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Countdown to the Eisners: 2020 Nominees for Best Limited Series & Best Continuing Series

Fanbase Press’ coverage of the 2020 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards continues with the “Countdown to the Eisners” series. From June 22 through July 14, 2020, 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 in July 2020.

Best Limited Series

One advantage of the limited series format is that it offers creators a chance to tell stories in short, powerful bursts that couldn’t be sustained across an ongoing title. This year’s nominees take us through worlds of science fiction and magic, from Japan to a dystopian American Empire, across the DC Universe and to the far reaches of space — all told by an equally varied group of creative voices.

Here are the 2020 Eisner Award nominees for the Best Limited Series category:

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Ascender by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen (Image)

Leave it to a creative team like Lemire and Nguyen to return to the world of their previous hit, Descender, and raise the story to new heights. (Pun intended.) Nguyen’s signature watercolor style results in pages so lush they’d be a joy to look at even without a solid narrative supporting them. Fortunately, that’s not a problem here. Fans of science fiction and/or magical fantasy have found much to love in in this series that, as Graphic Policy says, it’s “the best of both worlds.”

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Ghost Tree by Bobby Curnow and Simon Gane (IDW)

Sometimes, a simple premise can be gist for an anything-but-simple story. Take Ghost Tree’s setup of a man returning to confront the memories of his childhood home after many years away; it’s the stuff from which dozens of narratives have been mined, yet, here, the creators use that framework to unveil something that feels timeless in the best ways. Ghost Tree is fully steeped in Japanese culture and folklore, yet readers need no prior knowledge of those elements to savor what’s found within. Curnow and Gane are also nominated individually this year.

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Little Bird by Darcy Van Poelgeest and Ian Bertram (Image)

Readers who may have thought they’d enough dystopian fiction discovered something special with this gem from Image Comics. Even a casual flip through the pages will reveal a comic that looks like nothing else on the stands today, full of intricate linework right down to the unique panel borders. Multiversity Comics calls this story of a young resistance fighter striking back against the tyrannical establishment one “that’ll break your heart and keep you coming back for more.” Bertram and colorist Matt Hollingsworth are also nominated individually this year.

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Naomi by Brian Michael Bendis, David Walker, and Jamal Campbell (DC)

Also known as the DC title that burst onto the scene seemingly out of nowhere. What started out as the unknown member of Bendis’ “Wonder Comics” family turned out to be a surprise hit that introduced a brand new character while also firmly anchoring her in the main DC Universe. Two seasoned writers are joined by another surprise – artist Campbell – whose work is, according to, “a highlight of the series, with vivid colors, expressive faces, and stunning visuals.” Keep an eye on these three guys — they may be going places in the industry.

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Sentient by Jeff Lemire and Gabriel Walta (TKO)

After the number of quality, eclectic projects Lemire has been involved with over the years, it should be no surprise he’s got another winner on his hands courtesy of TKO Studios. While it might seem on the surface like — as has been referenced — Lord of the Flies aboard a spaceship, that’s far too reductive for what unfolds in these pages. (Besides, Flies didn’t have a standout A.I. character like the one here.) The Comics Beat calls Lemire and Walta “a match made in heaven” who “deliver a very human story starring a character who’s not human at all.”

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Best Continuing Series

Superheroes, science fiction, horror, crime, social commentary. The 2020 nominees in this category, along with their various creative teams, come from all across the comics spectrum. Considering how much eligible material is released each month, these six titles — from DC, Image, and Marvel — each deserve accolades just for their presence on this list.   

Here are the 2020 Eisner Award nominees for the Best Continuing Series category:

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Bitter Root by David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene (Image)

One of the great aspects of the comic medium — and fantastic fiction in general — is the ability of creators to address larger themes wrapped in genre trappings. Here, Walker, Greene, and Brown tell what’s on the surface a horror story set during the 1920s Harlem Renaissance — only not all the nightmares are of the big, scary monster variety. It’s a book that moves like it has jazz woven into the very pages and, as correctly points out, “has never been more relevant.”

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Criminal by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image)

What more praise can be heaped upon the Brubaker-Phillips (Sean and Jacob) team? Their noir series to end all noir series has undergone different iterations — including standalone graphic novels like My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies and Bad Weekend — while consistently maintaining the same level of quality. The current monthly version is one of the best reads on the market, not only delivering in the main story department, but in quality supplemental material, as well.

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Crowded by Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, and Ted Brandt (Image)

With all of the various visions of the future that have been predicted via science fiction over the decades, finding a new take on the new world can be an uphill climb for creators. Writer Sebela and his team have done just that. The world of Crowded is an outgrowth of what’s just outside our windows now — apps, crowdfunding, tech that may or may not be beneficial — presented in a hig- energy series that never loses sight of the human among the spectacle.

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Daredevil by Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto (Marvel)

Considering the hall of fame creators that have tackled “Ol’ Hornhead” over the years, stepping onto this title may be one of the most intimidating gigs in mainstream comics. Leave it to a unique voice like Zdarsky — together with artist Checchetto — to bring a unique approach to the character. Graphic Policy call the series “the dark, tortured, Old Testament God take on the Man without Fear that we deserve.” This is a DD run that follows in the footsteps of past greats while still being very much of the here and now — no small feat. Zdarsky and letterer Clayton Cowles are also nominated individually this year.

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The Dreaming by Simon Spurrier, Bilquis Evely, et al (DC)

Speaking of following in big footsteps, Neil Gaiman is the shadow that hangs over any new take on the world of the Sandman and its various inhabitants. So, what an appropriate approach Spurrier brought to the flagship title of DC’s “Sandman Universe” comics: an exploration of this strange place after its master has gone. As Newsarama said at the book’s launch, The Dreaming “pay[s] loving tribute to the realm of stories, breathing brand new life into Neil Gaiman’s characters for a whole new generation of readers and dreamers.” Main series artist Evely is also nominated this year.

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Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, et al (Marvel)

There seem to be as many different takes on the Hulk as there have been relaunches of his series since that first appearance way back in 1962. What Ewing and his team have wrought here is something that harks back to that first Stan Lee-Jack Kirby issue: the Hulk not as superhero, or lovable oaf, but as scary monster. Three years into this outrageous (in the best sense) run, and it remains, as Sequential Planet says, “the gift that keeps on giving.”

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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 2020 Eisner Award Ceremony!

Kevin Sharp, Fanbase Press Contributor



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