Frank Santaro, Eisner judge wrote this a few months ago
Here’s a handy list of all the comics makers who participated in Before Watchmen. I refuse to buy or read anything by these folks: Neal Adams, Rafael Albuquerque, Michael Allred, Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo, Jordi Bernet, Tim Bradstreet, Massimo Carnevale, Cliff Chiang, Michael Cho, Amanda Conner, Darwyn Cooke, David Finch, Gary Frank, Richard Friend, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Michael Golden, John Higgins, Adam Hughes, Phil Jimenez, Jock, J.G. Jones, Dave Johnson, Michael Kaluta, Chip Kidd, Andy Kubert, Joe Kubert, Jae Lee, Jim Lee, John Paul Leon, Joshua Middleton, Phil Noto, Kevin Nowlan, Olly Moss, Joe Prado, Paul Pope, Ivan Reis, Eduardo Risso, P. Craig Russell, Steve Rude, Chris Samnee, Bill Sienkiewicz, Ryan Sook, Brian Stelfreeze, Jim Steranko, J. Michael Straczynski, Jill Thompson, Bruce Timm, Ethan Van Sciver, Len Wein
Naturally some wondered if this may have affected his abilities as a judge, especially considering publisher of the Comics Journal columns he writes, Fantagraphics, walked away with 24 nominations, and DC received two and a half. But rather than engage in my usual snark and swiping… I decided just to ask him. Before I went to see Iron Man 3 earlier today. When I came out, I had an answer. He told me.
I’m glad this subject has come up. I definitely had strong feelings about Before Watchmen when it was announced. However, once I became an Eisner judge, I took my responsibility seriously, set my feelings aside, and considered the books that were submitted—as did all the other judges. (And I don’t believe any of the other judges had actually seen that particular blog post.) These titles and creators were up against strong competition in all the categories for which they qualified, and ultimately none of them made the final nominations list. I actually went to bat for Steve Rude and Darwyn Cooke specifically. Some of the creators I listed in the posting, like Cooke, are indeed nominated for Eisners for other work they did. So no, it did not affect the judging decisions.
I’m very familiar with accusations of bias, and have usually addressed allegations of conflicts of interest by saying that I love the smacking noise they make as I run up to them at full speed, arms open wide.
You know what? It is possible to put such things aside. The trouble is, no one ever believes you.