Will Eisner

In Recognition of Memorial Day

Our Army at War #13, August 1953 (Art by Bernie Krigstein, published by DC Comics)

The 1812 War, Fall 2011 (Art by George Freeman, published by Renegade Arts Entertainment)

Civil War Adventure, May 2011 (Art by Gary Kwapicz, published by History Graphics Press)

It Was the War of the Trenches, February 2010 (Art by Jacques Tardi, published by Fantagraphics)

Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy #6, August 2006 (Art by Joe Kubert, published by DC Comics)

Two-Fisted Tales #27, May 1952 (Art by Harvey Kurtzman, published by EC Comics)

Last Day in Vietnam, July 2000 (Art by Will Eisner, published by Dark Horse Comics)

Gulf War Journal, August 2004 (Art by Don Lomax, published by iBooks)

Dougie's War, August 2010 (Art by Dave Turbitt, published by Freight Design)

War Fix, June 2005 (Art by Stephen Olexa, published by NBM Publishing)

Looking at the Eisners: Nominees for Best Continuing Series

Today we’re taking a look at the nominees for Best Continuing Series category.

The 2011 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards released their nominees for excellence in comic books for the previous year recently. A panel of 6 judges made up of professionals throughout the industry selected the nominees. People throughout the industry will now begin voting on the nominees. Winners will be announced at the award show put on at this summer’s huge Comic-Con International convention in San Diego. The Eisners are basically the comic book equivalent of the film industry’s Academy Awards, TV’s Emmy Awards, music’s Grammy Awards, and theater’s Tony Awards, so it deserves a closer look.

I’m breaking down the nominees in each category, providing context and background info, and giving links to Amazon and other sites so you can buy your own copy, if possible. I can’t read everything, so lots of this stuff passed by me or is on my way-too-high to-read pile, so I’m going to avoid saying what “should” win. (I’m also pretty bad at predicting award show winners, so I’m not going to bother embarrassing myself.) Please feel free to post your predictions, preferences, opinions, or questions.

Best Continuing Series

Take a closer look with the click through:

BBC doc: The Comic Strip Hero (1981)

In 1981, coinciding with the UK release of Superman II starring Christopher Reeve and Gene Hackman, the BBC television series Arena broadcast this great documentary about the origins of Superman and the comics industry in general.

Plenty of good stuff here:

  • great interviews with Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
  • a look inside the early ’80s offices of DC Comics with then-president Sol Harrison
  • footage of Will Eisner teaching art students who debate whether superheroes are played out
  • a pre-Maus interview with Art Spiegelman (with a GIGANTIC mustache)
  • the wonderful Trina Robbins
  • a young and charming Christopher Reeve
  • Kirk Alyn, the first actor to portray the Man of Steel, telling stories of making the Superman movie serials
  • a sputtering Fredric Wertham insisting comic books are evil, linking Superman to Nazi Germany
  • some hilarious interviews with a sci-fi guy pointing out the lack of hard science in Superman (you think?) and what would need to happen for Clark Kent and Louis Lane to have a baby (!)
  • a little kid with every licensed Superman product imaginable
  • and a frightening final moment with preserved Superman birthday cake.

It’s important to note how much the comics industry has changed since then. This is before Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, two superhero stories that injected new life into the genre. This was before the publication of Maus, which went on to win a Pulitzer Prize and burst open the preconceived limitations of the medium to a lot of mainstream observers. This is before comic books could be found in bookstores, before manga was introduced to US readers. Before Hollywood’s technology became affordable enough and halfway convincing enough to pull off the special effects depicted in comics. (This was almost 30 years ago?! How?!)

Click through to watch all 5 parts through the power of YouTube: (more…)