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Countdown to the Eisners: 2019 Nominees for Best Archival Collection/Project – Strips

Fanbase Press’ coverage of the 2019 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards continues with the “Countdown to the Eisners” series. From Wednesday, May 29, through Wednesday, July 10, 2019, 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 19.

Starting in 2006, the Best Archival Collection/Project category was split into separate awards for comic books and comic strips. The first winner of the latter was none other than Bill Watterson’s Complete Calvin & Hobbes. Take a look at some of the honorees since then: Peanuts, Bloom County, Archie, Mickey Mouse, and Tarzan. This award truly transcends the world of comics to honor pieces of our shared cultural history.

Here are the 2019 Eisner Award nominees for the Best Archival Collection/Project – Strips:

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Pogo Volume 5: Out of This World at Home by Walt Kelly; edited by Mark Evanier and Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics)

This is only a talking animal comic if Batman is only about a guy who lives in a big house. That there’s enough material to get to a fifth volume in the series — with an intro by CNN’s Jake Tapper — is a testament to how long Walt Kelly’s possum has held a place in the public consciousness. Two years of daily strips can be found between these covers, along with over 100 Sunday pages that haven’t been reprinted in color since their original appearance. Volume 5 may not be the place to start for a newcomer, but don’t let your life go by without reading at least some Pogo.

Click here to purchase.

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Sky Masters of the Space Force: The Complete Sunday Strips in Color (1959-60) by Jack Kirby, Wally Wood, et al.; edited by Ferran Delgado (Amigo Comics)

It’s Wally Wood and Jack Kirby, one of the best pairings outside of peanut butter and chocolate. It’s vintage mid-twentieth century science fiction, with all of the glorious trappings of that era. Those are reasons enough to track down this treasure, but Amigo Comics also stuffed this edition with extras, including Kirby’s original color guides to the strip. For Silver Age Marvel fans, note that once Wood left Sky Masters, Kirby’s new inker was a gentleman named Dick Ayers.

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Star Wars Classic Newspaper Strips Vol. 3 by Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson; edited by Dean Mullaney (Library of American Comics/IDW Publishing)

Of all of the movie-to-comic adaptations over the years, a strong argument could be made that none was gifted with a better artist than Al Williamson. These Sunday editions are things of full-color beauty, with the art serving Archie Goodwin’s breakneck storytelling in one of the genres at which he was a master. IDW’s definitive presentation includes material not previously found in Marvel Comics’ Star Wars Legends Epic Collection books. If you’re ever jonesing for some “old school” adventures from the Star Wars universe, these strips are an absolute must-read.

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Temple of Silence: The Forgotten Words & Worlds of Herbert Crowley by Justin Duerr (Beehive Books)

Leave this one out on the coffee table, and even your comics historian friends might be caught off guard. Crowley — an early twentieth century fine artist, cartoonist, and sculptor — is a name that’s faded into obscurity, partly because he was never associated with a signature character (unlike contemporaries such as Winsor McCay). Considering that his artwork has been “lost in time” for over 50 years, Beehive Books and the whole team who worked to assemble this tome are to be celebrated for something beyond an Eisner: contributing to the historical record.

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Thimble Theatre and the Pre-Popeye Cartoons of E.C. Segar; edited by Peter Maresca (Sunday Press)

Sure, the world knows Popeye. Years before the legendary sailor first puffed his pipe in 1929, though, creator E.C. Segar was crafting Thimble Theater Sunday newspaper strips — most of which have not seen the light of day as reprints prior to Sunday Press’ loving curation effort here. Trivia note: A certain young woman named Olive Oyl first appeared in the daily strip version of Thimble Theatre well ahead of her future beau.

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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 2019 Eisner Award Ceremony from the Hilton Bayfront Hotel at San Diego Comic-Con on the evening of Friday, July 19th!

Kevin Sharp, Fanbase Press Contributor



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