Initiated as an Eisner Award category in 1993, the Best Lettering/Letterer category has featured some of the comic book industry’s most talented, yet unsung, creators whose work can truly make or break a comic book. In all of the years that Best Lettering has been a category, Todd Klein has been the recipient of the award more than 50% of the time.
Here are the 2018 Eisner Award nominees for the Best Lettering/Letterer category:
Isabelle Arsenault, Louis Undercover (Groundwood Books/House of Anansi)
An award-winning Canadian illustrator, Isabelle Arsenault’s career has included numerous honors and recognition for her work, including a Governor General’s Award, the Joe Shuster Award, and more.
House of Anansi’s website states that “in this powerful new graphic novel from Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault, we meet Louis, a young boy who shuttles between his alcoholic dad and his worried mom, and who, with the help of his best friend, tries to summon up the courage to speak to his true love, Billie.” A grounded and realistic portrayal of complex family relationships, Louis Undercover has also been selected for the School Library Journal Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2017, the ALSC Notable Children's Books 2018, and the Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year 2018.
Click here to purchase.
Clayton Cowles, Bitch Planet: Triple Feature, Redlands, The Wicked + The Divine (Image); Black Bolt, Spider-Gwen, Astonishing X-Men, Star Wars (Marvel)
Clayton Cowles is an illustrator and letterer whose career has spanned countless comic book titles from Marvel, Image, and DC including Star Wars, Batman, The Wicked + The Divine, Bitch Planet, and Daredevil. This year, he is nominated for his work on Bitch Planet: Triple Feature, Redlands, The Wicked + The Divine, Black Bolt, Spider-Gwen, Astonishing X-Men, and Star Wars, which is impressive in and of itself.
Paste Magazine noted of Cowles’ work, “Letterer Clayton Cowles has taken a versatile approach to a slate of diverse comics, each demanding its own fine-tuned take to the craft. Cowles’ lettering contrasts traditional, gleaming superhero optimism with a reality that refuses to stop falling apart, and he does so beautifully, using slick, elongated fonts against muddy and cracked letters.”
Click here to purchase. (Bitch Planet: Triple Feature)
Click here to purchase. (Redlands)
Click here to purchase. (The Wicked + The Divine)
Click here to purchase. (Black Bolt)
Click here to purchase. (Spider-Gwen)
Click here to purchase. (Astonishing X-Men)
Emil Ferris, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters (Fantagraphics)
Emil Ferris is an American writer, cartoonist, and designer who, amazingly, overcame West Nile in order to create what has often been described as the debut graphic novel of the year. While recovering from the paralysis, Ferris crafted her tale of a 10-year-old fan of monster movies and her mission to solve a neighbor’s murder in 1960s Chicago.
Terry Gross of NPR: Fresh Air has described My Favorite Thing Is Monsters as an “extraordinary book” that has “instantly rocketed Ferris into the graphic novel elite alongside Art Spiegelman, Alison Bechdel, and Chris Ware. You see, she's produced something rare, a page-turning story whose pages are so brilliantly drawn you don't want to turn them.”
Click here to purchase.
Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo, Groo: Slay of the Gods (Dark Horse)
Stan Sakai is a Japanese-American cartoonist and comic book creator who is perhaps best known for his work on the comic book series, Usage Yojimbo. He began his career as a letterer, working on the series, Groo the Wanderer. Throughout his career, he has been awarded the highest honors within the comic book community, including several Eisner Awards, Inkpot Awards, Harvey Awards, and Ursa Major Awards. This year, he is nominated for his work on Usagi Yojimbo and Groo: Slay of the Gods.
Comics Alliance noted of Sakai’s work, “I don't think I'm exaggerating at all when I say that Stan Sakai is arguably the greatest living comic book creator in the world, and Usagi Yojimbo is a thirty-year masterpiece that has a consistency and craftsmanship that other comics only touch when they're at their peak. It's so good in every way that the people who love it rarely even bother to explain why anymore --- if we're not talking about it all the time, it's only because its greatness has been such a permanent part of comics that we're taking it as a given.”
Click here to purchase.
John Workman, Mother Panic (DC Young Animal); Ragnarok (IDW)
John Workman is an editor, writer, artist, designer, colorist, and letterer who has served as the letterer for the entire run of Grant Morrison/Rachel Pollack's Doom Patrol with DC Comics. His impact on the comic book industry should not be understated, as his career has spanned so many roles in various facets of the industry. This year, he is nominated for his work on Mother Panic and Ragnarok.
Comics Alliance noted of Workman’s work, “I love literally everything about Workman's lettering. It doesn't hurt that Simonson's Thor is quite literally the greatest superhero comic ever published, but still, the lettering is gorgeous. The big round balloons, the different styles that he uses for his captions and scene transitions and story titles, but let's be honest, the real stars here are the four-syllable sound effects that you get when gods start smashing things with their hammers. No one has ever made "KRAKABABOOOOM!" look as good as Workman does, and it's breathtaking every time I go back and read those comics.”
Click here to purchase. (Mother Panic)
Click here to purchase. (Ragnarok)
Stay tuned to the Fanbase Press website tomorrow as we continue our “Countdown to the Eisners” coverage! Plus, follow Fanbase Press’ Facebook, Twitter (@Fanbase_Press), and Instagram (@fanbasepress) with the hashtag #FPSDCC to stay up to date on our SDCC and Eisner Awards updates, including a live-tweet of the 2018 Eisner Award Ceremony from the Hilton Bayfront Hotel at San Diego Comic-Con on the evening of Friday, July 20th!