Countdown to the Eisners: 2018 Nominees for Best Publication Design

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 1993, the Best Publication Design category honors books that excel in the presentation, overall look, and format of their content.

Here are the 2018 Eisner Award nominees for the Best Publication Design category:

Akira 35th Anniversary Edition, by designed by Phil Balsman, Akira Saito (Veia), NORMA Editorial, and MASH-ROOM (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 follow 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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Celebrating Snoopy, designed by Spencer Williams and Julie Phillips (Andrews McMeel)

“Snoopy—the world’s coolest dog—finally gets the book he deserves.” – Washington Post

An adorable white beagle made his first appearance in the comic strip, Peanuts, on October 4, 1950, but it wasn’t until a month later that readers learned his name was Snoopy. Celebrating Snoopy showcases comic strips featuring Snoopy from the strip’s origin through 2000, when Peanuts’ creator Charles Schulz passed away.  

Schulz had this to say about his canine: “Snoopy is the most popular character in the strip. In fact, I think you could make a good case that he’s the most popular cartoon character in the world. I suppose that’s because what I’ve done with him is very original. I don’t think there has been an animal character in a long time that has done the different things that Snoopy has done. He’s an attorney. He’s a surgeon. He’s the World War I Flying Ace.”

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Monograph, designed by Chris Ware (Rizzoli)

“For thirty years, writer and artist (i.e. cartoonist) Chris Ware (b. 1967) has been testing the patience of readers and fine art fans with his complicated and difficult-to-comprehend picture stories in the pages of The New Yorker, The New York Times, and other charitable periodicals—to say nothing of challenging the walls of the MCA Chicago and the Whitney Museum of American Art with his unevocative delineations and diagrams.
Arranged chronologically with all thoughtful critical and contemporary discussion common to the art book genre jettisoned in favor of Mr. Ware's unchecked anecdotes and unscrupulous personal asides, the author-as-subject has nonetheless tried as clearly and convivially as possible to provide a contrite, companionable guide to an otherwise unnavigable jumble of product spanning his days as a pale magnet for athletic upperclassmen's' ire up to his contemporary life as a stay-at-home dad and agoraphobic graphic novelist.”

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My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, designed by Jacob Covey (Fantagraphics)

“Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late ‘60s Chicago, My Favorite Thing is Monsters is the fictional graphic diary of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, filled with B-movie horror and pulp monster magazines iconography. Karen Reyes tries to solve the murder of her enigmatic upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a holocaust survivor, while the interconnected stories of those around her unfold. When Karen’s investigation takes us back to Anka’s life in Nazi Germany, the reader discovers how the personal, the political, the past, and the present converge. Rendered in a kaleidoscopically and breathtakingly virtuosic visual style that combines panel sequences and montage, Emil Ferris’ draftsmanship echoes the drawing of Otto Dix, George Grosz, and Robert Crumb. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is a revelatory work of striking originality that has been lauded as the debut graphic novel of the year.”

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Will Eisner: The Centennial Celebration, 1917-2017, designed by 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 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 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 with the Will Eisner Awards in 31 categories (this year). 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 Thursday, 12 July 2018 06:58

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