Countdown to the Eisners: 2018 Nominees for Best Archival Collection/Project – Comic Books

Fanbase Press’ coverage of the 2018 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards continues with the “Countdown to the Eisners” series. From Monday, June 4, through Friday, July 13, 2018, 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 on Friday, July 20.

Added to the Eisner Awards categories in 2006, the Best Archival Collection/Project – Comic Books category honors exceptional collections that are significant for their contributions to the industry. From Japan to Canada and the U.S, the nominated narratives captured a dystopian futuristic Neo-Tokyo, a MAD inspired knock-off, a music-loving horse, and two influential artists.

Here are the 2018 Eisner Award nominees for the Best Archival Collection/Project – Comic Books category:

Akira 35th Anniversary Edition by Katsuhiro Otomo, edited by Haruko Hashimoto, Ajani Oloye, and Lauren Scanlan (Kodansha)

Anyone who is into manga has probably heard of, if not read, all six volumes of Akira, a serial manga that premiered in Japan’s Young Magazine in 1982. Over eight years and more than 2,000 pages follows a biker gang and their leader Kaneda, in a futuristic Neo-Tokyo. Certain youth display incredible telekinetic abilities, including one of Kaneda’s former friends, Tetsuo. The saga, written and illustrated by Katsuhiro Otomo, explores themes of power, corruption, alienation, and isolation. Akira has the distinction of being an early manga to be translated in its entirety and has won several industry awards, such as the Kodansha Manga Award and Harvey Award. In addition to introducing manga to Western audiences, it would go on to inspire other dystopian manga stories such as Ghost in the Shell.

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Behaving MADly edited by Craig Yoe (Yoe Books/IDW)

American humor was turned on its ear in 1952, marking the debut of MAD, a comic book (which would morph into a magazine format) edited by Harvey Kurtzman and published by William Gaines. A satirical outlet, nothing was sacred, be it popular culture, politics, or public figures, and many will probably remember MAD’s mascot, the freckled-faced Alfred E. Neuman; however, maybe lesser known is that MAD inspired several knock-off efforts, such as Behaving MADly. What makes this material so intriguing is that creators that were contributing to MAD were also contributing to this magazine, including powerhouses Jack Davis, Al Jaffee, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Steve Ditko, and many others. Ger Apeldoorn wrote and compiled material that hasn’t been reprinted before, while publisher (and prior Eisner Award winner) Craig Yoe served as editor to this 200-page coffee table book.

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The Collected Neil the Horse by Arn Saba/Katherine Collins, edited by Andy Brown (Conundrum)

One cannot help but smile (unless you’re a curmudgeon!) at the motto, “Making the World Safe for Musical Comedy,” when referring to Neil the Horse, a comic book character that was featured in a newspaper strip, comic book series, and adapted to a musical for radio! The big-eyed black horse with string legs and disproportionate yellow hooves was happy, carefree, and known for his mania for bananas and milkshakes. With his friends, Soapy the Cat and Mam’selle Poupée, their adventures were shared in syndication in Canadian newspapers in 1975 and in the 1980s with a 15-issue comic book series. Written and illustrated by Arn Saba (who transitioned to Katherine Collins), Neil the Horse is the only musical comic book. The collection includes an introduction by cartoonist and comics authority Trina Robbins, as well as new content from Katherine Collins who returned to comics with this entry after several years’ hiatus.

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Fantagraphics Studio Edition: Jaime Hernandez edited by Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)

Jaime Hernandez is the co-creator of the influential independent comic book series, Love and Rockets (1980s), with his brothers Gilbert and Mario. From an early age, Hernandez knew he wanted to draw comics. While inspired by the greats, such as Ketcham (Dennis the Menace), DeCarlo (Archie), Schultz, and Kirby, it’s no surprise that the realistic nature of his influencers would lead Hernandez to incorporate his interests into his comics particularly the Los Angeles punk scene. He has been praised for his female characters for both their beauty and their complexity. The Fantagraphics’ tome provides fans with original artwork and insight into Hernandez’s art process. Included in this studio edition is a new Hernandez interview conducted by Gary Groth.  

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Will Eisner: The Centennial Celebration, 1917-2017 by Paul Gravett, Denis Kitchen, and John Lind (Kitchen Sink/Dark Horse)

The Spirit (1940 – 1952), A Contract with God, and Other Tenement Stories (1978), Comics and Sequential Art (1985), and The Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (2005) - these are titles of just a few of the books that industry giant Will Eisner created during his multiple decades as an artist. Many contemporary creators point to Eisner because of his “innovative storytelling, layouts, and art” and probably a few comics studies scholars also point to him as a mentor when, in his later years, he lectured on the sequential art form. It is not surprising that he would become the namesake for the annual awards honoring the industry. Last year marked the centennial of Eisner’s birth in New York City and was the catalyst for the simultaneous shows hosted by The Society of Illustrators and Le Musée de la Bande Dessinée in France. This volume, Will Eisner: The Centennial Celebration, 1917-2017, includes images of original artwork from those shows.  

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Stay tuned to the Fanbase Press website tomorrow as we continue our “Countdown to the Eisners” coverage! Plus, follow Fanbase Press’ Facebook, Twitter (@Fanbase_Press), and Instagram (@fanbasepress) with the hastag #FPSDCC to stay up to date on our SDCC and Eisner Awards updates, including a live-tweet of the 2018 Eisner Award Ceremony from the Hilton Bayfront Hotel at San Diego Comic-Con on the evening of Friday, July 20th.

Last modified on Wednesday, 27 June 2018 14:40

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