Fanbase Press’ ‘Countdown to the Eisners’ Returns for 2021 (with a Few Minor Changes)

Given the positive impact of the Eisner Awards, their importance to the comic book industry, and Fanbase Press' own mission to “Celebrate Fandoms,” today marks the launch of Fanbase Press’ annual "Countdown to the Eisners" series. With "Countdown to the Eisners," we seek to highlight the Eisner Award nominations for 2021 and provide comic book industry members and readers alike the opportunity to learn more about the nominees and their work.

As 2021 sees the nation - and the world - continue to soldier through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and San Diego Comic-Con International will once again be going virtual in an effort to assist the public in reducing the spread of the virus. While these virtual events feel somewhat muted compared to the annual epic events that many comic book pros and/or comic book lovers attended en masse in the city of San Diego, California, they still both represent undeniably important and meaningful occasions, not only for the nominees, but for passionate supporters of the sequential art medium. Furthermore, while last year’s event could not avoid the undercurrent of uncertainty and fear permeating throughout the globe, this year brings with it a sense of hope and optimism as the vaccine and pending return of conventions provide a light at the end of a very long and arduous tunnel.

The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, often referred to simply as “the Eisners,” are generally accepted as the most prestigious recognition one can receive in the comic book field. Named in honor of comic book pioneer Will Eisner, the creator of The Spirit and the man who helped to popularize the term "graphic novel," the Eisner Awards span over two dozen categories, including everything from Best Artist and Best Writer to Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism. In previous years, the awards have been presented at the San Diego Comic-Con International convention during a ceremony that is open to not only comic book professionals, but all convention attendees, but, as with last year, this year’s winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony serving as part of online event known as Comic-Con@Home.

This year’s selections were dominated by Fantagraphics and Image Comics, with both publishers securing the most nominations. On the individual creator’s end, Gene Luen Yang has claimed the top spot with 5 nominations over various categories, but a number of other creators were also nominated multiple times, including Adrian Tomine, James Tynion IV, Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker, Chip Zdarsky, and Jeff Lemire. While many titles and names are quite recognizable on this year's nominee list, it’s hard to ignore that there are also plenty of titles and creators among the nominees that only the most dedicated comic reader would definitively have previous knowledge of.

In a significant twist, this year’s judges decided to add one category to the previous list - Best Graphic Memoir - with the judges stating that with “so many high-quality reality-based works, including numerous memoirs, that the new category was required.”

Speaking of twists, Fanbase Press will be slightly adjusting their typical coverage of the Eisner Awards and nominees for 2021, as well. While in previous years we’ve provide a detailed breakdown of every single category and nominee prior to the event, this year sees The Fanbase taking a minor step back in light of many factors, including the weight of the continuing global pandemic. In place of our normal coverage, we’ll be releasing an exclusive video panel during the leadup to the announcement of the winners, focusing on an entertaining and informative discussion of this year’s nominees and standouts between some delightful and well-versed members of the comic book industry. More details regarding this exclusive video panel will become available later this month, and Fanbase Press anticipates returning to its more extensive version of Eisner coverage in 2022.

In addition the panel discussing this year’s nominations, Fanbase Press will be continuing its traditional live tweet of the Eisner ceremony itself and this year’s winners on the Friday evening of Comic-Con week (July 23rd). We hope that Fanbase Press readers will join us as we celebrate the sequential art medium and the dedicated individuals who make it as phenomenal as it is. Be sure to look for the hashtag #FPSDCC to follow along during our live tweet of the Eisner ceremony and to find our Eisner-related content on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

The full list of 2021 nominations is below:

Best Short Story 

“Garden Boys” by Henry McCausland, in Now #8 (Fantagraphics)

“I Needed the Discounts” by Connor Willumsen, in The New York Times (January 3, 2020) []

“Parts of Us,” by Chan Chau, in Elements: Earth, A Comic Anthology by Creators of Color (Ascend Press)

“Rookie,” by Greg Rucka and Eduardo Risso, in Detective Comics #1027 (DC)

“Soft Lead,” by Chan Chau,
“When the Menopausal Carnival Comes to Town,” by Mimi Pond, in Menopause: A Comic Treatment (Graphic Medicine/Pennsylvania State University Press)

Best Single Issue

The Burning Hotels, by Thomas Lampion (Birdcage Bottom Books)

Hedra, by Jesse Lonergan (Image)

The Other History of the DC Universe #1, by John Ridley and Giuseppe Camuncoli (DC)

Sports Is Hell, by Ben Passmore (Koyama Press)

Stanley’s Ghost: A Halloween Adventure, by Jeff Balke, Paul Storrie, and Dave Alvarez (Storm Kids)

Best Continuing Series

Bitter Root, by David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene (Image)

Daredevil, by Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto (Marvel)

The Department of Truth, by James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds (Image)

Gideon Falls, by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino (Image) 

Stillwater, by Chip Zdarsky and Ramón K Pérez (Image/Skybound)

Usagi Yojimbo, by Stan Sakai (IDW)

Best Limited Series 

Barbalien: Red Planet, by Jeff Lemire, Tate Brombal, and Gabriel Hernandez Walta (Dark Horse)

Decorum, by Jonathan Hickman and Mike Huddleston (Image)

Far Sector, by N. K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell (DC)

Strange Adventures, by Tom King, Mitch Gerads, and Evan “Doc” Shaner (DC Black Label)

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber (DC)

We Live, by Inaki Miranda and Roy Miranda (AfterShock)

Best New Series 

Black Widow, by Kelly Thompson and Elena Casagrande (Marvel)

Crossover, by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw (Image)

The Department of Truth, by James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds (Image)

Killadelphia, by Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander (Image)

We Only Find Them When They’re Dead, by Al Ewing and Simone Di Meo (BOOM! Studios)

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)

Bear, by Ben Queen and Joe Todd-Stanton (Archaia/BOOM!)

Cat Kid Comic Club, by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic Graphix)

Donut Feed the Squirrels, by Mika Song (RH Graphic/RH Children’s Books) 

Kodi, by Jared Cullum (Top Shelf)

Lift, by Minh Lê and Dan Santat (Little, Brown Young Readers) 

Our Little Kitchen, by Jillian Tamaki (Abrams Books for Young Readers)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12)

Doodleville, by Chad Sell (Knopf/BFYR/RH Children’s Books) 

Go with the Flow, by Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann (First Second/Macmillan)

Mister Invincible: Local Hero, by Pascal Jousselin (Magnetic Press) 

Snapdragon, by Kat Leyh (First Second/Macmillan)

Superman Smashes the Klan, by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru (DC) 

Twins, by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright (Scholastic Graphix)

Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)

Check, Please! Book 2: Sticks & Scones, by Ngozi Ukazu (First Second/Macmillan)

Displacement, by Kiku Hughes (First Second/Macmillan)

Dragon Hoops, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second/Macmillan) 

Fights: One Boy’s Triumph Over Violence, by Joel Christian Gill (Oni Press)

A Map to the Sun, by Sloane Leong (First Second/Macmillan)

When Stars Are Scattered, by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed (Dial Books)

Best Humor Publication

The Complete Fante Bukowski, by Noah Van Sciver (Fantagraphics) 

Department of Mind-Blowing Theories, by Tom Gauld (Drawn & Quarterly)

FANGS, by Sarah Andersen (Andrews McMeel)

Wendy, Master of Art, by Walter Scott (Drawn & Quarterly)

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber (DC)

What If We Were . . ., by Axelle Lenoir (Top Shelf)

Best Anthology 

Ex Mag, vols. 1–2, edited by Wren McDonald (PEOW)

Guantanamo Voices: True Accounts from the World’s Most Infamous Prison, edited by Sarah Mirk (Abrams)

Hey, Amateur! Go From Novice to Nailing It in 9 Panels, edited and curated by Shelly Bond (IDW Black Crown)

Los Angeles Times, edited by Sammy Harkham (NTWRK)
Menopause: A Comic Treatment, edited by MK Czerwiec (Graphic Medicine/Pennsylvania State University Press)

Now, edited by Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics)

Best Reality-Based Work

Big Black: Stand at Attica, by Frank “Big Black” Smith, Jared Reinmuth, and Améziane (Archaia/BOOM!) 

Dragon Hoops, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second/Macmillan) 

Invisible Differences: A Story of Asperger’s, Adulting, and Living a Life in Full Color, by Mme Caroline and Julie Dachez, translation by Edward Gauvin (Oni Press) 

Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio, by Derf Backderf (Abrams)

Paying the Land, by Joe Sacco (Metropolitan/Henry Holt)

Year of the Rabbit, by Tian Veasna, translation by Helge Dascher (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Graphic Memoir

Banned Book Club, by Kim Hyun Sook, Ryan Estrada, and Ko Hyung-Ju (Iron Circus) 

Dancing After TEN: A Graphic Memoir, by Vivian Chong and Georgia Webber (Fantagraphics)

Ginseng Roots, by Craig Thompson (Uncivilized)

I Don’t Know How to Give Birth! by Ayami Kazama, translated by Julie Goniwich (Yen Press)

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist, by Adrian Tomine (Drawn & Quarterly)

When Stars Are Scattered, by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed (Dial Books)

Best Graphic Album—New

The Book Tour, by Andi Watson (Top Shelf) 

Dragman, by Steven Appleby (Metropolitan)

Flake, by Matthew Dooley (Jonathan Cape)

Labyrinth, by Ben Argon (Abrams)

Paul at Home, by Michel Rabagliati, translation by Helge Dascher and Rob Aspinall (Drawn & Quarterly)

Pulp, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image)

Best Graphic Album—Reprint

Black Hammer Library Edition, vol. 2, by Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormstom, Emi Lenox, and Rich Tommaso (Dark Horse)

Criminal Deluxe Edition, vol. 3, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image)

Eight-Lane Runaways, by Henry McCausland (Fantagraphics)

Fante Bukowski: The Complete Works, by Noah Van Sciver (Fantagraphics) 

Herobear and the Kid: The Heritage, by Mike Kunkel (Astonish Factory)

Seeds and Stems, by Simon Hanselmann (Fantagraphics)

Best Adaptation from Another Medium

Constitution Illustrated, by R. Sikoryak (Drawn & Quarterly)

Parable of the Sower: The Graphic Novel Adaptation, by Octavia E. Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy and John Jennings (Abrams)

Sapiens: A Graphic History: The Birth of Mankind, vol. 1, by Yuval Noah Harari, adapted by David Vandermeulen and Daniel Casanave (Harper Perennial) 

Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, adapted by Ryan North and Albert Monteys (Archaia/BOOM!)

Superman Smashes the Klan, adapted by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru (DC)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material

Altitude, by Olivier Bocquet and Jean-Marc Rochette, translation by Edward Gauvin (SelfMadeHero)

Gamayun Tales I: An Anthology of Modern Russian Folk Tales, by Alexander Utkin, translation by Lada Morozova (Nobrow)

Goblin Girl, by Moa Romanova, translation by Melissa Bowers (Fantagraphics)

Irena Books 2-3, by Jean-David Morvan, Severine Tréfouël, and David Evrard, translation by Dan Christensen (Magnetic Press)

When You Look Up, by Decur, translation by Chloe Garcia Roberts (Enchanted Lion Books)

The Winter of the Cartoonist, by Paco Roca, translation by Erica Mena (Fantagraphics)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia

I Had That Same Dream Again, by Yoru Sumino and Idumi Kirihara, translation by Beni Axia Conrad (Seven Seas)

I Wish I Could Say “Thank You,” by Yukari Takinami, translation by Yukari Takeuchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon) 

A Journal Of My Father, by Jiro Taniguchi, translation by Kumar Sivasubramanian (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)

Ping Pong, vols. 1–2, by Taiyo Matsumoto, translation by Michael Arias (VIZ Media)

Remina, by Junji Ito, translation by Jocelyne Allen (VIZ Media)

Spy x Family, vols. 1–3, by Tatsuya Endo, translation by Casey Loe (VIZ Media)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips  

The Flapper Queens: Women Cartoonists of the Jazz Age, edited by Trina Robbins (Fantagraphics)

Gross Exaggerations: The Meshuga Comic Strips of Milt Gross, by Milt Gross, edited by Peter Maresca (Sunday Press/IDW)

Krazy & Ignatz 1919-1921 by George Herriman, edited by RJ Casey (Fantagraphics)

Little Debbie and the Second Coming of Elmo: Daily Comic Strips, August 1960–September 1961, by Cecil Jensen, edited by Frank Young (Labor of Love)

Pogo The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips: Volume 7: Clean as a Weasel, by Walt Kelly, edited by Mark Evanier and Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books 

Art Young’s Inferno, by Art Young, edited by Glenn Bray (Fantagraphics)

Atlas at War! edited by Michael J. Vassallo (Dead Reckoning)

The Complete Hate, by Peter Bagge, edited by Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics)

Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salty Sea, by Hugo Pratt, translation by Dean Mullaney and Simone Castaldi (EuroComics/IDW)

Little Lulu: The Fuzzythingus Poopi, by John Stanley, edited by Frank Young and Tom Devlin (Drawn & Quarterly)

Man and Superman and Other Stories, by Harvey Kurtzman, edited by J. Michael Catron (Fantagraphics)

Best Writer

Ed Brubaker, Pulp, Reckless (Image); Friday (Panel Syndicate)

Matt Fraction, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen (DC); Adventureman, November vols. 2–3, Sex Criminals (Image)

Jonathan Hickman, Decorum (Image); Giant-Size X-Men, X-Men OTHERS?? (Marvel)

Jeff Lemire, Barbalien, Black Hammer, Colonel Weird: Cosmagog (Dark Horse); The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage (DC Black Label); Family Tree, Gideon Falls (Image)

James Tynion IV, Something Is Killing the Children, Wynd (BOOM! Studios); Batman (DC); The Department of Truth (Image); Razorblades (Tiny Onion)

Chip Zdarsky, Stillwater (Image/Skybound), Daredevil, Fantastic Four/X-Men (Marvel)

Best Writer/Artist

Junji Ito, Remina, Venus in the Blind Spot (VIZ Media)

Pascal Jousselin, Mister Invincible: Local Hero (Magnetic Press)

Trung Le Nguyen, The Magic Fish (RH Graphic/RH Children’s Books)

Craig Thompson, Ginseng Roots (Uncivilized)

Adrian Tomine, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist (Drawn & Quarterly)

Gene Luen Yang, Dragon Hoops (First Second/Macmillan)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team

Michael Allred, Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams (Insight Editions)

Marco Chechetto, Daredevil (Marvel) 

Jorge Corona, Middlewest (Image) 

Bertrand Gatignol, Pistouvi (Magnetic Press)

Mitch Gerads/Evan “Doc” Shaner, Strange Adventures (DC Black Label)

Sanford Greene, Bitter Root (Image)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art) 

Benjamin Adam, Soon (Europe Comics)

Alice Chemama, The Zolas (Europe Comics)

Jared Cullum, Kodi (Top Shelf)
Decur, When You Look Up (Enchanted Lion Books)

Antonio Lapone, Gentlemind (Europe Comics)

Anand RK/John Pearson, Blue in Green (Image)

Best Cover Artist

Jamal Campbell, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (BOOM! Studios); Far Sector (DC)

Simone Di Meo, We Only Find Them When They’re Dead (BOOM! Studio)

Mike Huddleston, Decorum (Image)

Dave Johnson, Butcher of Paris (Dark Horse)

Peach Momoko, Buffy the Vampire Slayer #19, Mighty Morphin #2, Something Is Killing the Children #12, Power Rangers #1 (BOOM! Studios); DIE!namite, Vampirella (Dynamite); The Crow: Lethe (IDW); Marvel Variants (Marvel)

Ramón K. Pérez, Stillwater (Image/Skybound)

Best Coloring

Laura Allred, X-Ray Robot (Dark Horse); Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams (Insight Editions)

Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Middlewest (Image)

Gipi, One Story (Fantagraphics)

Marte Gracia, Empyre, X of Swords (Marvel)

Dave Stewart, Promethee 13:13 (comiXology); Black Hammer (Dark Horse); Gideon Falls (Image); Spider-Man #4-#5 (Marvel)

Matt Wilson, Undiscovered Country (Image); Fire Power (Image/Skybound); Thor (Marvel)

Best Lettering

Mike Allred, Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams (Insight Editions)

Deron Bennett, Bear, The Sacrifice of Darkness (Archaia); King of Nowhere, Something Is Killing the Children, We Only Find Them When They’re Dead (BOOM! Studios); Far Sector, Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red, Martian Manhunter (DC); Excellence (Image/Skybound); A Dark Interlude, Dark One, Relics of Youth, Resonant, Shadow Service, Vampire: The Masquerade: Winter’s Teeth (Vault); Ping Pong (VIZ Media)
Aditya Bidikar, Barbalien: Red Planet, Grafity’s Wall Expanded Edition (Dark Horse); John Constantine, Hellblazer (DC); A Map to the Sun (First Second); The Department of Truth, Lost Soldiers (Image); Giga, The Picture of Everything Else (Vault)
Clayton Cowles, Aquaman, Batman, Batman and the Outsiders, Strange Adventures, Superman: Man of Tomorrow, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen (DC); Adventureman, Bitter Root, Bog Bodies, Die (Image); Reaver (Image/Skybound); Morbius, X Of Swords (Marvel)
Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo (IDW)
Rus Wooton, Wonder Woman: Dead Earth (DC); Decorum, Monstress (Image); Die!Die!Die!, Fire Power, Oblivion Song, Outcast, Stillwater (Image/Skybound)

Best Comics-Related Journalism/Periodical

Alter Ego, edited by Roy Thomas (TwoMorrows)

Back Issue, edited by Michael Eury (TwoMorrows)

The Comics Blog, by Michael Cavna and David Betancourt,

The Comics Journal, edited by RJ Casey, Kristy Valenti, and Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)

PanelxPanel magazine, edited by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou,

Women Write About Comics, edited by Nola Pfau and Wendy Browne,

Best Comics-Related Book

American Daredevil: Comics, Communism, and the Battles of Lev Gleason, by Brett Dakin (Comic House/Lev Gleason)

Ditko Shrugged: The Uncompromising Life of the Artist Behind Spider-Man and the Rise of Marvel Comics, by David Currie (Hermes Press)

Drawing Fire: The Editorial Cartoons of Bill Mauldin, edited by Todd DePastino (Pritzker Military Museum & Library)

The History of EC Comics, by Grant Geissman (TASCHEN)

Invisible Men: The Trailblazing Black Artists of Comic Books, by Ken Quattro (Yoe Books/IDW)

Masters of British Comic Art, by David Roach (2000AD)

Best Academic/Scholarly Work 

Comic Art in Museums, edited by Kim A. Munson (University Press of Mississippi)

Comic Studies: A Guidebook, edited by Charles Hatfield and Bart Beaty (Rutgers University Press)

The Content of Our Caricature: African American Comic Art and Political Belonging, by Rebecca Wanzo (New York University Press)

Webcomics, by Sean Kleefeld (Bloomsbury)

Who Understands Comics: Questioning the Universality of Visual Language Comprehension, by Neil Cohn (Bloomsbury)

Best Publication Design

Chasin’ the Bird: Charlie Parker in California deluxe edition, designed by David Chisholm and Tyler Boss (Z2 Comics)

Dbury@50: The Complete Digital Doonesbury, by G.B. Trudeau, designed by George Corsillo and Susan McCaslin (Andrews McMeel)

J & K, designed by John Pham (Fantagraphics)

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist, designed by Adrian Tomine and Tracy Huron (Drawn & Quarterly)

Original Art: The Dan Clowes Studio Edition, designed by Daniel Clowes (Fantagraphics)

Best Digital Comic 

Friday, by Ed Brubaker and Marcos Martin (Panel Syndicate) 

Genius Animals? by Vali Chandrasekaran and Jun-Pierre Shiozawa,

Gentlemind, by Juan Díaz Canales, Teresa Valero, and Antonio Lapone, translation by Jeremy Melloul (Europe Comics)

Promethee 13:13, by Andy Diggle and Shawn Martinbrough (comiXology Originals/Delcourt) 

Olive, by Véro Cazot and Lucy Mazel, translation by Jessie Aufiery (Europe Comics) 

Soon, by Thomas Cadène and Benjamin Adam, translation by Margaret Besser (Europe Comics)

Best Webcomic

BFF, by Clément C. Fabre, Joseph Saffiedine, and Thomas Cadène, translation by Emma Wilson,

Crisis Zone, by Simon Hanselmann,

DPS! Only, by Vel,

Isle of Elsi, by Alec Longstreth,

The Kiss Bet, by Ingrid Ochoa,  

The Middle Age, by Steve Conley,

You can learn more about the Eisner Awards at the following links:

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