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Countdown to the Eisners: 2020 Nominees for Best Penciller/Inker (Team) & Best Painter/Digital Artist

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 Penciller/Inker (Team)

The first Eisner Award to label penciller or inker in a category came in 1991, when Al Williamson won for Best Inker. Williamson also won another Eisner for Best Inker (Spider-Man, Untold Tales of Spider-Man) in 1997 and was later inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame in 2000. As seen today, the Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team Award was first introduced in 1994. Previous winners include Eduardo Risso for 100 Bullets, Frank Quietly for We3, Pia Guerra and Jose Marzan, Jr. for Y: The Last Man, and others.

Here are the 2020 Eisner Award nominees for the Best Penciller/Inker (Team) category:

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Ian Bertram, Little Bird (Image)

A New York’s School of Visual Arts graduate, Ian Bertram’s previous work includes House of Penance and Wolverine and the X-Men. Image Comics says Bertram’s talent offers Little Bird “breathtakingly detailed artwork in the gorgeous, hyper-detailed miniseries.”

Little Bird is described by the publisher as a story that “follows a young resistance fighter who battles against an oppressive American Empire and searches for her own identity in a world on fire.”

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Colleen Doran, Snow, Glass, Apples (Dark Horse)

A New York Times bestselling cartoonist whose published works number in the hundreds, Colleen Doran’s many credits include Amazing Spiderman, Sandman, Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Anne Rice’s The Master of Rampling Gate, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, and more!

Based on a 1994 short story written by Neil Gaiman retelling the Snow White fairy tale, Snow, Glass, Apples was also the winner of the 2019 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel.

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Bilquis Evely, The Dreaming (DC)

Comic book artist Bilquis Evely is based out of São Paulo, Brazil, and her previous credits include Sugar & Spike and Wonder Woman.

The Dreaming is a collection from Vertigo’s all-new Sandman Universe family of titles and described on Amazon as “a fittingly fantastical return to the world of magic and mystery that changed the face of comics forever.”

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Simon Gane, Ghost Tree (IDW)

Self-described as a comic artist, illustrator, and sketcher, British artist Simon Gane lives and works in Bath, England. Previous credits include Godzilla and They’re Not Like Us.

Ghost Tree is a quiet and contemplative supernatural story taking place in Japan that involves the main character discovering a haunted tree that connects him with his departed grandfather.

Ghost Tree understands that it’s not the ghosts that matter in a ghost story, but what they mean to us. They’re fragments of the past and previews of our own deaths, which can spur reflection and healing in those who experience them. Ghost Tree has drawn me in more than some comics manage to do in entire volumes. Grounded in Japanese folklore and emotional honesty, it sets up a story that moves with the gentle rhythm of a summer breeze.” — But Why Tho?

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Steve Pugh, Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass (DC)

Steve Pugh is a British comic book artist whose earliest work included penciling John Ostrander’s Youngblood. Other credits include Hotwire, Flintstones, Animal-man, Preacher: Saint of Killers, and Super-Man Vs Terminator.

DC Comics describes Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass as “a coming-of-age story about choices, consequences, justice, fairness, and progress and how a weird kid from Gotham’s poorest part of town goes about defining her world for herself.”

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Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me (First Second/Macmillan)

Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell is a cartoonist and illustrator with a BFA in Comic Art from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Her past credits include What Is Left, Don’t Go Without Me, DC Comics’ Gotham Academy, BOOM! Studios’ Lumberjanes, and more.

Amazon aptly describes Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me as a graphic novel that “asks us to consider what happens when we ditch the toxic relationships we crave to embrace the healthy ones we need.”

“Tamaki and Valero-O’Connell’s tender-hearted narrative sings with real, honest emotion that will resonate with anyone trying to figure out love.” ―The New York Times

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Best Painter/Digital Artist

First given in 1993 to artist Dave Dorman for his stunning work on Dark Horse Comics’ Aliens: Tribes, the Eisner Award for the Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art) has previously been bestowed upon such undeniable talent as Alex Ross (a five-time winner), Jill Thompson (a six-time winner), Fiona Staples, Sana Takeda, and many more!

Here are the 2020 Eisner Award nominees for the Best Painter/Digital Artist category:

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Didier Cassegrain, Black Water Lilies (Europe Comics)

Born in France, Didier Cassegrain studied at the Gobelins School in Paris. Cassegrain is known for his previous work on Tao Bang.

On their website, the publisher describes artist Dider Cassegrain bringing “Michel Bussi’s bestselling novel to life in lush, delicate watercolors worthy of the famous canvases that lend the book its name: Monet’s immortal Water Lilies…”

“It’s a very strong piece of work, and a great murder/mystery where every character has their own strong motivation. No stone is left unturned, and the final answer is both surprising and satisfying.” – Pipeline Comics

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Alexandre Clarisse, Diabolical Summer (IDW)

A French artist, Alexandre Clérisse studied at the EESI School of Visual Arts in Angoulême. Previous credits include Le Mouchoir, The Farce of Master Pathelin, The Forbidden Fruit, and Jazz Club.

The IDW website describes Diabolical Summer as “a groovy spy thriller and coming-of-age tale set in the Go-go days of the 1960s, done in a chic, retro style sure to charm readers,” and Amazon states that the book has a “vintage-inspired style to the spy-thriller genre that harkens back to a time when James Bond was the biggest action-hero in the world.”

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David Mack, Cover (DC)

David Mack is an American comic book artist and writer who, in addition to his distinctive style, is known for co-creating the deaf Marvel Comics superhero Echo. Mack’s past credits include Kabuki, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Alias, New Avengers, and White Tiger. 

When it comes to his nominated work on Cover, the publisher’s description for the book’s premise goes like this:

“Deep in the American intelligence community, someone realizes that comic book creators, who travel all over the world to sell their wares, might make the perfect cover for operatives in the dangerous, topsy-turvy world of intelligence and counterintelligence…and that’s when all hell breaks loose. This is the story of the time the world of comics and the world of international spywork smashed together—with unexpected results!”

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Léa Mazé, Elma, A Bear’s Life, vol. 1: The Great Journey (Europe Comics)

Léa Mazé is a French artist who studied animation at the Ecole Estienne in Paris. Her first completed work was 2015’s Nora.

According to the publisher’s website, the book tells the story of “a joyful, free-spirited child who is being raised by a bear she thinks of as her father.” Past secrets revealed and a long and perilous journey also feature in the mysterious plot.

Elma: A Bear’s Life is a stunningly beautiful graphic novel that fills the reader’s heart with emotion… This short graphic novel made me feel things and I was not prepared for that. The illustrations are GORGEOUS! The story was compelling and has left me wanting so much more of this.” – NetGalley Reviews

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Julie Rocheleau, Wrath of Fantômas (Titan)

Living in Montreal, Quebec, Julie Rocheleau is an illustrator and comic book artist who received a Joe Shuster Award for outstanding colourist in 2011. Previous credits include her first graphic novel, La Fille invisible.

On Amazon, Fantômas is described as a “stunning reimagining of a classic French literary character” and “the first superhero in history.” The description goes on to claim that “all masked men and women who grace the pages of American comics and movie screens are his illegitimate children. The blood of Fantomas flows in the veins of each of them.”

“Succeeds on a scale grand enough for the Sorbonne … The Wrath Of Fantômas is my favorite comic I’ve read this year” – Bleeding Cool

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Christian Ward, Invisible Kingdom (Berger Books/Dark Horse)

Christian Ward is the London-based writer of the comic Machine Gun Wizards, as well as the Eisner-winning comic book artist of titles like Black Bolt, Thor, and ODY-C.

Dark Horse Comics describes Invisible Kingdom as an “epic new sci-fi saga” focusing on “two women–one a young religious acolyte, the other a hard-bitten freighter pilot–uncover a conspiracy between the leaders of the most dominant religion and an all-consuming megacorporation.”

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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!

Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President


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