Sunday, April 12, 2009

The 2009 Eisner Award Nominations Hit THE SPLASH PAGE

Hundreds of years ago, Chad Nevett and I began writing a column called "The Splash Page" for With that website's temporary inactivity, we moved the discussion to our blogs (and starting this summer, we'll be doing a modified version of this for CBR, but that's all hush-hush for now, so don't tell anyone about it yet). Though we haven't maintained our weekly schedule since leaving the hallowed halls of Sequart, we do still talk about comics regularly, and this week we talk EISNER NOMINATIONS!

Chad Nevett:
On Tuesday, this year's Eisner nominations were announced to their usual vocal reception online. Some were pleased, some weren't, most were in between, but, what you may be wondering is, how do Tim and I feel about the nominations. Well, we're going to tell you. I know there's one nomination we can both agree is great, which is CBR's nomination for "Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism." We both have ties to the site, so our bias is fairly obvious, wouldn't you say, Tim?

Tim Callahan: That is indeed a great and proper nomination, and I'd love to see Jonah win the life-size Will Eisner trophy in San Diego this summer. Though he's up against some tough competition with "The Comics Journal," "The Comics Reporter," and "Comics Comics." CBR definitely has a wider range of content -- and MORE content -- than the other three, but we'll see what the judges think. I know CBR publishes a certain Chad Nevett (now of "Comics Should be Good"!) and a, so that's gotta count for something. We are awesome, as we keep telling ourselves.

Let's move on to something people might actually care about, though, like the "Best Continuing Series" category. "All-Star Superman," "Fables," "Monster," "Thor," and "Usagi Yojimbo" all got the nod, and though everyone in the world kind of shrugged, "huh," when "All-Star" was listed in that particular category, I can't say I'm surprised to see it nominated somewhere. What do you think about those five nominations overall?

CN: Yeah, I went "What?" when I saw "All-Star Superman" was listed there. The only other title nominated that I read is "Thor" and that also gave me pause, because while a decent enough read, it never struck me as best-continuing-series-in-all-of-comicdom good. It's not even the best continuing series Marvel publishes (though, I would put it in Marvel's top five). I always hear good things about "Fables," but never had any desire to read that series, because the concept doesn't appeal to me. "Usagi Yojimbo" is one of those books where, again, I always hear positive things and I've always meant to check out, but just never seem to. Never read or heard of "Monster," but it's manga and what I know about manga you could fit into a small comic box with room to spare. Nothing nominated really seems to warrant outrage, but nothing also seems to warrant a lot of celebration and passion -- at least on my part.

The category I find more interesting is the "Best New Series" one with at least one or two books that had me scratching my head: "Air," "Echo," "Invincible Iron Man," "Madame Xanadu," and "The Unknown Soldier." Now, my problems with "Invincible Iron Man" are documented well here and in my CBR reviews, but, I think, one of the big surprises was the nomination for "Madame Xanadu," which, beyond a few lackluster reviews of the first issue, I haven't heard, well, anything about.

TC: I don't understand the "Thor" nomination either, since it's just a good, but not great, series. As you point out, it's not even the best continuing series Marvel publishes. "Captain America" is better. "Captain Britain and MI: 13," better. "Ghost Rider," better. "Daredevil," too. And that's just the superhero stuff. What about "Criminal"?

And, geez, Matt Fraction gets the nod for "Iron Man" but not "Casanova"?

"Fables" is good enough, I suppose, but I don't love it as much as others seem to, and I've never actually read "Usagi Yojimbo" even though I did pre-order the massive hardcover omnibus, so I'm trying to rectify that. I'm two volumes in on "Monster," and after those two volumes, and how much I adored "Pluto" so far, I had already ordered the next eight "Monster" books before these nominations hit. So, yeah, it makes sense that it's there. Two volumes in, and I'm hooked.

For the "Best New Series" category, I don't think any of the nominees make sense. I read three out of the five regularly, and I like them, but I wouldn't consider any of them the BEST new series. "Air" has the terrible M. K. Perker artwork, "Invincible Iron Man" has the annoying Sal Larroca art, and "The Unknown Soldier" hasn't developed into anything great yet, even if it's pretty damn good. The first few issues of "Madame Xanadu" were enough to make me never want to read another Matt Wagner comic again, and that's sad, because I really used to love "Grendel." It was just one cliche after another, though CBR's Andy Khouri insists that it's a great comic, so I'm clearly wrong about it.

I can't think of a lot of great series that began last year, but what about "Rasl," or "Gigantic," or, your favorite, "Young Liars"? "Hulk" is even better than most of the nominees (though that probably didn't start in 2008, did it?).

CN: The lack of love for "Young Liars" and David Lapham bothered me, yeah. I didn't want to trash the other "Best New Series" noms since I haven't read most of them -- of course, that I haven't had anyone talk those books up enough to make me want to probably says something about their quality -- but, hot damn, "Young Liars" is just so good. It's, by far, my favorite ongoing comic at the moment. Maybe the slow start affected it's chances. Who knows.

"Casanova" didn't publish too many issues since last year's awards, so it not being nominated didn't bother me that much, although that final issue deserved something. One idea put forth (by someone who I can't remember since I read a bunch of random thoughts on the Eisners earlier in the week), though, is whether or not something like "Invincible Iron Man" really is a new series. Does Marvel relaunching one of their titles with a new number one really count, especially when you look at their habit of reverting to old numbering when a big round number comes around? Is "Invincible Iron Man" a new series or really just another run on the broader Iron Man ongoing series? Is it "Invincible Iron Man" #12 or is it REALLY "Iron Man" #481? Or, to put it in a way that Marvel operates: will we see "Invincible Iron Man" #31 or will it be "Iron Man" #500? Should the Eisner's distinguish between actual new series and "fake" ones like Marvel's various relaunch books?


1 comment:

Chad Nevett said...

Ah, the hush-hush CBR thing... so hush-hush that even I don't know what it is.