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 Moomin comic 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.
The full list of Eisner winners can be found below. Consider revisiting our picks for the best comics of 2016 so far and our top choices for 2015 as well.
2016 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards Winners
Best New Series: Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang
Best Limited Series: The Fade Out, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Best Continuing Series: Southern Bastards by Jason Aaron and Jason LaTour
Best Reality-Based Work: March: Book Two by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
Best Graphic Album—Reprint: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Best Graphic Album—New: Ruins by Peter Kuper
Best Short Story: “Killing and Dying,” by Adrian Tomine in Optic Nerve #14
Best Single Issue/One-Shot: Silver Surfer #11: “Never After” by Dan Slott and Michael Allred
Best Anthology: Drawn & Quarterly, Twenty-Five Years of Contemporary, Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels edited by Tom Devlin
Best Digital/Webcomic: Bandette by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover
Best Publication Design: Sandman Gallery Edition, designed by Josh Beatman
Best Lettering: Derf Backderf (Trashed)
Best Coloring: Jordie Bellaire (The Autumnlands, Injection, Plutona, Pretty Deadly, The Surface, They’re Not Like Us, Zero, The X-Files, The Massive, Magneto, Vision)
Best Penciller: Cliff Chiang (Paper Girls)
Best Painter/Multimedia Artist: Dustin Nguyen (Descender)
Best Writer: Jason Aaron (Southern Bastards, Men of Wrath, Doctor Strange, Star Wars, Thor)
Best Writer/Artist: Bill Griffith (Invisible Ink: My Mother’s Secret Love Affair with a Famous Cartoonist)
Best Cover Artist: David Aja
The Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award: Dan Mora
Bill Finger Award for Comic Book Writing: Elliot Maggin
Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism: Hogan’s Alley, edited by Tom Heintjes.
Best Comics-Related Book: Harvey Kurtzman: The Man Who Created Mad and Revolutionized Humor in America by Bill Schelly
Best Academic/Scholarly Work: The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art, edited by Frances Gateward and John Jennings
Best U.S. Edition of International Material: The Realist by Asaf Hanuka
Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia: Showa, 1953-1989: A History of Japan by Shigeru Mizuki
Best Adaptation from Another Medium: Two Brothers by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba
Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award: Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal
Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8): Little Robot by Ben Hatke
Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12): Over the Garden Wall by Pat McHale, Amalia Levari, and Jim Campbell
Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17): SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki
Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips: The Eternaut by Héctor Germán Oesterheld and Francisco Solano Lòpez, edited by Gary Groth and Kristy Valenti
Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books: Walt Kelly’s Fairy Tales edited by Craig Yoe.
Best Humor Publication: Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection! by Kate Beaton
The Spirit of Comics Retailer Award: Orbital Comics