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Are the Eisners over superheroes?

Hawkeye: the only truly great superhero comic of 2012?

Hawkeye: the only truly great superhero comic of 2012?

Every year, the Eisner Awards present a snapshot of the most significant comic books released in print and online. In 2013, the Oscars of Comics reflect a shift with the level of diversity possibly unprecedented in American comics.

As has been noted, Tuesday’s Eisner nominations have a remarkable number of nods to literary comics house Fantagraphics and creator-owned comics publisher Image, and a scarcity for Marvel and DC Comics, despite their majority hold on market share. The dominant genre of that same market has long been superheroes, but for the first time, there are hardly any superhero comics recognized by the Eisner judges. The notable exception is Marvel’s Hawkeye, which is tied with two other non-superhero books for most nominations. Despite Hawkeye‘s strong showing, the majority of nominated works are in the genres of drama, slice-of-life, humor and non-fiction, with a decent percentage of adventure, crime, fantasy and science fiction.

Hawkeye isn’t the only superhero title among the nominees: Chris Samnee’s work on Daredevil and The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom earned him a Best Penciler/Inker nod. J.H. Williams III and Dave Stewart were nominated for Best Cover Artist and Coloring, respectively, for what they created in Batwoman, although Stewart’s is also for six other non-superhero books. Finally, Paul Grist was nominated for Best Lettering for Mudman, and IDW Publishing’s Daredevil Born Again: Artist’s Edition was nominated for Best Archival Collection and Best Design. So all told, there are only about a half dozen superhero comics that are Eisner-worthy enough to stand out from the pack.

Compare that to last year, when Daredevil, Ultimate Spider-ManFlashpoint: Batman — Knight of Vengeance and The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold were all up for major awards (Best Single Issue, Best Continuing Series, Best Limited Series or Best Publication for Kids). Plus creators like Jeff Lemire, Mark Waid, Mike Allred, Chris Samnee (again), Marcos Martin, Paolo Rivera and Joe Rivera, Francesco Francavilla, and Tom Orzechowski all got nominations almost entirely for superhero comics, and in some cases multiple superhero comics. In total there were about 16 titles nominated in 2012 on some level. There were about 15 superhero comics nominated in 2011, and more than 20 in 2010. This year had six.

Where did all of those excellent superhero comics go? To be fair, there are some omissions. After all, what fun are awards and nominations, if you can’t complain about those robbed of accolades? The digital comics category, which sorely needs to be expanded to two or three categories, would’ve done well to recognize the innovation and experimentation by Waid, first with Stuart Immonen on Avengers vs. X-Men: Infinite #1 (starring Nova) and then with Peter Krause on Insufferable (or for a non-superhero title, with Jeremy Rock on Luther). And for print, you could do a lot worse than Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman. Those are just the first that popped into my head, but there’s no denying that superheroes have some stiff competition these days and I’m happy to see such creative vitality and diversity.

As has been said, this is an exciting time for comics. There are more kids comics in decades (those three Best Publication for Kids categories are packed with excellent material), and there are more genres with high-quality comics than ever before. In so many areas, comics are not only coming into their own but excelling. The Eisner judges see it too, and instead of nominating what sells the most, they nominate for quality. Obviously that is a subjective thing, but whoever picks the judges has generally had an ear to the ground on fan response and a good sense of critical consensus. They’re not perfect, and they can only nominate so many comics in each category, but I think if you were to use every list of Eisner nominations going back to 1985 as a reading list, I think you’d not only have a very accurate time capsule of the comics scene for each year, you’d also really enjoy yourself more times than not.

Existing in a vacuum, this year’s dearth of superhero comics would mean absolutely nothing. However, it’s difficult to argue the industry is not in a state of flux: digital comics, increasing sales amidst increasing financial hardship for creators who are struggling to monetize their work, the recurring stories of discontent creators at Marvel and DC, the grassroots push of creator-owned comics, the advent of crowd-sourced publishing. In another sign of the times, the Eisner Awards nominated at least two Kickstarter campaigns this year.

So what happened? Did Marvel and DC, and the superhero genre in general, just have an off year? Are Marvel and DC getting lazy after years upon years of ruling the roost? Are superhero comics not keeping up with the increasing growth and quality of other genres? Is the rest of the industry leaving Marvel and DC behind in being leaders in creative and innovative comics? Are movies and TV finally doing superheroes better than comics? Or did the Eisners just have stuffy superhero-hating judges this year? The jury is still out on whether awards have any increase on sales, so these are challenging questions that probably won’t even be asked with sales going well enough. Obviously they’re being enjoyed or at least purchased, which is essentially the same thing when you get right down to the basics of capitalism and supply and demand economics. Maybe that’s OK. Maybe it’s helping diversify readership as well as what’s out there to read. There are good superhero comics. There just aren’t enough truly great superhero comics.

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56 Comments

Hawkeye, holding it down for the Avengers.

i admit that there aren’t as many cutting edge super hero books as there could be. i wish Andrea Sorrentino would get some love for both I, Vampire and Green Arrow, but much of the writing from DC this year has been a bit sub par compared with the books nominated. i think Swamp Thing and Animal Man got mired in the muck that was Rotworld, and Snyder’s Batman, while good, isn’t ground breaking and/or interesting like his Detective run pre relaunch.

still, maybe some of the Vertigo titles coming up with change things.

Leandro M. Duarte

April 17, 2013 at 1:09 pm

I think the simple truth it that there was just too much good stuff published last year, and some excellent titles got the short end of the stick when it came to the Eisner nominations.

And the most offensive absence from the nominations? Daredevil not being nominated for Best Series and Wolverine and the X-Men #17 not being nominated for Best Single Issue.

Like anybody else having read plenty of super-hero comics and nominated and awarded comics, my impression of the Eisner criteria isn’t necessarily the story itself but HOW the story is told using the strengths of the comic book medium.

Think Watchmen compared to Heroes for Hire in means of execution.

Hawkeye may not be one of the centerpieces of Marvel, but the creative team are doing something head and shoulders above their company contemporaries in the way their stories are being told. That doesn’t mean All-New X-Men isn’t entertaining or poor in quality. Just reading around, it seems with the pushes Marvel and DC have given their line over the year and being inundated with corresponding press and reviews, that it would seem odd the Eisner nominee list doesn’t reflect what what’s in the comics-related media.

But, there are other works out there not being published through subsidiaries of Disney and Time Warner which may not be as commercially successful as Batman but are making an artistic contribution with stories that resonate by making use of our beloved bastard child of prose and visuals.

For a while it seemed the Eisners were the Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore show when they were working for DC.

The nominations perfectly reflect where the quality and innovation has come from in the last year. Image was head and shoulders the best publisher of last year with an unholy amount of brilliant titles spanning a wide range of genres and styles.

Marvel and DC got what they deserved in these nom, next to nothing. Reboots and renumbering might get you sales but they don’t always bring you recognition. Hawkeye and Daredevil have clearly set down the marker for what is capable in modern superhero comics, lets see if others catch on.

Leandro M. Duarte

April 17, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Ah, completely forgot about Kieron Gillen’s brilliant Journey into Mystery. How that series was utterly ignored is beyond me. None of the titles running for the Best Series award even came close to reaching the emotional impact that JiM delivered with its final issues.

Andrew Collins

April 17, 2013 at 2:35 pm

The biggest issue for me is that I just don’t think very many of DC’s or Marvel’s superhero books are very good right now. I haven’t read Hawkeye, but I plan to soon.

- Other than that, FF has been very good, but just getting started.
- Williams’ artwork on Batwoman is beautiful, but the stories have been somewhat meandering.
- Like someone else mentioned above, both Animal Man and Swamp Thing started off strong, but let themselves get mired in the way-too-long Rotworld x-over.
- Invincible from Kirkman has been rock solid, but nothing ground breaking.
- Likewise, Peter David’s X-Factor, though I could argue it deserves a Best Humor publication nomination at the very least.

I thought Paul Grist deserved more than just a best letterer nomination because Mudman has been fantastic so far, despite its delays between issues, and Cliff Chiang deserves a nod for the gorgeous work on Wonder Woman he has been turning in.

That’s about all I can think of, which is sad when you think of how many superhero books DC and Marvel publish, plus the periphery books from publishers like Image and Boom!

Andrew Collins

April 17, 2013 at 2:43 pm

And oh yes, Daredevil has been an excellent read so far as well.

Although it’s not a superhero comic, I’d like to point out that Matt Kindt was thoroughly robbed when Mind MGMT got zero nominations.

John Shableski

April 18, 2013 at 7:10 am

You make some excellent points about the changes in the market. There are a lot more great stories being told from across the spectrum of genres and publishers. You may also have noticed there are more titles being submitted by the traditional publishing houses each year. This reflects the level of credibility the Eisner Awards have gained outside the standard comics market. Dare I say it? The mainstream is starting to take comics quite seriously.

Another development is the increased sales into the library and academic markets for the nominated titles. This is due to the increased support comics are getting from the librarians who use awards as part of their purchasing decision. This summer the Will & Ann Eisner Family Foundation will present the second annual Will Eisner Graphic Novel Prize for Libraries at the American Library Association’s annual summer convention. Three libraries will win a collection of the Eisner nominated titles as well as funds to buy more graphic novels.

So, it’s true the superhero genre once dominated at the Eisner’s and the Harvey’s but now there’s a lot more competition for the spot light and this means all elements of the story telling need to step up. Great art is better when the writing is strong. There will always be a place for superheroes and now it’s time for better superhero stories.

Captain Haddock

April 18, 2013 at 9:46 am

No love for Kieron Gillen’s incredible Journey into Mystery? I can’t fathom it! I can’t accept it!

The Eisner nominations this year make perfect sense to me. Hawkeye, Fatale, Saga and Cargo Of Doom were literally the best genre fiction to come out of comics last year and if there’s a lack of DC and Marvel superhero comics, it’s less because of some kind of agenda or changing priorities on the part of the Eisner Awards and more because DC and Marvel comics haven’t been that good lately, particularly DC, which is just wretched. It is true that there were more Big Two comics nominated last year but I think recognizing a couple of those titles was a bit of a mistake, 2013 is definitely the year the Eisner nominations hit the nail on the head.

Sorry to sound down on The Big Two but when the good stuff being published is as good as the best stuff coming out today, it really does make the OTHER 90% of what’s out there look crappier by comparison. Marvel and especially DC need to get their shit together and step up their game.

Oh, and one more thing: Peter is right, the biggest oversight I can spot is that Mind MGMT isn’t nominated for best series. It really should be and John Arcudi’s The Creep deserves a nod, too.

COPRA deserved a nom as well. That it got zero love from the Eisners is a joke.

I don’t really like hawkeye or saga sue me.

The question is, why DC gets only 2 or 3 nominations this time when before that, DC always dominated over Marvel?

Well, most super-hero comics play it safe, with more of the same, safe choices. Repeated-for-the-tenth-time-only-if-you-are-lucky stories, generic plots, immature and shallow characterisation, and all the usual “arsenal” that seem to be the idea of the editors and publishers of the Big Two of what “fun” is. So, while they are occupied with renumberings and relaunches, the rest of the industry occupies itself with creativity.

In the end the only surprise is that it took so long for the Eisners to stop pandering to the by-then-numbers output of DC and Marvel, and started focusing on true creativity in the medium. The latter offer nice stories, the former mostly streamlined products that are more labels than art. And finally art gets its due. What is there to wonder about?

The number of New 52 books I’ve been reading has plummeted over the last year. With the end of Morrison’s Action run, I’m down to Wonder Woman and Batwoman, and Batwoman is a “read eventually” book, given its flabby writing.

Nothing DC’s doing right now comes close to Hawkeye nor what I’ve read of Saga.

The Eisners aren’t snubbing superheroes: They’re snubbing mediocre superhero comics.

I think comics are experiencing what other art forms have for their award shows. The Oscars have more often than not featured more Indie art movies for best picture than big budget hollywood films. Video games have seen a huge increase in indie gaming and critical praise has generally favored the Braid and Super Meat Boys of the world over larger games from big studios like Capcom and Activision.

I think readers and critics are looking for more these days. Readers are much more comfortable with having their boundaries push than before. Generally speaking, those on the cutting edge tend to be smaller companies.

Are the Eisners over superheroes? Better question is are they any good superhero comics? Answer is not many because they are to over managed and editorially driven.

The way DC & Marvel cancel their titles every other issue, how could their be any winners?? Everyone has different taste in the stories they like. Vertigo seems very restricted lately. They have like 3 titles right now that ppl seem to be supporting. A lot of strange moves by the big 2 companies lately. Hollywood has both helped and hurt comics.

2012 was not a very good year for superhero comics. Many, if not most, of Marvel’s books were caught up in AvX, which wasn’t exactly a bold innovation. Most of the New 52 books were dragged down by crossovers, editorial mandates, and other bad company decisions. Vertigo is pretty much dead now that creators realize they will get much better ownership deals from other companies (and in the world of new comic movies and TV shows every year, this factor is of growing importance). And outside of the Big Two, there weren’t that many superhero comics being made.

I don’t think the Eisners are “over” the genre. In 2011, there was a somewhat high number great writers and artists making superhero comics that were innovative or very well executed in their stories and characterizations. In 2012, that wasn’t the case. The only Big Two snubs I can think of are Daredevil for Best Continuing Series and Dial H for Best New Series.

I was surprised Journey into Mystery didn’t get any nods.

And not to reduce this into bitching about what didn’t get nominated, but the Transformers ongoings, particularly MTMTE, should’ve gotten some love. You think I’m joking but I’m not.

I think anyone that has read Marvel and DC for a number of years is tired of them. They re-boot, re-number and do crossovers galore. It becomes a muddled mess. Add to that a real lack of innovation and originality.

I just came back to reading comics and rarely touch Marvel and DC. They’re old and boring. Hawkeye and Daredevil are ok but I wouldn’t pay money for them. New, young readers may think the writing is cool but the books are just dull to me.

There aren’t too many comics I bother with these days. The quality isn’t there especially in the Marvel and DC world. They’re STILL playing off of storylines that were published 20+ years ago. Move on. Do something original and GOOD.

I think a lot of these comic companies may do well to increase their talent department and look at more submissions coming their way from new writers and artists. A lot of stuff just seems very stale and recycled right now.

I think the bias toward superheroes is real but more than that, there is a mistaken belief that the Big Two’s titles occurring in their shared universe are superhero by default when they are not.
Journey into Mystery belongs in the same category as Fables or Gaiman’s The Sandman, i.e. fantasy.
DC was awful (Batman?? Seriously?), even its better titles suffered from fill-in issues or fill-in pages, and Marvel was reserving its better creators for Marvel Now! So, why were those two months of Marvel Now not taken into account? Maybe the judges thought it wasn’t enough to warrant inclusion. Since they are cover dated 2013, they can reconsider them next year.

It does look like some kind of a statement that so few of this year’s Eisner contenders are books from Marvel or DC, but the accusations of indie snobbery just don’t make sense when you look at the range of creators and projects on this year’s list of nominees.

We’re looking at a fairly indiscriminate mixture of genre fiction and literary fiction that makes the boundary between low culture and high culture difficult to parse. Many of the creators nominated for indie books or pulp revivals this year have also worked on superheroes: Sean Phillips, Becky Cloonan, Colleen Coover, Jonathan Hickman, Ed Brubaker, Brian K. Vaughn, and probably others. And the scarcity of superhero comics in this year’s batch of nominations does not correspond with a general decline for genre fiction. Titles such as Prophet, Manhattan Projects, Fatale, Saga, and Bandette are all unabashedly indebted to pulps, science fiction, fantasy, noir, or even superheroes for their plots and their aesthetics, even in cases where that influence surfaces as pastiche.

Further, the line-up for Marvel NOW shows a general trend to submerge superheroics in the trappings of other popular genres. Thor now feels more than ever like a distant cousin of Conan the Barbarian. Captain America has landed in a plot that would have just as easily fit in Rick Remender’s Fear Agent. All New X-Men reads as a high-concept pastiche of the convoluted dimension-hopping history that has given Marvel’s mutants some of the most impenetrable lore in comics. Hawkeye walks and talks like an ironic indie. And the Avengers books (both original and extra crispy) have taken up the same blend of science-fiction and utopian satire that Jonathan Hickman brings to virtually everything he touches. So the dubious trend away from superheroes matches a trend taking place in the superhero genre toward a more conspicuous mixture of genre conventions. But then the genre at its best has always been porous…only silly branding and fanboy purism would make a person think otherwise.

Everything is just fine. And here here for Prophet.

Brian from Canada

April 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Three things are being ignored here:

1. DC’s books didn’t rate this year because 2012 was a year of fulfilling the creative burst of 2011: we got the tail end of story arc one, and a second arc to show repeated narrative style. As 2012 came to a close, many of the books were caught up in crossovers to tie in the universe together, and what new innovations occurred were in new titles, many of which were not thought out through well enough and gave us uneven stories at best.

2. Most Marvel books shouldn’t rate this year because, as a whole, the majority of their books were simply tie-ins to Avengers vs X-Men. There’s no single issue story that people are talking about, no single title that people are talking about — save for Hawkeye, which deservedly shone.

3. Everyone else’s should shine through because — let’s face it — the commercial resurgence of DC at the tail end of 2011 followed by Marvel’s juggernaut “end of the X-Men” crossover meant that everyone else had to get a burst or be lost in the shuffle.

New 52. AvX. The next step had to be Image or Dark Horse, with smaller companies shining through too. The Eisners reflected that, and rightly so.

The Eisners aren’t “over” superheroes, 2012 was just a bad year for superhero comics. Most of them sucked. Not that I’m a big fan of independent stuff, but if they won then they deserved it. When DC stops going through writers like a compulsive smoker goes through Malboros, they’ll be back. Marvel’s main problem was all the AvX junk and the fact that Marvel NOW didn’t start until November. They’ve got a lot of good books out but most of that work was done this year and in November & December.

James Crankyman

April 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm

I don’t think that 2012 was a particularly bad year for comics, and to reiterate what others have stated, it was more of a “I expected A and got B” for some comics that were nominated last year rather than there were bad superhero comics. I still believe that DAREDEVIL, or more to the point, Mark Waid was shafted from another nomination. It will be the same thing with HAWKEYE for next year, I’m certain. Once the Eisners seem to get past their first flush of love with a comic, they tend to go with others the next. I’m disappointed that there were certain issues of the Big Two that were not nominated for Best Single Issue, but again, that’s to be expected. I’m still glad that FATALE, HAWKGUY and SAGA got as much love as they did, because they are some of the best books out there, and I’m particularly glad that Chris Samnee was recognized for the amazing work he’s done this past year on DD and ROCKETEER, because that’s some gorgeous art right there.

No love for Francavilla, though, for Best Cover Artist? Boo.

Explain to me the perfect melding of superhero and indie aka Valiant and how they were overlooked.Why is everybody stuck on DC and Marvel regarding these “snubs”.Granted the cross over between Harbinger and Bloodshot was way too soon but XO and AA have been free of that baggage and continue to drop in readership as we speak.Also Boom’s Higher Earth and DNA’s Hypernaturals???

Marvel and DC have a poor product. What else is there to say? Some great material and characters but they really lack anything in the way of good, new, original stories or characters. It seems a lot of stuff is there to raise awareness for their movies. I’ve read some of the stuff from so-called good writers (Morrison, Bendis etc) and the stuff was less than impressive. Maybe they had some good stuff before but right now it’s a bunch of rubbish.

There aren’t too many superhero books I am eager to read. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!

Marvel has several bright spots. DC has dropped the ball pretty hard in the last year. All told, I’m not surprised superhero comics got sort of snubbed. For all the fun superhero books’s I’m enjoying, not many of them are pushing any envelopes like you would expect from an Eisner nominee. I’m just pumped Saga got so much love.

Other entertainment industries awards(movies for example) are as much about promoting their product and creating buzz as are about recognition of their talent.I have been a comic book fan for 35 years and I can not recall ever regular fans caring about who won any of the awards that currently exist in the industry.The opportunitty to celebrate and promote comic book is getting lost.Merit is in the eye of the beholder, For example I think Ivan Reis is the best artist in comic books and saga a subpar product not worthy of being talk in the same breath as great sci fi comics as Sillage and Iron Empires.Hopefully in the future and award will be created that will get fans excited about.

The Eisners are turning more and more into the Oscars. Recognizing great literary works over more popular fair. Just like the Academy Awards nominated films like Argo and Silver Linings Playbook based on their message, they overlooked arguably more popular mainstream choices like The Avengers or The Hobbit. With more and more comic book awards being given out at shows now, Bleeding Cool Awards, The Inkpots, The Eisners are lapsing more and more into substance over style.

Great work will always be recognized, but realistically Marvel and DC have had an off year. While both companies have published some great books (Swamp Thing, Batman, Batwoman, Daredevil, Hawkeye) they have also had a fair share of turmoil and change.

Lazarus Pit Foreman

April 21, 2013 at 7:57 pm

I think these deserve some accolade:

Andrea Sorrentino – artist on Green Arrow
Some truly amazing “out of the box thinking” art here

Peter Tomasi – writer for Batman & Robin
Seemed to really nail the relationship aspect between Bruce and Damian better than any other Batman writer. Strong storytelling time and time again.

Mike Norton – ‘The Answer’ limited series from Dark Horse
Just one fun comic. Norton’s able to bring forward some great characterization and dialogue. Plus his art is fantastic.

And why Back Issue magazine from Tomorrows wasn’t nominated is just plain wrong. Best comics related magazine ever produced as far as I’m concerned.

@ Scott Hall:

I’ve been reading DC for years, & I’m not tired of them at all. Please speak for yourself.

As far as the Eisners go, I really could care less. Even when they nom’d alot of DC stuff, it was rarely ever the stuff I was reading.

I treat the Eisners just like I do the Grammy’s or Oscars: a biased award system that rarely noms any of the stuff that I like.

I don’t understand this impression that the Eisners “benched” superheroes. I don’t think superhero comics even had an off year last year. It just happened that there were better books that came out last year compared to mainstream superhero books that Marvel/DC released last year. Look at the nominees for Best Continuing Series:

Hawkeye
Prophet
The Manhattan Projects
Saga
Fatale

Are there any bad books in this bunch? It’s a great lineup! Fatale is actually the worst among these and that is one good comic book. Just because your favorite book is not here does not mean that the Eisner committee considered them bad books. They may even be great books. Daredevil is great. Journey Into Mystery is a very good read. The committee just thinks that these five series are better. And I tend to agree with them specially when you think of the Eisners as awards that recognize not just good writing or good art, but rather good COMICBOOK storytelling.

And about this anti-superhero bias and the snobbery by the Eisner awards, look at the past winners for Best series:

1988 Concrete, by Paul Chadwick (Dark Horse)
1989 Concrete, by Paul Chadwick (Dark Horse)
1991 Sandman, by Neil Gaiman and various artists (DC/Vertigo)
1992 Sandman, by Neil Gaiman and various artists (DC/Vertigo)
1993 Sandman, by Neil Gaiman and various artists (DC/Vertigo)
1994 Bone, by Jeff Smith (Cartoon Books)
1995 Bone, by Jeff Smith (Cartoon Books)
1996 Acme Novelty Library, by Chris Ware (Fantagraphics)
1997 Kurt Busiek’s Astro City, Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Will Blyberg (Jukebox Productions/Homage)
1998 Kurt Busiek’s Astro City, Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Will Blyberg (Jukebox Productions/Homage)
1999 Preacher, by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon (DC/Vertigo)
2000 Acme Novelty Library, by Chris Ware (Fantagraphics)
2001 Top 10, by Alan Moore, Gene Ha, and Zander Cannon (ABC)
2002 100 Bullets, by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso (DC/Vertigo)
2003 Daredevil, by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev (Marvel)
2004 100 Bullets, by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso (DC/Vertigo)
2005 The Goon, by Eric Powell (Dark Horse)
2006 Astonishing X-Men, by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday (Marvel)
2007 All-Star Superman, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (DC)
2008 Y: The Last Man, by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan, Jr. (DC/Vertigo)
2009 All-Star Superman, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (DC)
2010 The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard (Image)
2011 Chew, by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image)
2012 Daredevil, by Mark Waid, Marcos Martin, Paolo Rivera, and Joe Rivera (Marvel)

Does that look like elitist snobbery to you? That’s a great list of comic books that could stand the test of time in terms of quality. How one can treat this like the Grammy’s is stupid.

@Alton

I am a fan of the Valiant relaunch. Habinger and Archer and Armstrong are great reads specially. But they are not at the level of the five titles nominated for Best Continuing Series in terms of comic book craft. That’s not snobbery.

All I know is that Hawkeye is awesome.
2012 was a decent year for superhero comics. Scott Snyder’s Batman run is still awesome, Gail Simone’s Batgirl has been great and the Green Lantern books have been epic. I don’t think movies are doing superheroes better than comics (Avengers is actors of cliches, The Dark Knight Rises has lots of problems and a fourth of Amazing Spider-Man sucks). I dunno, maybe the judges aren’t than into superhero comics (Hawkeye, as awesome as it is, barely qualifies as one in my book).

@William

Have you read any of the other nominees for best series? Is Prophet really not a superhero comic?

Anyway, I now find this “superhero” categorization quite…absurd? So were the Eisners “over superheroes” when they recognized Chew or not? Are Top 10 and Astro City superhero books or genre books? Is Sandman a superhero?

If there’s an omission I’m up in arms about, it’s the total absence of Fiona Staples from any category.

No nominations for Punk-Rock Jesus?!!!

if Fiona Staples would be in, who should be booted out?

I’d like to know how many of the people that complaint about their favourite comics/creators not being nominated have examined or read the nominated ones.

Yes, Marvel and DC have the biggest unit and dollar market share, but what’s their whole lines combined against the whole market when we talk about different issues published? I think that they usually have more than their fair share of nominations. IMHO it’s a relief that the jury have a bigger scope than only the top 200 best selling comics or the top three publishers.

Why does people say the don’t believe in awards but always complain about them?

I don’t know how they could possibly not include the brilliant Viz release of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind in the Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia category.

This is just like the Oscars. The people making the nominations want to appear smarter than the masses. The masses overwhelmingly vote for Marvel and DC, as evidenced by sales. To appear smarter than the masses, you have to pick something different, or else you are not any better. So they nominate the stuff next to nobody reads. Do all of the books nominated added together even have sales in the same orbit as Justice League or the Avengers? It’s just like the Oscars, where the top 2 grossing movies of last year combined for 1 nomination in effects. Certainly the masses have no idea what a good movie is. This is just pure snobbery.

As an aside, it is odd to call Hawkeye a superhero comic. What makes Hawkeye work so well is giving us the non-superhero side of Hawkguy’s life.

Comics should always be majority superhero tales. I don’t read a comic to see silly human drama played out on a printed page. I want to see high flying, punching through walls, blasting with Mjolinr, slicing with metal bones, teleporting through time craziness.

@Erwin Rafael: I understand what you are saying but what I mean is the DC/Marvel centric thrust of this article ignoring other publishers.I dont have top 5 list in front of me but in comparison to most of the dross on DC and Marvels list this year you would think Corey could come up with at least one example of indie superheros to illustrate his point. Actually it is a moot point since the bloom seems to be fading with Valiant as comic sales seem to be falling as we speak.The numbers from Comic Beat for both DC and Valiant are grim.

Matt Fraction is the new Warren Ellis. Everywhere I look people are falling over themselves to praise his work, but everything I’ve read has been “meh” or worse.

Granted, I haven’t read Hawkeye or Planetary, but are they really degrees of magnitude better than Mighty Thor, Invincible Iron Man, Fear Itself, Secret Avengers, Transmetropolitan, Doom 2099, or Nextwave?

Awards like the Eisners, Oscars, etc, aren’t about what books/movies are most popular. If you think Avengers was a better film than Argo, you are wrong. Was it more ENTERTAINING, sure, but based on artistic merit, and the art of filmmaking Argo and the other nominated films were much better. Likewise, if you think Justice League is a better comic than Prophet or Manhattan Projects, you are viewing it with an entirely different criteria than the Eisner judges. Award shows exist to recognize exemplary examples of art forms. Award shows take their particular art forms seriously, if you take most superhero stories seriously, you should notice they are entertaining fluff, every book’s plot is: A bad character want to do bad stuff, good guys will stop him, repeat ad infitium. If the best thing you can say about a comic is that you can see every muscle in Superman’s jaw, and there are lots of fights, then it is doing nothing to elevate itself from the rest of the shelf, and won’t be nominated for awards.
If you want to see the popularity award nominations, they are released every month, they’re called sales figures.

I really don’t put too much stock in these awards. I do liken them other awards where it is purely subjective. Are the best reviewed movies the biggest box office money earners? Not really. People go to the movies to be entertained and don’t always want something ‘critically’ perfect. Comics are much the same. I want to see superheroes, fantastic characters etc. A lot of the material on the list is boring. It is beyond me why people think so highly of Daredevil and Hawkeye; solid books – yes. Not something I want to buy (street thugs and the such? No thanks).

CBR should do a regular awards poll. Maybe an annual event that allows the people to vote.

Being nominated for a award does not automtically make something worth your time Just like not being nominated does not make something unworthy of your time.
Evil it may make me But I thought two of the best comics of the year were dr manhatten and mintemen. Would have loved some eisner love for those and how on earth does Gunslinger girl countinue not to get a best foreign material -Aisa Nomination?

I also think awards are unhealthy in that they are an attempt to decide the quality of something. There was a debate earliuer about superhero comics not being true “art”. Art can only be judged on an individual baisis in terms of your connection to the workand when it comes to entertainment products we need to be a little more welcoming when it comes to what others consider art. end rant

@Cyrus: but the Eisners never said that superhero comics can not be works fo art. The awards to Astonishing X-Men, Daredevil and All-Star Superman attest to that.

While I agree that non-superhero comics hace had a spectacular year, I think the Eisner judges are getting as insufferable as Oscar judges.

DC, I grant you, were for the most part awful this last year, but still had strong story titles like the afore-mentioned Batman by Capullo & Snyder as well as Aquaman by Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi’s work on both Green Lantern Corps & Batman and Robin.

Marvel though, has been producing some of it’s strongest titles / runs in years. Jason Aaron’s Thor God of Thunder, Bendis’ All New X-Men & Jonathon Hickman’s Avengers stuff are all top quality with the artists to match. I’ve also been thoroughly impressed with Kathryn Immomen’s run on Journey into Mystery.

I for one ask, where’s the love?

If anyone got snubbed/robbed, it’s Sean Murphy and his stellar Punk Rock Jesus series.

@Lourne: if we put in the books you mentioned, who should we remove from the nominees?

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