Countdown to the Eisners: 2020 Nominees for Best Publication for Teens (13-17)

Fanbase Press' coverage of the 2020 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards continues with the "Countdown to the Eisners" series. From June 22 through July 14, 2020, Fanbase Press will highlight each of the Eisner Awards' 31 nomination categories, providing comic book industry members and readers alike the opportunity to learn more about the nominees and their work. Stay tuned for Fanbase Press' continued coverage of the Eisner Awards, including live coverage of the ceremony at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2020.

Best Publication for Teens (13-17)

Being a teenager honestly sucks. To capture that experience in an enlightening and informative way - budding sexuality, complicated decisions that seemed to be meant only for adults, and gaining a better understanding of the complications of being a human being -  is what past winners of the Best Publication for Teens and all the current nominees succeed at, and they do it with humor and honesty. Past winners of this award have gone to Monstress, Lumberjanes, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Coraline, and many other classics.

Here are the 2020 Eisner Award nominees for Best Publications for Teens (13-17):

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass, by Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh (DC)

Mariko Tamaki has been nominated twice in the Best Publications for Teens category this year. This is not the first book she has written for one of the majors. Joining her work on She-Hulk and Supergirl, Breaking Glass places Quinn in the role of Harleen, a tough, outspoken, rebellious kid who has a tough choice to make when the cabaret she lives above - run by the drag queen MAMA whom she calls family - is going to be destroyed due to gentrification. With Ivy acting as the angel on one shoulder and Joker as the devil on the other, she has to decide whether to make Gotham a better place or to destroy it. Of course, with powerhouse Steve Pugh drawing, every image jumps off the page!

It’s a Harley Quinn coming-of-age story about “choices, consequences, justice, fairness, and progress, and how a weird kid from Gotham’s poorest part of town goes about defining her world for herself.” (From DC’s website.)

To purchase, click here.

Hot Comb, by Ebony Flowers (Drawn & Quarterly)

Hot Comb is also nominated for Best Short Story this year. This is Ebony Flowers’ first collection of short stories which has already become a multi-award-winning and highly praised endeavor by everyone from The Chicago Tribune to Publisher’s Weekly to The A.V. Club. It has popped up on multiple best-of-the-year lists because of its honest, humorous, and bittersweet look into the lives of a group of Black women who share their stories and gossip while seated around a hair salon.

The nominated title story follows a young girl as she gets her first perm, so she doesn’t look “too white” in the all-black neighborhood to which she has just moved. Flowers has combined her training as an ethnographer with her talents as a cartoonist to create heartfelt and captivating stories about race that deserve to be experienced.

To purchase, click here.

Kiss Number 8, by Colleen AF Venable and Ellen T. Crenshaw (First Second/Macmillan)

Kiss Number 8 is a coming-of-age story that’s both funny and sharp-edged, as our female hero, Mads, discovers that her dad has been hiding a big secret and that she may be interested in sharing her first kiss with her female friend as opposed to her male friend. Publishers Weekly has placed this on their Best Books calling it “A queer coming-of-age story that earns its powerful emotional impact.” Also declaring that “Black-and-white cartoon art by Crenshaw complements the narrative, offering distinct characters and conveying what the dialogue alone can’t.”

Venable is the author of several acclaimed graphic novels, including her series, Guinea Pig: Pet Shop Private Eye, and Crenshaw’s work can be found all over the place from The Nib, Highlights Magazine, Harper Collin UK, and many more. Their work together on Kiss Number 8 has won two EGL Awards, a National Book Award Longlist, and was nominated for the Russ Manning Award.

To purchase, click here.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O'Connell (First Second/Macmillan)

This is the second book that Mariko Tamaki has been nominated for in this category this year. Her original work has won multiple awards from the Ignatz Award, The Jo Shuster Award, a Harvey Award , a Caldecott Honor, and more. Likewise, Valero-O’Connell has won 3 Ignatz Awards, a Harvey Award, been recognized by the Society of Illustrations NY, and as her website states, has been shown in galleries both locally and internationally. Her work has been seen on some of the biggest titles in the comic industry from Lumberjanes and Steven Universe to Gotham Academy and Vertigo Quarterly.

The New York Times reveres their work, writing, “Tamaki and Valero-O’Connel’s tender-hearted narrative sings with real, honest emotion that will resonate with anyone trying to figure out love,” and has already captured the attention of the L.A. Times Book Prize (finalist), the Harvey Awards (winner), Lambada Literary Award (nominee), Michael L. Printz Award (honor), and the Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year.

To purchase, click here.

Penny Nichols, by MK Reed, Greg Means, and Matt Wiegle (Top Shelf)

Nominated for two Eisner Awards this year and the winner of the Oregon Book Award for Graphic Literature, Publisher’s Weekly calls Penny Nichols "[A] smart, snarky ode to the joy of creation.”

Penny Nichols has been roped into making a ridiculous and over-the-top slasher film. And amongst the odd assortment of crew members, she may be the only one that can make it happen while discovering something about herself that she didn’t even know was missing!

Reed enters this list of nominees with a previous Eisner nomination for Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers, along with a series of other graphic novels and comic series. Teaming up with Greg Means, who is the editor/publisher of the Ignatz Award-winning anthology series, Papercutter, and Matt Wiegle who is the artist of the webcomic, Destructor. They’ve created a highly entertaining book about what it means to be a creator.

To purchase, click here.

Stay tuned to the Fanbase Press website each day 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 2020 Eisner Award Ceremony!

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