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Countdown to the Eisners: 2019 Nominees for Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia

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.

In similar vein to the Best U.S. Edition of International Material category, Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia focuses on Asian publications specifically.  This category was established in 2010 by awarding A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn & Quarterly) the first honor.  Last year, My Brother’s Husband Vol. 1 (Pantheon) by Gengoroh Tagame and translated by Anne Ishii was the recipient of the award.

Here are the 2019 Eisner Award nominees for the Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia category:

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Abara: Complete Deluxe Edition by Tsutomu Nihei, translated by Sheldon Drzka (VIZ Media)

Having studied at the Parsons School of Design in New York, Tsutomu Nihei has been writing and illustrating mange for over 20 years.  For many of his titles, such as Blame! (Tokyopop), NOISE (Tokyopop), and Biomega (VIZ Media), Nihei taps into his early experience in construction and is heavily influenced by science fiction and cyberpunk aesthetics. Abara: Complete Deluxe collects the original dystopian series (2005-2006) that follows the vestiges of humanity and an alien race, the Gauna.  In 2016, Nihei received SDCC’s Inkpot Award acknowledging his outstanding skills as an artist.

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Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction by Inio Asano, translated by John Werry (VIZ Media)

Inio Asano has been described as being the voice of his generation, in part for embodying a “living for the moment” mentality. (See Mio Ozarki’s “The Disaffected World of Inio Asano” article dated April 16, 2010, in Yomiuri Shimbun.)  Asano cultivated his artistic interest in high school, where he drew four-panel humorous manga and led to an initial opportunity that fizzled out.  Asano began hitting his stride in the mid-2000s which included What a Wonderful World! Solanin, which were licensed by VIZ Media. In the case of Solanin, it was optioned into a feature film in Japan in 2010.  Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction is a series chronicling two high school girls’ effort to keep some semblance or normalcy after a spaceship appears over Tokyo.  VIZ Media licensed the series for North America, but the series has also been licensed in France, Spain, Germany, and Italy.

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Laid-Back Camp by Afro, translated by Amber Tamosaitis (Yen Press)

Laid-Back Camp is an eight-volume Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Afro.  The series was serialized in Manga Time Kirara Forward from mid 2015 through February of this year, when it was transferred to the publisher’s website.  It was licensed by Yen Press here in the U.S. Falling under the slice-of-life genre, Laid-Back Camp follows Nadeshiko Kagamihara and Rin Shima who befriend each other while camping in the shadow of Mt. Fiji.  The series has been adapted to an anime series which aired last year and has been released on Blu-ray and DVD.

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My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder by Nie Jun, translated by Edward Gauvin (Graphic Universe/Lerner)

A 2019 Batchelder Honor Book, My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday takes place in a small Beijing neighborhood where a young girl, Yu’er, and grandpa live.  Due to a physical disability, Yu’er has limited mobility, but that does not curtail her dream of being a champion swimmer.  Kirkus Review describes My Beijing as “whimsical and sweet…with no fancy fight scenes or action shots, this is a slow and quiet delivery presented in a bright and warm palette of watercolors.”  Themes of friendship and family are explored in this pre-teen targeted book.

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Tokyo Tarareba Girls by Akiko Higashimura (Kodansha)

Akiko Higashimura is a Japanese manga artist who debuted in 1999 with Fruits Komori.  Highashimura has been nominated no fewer than seven times, twice for Tokyo Tarareba Girls in 2016 and 2017, at Manga Taisho, an annual award limited to titles with eight or fewer volumes so as to promote new and up-and-coming creators.  She won in 2015 with her series, Kakukaku Shikajika. Intended for late teenage girls to adult women, Tokyo Tarareba Girls follows a writer named Rinko who is 33 and unmarried.  As she and her girlfriends lament about the men they have dated, a mysterious man tells they have been stuck on the “what if” scenario of past relationships. Rinko makes up her mind to marry by the time of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. Higashimura’s series ran from March 2014 through April 2017 in nine volumes, and all are available in the U.S.

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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!

Michele Brittany, Fanbase Press Contributor



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