Saturday, July 25, 2009

Eisner Award Results and Reflections

The Eisner Awards were handed out at Comic-Con International in San Diego Friday night. I hear they found a new venue for the ceremony, which was probably a good idea. The old location, the cavernous Ballroom 20, only emphasized how relatively few fans came out to watch. You could've landed Galactus's mothership in there with space to spare.

Anyway, I scanned the list of winners this morning to see if I knew any of them, and saw just one name I'd consider to be "in the family." The Eisner for "Best Comics-Related Book" went to Mark Evanier's Kirby: King of Comics, which was put out by my publisher Abrams and edited by Editor Charlie. The award is well deserved. It's a big, beautiful book full of carefully reproduced art, including original pencils and inks, and a worthwhile addition to the library of anyone who knows the name Jack Kirby. Plus, Evanier's been nice to me the couple of times we met, even though I've never said anything remotely intelligent or interesting in his presence.

I also notice they've renamed "my" Eisner. When Mom's Cancer won four years ago, it was for "Best Digital Comic." Now that award is simply called "Best Webcomic," which I think is an improvement. It says exactly what it means and avoids confusion with other comics that could conceivably be "digital" without being on the Web. I think there's an interesting little parable there about the rise of a new medium: first, the debate and decision about recognizing online comics at all (mine was the first), then the arguments about how to define and what to call them, then eventually settling on what seems to be, but wasn't always, an obvious solution. I enjoy my teeny tiny role as some sort of pioneer.

Winning an Eisner Award was certainly a career and lifetime high point for me. Some talented people win so many they lose count, but it was a big deal for me that I'll always appreciate and never forget. I made new friends and met some creative idols of mine that night. I called Editor Charlie from the lobby to tell him I won, as I'd promised, only to wake him up three time zones later and spend several painfully funny seconds cutting through the grogginess ("Who?
Wha--?"). I sat next to the great comic book artist Gene Colan for a group photo, and he was gracious enough to be interested in my work and treat me like a peer. Later, I took the trophy to Mom's care facility (she wasn't able to live at home by that time) and put it on her nightstand, and knew I'd done her proud.

I hope at least a few of last night's Eisner winners got a fraction as much out of the experience as I did.

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