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Countdown to the Eisners: 2019 Nominees for Best Short Story

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.

If you believe that brevity is the soul of wit, then this is the category for you. The nominees for Best Short Story found ways to tell humorous, poignant, and innovative stories in only a few pages. This category contains one of the three nominations earned by Image Comics, and one of writer Tom King’s five nominations. King also won this award in 2017 with artist David Finch for Batman Annual #1. This award has been given consistently since 1993, and some notable winners include Frank Miller, Darwyn Cooke, and Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell.

Here are the 2019 Eisner Award nominees for the Best Short Story category:

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“Get Naked in Barcelona” by Steven T. Seagle and Emei Olivia Burell in Get Naked (Image)

Get Naked” is a collection of “graphic essays” from writer Steven T. Seagle that explores the various social taboos and personal hang ups. Nineteen independent artists from around the world illustrated Seagle’s misadventures and meditations on physical nudity and emotional nakedness. Many of the stories, like “Naked in Barcelona” with art by Emei Olivia Burell, offer a global perspective on the subject and recount Seagle’s encounters with nudity abroad. In an interview for CBR, Seagle said, “Physical nudity is sometimes tangential to the essays, but nakedness is present in all of them — emotional, physical, spiritual — all kinds of nakedness. I also felt like getting people in the door for comics essays would be more possible with the title ‘Get Naked.’”

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“The Ghastlygun Tinies” by Matt Cohen and Marc Palm in MAD Magazine #4 (DC)

In an homage to Edward Gorey’s dark alphabet book, “The Gashlycrumb Tinies,” writer Matt Cohen and artist Marc Palm make a somber, but unflinching, statement about gun violence. “The Ghastlygun Tinies” depicts twenty-six different elementary aged children, one for each letter of the alphabet, becoming victims or survivors of a school shooting. The four-page story is rendered in haunting black and white, each panel containing a single sentence. “I thought it was the perfect way to approach this sort of thing,” Palm said in a review for The New York Times, “It’s taking more focus away from gun control and giving people perspective from the child’s point of view.”

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“Here I Am” by Shaun Tan in I Feel Machine (SelfMadeHero)

I Feel Machine is a collection of six short stories that examine the increasingly complex relationship between humanity and technology. Shaun Tan’s “Here I Am” is a genre-bending storybook about a young alien girl abducted from her home by explorers from another dimension. Tan’s storytelling style and surrealist illustrations conjure a unique world where science fiction and fantasy converge and intertwine. In his review for Broken Frontier, Andy Oliver wrote, “Tan provides us with more world-building brilliance in 20-ish pages than some fictional universes manage in their entire existences. Every inviting panel feels like it could spin off another story in itself.”

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“Life During Interesting Times” by Mike Dawson (The Nib)

Published in May 2018 on The Nib, “Life During Interesting Times” is a political webcomic about how people respond to global crisis. Writer and artist Mike Dawson memorializes his late grandmother who served in the Royal Air Force during World War Two and compares her generation’s response to the outbreak of war with the current generation’s reaction to the climate change. In the comic, Dawson asks how future generations will explain or justify our actions and, in doing so, warns against one of the pitfalls of nostalgia: ascribing meaning to the past without applying that lesson to the present.

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“Supply Chains” by Peter and Maria Hoey in Coin-Op #7 (Coin-Op Books)

Written and illustrated by sibling creative team Peter and Maria Hoey, “Supply Chains” is the humorous story of a tree, a writer, his failed book, and his failed relationship in the style of a supply chain flowchart. The tree is cut down, it goes through various transformations, and encounters the writer at important transformational moments. The circular panels of the flowchart zigzag across the page, and each one is accompanied by a short, expository sentence. With “Supply Chains,” the Hoey siblings tell a story about change and relay a message about how to break out of life’s cycles (and recycles).

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“The Talk of the Saints” by Tom King and Jason Fabok in Swamp Thing Winter Special (DC)

Writer Tom King and artist Jason Fabok take on one of the most complex and compelling characters in the DC Universe. “The Talk of the Saints” follows Swamp Thing as he transverses a frozen wasteland, protecting a lost child from an unseen snow monster. The story is a tribute to Swamp Thing creators Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, as well as a meditation on the nature of goodness. In her review for Comicosity, Londyn Jackson wrote, “From the white snow fall’s transition to the plush Green to the inevitable hurt in Swamp Thing’s eyes – a window to his harrowing soul – Fabok’s Swamp Thing beautifully applauds the character’s complex background, showing how a horrifying figure on the outside can have the purest soul of them all, a trait Wein and Wrightson crystallized in their classic creations.”

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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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