Though a lot of film trailers and celebrities have dominated headlines out of Comic-Con, a longstanding awards ceremony still stands large in San Diego to recognize the current talent, creativity and passion in comics that started the whole convention in the first place.
The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards are presented every year at Comic-Con to highlight the brightest in the business, as well as to honor past innovators for their achievements. This year’s Eisner’s were held on July 22 and featured Arrow actor John Barrowman as the host.
By the awards’ end, Image Comics walked away with the most honors, netting seven Eisners. These included Best New Series, Best Penciler/Inker (respectively Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang), Best Continuing Series, Best Writer (Southern Bastards by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour), Best Limited Series (The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips), Best Painter (Dustin Nguyen for Descender) and Best Coloring (Jordie Bellaire).
Trailing Image was the Montreal-based Drawn & Quarterly with five awards. The publisher’s honorees included Best Publication for Teens (SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki), Best Humor Publication (Step Aside Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection by Kate Beaton), Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia (Showa, 1953-1989: A History of Japan by Shigeru Mizuki), Best Short Story (“Killing and Dying” by Adrian Tomine in Optic Nerve #14) and Best Anthology for the publishing company’s own Drawn & Quarterly: Twenty-Five Years of Contemporary, Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels.
As an especially memorable highlight, Georgia congressman John Lewis stepped on stage to co-accept the award for Best Reality Based Work with artist Nate Powell and writer Andrew Aydin for March: Book Two, a graphic narrative about Lewis’ experience in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
Six comics leaders were also inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame. The two Judges’ Choices included Human Torch creator Carl Burgos and Tove Jansson, the woman behind the Moomincomic strips and novels.
The Voters’ Choices winners were What It Is author Lynda Barry, Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Adèle Blanc-Sec writer Jacques Tardi and Rube Goldberg, the first president of the National Cartoonists Society and Goldberg machine originator.