The big winners at the 2015 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, held July 10 at the Bayfront San Diego Hilton and sponsored by SHOWTIME, were Image Comics’ Saga, which received two awards (Best Continuing Series, Best Penciller/Inker for Fiona Staples) and BOOM! Box’s Lumberjanes, which took home awards for Best New Series and Best Publication for Teens.
Winsor McCay’s classic newspaper series Little Nemo was represented in four Eisner wins, with two awards for Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream (all new material winning Best Anthology and Best Publication Design), one for Eric Shanower and Gabriel Rodriguez’s Limited Series Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland (IDW), and one for Winsor McCay’s Complete Little Nemo (published by TASCHEN).
The top award of the night, for Best Graphic Album–New, went to This One Summer by cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (published by First Second). Along with the Lumberjanes team of four female creators and Staples’ artist win, other female creators awarded trophies included Emily Carroll (Best Short Story, Best Graphic Album–Reprint), Raina Telgemeier (Best Writer/Artist for Sisters), Cece Bell (Best Publication for Kids: El Deafo), and Jill Thompson (Best Single Issue). In addition, Ariel Cohn and her husband were awarded the Eisner for Best Publication for Early Readers (The Zoo Box), and the book Graphic Details: Jewish Women’s Confessional Comics in Essays and Interviews edited by Sarah Lightman took home the Eisner for Best Scholarly/Academic Work. The creator of Little Lulu, Marjorie Henderson Buell, was inducted into the Eisner Awards Hall of Fame.
The publisher with the most wins was Dark Horse, with four plus one shared; IDW took home three awards, and First Second had two plus one shared. Four companies (BOOM!, DC, Image, and Locust Moon) had two winners. The rest of the awards were spread around the industry, with many companies sharing the awards wealth.
The audience at the awards was entertained by presenters who included Oscar-nominated actor Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica, Blade Runner, Stand and Deliver), actor/comedian Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow, MADtv), writer/artist Bill Morrison (Bongo Comics, The Simpsons, Futurama), actor Katrina Law (Arrow, Spartacus: Blood and Sand), Comic-Con special guests, nominees Michael and Laura Allred (iZombie, Silver Surfer), Comic-Con special guests and nominees/winners Jill Thompson and Raina Telgemeier (writer/artist, Smile, Sisters), special guest Dave Roman (comics creator, Astronaut Academy, Teen Boat!), actor/playwright Megan Hayes (Hunger Games: Catching Fire; Sleepy Hollow), actor J. Michael Trautmann (Shameless), Milestone Media co-founder Michael Davis, actor/voice actor Tara Ochs (Selma, Squidbillies), actor Shane West (Salem, Nikita, ER, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), actor Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica, Hemlock Grove), actor Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural), and British talk show host/comics writer Jonathan Ross, all assisted by hostesses Kayre Morrison and Anina Bennett.
Sergio Aragonés presented the Hall of Fame Awards. The Judges’ choices were Marge (Marjorie Henderson Buell), and Bill Woggon and the four elected inductees were John Byrne, Chris Claremont, Denis Kitchen, and Frank Miller.
Among the other awards given out over the evening were the Comic-Con’s Clampett and Manning awards. The Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, presented by Bob’s daughter Ruth, went to Bill and Kayre Morrison. The Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award was a tie between Jorge Corona and Greg Smallwood; it was presented by past Russ Manning Award winner Scott McCloud.>
The 11th annual Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing was presented by Mark to two recipients: Don McGregor (Black Panther; Detectives Inc) and John Stanley (Little Lulu), accepted by his son, Jim Stanley. Maggie Thompson introduced the special In Memoriam video salute.>
The Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award, given to a store that has done an outstanding job of supporting the comics art medium both in the community and within the industry at large, was awarded by Joe Ferrara to Packrat Comics of Hilliard, Ohio, owned by Jamie Colegrove and Teresa Colegrove.
Best Short Story: “When the Darkness Presses,” by Emily Carroll, http://emcarroll.com/comics/darkness/(link is external)
Best Single Issue (or One-Shot): Beasts of Burden: Hunters and Gatherers, by Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson (Dark Horse)
Best Continuing Series: Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples (Image)
Best Limited Series: Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland, by Eric Shanower & Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
Best New Series: Lumberjanes, by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson, & Brooke A. Allen (BOOM! Box)
Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7): The Zoo Box, by Ariel Cohn & Aron Nels Steinke (First Second)
Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12): El Deafo, by Cece Bell (Amulet/Abrams)
Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17): Lumberjanes, by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson, & Brooke A. Allen (BOOM! Box)
Best Humor Publication: The Complete Cul de Sac, by Richard Thompson (Andrews McMeel)
Best Digital/Web Comic: The Private Eye by Brian Vaughan & Marcos Martin, http://panelsyndicate.com/(link is external)
Best Anthology: Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, edited by Josh O’Neill, Andrew Carl, & Chris Stevens (Locust Moon)
Best Reality-Based Work: Hip Hop Family Tree, vol. 2, by Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics)
Best Graphic Album—New: This One Summer, by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki (First Second)
Best Graphic Album—Reprint: Through the Woods , by Emily Carroll (McElderry Books)
Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips (at least 20 years old): Winsor McCay’s Complete Little Nemo, edited by Alexander Braun (TASCHEN)
Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books (at least 20 Years Old): Steranko Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist’s Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
Best U.S. Edition of International Material: Blacksad: Amarillo, by Juan Díaz Canales & Juanjo Guarnido (Dark Horse)
Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia: Showa 1939–1944 and Showa 1944–1953: A History of Japan, by Shigeru Mizuki (Drawn & Quarterly)
Best Writer: Gene Luen Yang, Avatar: The Last Airbender (Dark Horse); The Shadow Hero (First Second)
Best Writer/Artist: Raina Telgemeier, Sisters (Graphix/Scholastic)
Best Penciller/Inker: Fiona Staples, Saga (Image)
Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art): J. H. Williams III, The Sandman: Overture (Vertigo/DC)
Best Cover Artist: Darwyn Cooke, DC Comics Darwyn Cooke Month Variant Covers (DC)
Best Coloring: Dave Stewart, Hellboy in Hell, BPRD, Abe Sapien, Baltimore, Lobster Johnson, Witchfinder, Shaolin Cowboy, Aliens: Fire and Stone, DHP (Dark Horse)
Best Lettering: Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo: Senso, Usagi Yojimbo Color Special: The Artist (Dark Horse)
Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism: Comics Alliance, edited by Andy Khouri, Caleb Goellner, Andrew Wheeler, & Joe Hughes, www.comicsalliance.com(link is external)
Best Comics-Related Book: Genius Animated: The Cartoon Art of Alex Toth, vol. 3, by Dean Mullaney & Bruce Canwell (IDW/LOAC)
Best Scholarly/Academic Work: Graphic Details: Jewish Women’s Confessional Comics in Essays and Interviews, edited by Sarah Lightman (McFarland)
Best Publication Design: Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, designed by Jim Rugg (Locust Moon)
Hall of Fame: Judges’ Choices: Marge (Marjorie Henderson Buell), Bill Woggon • Elected: John Byrne, Chris Claremont, Denis Kitchen, Frank Miller
Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award: Bill & Kayre Morrison
Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award: (TIE) Jorge Corona and Greg Smallwood
Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comics Writing: Don McGregor, John Stanley
Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award: Packrat Comics, Hilliard, Ohio, owned by Jamie Colegrove and Teresa Colegrove