Kate Beaton’s Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands, a harrowing account of living and working on the oil sands of Alberta, took home this year’s Eisner Award for Best Graphic Memoir. Best Graphic Album went to The Night Eaters, Book One—She Eats the Night by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, a horror fantasy about an Asian-American family with a dark secret.

Beaton also won Best Writer/Artist, and Takeda was named Best Painter/Multimedia Artist. Other books to garner multiple awards included The Human Target by Tom King and Greg Smallwood; Nightwing by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo; and Parker: The Martini Edition—Last Call by Richard Stark, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and the late Darwyn Cooke. Zoe Thorogood won the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award for her second graphic novel, the memoir It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth.

By publisher, DC Comics was the big winner of the night, taking home eight Eisners. There was huge applause when “Finding Batman,” an autobiographical story written by the late Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy—who died last fall—and drawn by J. Bone, published in the anthology DC Pride, was announced as the winner of Best Short Story.

The bittersweet victory of The Nib Magazine, which won Best Anthology, also elicited an appreciative response. In May, the satirical online magazine announced plans to fold after a final summer issue. The Nib is hailed in the comics industry as one of the best outlets for short-form comics and political cartoons, and its impending loss is felt by many creators.

The mood at this year’s Eisner ceremony was boisterous. The ceremony was held Friday, July 21 as this year's San Diego Comic-Con was kicking off, returning for its second year as an in-person event after three years of Covid-19 closures and restrictions. “It’s really good to be back,” said Mark Siegel, editorial and creative director of First Second Books, which garnered two Eisners. “Being able to be with our writers in person, face to face…it feels like there’s a fresh start in the air.”

“This is the best Eisners I’ve ever been to,” joked Mo Willems, who wa attending his first Eisners. Willems later picked up the award for Best Publication for Early Readers for The Pigeon Will Ride the Roller Coaster!

Despite the festive atmosphere, the ceremony was peppered with reminders of the responsibilities of the arts in tumultuous times. Scott Dunbier accepted a Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award for crowdfunding and editing the fundraising anthology Comics for Ukraine: Sunflower Seeds, with proceeds going toward relief for Ukrainian refugees. “We are made up of caring people,” he said during his acceptance speech. “We believe in the underdog.”

The other Clampett Award went to film critic Beth Accomando for her work championing independent arts and local San Diego creators. In her acceptance speech, Accomdando recalled how watching On the Waterfront with her father as a child, and learning about screenwriter Elia Kazan’s complicity in the 1952 Hollywood blacklist, opened her eyes to the power of art and artists.

In her acceptance speech for Best Academic/Scholarly Work, Alison Halsall, co-editor of The LGBTQ+ Comics Studies Reader: Critical Openings, Future Directions, spoke out against library and school book bans and attacks on drag readings. Presenter David Dastmalchian, best known for roles in movies like The Dark Knight and Suicide Squad, decried attempts to replace writers and artists with AI. Voice actor Maurice LaMarche got a round of applause when co-presenter Bill Morrison introduced him as “fresh off the L.A. picket lines.”

Hannah Templar, accepting the Eisner for Best Reality-Based Work as co-creator of Flung out of Space, a biography of author Patricia Highsmith, brought up the controversial nomination of Francis Rothbart! The Tale of a Fastidious Feral, by Thomas Woodruff. The book was criticized for racial stereotypes, and social media soon filled with posts from Woodruff’s former students at the School for Visual Arts in New York City alleging years of bigoted comments and emotional abuse. Woodruff and publisher Fantagraphics quietly withdrew the book from consideration.

“There is a better future for comics,” said Templar, “but the path there is not silence, and it is not apathy.”

That future was suggested by the diverse and imaginative slate of nominees in the Eisners’ three younger-readers categories (Early Readers, Kids, and Teens). Frizzy, by Claribel A. Ortega and Rose Bousamra, a graphic novel about a Dominican tween and her hair troubles, took home the Best Publication for Kids award. “Frizzy tackles a new angle on a story that is very much needed…a story about falling in love with yourself,” said editor Kiara Valdez. “In this case, with Frizzy, it’s falling in love with your hair.”

In a departure from previous years, the Hall of Fame inductees were announced earlier in a separate ceremony. Inductees included illustrator Jeffrey Catherine Jones, writer Annie Nocenti, editor Diana Schutz, Fantagraphics Books co-founder Kim Thompson, early graphic novel pioneer Jack Katz, and a slate of creators from the 1960s-1970s underground comics era including Diane Noomin, Bill Griffith, Justin Green, and Aline Kominsky-Crumb.

Below is the full list of Eisner winners.

Best Short Story

Finding Batman” by Kevin Conroy and J. Bone in DC Pride 2022 (DC)

Best Single Issue/One-Shot
Batman: One Bad Day: The Riddler, by Tom King and Mitch Gerads (DC)

Best Continuing Series
Nightwing, by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo (DC)

Best Limited Series
The Human Target, by Tom King and Greg Smallwood (DC)

Best New Series
Public Domain, by Chip Zdarsky (Image)

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)
The Pigeon Will Ride the Roller Coaster! by Mo Willems (Union Square Kids)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12)
Frizzy, by Claribel A. Ortega and Rose Bousamra (First Second/Macmillan)

Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)
Do a Powerbomb! by Daniel Warren Johnson (Image)

Best Humor Publication
Revenge of the Librarians, by Tom Gauld (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Anthology
The Nib Magazine, edited by Matt Bors (Nib)

Best Reality-Based Work
Flung Out of Space, by Grace Ellis and Hannah Templer (Abrams ComicArts)

Best Graphic Memoir
Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands, by Kate Beaton (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Graphic Album—New
The Night Eaters, Book 1: She Eats the Night, by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (Abrams ComicArts)

Best Graphic Album—Reprint
Parker: The Martini Edition—Last Call, by Richard Stark, Darwyn Cooke, Ed Brubaker, and Sean Phillips (IDW)

Best Adaptation from Another Medium
Chivalry by Neil Gaiman, adapted by Colleen Doran (Dark Horse)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material
Blacksad: They All Fall Down Part 1, by Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido, translation by Diana Schutz and Brandon Kander (Dark Horse

Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia
Shuna's Journey, by Hayao Miyazaki; translation by Alex Dudok de Wit (First Second/Macmillan)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips (at least 20 years old)
Come Over Come Over, Its So Magic, and My Perfect Life, by Lynda Barry, edited by Peggy Burns (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books (at least 20 Years Old)
The Fantastic Worlds of Frank Frazetta, edited by Dian Hansen (TASCHEN)

Best Writer
James Tynion IV, House of Slaughter, Something Is Killing the Children, Wynd (BOOM! Studios); The Nice House on the Lake, The Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country (DC), The Closet, The Department of Truth (Image)

Best Writer/Artist
Kate Beaton, Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
Greg Smallwood, The Human Target (DC)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)
Sana Takeda, The Night Eaters: She Eats the Night (Abrams ComicArts); Monstress (Image)

Best Cover Artist (for multiple covers)
Bruno Redondo, Nightwing (DC)

Best Coloring
Jordie Bellaire, The Nice House on the Lake, Suicide Squad: Blaze (DC); Antman, Miracleman by Gaiman & Buckingham: The Silver Age (Marvel)

Best Lettering
Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo (IDW)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism
PanelXPanel magazine, edited by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou and Tiffany Babb (panelxpanel.com)

Best Comics-Related Book
Charles M. Schulz: The Art and Life of the Peanuts Creator in 100 Objects, by Benjamin L. Clark and Nat Gertler (Schulz Museum)

Best Academic/Scholarly Work
The LGBTQ+ Comics Studies Reader: Critical Openings, Future Directions, edited by Alison Halsall and Jonathan Warren (University Press of Mississippi)

Best Publication Design
Parker: The Martini Edition—Last Call, designed by Sean Phillips (IDW)

Best Webcomic
Lore Olympus, by Rachel Smythe (WEBTOON)

Best Digital Comic
Barnstormers, by Scott Snyder and Tula Lotay (Comixology Originals)

Hall of Fame:
JudgesChoices: Jerry Bails, Tony DeZuniga, Justin Green, Bill Griffith. Jay Jackson, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Jack Katz, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Win Mortimer, Diane Noomin, Gaspar Saladino, Kim Thompson, Garry Trudeau, Mort Walker, Tatjana Wood
VotersChoices: Brian Bolland, Anne Nocenti, Tim Sale, Diana Schutz

Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award: Beth Accomando, Scott Dunbier

Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award: Zoe Thorogood

Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing: Barbara Friedlander, Sam Glanzman