Jill Thompson’s Wonder Woman: The True Amazon (DC), a fresh retelling of the superheroine’s origin done in gorgeous watercolors, won the Eisner for Best New Graphic Novel. March Book Three (Top Shelf), the concluding volume of Rep. John Lewis’s acclaimed civil rights graphic memoir, took home another Eisner award (Book Two won last year) for Best Nonfiction Work, spurring an emotion-driven ovation for its coauthor, Andrew Aydin, who accepted the award three weeks after the death of his mother.
The awards were presented Friday night at the 29th annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, held each year at the San Diego Comic-Con International. A complete list of Eisner Award Winners is available at the Comic-Con website.
In an emotional speech, Aydin accepted the award (along with the artist Nate Powell) on behalf of Rep. Lewis, who was unable to attend. He dedicated the prize to his late mother, and told the audience that his family had encouraged him to attend the ceremony to help him “get back to normal.”
There was still more elation when Sonny Liew’s The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (Pantheon), a fictional masterwork that combines the political history of Singapore with the history of cartooning, won an Eisner for Best Writer/Artist. It was the first of three Eisners the book would win. Liew, a veteran comics artist, is the first Singaporean artist to win an Eisner.
Underground cartoonist and comics historian Trina Robbins won an Eisner for Best Archival Collection for editing The Complete Wimmens Comix (Fantagraphics), a boxed collection documenting the often overlooked work of female Underground Comix artists. Accepting her prize, she cited the burgeoning numbers and critical recognition of women cartoonists. "We were the first, and look how many there are now,” she said.
Raina Telgemeier’s Ghosts (Scholastic/Graphix), a deft and hopeful examination of illness and death designed for children, won the Eisner for Best Publication for Kids; Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (Marvel), a tongue-in-cheek, female empowering superhero tale, won Best Publication for Teens.
In other book related Eisner awards, a new edition of the late French cartoonist Jean “Moebius” Girard’s epic sci-fi saga The World of Edena (Dark Horse), won for Best International Material-Europe. Michael Tisserand’s prose work, Krazy: George Herriman, A Life in Black and White (Harper), won for Best Comics-Related Book; and Carolyn Cocca’s Superwoman: Gender, Power, and Representation (Bloomsbury), won for Best Academic/Scholarly Work.
The hall roared with approval when Gibert Hernandez, one half of the popular brother-artist team that creates the popular Love & Rockets comics series, was elected to the Hall of Fame. And they got to roar again after Hall of Fame presenter Sergio Aragones joked that Gilbert’s younger brother and co-author would have to wait his turn to get in the HOF--before announcing that Jaime Hernandez had also been elected to the hall of the fame.
While this year’s ceremony was not quite as lively as last year, it was entertaining—cartoonist Dave Gibbons and comedian Jonathan Ross, the last celebrity presenters of the evening, teamed for a very funny (and unapologetically profane) routine aimed at President Trump.