Countdown To The Eisners – Best Comics-Related Book

 By Cameron Hatheway

Sure comics and graphic novels are always awesome, but sometimes the eyes tire and you need a break from word balloons and super beings. That’s when you put down the comics, and pick up the books about them instead! Whether it’s a history about the medium, a spotlight on one creator in particular, or simply a How-To on creating them, comics-related books are the things that still keep us connected to comics even when we aren’t immediately reading them. Today I’ll be focusing on the Best Comics-Related Book category. If you need a reminder of what’s been nominated, you can find the entire list right here, and see what I chose last time right here.

Keep in mind I cannot vote for who wins (nor can you, probably), as per the rules. However, that’s not keeping me from being vocal regardless!

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 writing “The Art of Message Board Trolling: Speak ‘Wacker’ and He’ll Appear” so I can be eligible for next year, let the games begin!

Best Comics-Related Book

The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist, edited by Alvin Buenaventura (Abrams ComicArts)

Like many folks I knew of Clowes’ work from Ghost World, but after reading this collection I felt small and ignorant. I know nothing about this man! Going through his entire career, The Art of Daniel Clowes displays some of his earliest works, and tons of unpublished material. With articles from the likes of Chris Ware and Chip Kidd, this is a must-own for Daniel Clowes fans.

Marie Severin: The Mirthful Mistress of Comics, by Dewey Cassell (TwoMorrows)

Marie Severin wasn’t the first lady in comics, but she was the first lady of comics. In this book are interviews from artists and editors who worked with Severin back in the day, and really give a good feel of who she was as she progressed in her career. Illustrating and coloring for EC and Marvel, Severin was a huge part of history and really paved the way for women in comics today.

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, by Sean Howe (HarperCollins)

Review copy unavailable.

mastering_comics_cover

Mastering Comics, by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden (First Second)

Whether you’re a student, aspiring cartoonist, or a seasoned professional, Mastering Comics is the must-have book at your disposal. From the same team behind Drawing Words & Writing Pictures, this tome of knowledge helps you with technique, story and business just to name a few, and provides infinite examples and tips to help you along the way.

Team Cul De Sac: Cartoonists Draw the Line at Parkinson’s, edited by Chris Sparks (Andrews McMeel)

Bringing together some of the biggest names in comics and illustration to help battle Parkinson’s disease, Team Cul De Sac features contributions starring the cast of Richard Thompson’s syndicated strip Cul De Sac. It’s apparent that Thompson has a lot of friends in the industry, and everyone has nothing but love and support for the guy in this gargantuan collection.

Woodwork: Wallace Wood 1927–1981, edited by Frédéric Manzano (CasalSolleric/IDW)

Review copy unavailable.

mastering_comics_pg212Who I think should win:
Mastering Comics, by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden (First Second)

While it’s a textbook, it’s one you actually want to open because you can learn so much from Abel and Madden, no matter how experienced or inexperienced you are. It’s dense with information, examples, and technique that no matter what point you are in your cartooning career, it will help you advance to the next level.

You could be teaching others or simply teaching yourself, and with this book as your guide you’ll go far. When do you remember the last time homework assignments being fun? Because in Mastering Comics, it’s tons of fun.

Who I think could win:
The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist, edited by Alvin Buenaventura (Abrams ComicArts)

When I said this book collects Clowes’ entire career in comics, I wasn’t kidding! Everything from Eightball to Wilson is covered, with gorgeous original art and oversized imagery on almost every page. Fascinating articles and interviews are present, along with pieces done for The New Yorker and celebrity portraits.

Daniel Clowes has such a distinct style, that it’s a joy to see it evolve over the decades in one hardcover collection. It makes you want to track down everything else he’s done ASAP!

Who I think should have been nominated:
Comic Books and American Cultural History: An Anthology, edited by Matthew Pustz

An ingenious look at the history of the United States through comic books and graphic novels. Just imagine citing a Preacher comic on your history paper about the Irish immigrating to New York in the early 1900s!

Who do you think should win / been nominated?

Cameron Hatheway is the host of Cammy’s Comic Corner and Arts & Entertainment Editor of the Sonoma State STAR. You can pitch him your comics-related book on Twitter @CamComicCorner.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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