Now that I’ve done reviews for all the Eisner candidates, it’s time for the guessing game everyone loves to play: who’s going home with the Award? This year’s crop proves to be one of the strongest categories by far.
But let’s never forget that the Eisner voting body has a different thought process than you or I. After all, if you looked at the nominees in 2007, you might have predicted that the award would have gone to the immensely popular Girl Genius (reviewed here) or the delightful black humor of Minus (reviewed here). There’s probably even good cause to root for Bee or Phables. Who could have foreseen that a 12-page Sam & Max: The Big Sleep comic (reviewed here) written for Telltale Games would emerge the winner? Truly the ways of the Eisner voting body are strange and mysterious.
Thus, along with my pros and cons, I am including a Sugarshock-o-meter, named after Joss Whedon’s 2008 Eisner winning effort (which I reviewed here). It’s perhaps the most reliable gauge in determining the true winner. Who will joing an illustrious pantheon that includes Finder, Sugarshock!, Sam & Max, PvP, and Mom’s Cancer? Let’s find out.
The webcomic in brief: No video games and no computer makes boy get really, really horny.
Pros: With the unflinching scenes of self-centerness and loneliness, Nathan Schreiber’s comic feels the most awkwardly personal out of all the nominees.
Cons: There is a scene with a naked granny, which is one naked granny scene too many. Also, that main character … Justin? Kind of a chump.
Sugarshock-o-meter: 57/100. The very first Best Digital Comic winner was the sunnily titled Mom’s Cancer. Power Out has a chance if the Eisner voting body wants to return to its more introspective roots. However, Act-i-vate is always the bridesmaid and never the bride when it comes to these things.
Full review can be found here.
The webcomic in brief: Superpowered cowboys, assemble!
Pros: I mentioned the superpowered cowboys, right? Plus, I appreciate the nod given to the Chinese people who helped build the railroad. It’s got some wonderfully detailed Wild West illustrations, which would not look out of place hanging on the living room walls of some Wild West aficionados I know.
Cons: But who really likes cowboys anyway? I mean, I frikkin’ adore old Westerns, but I also understand that’s not necessarily a popular pursuit anymore. Attempts to jazz ‘em up have met with mixed success: for every Shanghai Noon, there’s a Wild, Wild West. Also, John Henry — the most famous African American Tall Tale character — is Chinese now? Shenanigans! Better keep your hands offa Annie Christmas, is all I’m sayin’.
Sugarshock-o-meter: 68/100. The comic is nice visually, and it packs plenty of action, but it doesn’t quite match the depth of the other four entries. While heavily action-oriented comics can win Eisners — Astonishing X-Men (2006), The Umbrella Academy (2008) — it just doesn’t happen very often.
Full review can be found here.
Comics Beat reports that the 2010 Eisner Nominations have been released. Here are your candidates for Best Digital Comic:
- Abominable Charles Christopher, by Karl Kerschl, www.abominable.cc (reviewed here)
- Bayou, by Jeremy Love, http://zudacomics.com/bayou
- The Guns of Shadow Valley, by David Wachter and James Andrew Clark, www.gunsofshadowvalley.com
- Power Out, by Nathan Schreiber, www.act-i-vate.com/67.comic
- Sin Titulo, by Cameron Stewart, www.sintitulocomic.com (reviewed here)
Based on the strength of the two nominees I’m familiar with (plus the positive word-of-mouth I’ve heard about Bayou), I’d say that this is a fairly strong list this time around. Last year, I wrote a two-part overview of the 2009 Eisner nominees. I plan on doing the same thing next month. So watch this space for my take on the nominees, plus my predictions on the winners.
Also representing webcomics: Josh Neufeld’s A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge (reviewed here) — which began its life as a webcomic and went on to garner critical acclaim from Wired, Rolling Stone, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, among others — gets a nomination for “Best Graphic Album – Reprint.”
EDIT: Lauren Davis also has her own take on the Eisner nominees up at her site. Her blog, Storming the Tower, has always been great webcomics-related reading, so check it out when you can. She’s much happier about the 2010 nominees than the 2009 version (like I am). She does wonder, though, whether a long relationship in print comics impacts chances of winning.
Cameron Stewart — whose webcomic, Sin Titulo, was reviewed here — is apparently the next artist, after Phillip Tan’s run, for the highly acclaimed Batman & Robin series, as reported by The Beat. Now, I do like Mr. Stewart’s art. However, he’s got some BIG shoes to fill.
The artist of the just completed arc, Frank Quitely, is an absolute powerhouse when paired with Grant Morrison. Every collaboration has been memorable: All Star Superman, the New X-Men, WE3…. Stewart has worked with Morrison before on Seaguy, but it’s hard not to shake the feeling that this is a step down. The iFanboy guys in their latest podcasts are already lamenting the departure of Quitely and are patiently counting the days when he returns in the last story arc.
Still, don’t write off Mr. Stewart. His art is moody, atmospheric, and gritty … a perfect fit for the world of Gotham. When I read Sin Titulo, half the story telling was in the panel layouts, which gave me sense of claustrophobia, paranoia, and general unease. If he’d been paired with Morrison from the beginning, I imagine Batman & Robin would still have debuted to the acclaim that the series has today.
I personally will still be collecting the comic. They’re the first single issues I’ve picked up in a long time (as opposed to waiting for the trades), and I plan to continue when Stewart’s on board. Best luck to him!
As I mentioned in my review of The Princess Planet, the Transmission-X webcomic collective has, in my admittedly cluttered mind, been batting at 1.000. Fantastic writing, fantastic artwork, and accessible, friendly creators. Transmission-X is the webcomic gold standard, an admirable example for creators everywhere.
And yet, I was STILL apprehensive about the content of the webcomic for this week’s Webcomic Overlook review. The Abominable Charles Christopher, Kukuburi, and The Princess Planet are all generally peppy, upbeat, colorful, and fanciful. I like those elements in a webcomic. It’s like Pixar in print form. Sin Titulo, by contrast, is dark, noirish, and grounded in the harsh light of reality. It even comes with a “For Mature Readers” tag. There’s nothing sexually explicit in the comic thus far, by the way; the warning is mainly for language and violence.
Also, while I love me some mystery, suspense, and hard-boiled detective novels, noirish comic books are just not my cup o’ Bourbon. I’m not that huge a fan of Sin City, for instance. (Miller sorta lost me with the ninja hookers.)
What to make of Sin Titulo, then? And, a more important question: how do you pronounce the second part of the title? (I’m personally going to go with “Tah-TOO-low.”)