My little games of fun.

*A while back, I wrote a review of a little book titled Vampirella: The Morrison/Millar Collection. In that piece, I offered some musings on the simultaneously prurient and puritanical drives of the work, specifically pertaining to its depiction of the title heroine and other women. The attitudes on display regarding sexual activity, the pleasure subsumed, punished, and the pain lionized through the lingering authorial eye, struck me as awfully odd. Particularly considering that co-writer Grant Morrison has generally presented more (to my eyes) healthy attitudes toward sexuality and matters of gender in his work. I wondered aloud if maybe the expectations of the ‘bad girl’ genre (subgenre, whatever) were shining through more than anything in such material.

Dan Jacobson (of A Blog Found on a Garbage Heap) has now seized upon these thoughts, and spun out his own post on the topic - actually, he did it last Friday, and I’ve just been grossly late in telling you all about it. It’s totally worth checking out, as Dan marshals dental floss costumes, impossible metahuman anatomy, the artificial empowerment of the ‘bad girl,’ the writings of Andrea Dworkin, a Vampirella cover gallery, and the narrative of women in our contemporary world into some good, heady idea food. Read it.

*Award Season Dept: Finally.

Hall of Fame:

Judges’ Choices:

Floyd Gottfredson.

Fucking finally.

And William Moulton Marston too!

There's other categories, by the way, and I think it'll be fun to pretend my vote counts for anything:

Best Short Story
* "Blood Son," by Richard Matheson, adapted by Chris Ryall and Ashley Wood, in Doomed #1 (IDW)
* "Monster Slayers," by Khang Le, in Flight, vol. 2 (Image)
* "Nameless," by Eric Powell, in The Goon #14 (Dark Horse)
* "Operation" (story #5), by Zak Sally, in The Recidivist #3 (La Mano)
* "Teenage Sidekick," by Paul Pope, in Solo #3 (DC)

I do recall enjoying Doomed. But I guess I'd give it to Paul Pope? I can name a bunch of other stories in Solo I'd kind of rather give it to... oh well, one day I will rule all awards and life will be great!

Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)
* The Bakers, by Kyle Baker (Kyle Baker Publishing)
* Ex Machina #11: "Fortune Favors" by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, and Tom Feister (WildStorm/DC)
* The Innocents, by Gipi (Fantagraphics/Coconino Press)
* Promethea #32: "Wrap Party" by Alan Moore and J. H. Williams III (ABC)
* Solo #5, by Darwyn Cooke (DC)

Ha, Promethea, easily.

Easy because I've only read one other nominee. Gosh, this is fun!

Best Serialized Story
* Desolation Jones #1-5: "Made in England," by Warren Ellis and J. H. Williams III (WildStorm/DC)
* Fables #36-38, 40-41: "Return to the Homelands," by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, and Steve Leialoha (Vertigo/DC)
* Ex Machina #12-14: "Fact v. Fiction," by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, and Tom Feister (WildStorm/DC)
* Y: The Last Man #37-39: "Paper Dolls," by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, Goran Sudzuka, and Jose Marzan Jr. (Vertigo/DC)

And this one's even easier since I've only read one of them! I do get kind of queasy picking anything for 'Best Story' where the story's not actually finished or anything, but yeah, Desolation Jones is certainly the best thing Ellis is writing at the moment.

Best Continuing Series
* Age of Bronze, by Eric Shanower (Image)
* Astonishing X-Men, by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday (Marvel)
* Ex Machina, by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, and Tom Feister (WildStorm/DC)
* Fell, by Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith (Image)
* Rocketo, by Frank Espinosa (Speakeasy)
* True Story, Swear to God, by Tom Beland (Clib's Boy Comics)

I don't think I've read quite enough True Story, Swear to God to make a really accurate pick? How much of that even came out last year? Oh well, I'll go for that.

Best Limited Series
* Nat Turner, by Kyle Baker (Kyle Baker Publishing)
* Ocean, by Warren Ellis, Chris Sprouse, and Karl Story (WildStorm/DC)
* Seven Soldiers, by Grant Morrison and various artists (DC)
* Smoke, by Alex de Campi and Igor Kordey (IDW)

OMG OMG I've read everything here!! Man, I don't think it's just the number of nominations Warren Ellis has gotten this year that's attracting attention, but the breadth - that's a lot of projects from last year that are getting noms. Ocean was not among the cream of that crop, though. Smoke was better than expected, and I'd like to see it continue (particularly since there was no ending). Nat Turner - wow, I guess I should write something on that in the future, if only to puzzle out for myself why I'm kind of underwhelmed by it halfway through. I'm wracking my brain for a reason right now, and coming up blank - so I guess in a shocking twist worthy of a metal Slinky sitting atop a live wire, I'll go for Seven Soldiers. Remember, any series is 'limited' if you announce the number of issues up front!

Best New Series
* All Star Superman, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (DC)
* Desolation Jones, by Warren Ellis and J. H. Williams III (WildStorm/DC)
* Fell, by Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith (Image)
* Rocketo, by Frank Espinosa (Speakeasy)
* Young Avengers, by Alan Heinberg, Jim Cheung, and John Dell (Marvel)

Gosh - the Ellis vote may be split, along with the universe! I'd go for Earth-DC Ellis over Earth-Image Ellis in this little contest, although I wonder if All Star Superman and Young Avengers will also split votes, only in the superhero realm.

Best Publication for a Younger Audience
* Amelia Rules! by Jimmy Gownley (Renaissance Press)
* The Clouds Above, by Jordan Crane (Fantagraphics)
* Franklin Richards, Son of a Genius, by Chris Eliopoulous and Mark Sumerak (Marvel)
* Owly: Flying Lessons, by Andy Runton (Top Shelf)
* Spiral-Bound, by Aaron Renier (Top Shelf)

I've only read Spiral-Bound, and it was nice. The Clouds Above sure looked pretty, though.

Best Anthology
* The Dark Horse Book of the Dead, edited by Scott Allie (Dark Horse Books)
* Flight, vol. 2, edited by Kazu Kibuishi (Image)
* Mome, edited by Gary Groth and Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics)
* Solo, edited by Mark Chiarello (DC)
* 24 Hour Comics Day Highlights 2005, edited by Nat Gertler (About Comics)

I think the one issue of Mome I read came out after the deadline? Also - why am I abiding by rules in my pretend universe? I've already presumed that I can fire lasers from my eyes, which is how I'm marking my ballot, by the way. Well, I'll vote for Solo.

Best Digital Comic
* Copper, by Kazu www.boltcity.com/copper
* Jellaby, by Kean Soo, www.secretfriendsociety.com/archive.php?cat=2
* ojingogo, by matt forsythe www.comingupforair.net/comics/ojingogo.html
* PVP, by Scott Kurtz, www.pvponline.com/

I don't really follow any of these. Plenty of smart people like Jellaby.

Best Reality-Based Work
* Embroideries, by Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon)
* Epileptic, by David B. (Pantheon)
* Nat Turner, by Kyle Baker (Kyle Baker Publishing)
* Pyongyang, by Guy Delisle (Drawn & Quarterly)
* True Story, Swear to God (Clib's Boy Comics), True Story, Swear to God: This One Goes to Eleven (AiT/Planet Lar), by Tom Beland

Reality-based is the new non-fiction, I guess. Anyhow, here's where the cateories get entirely arbitrary, as I'm sure Epileptic could fit into this, Best US Edition of Foreign Material, possibly Best Graphic Album - Reprint... maybe there's tight criteria for each category? I'd just wind up voting for Epileptic wherever it shows up, because me and my laser eyes are like that, but should I be evaluating it here on its unique reality-based texture? Does the constant use of unreal iconography spoil that, or is the icon supplimentary to the overall 'realness' of the work? Rhetorical question, I know.

Best Graphic Album--New
* Acme Novelty Library #16, by Chris Ware (ACME Novelty)
* The Rabbi's Cat, by Joann Sfar (Pantheon)
* Top Ten: The Forty-Niners, by Alan Moore and Gene Ha (ABC)
* Tricked, by Alex Robinson (Top Shelf)
* Wimbledon Green, by Seth (Drawn & Quarterly)

And isn't Acme Novelty Library technically reprinted (and heavily revised) from weekly material appearing in Chicago-area publications? I'll vote for that.

Best Graphic Album--Reprint
* Acme Novelty Library Annual Report to Shareholders, by Chris Ware (Pantheon)
* Black Hole, by Charles Burns (Pantheon)
* Feast of the Seven Fishes, by Robert Tinnell, Ed Piskor, and Alex Saviuk (Allegheny Image Factory)
* Ice Haven, by Dan Clowes (Pantheon)
* War's End, by Joe Sacco (Drawn & Quarterly)

Oh Black Hole - one of these days you and I will be united in love. Until then, Acme again.

Best Archival Collection/Project--Comic Strips
* The Complete Calvin & Hobbes, by Bill Watterson (Andrews McMeel)
* The Complete Peanuts, 1955-1956, 1957-1958, by Charles Schulz (Fantagraphics)
* Krazy and Ignatz: The Komplete Kat Komics. by George Herriman (Fantagraphics)
* Little Nemo in Slumberland: So Many Splendid Sundays, by Winsor McCay (Sunday Press Books)
* Walt and Skeezix, by Frank King (Drawn & Quarterly)

I expect Little Nemo in Slumberland: So Many Splendid Sundays! will clean house here - it's just too damn big an undertaking to escape notice. Even compared to the large likes of that Kat Kollection.

Best Archival Collection/Project--Comic Books
* Absolute Watchmen, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (DC)
* Buddha, vols. 5-8, by Osamu Tezuka (Vertical)
* The Contract with God Trilogy, by Will Eisner (Norton)
* DC Comics Rarities Archives, vol. 1 (DC)
* Fantastic Four Omnibus, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (Marvel)

Man, I'll certainly have to scour the longboxes of Tokyo one day to score those hot Buddha back-issues! Maybe plucking the latest issue of Death Note off the new comics racks too! They'll still be $2.99 after the exchange rates, right?

Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material
* Cromartie High School, by Eiji Nonaka (ADV)
* Dungeon: The Early Years, vol. 1, by Joann Sfar, Lewis Trondheim, and Christophe Blaine (NBM)
* Ordinary Victories, by Manu Larcenet (NBM)
* The Rabbi's Cat, by Joann Sfar (Pantheon)
* Six Hundred Seventy-Six Apparitions of Killoffer, by Killoffer (Typocrat)

Eisner award nominee, Cromartie High School! That gives me a good feeling in my belly, like I've eaten a delicious bacon cheeseburger. That's the feeling I want from my award lists and imaginary voting. Have I been forgetting to vote on stuff?

Best Writer
* Warren Ellis, Fell (Image); Down (Top Cow/Image); Desolation Jones, Ocean, Planetary (WildStorm/DC)
* Alan Heinberg, Young Avengers (Marvel)
* Alan Moore, Promethea, Top Ten: The Forty-Niners (ABC)
* Grant Morrison, Seven Soldiers, All Star Superman (DC)
* Brian K. Vaughan, Ex Machina (WildStorm/DC); Y: The Last Man (Vertigo/DC); Runaways (Marvel)

This being writers and writers alone. I expect Ellis will pull it off this time, partially by sheer force of presence on the nominee list. A wide net, that one's cast. I think Morrison's level of quality is generally higher, so he wins, but this really is looking like a big Ellis year at the ol' Eisners.

Best Writer/Artist
* Geof Darrow, Shaolin Cowboy (Burlyman)
* Guy Delisle, Pyongyang (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Eric Shanower, Age of Bronze (Image)
* Adrian Tomine, Optic Nerve #10 (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library #16 (ACME Novelty)

The winner, of course, is Kevin Huizenga.

Best Writer/Artist--Humor
* Kyle Baker, Plastic Man (DC); The Bakers (Kyle Baker Publishing)
* Paige Braddock, Jane's World (Girl Twirl)
* Bryan Lee O'Malley, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Oni)
* Eric Powell, The Goon (Dark Horse)
* Seth, Wimbledon Green (Drawn & Quarterly)


Best Penciller/Inker
* John Cassaday, Astonishing X-Men (Marvel); Planetary (WildStorm/DC)
* Gene Ha, Top Ten: The Forty-Niners (ABC)
* J. G. Jones, Wanted (Top Cow/Image)
* Frank Quitely, All Star Superman (DC)
* J. H. Williams III, Promethea, Desolation Jones (WildStorm/DC)

Williams all the way, even though that last issue of Promethea is as much a triumph of overall design and elemental cohesion as pencilling and inking. Still, the work on Desolation Jones is also a standout, and they forgot to list Seven Soldiers.

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)
* Paul Guinan, Heartbreakers Meet Boilerplate (IDW)
* Ladronn, Hip Flask: Mystery City (Active Images)
* Ben Templesmith, Fell (Image)
* Kent Williams, The Fountain (Vertigo/DC)

I can't even pick anymore.

Best Cover Artist
* Frank Espinosa, Rocketo (Speakeasy)
* Tony Harris, Ex Machina (Wildstorm/DC)
* James Jean, Fables (Vertigo/DC); Runaways (Marvel)
* Jock, The Losers (Vertigo/DC)
* Eric Powell, The Goon; Universal Monsters: Cavalcade of Horror (Dark Horse)

Wait, wait, yes I can! James Jean!

Best Coloring
* Jeromy Cox, Teen Titans (DC); Otherworld (Vertigo/DC)
* Steven Griffen, Hawaiian Dick: The Last Resort (Image)
* Steve Hamaker, Bone: The Great Cow Race (Scholastic Graphix)
* Jose Villarrubia, Desolation Jones (WildStorm/DC)
* Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library #16 (ACME Novelty)

Truly, Villarrubia and Williams are a team to be admired on Desolation Jones, wonderfully complimentary.

Best Lettering
* Chris Eliopolis, Ultimate Iron Man, Astonishing X-Men, Ultimates 2, House of M, Franklin Richards (Marvel); Fell (Image)
* Todd Klein, Wonder Woman, Justice, Seven Soldiers #0 (DC); Desolation Jones (WildStorm/DC); Promethea, Top Ten: The Forty-Niners, Tomorrow Stories * Special (ABC); Fables (Vertigo); 1602: New World (Marvel)
* Richard Starkings, Conan, Revelations (Dark Horse); Godland (Image); Gunpowder Girl and the Outlaw Squaw, Hip Flask: Mystery City (Active Images)
* Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library #16 (ACME Novelty)

Kind of makes me wonder if I'm voting as much for his design contributions as anything else, but yeah - Promethea locks Klein in for me.

Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition
* Dawn Brown (Ravenous, Little Red Hot)
* Aaron Renier (Spiral-Bound)
* Zak Sally (Recidivist)
* Ursula Vernon (Digger)


Best Comics-Related Periodical
* Comic Art, edited by M. Todd Hignite (Comic Art)
* Comic Book Artist, edited by Jon Cooke (Top Shelf)
* The Comics Journal, edited by Gary Groth and Dirk Deppey (Fantagraphics)
* Draw!, edited by Michael Manley (TwoMorrows)
* Following Cerebus, edited by Craig Miller and John Thorne (Aardvark-Vanaheim/Win-Mill Productions)

Man, I had to check the legal indicia just to make sure that Comic Art even had an issue out last year - it's a great publication, but The Comics Journal combines a wide reach with frequency of release. Actually, Following Cerebus is quite a good little magazine too. I purchase all three regularly (as much as such terms pertain to the first of the batch).

Best Comics-Related Book
* The Comics Journal Library: Classic Comic Illustrators, edited by Tom Spurgeon (Fantagraphics)
* Eisner/Miller, interviews conducted by Charles Brownstein (Dark Horse Books)
* Foul Play: The Art and Artists of the Notorious 1950s EC Comics, by Grant Geissman (Harper Design)
* Masters of American Comics, edited by John Carlin, Paul Karasik, and Brian Walker (Hammer Museum/MOCA Los Angeles/Yale University Press)
* RGK: Art of Roy G. Krenkel, edited by J. David Spurlock and Barry Klugerman (Vanguard)

Well, I've only read Eisner/Miller and Foul Play, and I suppose I got a lot more out of the former. This analysis is just crackling here.

Best Publication Design
* Acme Novelty Library Annual Report to Shareholders, designed by Chris Ware (Pantheon)
* Little Nemo in Slumberland, designed by Philippe Ghuilemetti (Sunday Press Books)
* Promethea #32, designed by J. H. Williams III and Todd Klein (ABC)
* Walt and Skeezix, designed by Chris Ware (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Wimbledon Green, designed by Seth (Drawn & Quarterly)

Ok, so this is it. Whew. Voting is hard work. But I've done the world a favor. The answer is Promethea, because it mixed beautiful design right into the reading of the book itself, pressing the pamphlet form into realms it usually dares not venture near. This is designnot just from top to bottom, but through the center, form as function.

Anyway, congrats to all nominees.