Comics Alternative for Young Readers: The Eisner Award Nominations for Early Readers, Kids, and Teens

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:02:57 – Context of the 2017 Eisner Awards
  • 00:06:14 – Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)
  • 00:57:02 – Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12)
  • 01:49:53 – Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)
  • 02:52:17 – Wrap up
  • 02:53:05 – Contact us



This month, Gwen and Paul discuss the three Eisner Award categories that focus on comics for young readers. And this is a jam-packed, extra-long episode! As they work through each set of nominees, Paul and Gwen discuss the value of prizing in general and the challenges faced by the judges when they must cull such a small number of texts from a pool that is increasingly deep. Inevitably, they mention many other texts that felt were strong contenders for recognition, making this episode a great resource for any parent, child, teen, or teacher who is eager to learn about this year’s great comics.

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12)

Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)

Comics Alternative, Webcomics: Reviews of the 2017 Eisner Award Nominees

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:02:55 – Webcomics news: The Library of Congress’ Web Comics Web Archive
  • 00:11:24 – Trying to make sense of the Eisner Awards’ “Best Web Comic” and “Best Digital Comic” categories
  • 00:30:37 – The Middle Age
  • 00:44:30 – On Beauty
  • 00:56:54 – Helm
  • 01:08:27 – On a Sunbeam
  • 01:32:41 – Wrap up
  • 01:34:14 – Contact us


Definitionally Challenged

For the June webcomics episode, Sean and Derek take a close look at the webcomics nominees for the 2017 Eisner Awards. Before they do that, though, they have to determine exactly which titles are actually webcomics and which are not. If this sounds strange, that’s because this year the people behind the Eisner Awards have separated “Best Digital Comics” and “Best Webcomic” into two completely different categories — which is a good thing — but in doing so they have ill-defined the criteria to where there are digital comics mixed in the “Best Webcomic” category and webcomics in the “Best Digital Comic” category. In other words, there doesn’t seem to be any clear distinctions between the two…which was the problem in previous years when webcomics and digital comics were unfortunately clumped into the same category. Sean and Derek discuss in detail the problems underlying this year’s categorization, and they offer advice for next year’s judges and hope that in the future there will be a much more precise understanding of what a webcomic actually is.

After that, they begin discussing the real webcomics that are scattered between the “Best Webcomic” and “Best Digital Comic” categories. There are five in all, and in this episode they discuss Steve Conley’s The Middle Age and Christina Tran’s On Beauty (both nominated for “Best Webcomic”), as well as Jahanzeb Hasan and Mauricio Caballero’s Helm and Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam (inexplicably nominated under “Best Digital Comic”). Anne Szabla’s Bird Boy was also nominated as a webcomic, but since the guys discussed that title on a previous webcomics episode, they spend their time talking about the other nominees. And as the guys reveal, there is a reason why these four titles are nominated for an Eisner Award this year. They’re all well-written, keenly drawn, and ambitious in what each endeavors to accomplish. Both Sean and Derek wish this year’s webcomics creators, despite the appropriateness of the categories for which they’re nominated, the best of luck when the announcements are made at next month’s SDCC!

Comics Alternative, Episode 242: A Discussion of the 2017 Eisner Award Nominations

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The Meryl Streep of Comics


Earlier this month the nominees for the 2017 Eisner Awards were announced at the Comic-Con International website, and as Andy and Derek like to do every year, they’re devoting a full episode of The Comics Alternative to a discussion of the nominations. On this week’s show, the Two Guys give their impressions of the various nominees, both as a whole and on a category-by-category basis, making observations and trying to understand any trends underlying this year’s selections. However, Derek and Andy resist the urge to play armchair quarterbacks, so they don’t second-guess the six-member panel of judges or focus on what they would have chosen if they had been on the selection committee. As diligent comics scholars, they judicial and discerning in their commentary. At the same time, they don’t shy away from pointing out a few inconsistencies and a few head-scratchers when trying to make sense of this year’s nominations.

Comic News Insider Episode 763 – CNI Decoded!


Comic News Insider: Episode 763 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures #1, Batman The Shadow #1, Big Moose One Shot, Night Owl Society #1, American Gods, Superheroes Decoded 

Jon Hoche joins Jimmy once again to co-host! They chat about Star Wars Day and Free Comic Book Day this week. News includes: Eisner nominations are in, M. Night Shyamalan announces sequel to Unbreakable, Marvel has joined Comixology Unlimited,  Gene Luen Yang and Panda Express are releasing a new The Green Turtle comic and more! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!



Comic News Insider

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Comics Alternative for Young Readers: A Special Look at the 2016 Eisner Awards

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And the Winners Are…


On this special episode of the Young Readers edition of The Comics Alternative, Gwen and Andy take a look at the 2016 Eisner Awards, both the nominees and the winners, in each of the three young readers categories. The Two People with PhDs discuss not only the books and their creators, but also the categories themselves, the changes they’ve seen in those categories over the years, and changes they’d like to see in the future. Gwen and Andy know you’ll find some great books here and hope you’ll share your thoughts with them once you’ve read them. (You can find a complete list of all the Eisner Award winners here as well as the complete list of nominees here.)

In the lists below, the winner of the category is in bold face type.

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)

Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion, by Dominque Roques and Alexis Dormal (First Second)

Little Robot, by Ben Hatke (First Second)

The Only Child, by Guojing (Schwartz & Wade)

SheHeWe, by Lee Nordling and Meritxell Bosch (Lerner Graphic Universe)

Written and Drawn by Henrietta, by Liniers (Ricardo Siri Linders, an Argentine creator) (TOON Books)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12)

Baba Yaga’s Assistant, by Marika McCoola and Emily Carroll (Candlewick)

Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War, by Jessica Dee Humphreys, Michel Chikwanine, and Claudia Devila (Kids Can Press)

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor, by Nathan Hale (Abrams Amulet)

Over the Garden Wall, by Pat McHale, Amalia Levari, and Jim Campbell (BOOM! Studios/KaBOOM!)

Roller Girl, by Victoria Jamieson (Dial Books)

Sunny Side Up, by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm (Scholastic Graphix)

Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)

Awkward, by Svetlana Chmakova (Yen Press)

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, by Don Brown (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

March: Book Two, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Top Shelf/IDW)

Moose, by Max de Radiguès (Conundrum)

Oyster War, by Ben Towle (Oni)

SuperMutant Magic Academy, by Jillian Tamaki (Drawn & Quarterly)



Comics Alternative, Episode 189: A Discussion of the 2016 Eisner Award Nominations

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Discerning Tastes?


The nominees for the 2016 Eisner Awards were announced last month, and as the Two Guys with PhDs do every year, they use an episode of The Comics Alternative to discuss and speculate. Joining them in this year’s conversation is Carol Tilley, a professor of information science at the University of Illinois and, tilley_carol160210-72-bmore to the point of this episode, one of the nominating judges for this year’s Eisner Awards. Carol is not a stranger to the podcast, having participated in last year’s roundtable discussion on libraries and comics, but this time around she’s back to share her experiences and answer questions that Andy and Derek have about the Eisners. She doesn’t give away any private deliberations nor does she disclose secrets, but she does help demystify the nomination process and provides insight into many of the award categories. After their conversation with Carol, Derek and Andy go on to share their own thoughts on this year’s nominations, separating their personal tastes from the kind of broader, critical analysis you come to expect from the podcast. They try to discern trends, highlight special achievements, and understand the nominating choices that were made. They especially note the sheer number of nominees who have appeared on The Comics Alternative or whose works were prominently reviewed on the podcast, giving credence, once again, to what Andy and Derek self-importantly call “the Comics Alternative bump.” When all is said and done, the guys are quite impressed with this year’s roster of creators and their comics up for recognition.


Comic News Insider Episode 683 – Whitewashing Free Podcast!


Comic News Insider: Episode 683 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: Black Road #1, Goldie Vance #1, Hot Damn #1, House of Penance #1, Moon Knight Vol 8 #1, Orphan Black S4 premiere, Supergirl S1 finale

Jimmy is joined in studio by frequent co-host Jon Hoche! They chat/rant about the questionable casting of non-Asians in Doctor Strange and Ghost in the Shell. As many of you know, Jimmy (former actor) and Jon (working actor) are both of Asian descent and have lots to say about the subject. Oooh, controversy! Slow news week so they have a nice talk about the Eisner nominations and some of the nominees that they’ve read and would like to check out.  They give some great recommendations in comics, TV and film as well. Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!



Comic News Insider

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

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And the Nominees Are…


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.



Comic News Insider Episode 553 – San Diego Comic Con Madness w/ Bryan Fuller/Susan Eisenberg/Key & Peele!


Comic News Insider: Episode 553 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Jimmy is in L.A. post-Comic Con so he flies solo to bring you some awesome San Diego Comic Con coverage! He chatted with Bryan Fuller (Hannibal), Susan Eisenberg (voice of Wonder Woman) and the hilarious comedians Kegean-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of Key & Peele. Jimmy gives his brief recap of the week (well, as brief as he can keep it!) with some cool moments thrown in for your listening pleasure. We also get a quick bit from Sina Grace (Jimmy’s host in L.A.) about his upcoming return to Li’l Depressed Boy in October. And a quickie mp3 from Kat Rocha/Josh Finney about their awesome World War Kaiju comic. No reviews or Top 3 due to the all the coverage! News includes:  Marvel announces Star Wars comics from Jason Aaron/John Cassaday, Kieron Gillen/Salvador Larocca, Mark Waid/Terry Dodson, Spider-Woman gets her own ongoing, the Agents of SHIELD TV series gets adapted to comics, a Guardians of the Galaxy animated series is coming, DC announces two animated features (Batman vs Robin & Justice League: Gods & Monsters), IDW will bring Orphan Black, Edward Scissorhands and Galaxy Quest comics, Image announces massive slate of new comics, Dark Horse will have a new Hellboy title, Gal Gadot is revealed in her Wonder Woman outfit at Comic Con, exclusive Avengers 2 trailer shows Ultron and resulting destruction, Avengers 3 will feature Thanos, Ant-Man film announces new casting, Batman: The Complete Television Series is available November 11, Robert Kirkman’s Outcast is coming to Cinemax, and congrats to all the Eisner winners! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love!

Also, get a hold of us!

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Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 79.1: A Discussion of the 2014 Eisner Award Nominations

The James Brown of Comics Podcasting

eisnerawardslogoOn this special episode of The Comics Alternative, Andy and Derek devote the entire show to the 2014 Eisner Award Nominations. They take a close look at almost all of the categories, weighing in on their favorites nominees, commenting on the pros and cons of the picks, and speculating on the actual process of compiling the nominees list. What the Two Guys realize is that many of the comics that they reviewed in 2013, and many of the creators they interviewed over the past year, are noticeably present on the nominee list…leading Andy to believe that there is such a thing as a “Comics Alternative bump” for exposure and recognition. Derek, on the other hand, begins his efforts in pushing for more Comics Alternative recognition in the first of what will be five different episodes of the podcast for this week, making him (in the words of Andy) “the James Brown of comics podcasting.” So Derek feels good. You knew that he would.

This episode’s incidental music is brought to you by
The Best of The Smiths Vol. 1

Episode 79-1 Image

Comic News Insider Episode 511 – Comique Nouvelles Initié


Comic News Insider: Episode 511 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: Clown Fatale #1, Manifest Destiny #1, Marvel Knights X-Men #1, Umbral #1, Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland #1, Almost Human

Roommates Emily and Kristin return to add their mostly unintentional hilarity to the podcast! Jimmy plays with Google Translate, pimps out the Frisky and Mannish Kickstarter, gets a message from Season 1 Who Wants To Be A Superhero’s Lemuria,  gives love to Batkid and Doctor Who and more. News includes: Sandman: Overture delayed, BBC America to simulcast live Doctor Who pre-show,  Comixology has gift cards, Wolverine gets the Marvel Now treatment, Jonathan Ross returns to comics, 2014 Eisner Award judges announced, MultiPass is coming to London and AMC is ordering a Preacher pilot. Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love!

Also, get a hold of us!

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Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 49: August Previews & Our One-Year Anniversary!

It’s Our Birthday!

BirthdayBalloonThis week on The Comics Alternative Andy and Derek celebrate their one-year anniversary!  The podcast began one year ago this month — August 1, 2012, was the inaugural episode — and the Two Guys with PhDs mark the event by doing what they do best: bringing you insightful commentary on upcoming titles and comics news. Most of this episode is devoted to the August Previews AugustPreviewscatalog, but Andy and Derek also discuss the significance of the podcast’s ongoing mission, their plans for future shows, the August Comics Alternative giveaway, and the various correspondences they have recently received. Regarding the latter, they respond to an email from Jackie Estrada, an administrator for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, concerning last week’s roundtable discussion on SDCC and the Eisners. The Two Guys address the administrator’s concerns, apologize for certain oversights, and place last week’s comments within a larger context (including their previous conversations on the 2013 Eisner Award nominees). There is a lot packed into this week’s episode — over two-hours worth! — and the guys hope that you join in their anniversary celebration by lifting a pint, turning on your podcast-listening device, and enjoying the warm nougaty goodness that is The Comics Alternative.

Episode 49 Image

Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 48: A Roundtable Discussion on SCDD and the Eisner Awards

Another Podcast Crossover Event…Industry Approved!

This week on The Comics Alternative podcast, John Mayo (of the Comic Book Page) and Chris Marshall (Collected Comics Library) return for another roundtable discussion with the Two Guys with PhDs.  This time the CA Logotopic is the San Diego Comics Con and the Eisner Award ceremony that took place there.  They begin by asking John how his experience was in San Diego — he was the only one of the four to actually attend — and what for him were the highlights of the event. They talk quite a bit about the many happenings at the con, both comic-related and otherwise, and then discuss the coverage of the con in the media. Next, they turn their attention to the 2013 Eisner Award winners, trying to make sense of what the results may reveal (or not reveal) about the current state of comics as well as the attitudes and biases of the selection committee. The four podcasting guys also pick apart the various award categories, noting their histories and how many of them have changed over the years. For example, they point out the weaknesses with the “Best Digital Comic” category (too broad, too ill-defined), suggest ways of reconceptualizing the award for comics-related journalism, and even problematize the idea of the “Best Graphic Album-New.” (Is Building Stories really an “album”? Doesn’t it actually contain a lot of reprinted material?)  It may be a bit of Monday morning quarterbacking, but they don’t care. Chris, John, Andy, and Derek have a great time discussing and sharing ideas, and you can experience the fun by listening to the podcast.

Episode 48 Image

More To Come 55: Comics At Comic Con

More to comeRecorded by the Comics World division of Publishers Weekly Magazine, it’s More To Come! Your biweekly dose of insider comics publishing news, discussion and controversy.  Starring Heidi MacDonald, the Eisner-nominated blogger of, Calvin Reid, Senior News Editor of Publishers Weekly and Kate Fitzsimons, More To Come’s intrepid producer!

In this week’s episode, the More To Come crew discuss the recent San Diego Comic-Con including four Eisner wins for Chris Ware, three for Brian K. Vaughan, success for indie and digital comics, Neil Gaiman’s return to Sandman, Vertigo’s new push, sleeping outside Hall H, Monkeybrain, new kids’ imprints at NBM and Viz, Fantagraphics and D&Q, Lego hobbit hole and much more on PWCW’s More to Come.

Stay tuned in two weeks for our next regularly scheduled episode – there will definitely be More To Come!


Catch up with our in depth comics news, reviews and previous podcasts at

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Walter White as the new Dr Who, Orson Scott Card disappears and Appleman: “WAAR! WAAR! WAAR!”

UFP logo com


Early drop but a short one (we apologize for those of you who like our normal filibuster eps) but we’ll be back to our normal long-form show by the next drop.

Now let’s get onto it!


Gene Hackman IS The Wolverine


UFP Crew Questions

–          Battle Royale/The Hunger Games

–          The Best Doctor (Who)

–          Orson Scott Card disappearing act

–          Comic titles we’d take over and what we’d do with them



British comic Mel Smith’s passing (R.I.P.)

Glee’s song tribute to Corey Monteith along with some song suggestions

South Australian boy pretends to be girl on Facebook and gets friends to send him nudes



Eisner Awards!

Best Series – Saga

Best Writer – Brian K Vaughan

Best Writer/artist – Chris Ware

Best Penciller – David Aja and Chris Samnee (Tie)

Best Covers – David Aja

Best Coloring – Dave Stewart

Best Kids Publication – Adventure Time

Best Graphic Album – Building Stories


Simpsons/Family Guy crossover!

South Park: Stick of Truth will NOT feature DLC content

Agents of SHIELD first ep debut at SDCC

First footage and trailer for the Robocop remake

Kick Ass 2 red band trailer

Simpsons and Futurama crossover

Hellboy 3 to come

Prometheus comic from Dark Horse

Halo comic from Dark Horse

Tomb Raider by Gail Simone

Venture Bros art book

The Maxx and Hellboy artist editions

New ongoing Nightcrawler book

Deadpool Vs Carnage

Wolverine: Origin 2

Batman and Son animated movie

Assault on Arkham animated movie

Mark Gatiss cast in Game of Thrones

Tom Taylor steps up to writing on Earth 2 and Doom Patrol