Countdown To The Eisners – You Know, For Kids

  Countdown To The Eisners by Cameron Hatheway

This week is all about the little rascals! The categories I’ll be taking a look at are Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7), Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12), and Best Publication for Young Adults (Ages 12-17). Now these categories might not be so interesting to everybody, but let me remind you that the children are our future (whether we like it or not). If you need a reminder of what’s been nominated, you can find the entire list right here, and see what I chose last week right here.

Who is not eligible to vote?

  • Comics press or reviewers (unless they are nominees)
  • Non-creative publisher staff members (PR, marketing, assistants, etc.)
  • Fans

Before I get back to work on my authentic Stan Lee flesh suit so I can be eligible to vote next year, let us return to Neverland!

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7)
Beauty and the Squat Bears, by Émile Bravo (Yen Press)
Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking, by Philippe Coudray (Candlewick/Toon Books)
Dragon Puncher Island, by James Kochalka (Top Shelf)
Nursery Rhyme Comics, edited by Chris Duffy (First Second)
Patrick in a Teddy Bear’s Picnic, by Geoffrey Hayes (Candlewick/Toon Books)

Who I think should win:

Dragon Puncher Island, by James Kochalka (Top Shelf)

My mother teaches second grade, and I’m always donating comic books to her classroom library. A majority of the books are Owly and Johnny Boo, but the one that the kids went absolutely ga-ga for was Dragon Puncher. I promised I would purchase for them Dragon Puncher Island come Christmas if they were good little boys and girls, and sure enough they were according to the teacher.

The thing I love about Dragon Puncher Island is the creativity of James Kochalka and his use of combining his art and pictures. It stars everyone from his sons to his pet cats, and he even makes a little cameo at one point. It’s just an incredibly silly story with some of the most imaginable storytelling I’ve seen in a while. No wonder the kids go crazy for it!

Who could win: Nursery Rhyme Comics, edited by Chris Duffy (First Second)

Who I think should have been nominated:Owly & Wormy, Friends All Aflutter!, by Andy Ruton (Top Shelf)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12)
The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold, by Sholly Fisch, Rick Burchett, and Dan Davis (DC)
Amelia Rules: The Meaning of Life … And Other Stuff, by Jimmy Gownley (Atheneum)
The Ferret’s a Foot, by Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue (Graphic Universe/Lerner)
Princeless, by Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin (Action Lab)
Snarked, by Roger Langridge (kaboom!)
Zita the Space Girl, by Ben Hatke (First Second)

Who I think should win:

Princeless, by Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin (Action Lab)

While this is in the ages 8-12 category, it really can be enjoyed by all ages with the amount of hat-tips and Easter eggs woven in between the pages. Some of the material in issue #2 had me rolling on the floor laughing, or “ROFL”, as you kids call it.

In a nut-shell, we follow a young princess by the name of Adrienne who doesn’t feel like sitting around all day waiting in a tower for some schmuck to come rescue her from a dragon. She takes matters into her own hands, and plans to rescue her other sisters in the other towers also guarded by dragons. It sends a great message to young women in particular about that sense of empowerment and breaking the mold of what’s expected.

The concept of a young damsel in distress becoming a warrior woman is beautifully done, that just when you think this kind of typical fairy tale story has been done before; Whitley really turns it on its head and makes some great points about gender roles in both society and fairy tale society.

Who could win: Amelia Rules: The Meaning of Life … And Other Stuff, by Jimmy Gownley (Atheneum)

Who I think should have been nominated: Pirate Penguin vs Ninja Chicken Volume 1: Troublems With Frenemies, by Ray Friesen (Top Shelf)

 

Best Publication for Young Adults (Ages 12-17)
Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol (First Second)
Around the World, by Matt Phelan (Candlewick)
Level Up, by Gene Yang and Thien Pham (First Second)
Life with Archie, by Paul Kupperberg, Fernando Ruiz, Pat & Tim Kennedy, Norm Breyfogle et al. (Archie)
Mystic, by G. Willow Wilson and David Lopez (Marvel)

Who I think should win:

Mystic, by G. Willow Wilson and David Lopez (Marvel)

Upon entering your teens, you might find that your tastes in literature (or comics) start to expand and you find yourself exploring different genres. The thing I really enjoyed about Mystic was the variety of themes mashed together, with a nice balance of the sub-genres that were included. Sci-Fi, fantasy, all mixed with real world situations such as class warfare and deciding what’s right & wrong. These are things young adults are starting to explore and discuss in classrooms, why not expand on these topics in a comic?

The story follows two friends, Genevieve & Giselle, who grew up as sisters in the impoverished slums of Hyperion, looking to escape for a better life. When the announcement comes that Master Alexander is searching for his Final Apprentice in the Noble Arts, it’s Genevieve who really wants to be selected, and Giselle who is actually chosen. While Giselle gets used to her new life in academia, Genevieve flees back to the slums and joins the growing Resistance, dividing both friends in the already mounting class war. Add the magical element Aether into the mix and a dark prophecy of doom, and there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Writer G. Willow Wilson has been known for writing strong female characters (Air, Vixen: Return of the Lion), and she continues to with this series upon fleshing out both Giselle and Genevieve as two unique individuals. Artist David Lopez did a wonderful job bringing the city of Hyperion to life, along with all the magic that went into illustrating the Aether as well. I would definitely recommend this series to the teens looking for something to fill that Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice void.

Who could win: Level Up, by Gene Yang and Thien Pham (First Second)

Who I think should have been nominated: Super Dinosaur Volume 1, by Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard (Image)

 

 

Who do you think should win / been nominated?

Cameron Hatheway is the host of Cammy’s Comic Corner, a weekly audio podcast. You can follow his adventures in cooking in the nude on Twitter @CamComicCorner.