Countdown To The Eisners by Cameron Hatheway: Journalism, Design And Related

Cameron Hatheway writes for Bleeding Cool;

That’s it people; the voting is over and done for! It’s pining for the fjords! You no longer have the opportunity to vote for the Eisners if you were eligible. However, I still soldier on with this final column. This week we’ll be looking at Best Comics-Related Journalism, Best Comics-Related Book, and Best Publication Design. 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 disappear into the unknown, be on the look-out for a special Countdown To The Eisners – Best New Series next week. While it wasn’t a category this year, I’ll still cover what should have been nominated for this phantom category.

Best Comics-Related Journalism

The AV Club Comics Panel, by Noel Murray, Oliver Sava et al., www.avclub.com/features/comics-panel/
The Beat, produced by Heidi MacDonald et al., www.comicsbeat.com
The Comics Journal, edited by Gary Groth, and The Comics Journal website, www.tcj.com, edited by Timothy Hodler and Dan Nadel (Fantagraphics)
The Comics Reporter, produced by Tom Spurgeon, www.comicsreporter.com
TwoMorrows Publications: Alter Ego edited by Roy Thomas, Back Issue edited by Michael Eury, Draw edited by Mike Manley, and Jack Kirby Collector edited by John Morrow

Who I think should win:

The Comics Journal, edited by Gary Groth, and The Comics Journal website, www.tcj.com, edited by Timothy Hodler and Dan Nadel (Fantagraphics)

Like many of you, I visit BleedingCool on a daily, if not hourly basis. However, in the rare case of being bored from the usual columns and commenters, I find myself visiting The Comics Journal website more and more frequently. I remember fondly picking-up back-issues at comic conventions for relatively cheap, and finding myself entranced with the in-depth interviews and discussions regarding comics and graphic novels. With issue #301, it’s a gargantuan 600-page novel focusing on the career of R. Crumb, a conversation between Al Jaffee and Michael Kupperman, and so many more essays and reviews scattered throughout. Not only do you get the most bang for your buck with the comics tome, you learn some fascinating things about the industry and those who work in it.

Looking at the website, it updates a tad more frequently than the printed editions (daily vs yearly (it was a joke)). It was first recommended to me by a friend, and he told me to specifically check out the columns written by the insanely funny Tucker Stone and his weekly comic reviews. Being a weekly reviewer myself, I’m just glad no one has handed Stone a microphone and a podcasting contract yet (even though I’d totally listen every week). Besides Stone’s column, the site has some other great writers Frank Santoro, Tim Hodler, and Joe McCulloch. Something for everyone, constantly informative and entertaining, it’s comic lovers talking comics through and through.

Who could win: The Beat, produced by Heidi MacDonald et al., www.comicsbeat.com

Who I think should have been nominated: iFanboy, by Josh Flanagan, Conor Kilpatrick, Ron Richards et al., www.ifanboy.com

Best Comics-Related Book

Archie: A Celebration of America’s Favorite Teenagers, edited by Craig Yoe (IDW/Yoe Books)
Caniff: A Visual Biography, edited by Dean Mullaney (IDW/Library of American Comics)
Drawing Power: A Compendium of Cartoon Advertising, edited by Rick Marschall and Warren Bernard (Fantagraphics/Marschall Books)
Genius Isolated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth, designed by Dean Mullaney (IDW/Library of American Comics)
MetaMaus, by Art Spiegelman (Pantheon)

Who I think should win:

MetaMaus, by Art Spiegelman (Pantheon)

When purchasing text books at the college library, it always brought a smile to my face to see the likes of Maus and Persepolis amongst the English texts. After all, Maus is such an important piece of literature, that it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. I remember having mixed feelings when I first read Maus I & Maus II in one sitting; I wasn’t expecting that sort of realism from a comic, the Holocaust was much more depressing when the Jews were represented by mice, and what I just read was without a doubt an instant classic. Doing research on Spiegelman for a Typography class I was taking, I painstakingly tried tracking down interviews and articles about the man, and what inspired him on a graphic novel like Maus. Had MetaMaus been published a few years ago instead, that research project would have been a lot easier for me.

Art Spiegelman attempts to answer all the questions that have been asked of him over the past twenty-five years in 300 pages, while including process, sketches, family life, and so much more. One of my favorite bits about the book is the DVD that comes with it, packed with even more bonus features like two hours of interview with his father, thousands of preliminary drawings, and a digital reference copy of both volumes of Maus with hyperlinks to sketches, interviews, etc of that page. The main questions asked are Why Mice?, Why The Holocaust?, and Why Comics?, with each chapter just dense with everything you ever wanted to know about Maus. This is the perfect companion to the collected Maus hardcover which was also put out by Pantheon, and it’s just a tremendous joy to own. If you liked Dave Gibbons’ Watching The Watchmen, this book is definitely up your alley.

Who could win: Genius Isolated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth, designed by Dean Mullaney (IDW/Library of American Comics)

Who I think should have been nominated: Hand of Fire: The Comics Art of Jack Kirby, by Charles Hatfield

 

Best Publication Design

Genius Isolated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth, designed by Dean Mullaney (IDW/Library of American Comics)
Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, designed by Eric Skillman (Archaia)
Kinky & Cosy, designed by Nix (NBM)
The MAD Fold-In Collection, designed by Michael Morris (Chronicle)
Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition, designed by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)

Who I think should win:

Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition, designed by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)

I’ve mentioned it several times already in previous columns, but this gorgeous collection is the absolute bees-knees. Cooke is intertwined with every aspect of this graphic album, and his personal touch is apparent at every angle. The slipcase is thick and sturdy, with a beautiful glossy look and feel. The simplicity of Parker’s red eye, with The Martini Edition underneath conveys the tone of the material within. The collection itself is in a perfectly bound 14”x10” hardcover, with nice and thick matted pages as well. I can’t gush about this overall package enough, and it’s well deserving of every Eisner it’s going to win this year.

Who could win: The MAD Fold-In Collection, designed by Michael Morris (Chronicle)

Who I think should have been nominated: The Definitive Irredeemable Vol. 1, designed by Brian Latimer (BOOM! Studios)

Who do you think should win / been nominated?

Cameron Hatheway is the host of Cammy’s Comic Corner, a weekly audio podcast. You can undress his tweets with your eyes on Twitter @CamComicCorner.

 

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