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Countdown to the Eisners: 2019 Nominees for Best Adaptation from Another Medium

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.

Not all of the best comics start out as comics. This year’s nominees for Best Adaptation from Another Medium transform some of the most renowned works of nonfiction and literature into a graphic format. Best Adaptations is a young Eisner category, first awarded in 2010, and there were no nominees in 2017. Last year, Damian Duffy and John Jennings won for their adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred. And comic book maestro Darwyn Cooke won three times for adapting three Richard Stark stories.

Here are the 2019 Eisner Award nominees for the Best Graphic Adaptation from Another Medium category:

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Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation adapted by Ari Folman and David Polonsky (Pantheon)

Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl is one of the most well-known and widely read books of the twentieth century. It is the intimate and personal account of a Jewish young girl hiding with her family in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. This vivid graphic adaptation was authorized by the Anne Frank Foundation and uses direct quotations from the original book. And even though writer Ari Folman and artist David Polonsky admittedly abridged the text, they were praised for their imaginative interpretations of Frank’s musings, dreams, and nightmares. In her review for The New York Times, Ruth Franklin notes, “The tightly packed panels that result, in which a line or two adapted from the “Diary” might be juxtaposed with a bit of invented dialogue between the Annex inhabitants or a dream vision of Anne’s, do wonders at fitting complex emotions and ideas into a tiny space — a metaphor for the Secret Annex itself.”

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“Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, in Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection adapted by Junji Ito, translated by Jocelyne Allen (VIZ Media)

Mary Shelley’s science fiction classic, which celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2018, is adapted and by manga master Junji Ito. In an unorthodox scientific experiment, the eponymous Dr. Frankenstein breathes life into a corpse and releases the creature on an unsuspecting world. In an interview with Polygon, Ito said, “The original is a classic, so I didn’t particularly feel constrained. In fact, I actually wanted to be as faithful as possible to the original. Unlike the Frankenstein movies that had been released up until that point, the original novel is a piece of literature that poses deep philosophical questions, so I wanted my adaptation to reflect that aspect.”

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Out in the Open by Jesús Carraso adapted by Javi Rey, translated by Lawrence Schimel (SelfMadeHero)

Based on the award-winning novel by Jesús Carrasco, Out in the Open is the story of a young boy that escapes his abusive home and journeys into the arid Spanish plains. Scarred and haunted by his traumatic past, the boy encounters an elderly goatherd, and, together, they endure the drought ravaged wasteland. Writer and artist Javi Rey depicts the boy’s odyssey with bold colors and cinematic panels. “What is so intriguing about Rey’s adaptation is how so much is said without words,” writes Andy Oliver, in his review for Broken Frontier. “Each ‘chapter’ of the graphic novel begins with either introductory or accompanying prose – and there are occasional interludes – but the bulk of the book relies on the minimal dialogue of its source.”

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Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll (Farrar Straus Giroux)

Melinda is already an outcast on her first day of high school. Shunned for involving the police in an end-of-summer party, she retreats inward and spirals into depression. No one but her knows what really happened that night, she was raped by an upperclassman that still goes to the school. Illustrator Emily Carroll adapts Laurie Halse Anderson’s powerful young adult novel with striking fluidity and heart wrenching grace. It captures a flashpoint in our changing society, when giving a voice to the voiceless is more important than ever. In her review for Comics Beat, Andrea Ayres wrote, “The graphic novel does not only justice to the original work but brings additional nuance and depth to the story. In Speak: The Graphic Novel, we see a continued expansion of what young adult literature is and how have conversations about difficult subject matter.”

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To Build a Fire: Based on Jack London’s Classic Story by Chabouté (Gallery 13)

A classic tale of man versus nature is beautifully re-imagined and starkly rendered by artist Christophe Chabouté. One of Jack London’s most beloved short stories, To Build a Fire centers on a man and his dog fighting for survival in the Yukon wilderness. Chabouté uses arresting black-and-white backgrounds to capture the savage beauty of the frozen environment. In her review for Historical Novel Society, Eileen Charbonneau said, “The artist’s linear, largely monochromatic palette helps the reader feel the cold and desperation descending. The dense, bleak, and beautiful landscape is ignored by the human protagonist except when trailblazing or in danger, but the reader can appreciate its stark beauty.”

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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!

Gabe Cheng, Fanbase Press Contributor



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