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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, more 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.