of awards
– the first of which is Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism which goes to The Comics Journal! Gary Groth reminds everyone they’re heading back to print twice a year (Hi RJ!)
– Best Comics-Related Book is the next category, which goes to How To Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics. Easily the most important comics tome of recent years.
– Day: “Hopefully their next book is about Cathy…I’m up here alone! Sorry!!”
– Best Academic/Scholarly Work goes to Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics by Frederick Luis Aldama
– Mark Evanier hops on stage next to announce the winners of the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comics Writing
– The winners this year are Joye Murchison Kelly and Dorothy Woolfolk (posthumously)
– Evanier highlights Woolfolk career through the Golden Age for a number of publishers like All-American, EC and Timely. Her daughter joins to accept. “My mother had a superpower of her own, she could make a bottle of wine disappear”.
– Evanier then shares Joye Murchison Kelly and her important contributions to the Wonder Woman legacy and her working relationship with William Marston. She is attending tonight’s awards and her first ever convention.
– “I’m sure Marston, wherever he is now, is saying ‘yay’, the women are getting out there and making themselves known!” – Murchison Kelly closes her speech out
– Best Penciller/Inker Team is next
– Mitch Gerads wins for his work on Mister Miracle, THE DC book of the moment.
– Gerads shares his story about doing his UPS Man impression from MAD tv for Phil LaMarr many years ago, the last time Gerads attended the Eisners.
– Now it’s time for Best Coloring
– Emil Ferris wins again! She might run that table after all!
– Ferris is sharing a harrowing story about contracting the West Nile Virus, and losing her ability to use her hand for a time and her unbelievable journey that brings her to this moment. What an inspiration!
– Best Painter/Multimedia artist follows…
– Monstress racks up another win, as Sana Takeda takes it. I’m seeing some trends here! Might be willing to guess where Limited and Continuing Series go. Marjorie Liu accepts again.
– Ruth Clampett is out now to give out the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Awards, the first being Frederick Joseph who established the Black Panther Challenge, which helped Harlem children have the ability to see Black Panther in the theater. A real-life hero, folks.
– Joseph shares that the Captain Marvel Challenge will kick-off this Winter, though he will be turning that over to the women he works with at WeHaveStories, along with Girls Inc.
– Comics4Kids is the next recipient, which fabulously accepts previously-owned comics and donates them to children.
– Former Supergirl Helen Slater is up next to give out the award for Best Publication for Early Readers
– Good Night, Planet is your winner. The Argentine cartoonist Liniers is on-hand to accept.
– Best Publication for Kids is next, which Slater stays on stage for…
– Katie O’Neill’s The Tea Dragon Society wins its second award of the night. Katie did not write two speeches we have learned.
– As for Best Publication for Teens…the winner is: Monstress again!!! A sweep looks to be on, y’all.
– Liu gives a special shoutout to librarians in her acceptance speech. She also said she was surprised when she was nominated in this category, given the dark nature of the book, but then she remembers what she was like as a kid. Especially her own hunger for heroes that were women of color.
– Here comes Sergio!!!! Sergio Aragones is out to announce the Eisner Hall of Fame inductees. Jackie Ormes, a cartooning trailblazer, is the first inductee from the Judges’ selection. Her niece joins on-stage to accept.
– “Before we were superheroes, we had to be ordinary”.
– The legendary sales visionary Carol Kalish is the second Judges’ selection with Paul Dini accepting.
– A moving tribute from Dini for sure.
– and now we move into the new voted-upon inductees, the first being Charles Addams. The head of the Charles Addams Foundation accepts the honor.
– The second selection is Karen Berger! It’s hard to imagine all of the masterpieces we wouldn’t have without her!
– Berger thanks a number of creators like Neil Gaiman, Jamie Delano, Peter Milligan, and Grant Morrison, as well as Jeanette Kahn and Paul Levitz, along with her mentors like Len Wein.
– The third inductee chosen is Dave Gibbons!
– Gibbons tells a story about how Warren Ellis once asked on a Compuserve forum (remember those?): “why comics?”, and Gibbons is now reading his answer.
– I can’t do justice to his response, but it’s quite wonderful.
– The final inductee is Rumiko Takahashi, the creator of Ranma 1/2 and other manga masterpieces. It’s been a very long time coming.
– Now it’s time for the Spirit of the Industry Award with mainstay Joe Ferrara back to present.
– Norma Comics in Barcelona, Spain picks up the prize, with Ramon Perez up to accept.
– Leonard Maltin joins Phil LaMarr to present Best Archival Collection/Project – Strips
– Celebrating Snoopy is your winner
– Your best archival collection/Project- comics winner is Akira: 35th Anniversary Edition (hey, I have this!! It’s terrific!)
– Best Publication Design, a stacked category, is won by the Akira boxset as well!
– Going to pause this liveblog for a bit as the In Memoriam has begun.
– We’re back! With Richard and Wendy Pini up to present the award for Best Short Story
– A Life in Comics: The Graphic Adventures of Karen Green is your winner. Nick Sousanis points out Karen Green in the crowd, who gets a rowdy round of applause.
– The Pinis stay on to present Best Single Issue/One-Shot
– The winner is…Hellboy: Krampusnacht! Nice one! Katii O’Brien accepts for the team.
– Best Anthology is up next…
– …which is won by Elements: Fire, A Comic Anthology by Creators of Color, repeating their Ignatz win. Taneka Stotts parlays a hell of an acceptance speech.
– Scott McCloud has arrived to present the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award.
– Another tie!! Hamish Steele, the creator behind Pantheon, is the first recipient, and McCloud reads an acceptance message from Steele.
– The second recipient is Pablo Tunica, whose work you can see in TMNT Universe.
– It’s time for Best New Series! Who’s it gonna be??
– Black Bolt takes the prize. One of the bigger recent Marvel critical hits!
– Best Limited Series is next. I have an inkling how this might go, but you never can tell…
– Just as I say it, Black Panther: World of Wakanda wins! A surprise around every corner sometimes!
– Might Best Continuing Series continue the surprises perhaps? We’ll see…
– No sir! Monstress continues its domination tonight! And Liu got Takeda on FaceTime!!
– Dave Gibbons steps out with LaMarr to give out the Best Adaptation from Another Medium Award
– Damian Duffy and John Jennings’ adaptation of the Octavia Butler novel Kindred wins!
– Best Graphic Album – Reprint goes to…………Jillian Tamaki’s Boundless. An excellent collection.
– Best Reality-Based Work is the next to last category…
– and it’s won by…..Tillie Walden’s Spinning!!
– Last Award!! Best Graphic Album New goes to…no surprise here…My Favorite Thing Is Monsters!
– A big pair of sweeps for these…if you’ll forgive me…monstrous winners.
– Another fantastic show! It’s always the highlight of my show and I’m always so staggered by the talent on display that is getting their rightful due! Thanks so much to you dear readers, for taking another ride with me. With that I say, good night!
Entertainment Editor for The Beat covering film, television and the occasional comic book. His work can also be found at GeekRex.com and can be heard on the GeekRex podcast. He really loves the Legion of Super-Heroes a lot.