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Countdown to the Eisners: 2020 Nominees for Best Coloring & Best Lettering

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 Coloring

Initially started as the Best Colorist category in 1992, it transitioned a few years later to Best Coloring. This category has seen five repeat winners earn 20 of the 27 awards given. Steve Oliff won the first three years, then labeled as Best Colorist, including his sharing of the 1994 honor with Reuben Rude. Chris Ware has earned this award four times, while both Laura DePuy (now Laura Martin) and Jordie Bellaire have each won the Eisner two times. The Best Coloring Eisner has been awarded to Dave Stewart nine times, recognizing his work for titles such as Hellboy, Daredevil, Abe Sapien, B.P.R.D., The Umbrella Academy, Conan, and Captain America.

Here are the 2020 Eisner Award nominees for the Best Coloring category:

Lorena Alvarez, Hicotea: A Nightlights Story (Nobrow)

Lorena Alvarez a freelance illustrator from Bogotá, Colombia, and studied Graphic Design and Arts at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Alvarez has written that her work reflects her own interest in color language and her willingness to experiment with diverse techniques and concepts.

Hicotea is a follow-up to the best-selling children’s graphic novel, Nightlights, and is described by the publisher as “Raina Telgemeier meets Miyazaki with a Latin American twist.”

Click here to purchase.  

Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Middlewest, Outpost Zero (Image)

Image Comics’ website describes Jean-Francois Beaulieu as a comics colorist with a “bright and exciting palette.” His credits include Invincible, I Hate Fairyland, Kill The Minotaur, and more.

“It’s a fantastic adventure story, certainly, but it’s definitely not for younger kids. Middlewest is highly recommended for fans of high fantasy, epic adventure, fantastic art, and epic tornado monsters. It’s one of my top comics of 2019, enjoy!” – Bleeding Cool

Outpost Zero is an immersive character-driven sci-fi drama that draws you in with relatable themes and smart characters…This is as flawless a debut as you’ll find in comics.”
– Spartantown

Click here to purchase Middlewest.  
Click here to purchase Outpost Zero.

Matt Hollingsworth, Batman: Curse of the White Knight, Batman White Knight Presents Von Freeze (DC); Little Bird, November (Image)

An American color artist for comic books, Matt Hollingsworth worked with Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Vertigo, Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics, and more. Additionally, his credits include working on the visual effects of several feature films, including Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Serenity, and Superman Returns.

“Klaus Janson’s polished, but gritty, art is a perfect substitute for Murphy’s on this issue, and [Batman White Knight Presents Von Freeze’s] handling of thorny and dark subject matter puts any other handling of the Nazis in comics recently to shame.” – Geek Dad

“[November] invites multiple re-readings and makes returning for the next book a no-brainer.”
– Newsarama

Click here to purchase Batman: Curse of the White Knight.  
Click here to purchase Batman White Knight Presents Von Freeze.  
Click here to purchase Little Bird.  
Click here to purchase November.  

Molly Mendoza, Skip (Nobrow)

Living in Portland, Oregon, Molly Mendoza is an illustrator with a BFA graduate from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. She describes herself as captivated “personal/observational narrative” and someone who enjoys creating images of “space travel, plants, ladies and small dogs.”

Nobrow calls Skip an “epic tale of friendship, compassion and growth” and states that Mendoza’s “stunning art and gripping storytelling immerses you in alternate worlds filled with mystical creatures and dazzling landscapes.”

Click here to purchase.  

Dave Stewart, Black Hammer, B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know, Hellboy and the BPRD (Dark Horse); Gideon Falls (Image); Silver Surfer Black, Spider-Man (Marvel)

Dave Stewart is a colorist who has worked for Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and more, as well as being known for coloring Tim Sale’s art in the superhero TV series known as Heroes. He is a multi Eisner Award winner, having previously won for Best Coloring in 2003, 2005, 2007–2011, 2013, and 2015.

Black Hammer is imaginatively exhilarating. This is a world I cannot wait to dive into again and again, revisit, and share with friends. Lemire has done it again, collaborating with some incredibly talented artists in Ormston, Stewart, and Klein to create a powerfully exciting book.”
– Comicosity

Silver Surfer: Black is amazingly fast-paced and deep at the same time, knowing how to balance its epic scale with a truthful and deep character focus and voice.” – Multiversity Comics  

Click here to purchase Black Hammer.
Click here to purchase BPRD: The Devil You Know
Click here to purchase Hellboy and the BPRD.  
Click here to purchase Gideon Falls
Click here to purchase Silver Surfer Black.  
Click here to purchase Spider-Man.  

Best Lettering

First given in 1993 to lettering legend Todd Klein for his work on The Sandman and The Demon (and then given to Klein again 18 more times), the Eisner Award for the Best Lettering has also previously been bestowed upon such talent as Stan Sakai, David Mazzucchelli, and many more!

Here are the 2020 Eisner Award nominees for the Best Lettering category:

Deron Bennett, Batgirl, Green Arrow, Justice League, Martian Manhunter (DC); Canto (IDW); Assassin Nation, Excellence (Skybound/Image); To Drink and To Eat, vol. 1 (Lion Forge); Resonant (Vault)

Deron Bennett is and Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated letterer. He is also the writer of Quixote and owner of the lettering and design studio known as AndWorld Design. His credits include the critically acclaimed Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal, Darkwing Duck, and Hacktivist. 

‘'[Assassin Nation] is an exciting start to a new series that’ll leave you both chuckling and on the edge of your seat.’’ – Comic Book Legion

“Deron Bennett continues to deliver as one of the best letterers in modern comics — his work here makes it clear how vital letterers are to comics as a visual medium.”
– Newsarama on Resonant

Click here to purchase Canto.  
Click here to purchase Assassin Nation.
Click here to purchase To Drink and to Eat.
Click here to purchase Resonant.

Jim Campbell, Black Badge, Coda (BOOM! Studios); Giant Days, Lumberjanes: The Shape of Friendship (BOOM Box!); Rocko’s Modern Afterlife  (KaBOOM!); At the End of Your Tether (Lion Forge); Blade Runner 2019 (Titan); Mall, The Plot, Wasted Space (Vault)

According to his bio in Black Badge, Jim Campbell has been lettering comic for over a decade and “knows more about print production than mortal man was meant to know.”

“This is a coming-of-age story with important implications on larger macro-level systems that teach boys that survival is about physical combat versus higher values like compassion or self-sacrifice. I highly recommend this story to young boys, parents, and fans of the coming-of-age genre of comic books.” – Comic Book Corps on Black Badge

“A wonderful character piece as well as a great jumping-on point for new readers, Wasted Space is not living up to its name with this installment ” quite the contrary, this feels like essential reading.” – Newsarama

Click here to purchase Black Badge.  
Click here to purchase At the End of Your Tether.
Click here to purchase Blade Runner 2019.
Click here to purchase Wasted Space.

Clayton Cowles, Aquaman, Batman, Batman and the Outsiders, Heroes in Crisis, Superman: Up in the Sky, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen (DC); Bitter Root, Pretty Deadly, Moonstruck, Redlands, The Wicked + The Divine (Image); Reaver  (Skybound/Image); Daredevil, Ghost-Spider, Silver Surfer Black, Superior Spider-Man, Venom (Marvel)

Clayton Cowles is an Eisner-nominated letterer who graduated from the Joe Kubert School. He lives in upstate New York and his past credits include Star Wars, Batman, Bitch Planet, The Wicked + The Divine, and more.

Superior Spider-Man continues to be the best unconventional superhero book on the stands.”

Bitter Root sinks a hook so deep that you can’t help but look up everything about the Harlem Renaissance until the next issue comes out. The characters are distinct. The art is striking. And most importantly, the renaissance feels authentic.” – Black Nerd Problems 

Click here to purchase Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen.  
Click here to purchase Bitter Root.
Click here to purchase Reaver.
Click here to purchase Superior Spider-Man.

Emilie Plateau, Colored: The Unsung Life of Claudette Colvin (Europe Comics)

A comics author and illustrator, Emilie Plateau studied the fine arts in Montpellier. Past credits include Comme un plateau, De l’autre côté à Montréal, Moi non plus, and more. Colored: The Unsung Life of Claudette Colvin, the story of young black woman who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, a few months before Rosa Parks, has also been nominated for Best Digital Comic this year.

“Even if it happened decades before you were born Plateau makes the indictment relevant and fresh. It’s the sort of presentation that challenges us to leave this story in the 1950s but act on it as if it happened the moment you read the book.”  – The Comics Beat

Click here to purchase.  

Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo (IDW)

Stan Sakai is a Japanese-born American cartoonist and comic book creator who is best known as the creator of the comic series Usagi Yojimbo, which was first published in 1984. Sakai is also a previous Eisner winner, having been honored with award for his work six times before.

IDW describes Usagi Yojimbo by inviting readers to “follow the adventures of rabbit rōnin Miyamoto Usagi as he wanders Edo period Japan on his warrior’s journey.”

“Stan Sakai and Usagi Yojimbo return in an epic battle against evil. The issue has swordplay and demon quelling in abundance and is thoroughly action-packed. A bunny with a sword is almost too awesome for words.” – The Brazen Bull

Click here to purchase.  

Tillie Walden, Are You Listening? (First Second/Macmillan)

Tillie Walden is Eisner Award-winning cartoonist and illustrator from Austin, Texas, who studied at the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont. Her previous credits include Spinning, On a Sunbeam, and more.

The publisher describes Are You Listening? as “an intimate and emotionally soaring story about friendship, grief, and healing.” The book has also been named a NPR Best Book of 2019, one of The Comics Beat’s Best Comics of 2019, a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book of 2019, and more.

“Nobody chronicles lives of quiet desperation with the exacting meticulousness of Chris Ware. His singular style provides him, and us, with direct access to the primal emotions we collectively repress. . . Precision that will take your breath away.”- NPR

Click here to purchase.  

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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