Comics Alternative Special: A Discussion on the 2015 Eisner Award Nominations

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And the Nominees Are…

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It’s a semi-tradition that when the Eisner Award nominations are announced, Derek and Andy are there to discuss them. So on this special episode of The Comics Alternative, the guys get together to deliberate over this year’s nominees, what kind of patterns they discern, and what surprise choices there may be. Joining them on the show is noted comics journalist and former Eisner Award-winner, Tom Spurgeon. Together they look over the list of nominees that was released just last week and try to figure out what is going on with the choices. They begin pax-americanaby looking at the bigger picture, giving their takes on any possible direction or pattern coming from this year’s judges. Both Andy and Derek comment on the fact that both DC and Marvel — and mainstream superhero comics, in particular — seem to be getting slightly more love than they have in recent years, with properties such as Ms. MarvelRocket Raccoon, Grant Morrison’s Multiversity, and various Batman and Spider-Man titles getting the nod. To-End-All-Wars-ATom is pleased with some heavy hitters, such as Sergio Aragonés and Charles Burns, who are up for awards, yet at the same time he’s glad that there are brand-new faces that could shake up some of the stolid categories. The guys also note that many of the nominees have been covered on The Comics Alternative podcast and blog, wondering if the creators appreciate the fact that they’re benefiting from what Andy has called the “Comics Alternative bump.” In fact, every single entry in the Best Graphic Album – New category was reviewed on either the podcast or blog over the past year! Even though he has been a past recipient of the prize, Tom wonders if there’s any logic to having a Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism, since, it seems to him, it’s an award W+D1for creators giving a prize to someone who merely watches the medium. It would be like the Oscars giving an award to Entertainment WeeklyVanity Fair, or IMDB for their reporting. Derek tacks in a completely different direction, uncomfortable with the Eisners lumping all forms of media together and wondering if perhaps they should break up the periodical/journalism award into at least a couple of different categories. The guys also observe some notable absences from this year’s selection. For example, and unlike previous years, Dark Horse Presents is nowhere to be found on the list. And why is something like Superior Foes of Spider-Man nominated in the Best Humor Publication category while ms_-marvel-5unique and intelligently funny titles such as God Hates AstronautsPunks: The Comic, and Eel Mansions are not? (Are the judges’ sense of humor that predictable?) And then there are the kinds of discussions that have been coming up on the podcast in years past, such as issues in defining the Best Publications for Teens category, the growing presence of webcomics on the list, possible trends in the Best Scholarly/Academic Work category, and the juggernaut presence of Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. There is a lot to pick through in this year’s nominations, the good as well as the not-so-good, and the Two Guys with PhDs are happy that Tom Spurgeon could join them to share in the conversation.

Stay on top of all the comics news with Tom’s blog, The Comics Reporter.

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