By Cameron Hatheway
Sometimes you may have a great idea for a comic, but don’t have the funds to afford an artist to make your vision come to life. Why not do it yourself? Everyone has their own style, and while it may not resemble a Samnee or a Deodato, if you do everything yourself you can tell whatever stories you wish. However doing everything can also be very time consuming, so some creators focus on one or the other to make way for multiple projects. The creators in this category show some true talent in taking on both writer and artist duties, and deserve tremendous amounts of praise because of it. Today I’ll be focusing on the Best Writer/Artist category. If you need a reminder of what’s been nominated, you can find the entire list right here, and see what I chose last time right here.
Keep in mind I cannot vote for who wins (nor can you, probably), as per the rules. However, that’s not keeping me from being vocal regardless!
Who is not eligible to vote?
- Comics press or reviewers (unless they are nominees)
- Non-creative publisher staff members (PR, marketing, assistants, etc.)
Before I get back to applying Wite-Out to Terry Moore’s Rachel Rising and filling in my name so I can be eligible for next year, let the games begin!
Charles Burns, The Hive (Pantheon)
Taking place in past, present, and in dreams, Burns overwhelms the senses with his macabre characters and settings, making you feel uncomfortable yet intrigued at the same time. The imagery and radicalized shading is Burns’ signature look, and while it’s been a few years since X’ed Out it feels nice succumbing to his madness once more.
Gilbert Hernandez, Love and Rockets New Stories, vol. 5 (Fantagraphics)
Gilbert really loves his women, and it shows when he’s illustrating them in all their exaggerated glory. While certain body parts for his characters are slightly more highlighted than others, Hernandez still maintains a crisp, clean look while highlighting a fun story simultaneously. He makes black and white look good on anything.
Jaime Hernandez, Love and Rockets New Stories, vol. 5 (Fantagraphics)
Like his brother, Jaime has his own unique style (although both Jaime and Gilbert’s illustrations transition flawlessly into one another). Jaime loves his women figures too, only he remains a little more grounded in the execution. The story Jaime tells is a tad more serious as well, with humor sprinkled about at just the right times. Jaime is an ally/master of the black and whites as well.
Luke Pearson, Hilda and the Midnight Giant, Everything We Miss (Nobrow)
The world Pearson has created is an exciting and magical one, reminding me slightly of Hayao Miyazaki with bits of Brandon Graham. The story in Hilda is just as captivating as the art, and Pearson does a wonderful job blending both together flawlessly. There’s still familiar elements mixed with the magic, but bottom line being I strive to get lost in this world again. Pearson provides a product that can be enjoyed equally by young readers and longtime ones.
C. Tyler, You’ll Never Know, Book 3: A Soldier’s Heart (Fantagraphics)
It’s one thing to be an artist, but another to illustrate your own memoirs. C. Tyler finds that perfect balance and does a superb job illustrating the journey she went through in You’ll Never Know. The settings are beautiful, the characters unique, and the dream sequences far out. The format alone of how she transitions the panels and pages is worthy of the nomination.
Chris Ware looked at the format for the traditional graphic novel, said “fuck it,” and went about making his own enthralling creation like the mad scientist he is. Everything from the presentation to the fourteen assorted stories on the inside was refreshing, for it’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure for comic book fans who are so used to linear storytelling. Following an unnamed woman with one leg doesn’t seem like much to write home about, but Ware is able to make you care deeply for her no matter what story you read first.
Who I think should win:
Chris Ware, Building Stories (Pantheon)
A work ten years in the making, it definitely shows that Chris Ware worked tirelessly on it. No matter what parcel you were reading (14 different stories on a variety of formats), his art continuously ravished your eyes and moved on to an all-out assault on the rest of your senses. To tell a story in the format he presented and still have it all make sense no matter where you started takes immense talent, something Ware has in spades obviously.
I think this is going to be Ware’s year, as I predict he takes home multiple Eisners for Building Stories. Now if only he could design an aesthetically pleasing awards shelf to display them all.
Who I think could win:
Charles Burns, The Hive (Pantheon)
Whether you love The Hive or hate it, you can’t deny that Burns illustrates a damn fine story, one that you would kill to have original art of. While the story is sometimes hard to follow, it’s intentional to keep you guessing until the third book (which comes out in a few years) for Burns’ has a master plan he’s bringing to fruition flawlessly.
The fact that it’s in a slightly oversized format is the cherry on top.
Who I think should have been nominated:
Jeff Lemire, Lost Dogs, The Underwater Welder (Top Shelf), Animal Man (DC), Sweet Tooth (DC/Vertigo).
Jeff Lemire goes and has a tremendous 2012, and doesn’t get one nomination in any of the Eisner categories. Something is tremendously awry here. This category in particular was made for him to dominate.
Who do you think should win / been nominated?