Countdown To The Eisners by Cameron Hatheway – Best Archival Collections

Cameron Hatheway writes for Bleeding Cool;

I turned 25 yesterday, and spent all afternoon relaxing at a local brewery with my family. As I sipped upon my delicious IPA, I could only think of one thing I could have added to make that whole experience a tad-bit more enjoyable; comics. This week we’ll be looking at Best Archival Collection/Project, both Strips and Comic Books. 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 go back to attempting to hack the Eisner website so I can be eligible to vote next year (so far ‘guest’ hasn’t worked for the password), let us return to the nominees!

Best Archival Collection/Project – Strips
Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim, by Alex Raymond and Don Moore, edited by Dean Mullaney (IDW/Library of American Comics)
Forgotten Fantasy: Sunday Comics 1900-1915, edited by Peter Maresca (Sunday Press)
Prince Valiant vols. 3-4, by Hal Foster, edited by Kim Thompson (Fantagraphics)
Tarpé Mills’s Miss Fury Sensational Sundays, 1944-1949, edited by Trina Robbins (IDW/Library of American Comics)
Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse vols. 1-2, by Floyd Gottfredson, edited by David Gerstein and Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)

Who I think should win:

Prince Valiant vols. 3-4, by Hal Foster, edited by Kim Thompson (Fantagraphics)

If it’s one thing FaNtagraphics knows how to do, it’s superb high quality hardcovers of collected works. Take one of the longest running Sunday strips Prince Valiant for instance; with the release of volumes 3 and 4 last year, Fantagraphics continues to give you the most bang for your buck with this Hal Foster classic series. One of the reasons the art looks much cleaner than previous softcover collections is because Fantagraphics obtained access to Foster’s own collection of the pristine art proofs, housed at Syracuse University. It’s that attention to detail and commitment that just scream ‘Eisner worthy’ in my opinion.

Throughout both volumes you get introduced to characters of old and new, with adventures taking place in faraway lands like Northern Africa and Thule. While some of the other older Sunday strips slightly lose their creative storytelling or art style over time, Prince Valiant is consistent in both fields, making it thoroughly entertaining from start to finish, and ultimately a timeless classic. What better way to enjoy this series from the very beginning than with the Fantagraphics editions? With the dimensions being 10.25” x 14”, there’s a whole lot to love with both these volumes.

Who could win: Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim, by Alex Raymond and Don Moore, edited by Dean Mullaney (IDW/Library of American Comics)

Who I think should have been nominated:Pogo: The Complete Daily & Sunday Comic Strips, Vol. 1: Through the Wild Blue Wonder by Walt Kelly, edited by Carolyn Kelly(Fantagraphics)

Best Archival Collection/Project – Comic Books
Government Issue: Comics for the People: 1940s-2000s, edited by Richard L. Graham (Abrams ComicArts)
The MAD Fold-In Collection, by Al Jaffee (Chronicle)
PS Magazine: The Best of Preventive Maintenance Monthly, by Will Eisner (Abrams ComicArts)
The Sugar and Spike Archives, vol. 1, by Sheldon Mayer (DC)
Walt Simonson’s The Mighty Thor Artist’s Edition (IDW)

Who I think should win:

Walt Simonson’s The Mighty Thor Artist’s Edition (IDW)

Speaking of a whole lot to love, this Artist’s Edition is a staggering 12” x 17”, which is just unbelievably gargantuan. I know friends who had to customize their bookshelves to accompany this book, nay, this tome, because they didn’t want to just leave it out on the coffee table with fears of something spilling on it. I keep mine under the bed with the rest of my valuables, but don’t tell the burglars that. Presenting issues #337-340 from Simonson’s run on Thor, each page is beautifully illustrated in black and white, shedding the light on every detail imaginable throughout. I’ve actually considered wearing protective gloves when admiring this exquisite collection of comics.

Even if you are intimately familiar with his run on Thor from the omnibus that came out last year, nothing can prepare you for the absolute gorgeousness in this collection. If you ever doubted Simonson’s genius before, perhaps this collection will show you the light. Scratch that; it will show you the light as I clobber you over the head with it, blasphemer!!

Who could win: The MAD Fold-In Collection, by Al Jaffee (Chronicle)

Who I think should have been nominated: Creepy Archives Volume 9, by various (Dark Horse)

Who do you think should win / been nominated?

Cameron Hatheway is the host of Cammy’s Comic Corner, a weekly audio podcast. You can discover his secrets of immortality on Twitter @CamComicCorner.


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