This article was originally published at ComicBook.Com on July 2, 2015.
The 2015 Eisner Awards are just around the corner! On Friday, July 10 many of the best creators in comics will gather at a gala in San Diego to celebrate the best works of the previous year. There are a LOT of categories and nominees to look through. That’s why we are bringing you some guides to the hottest categories and comics up for the biggest award at Comic-Con International next week. You can check out our first entry, for Best Series, here.
Today we’re looking at all of the creator categories. These nominations celebrate the work of individuals in comics and everything they contributed to in 2014. It includes every title you’re used to seeing in the credits with the exception of editors.
Jason Aaron, Original Sin, Thor, Men of Wrath (Marvel); Southern Bastards (Image)
Kelly Sue DeConnick, Captain Marvel (Marvel); Pretty Deadly (Image)
Grant Morrison, The Multiversity (DC); Annihilator (Legendary Comics)
Brian K. Vaughan, Saga (Image); Private Eye (Panel Syndicate)
G. Willow Wilson, Ms. Marvel (Marvel)
Gene Luen Yang, Avatar: The Last Airbender (Dark Horse); The Shadow Hero (First Second)
Who We Think Will Win: Brian K. Vaughan
Brian K. Vaughan has won the Eisner for best writer both years since he returned to comics with the debut of Saga. Not only isSaga every bit as good as when it premiered, but Vaughan is also nominated for The Private Eye this year, another stunningly good series. There are some excellent writers nominated alongside Vaughan, but no one on the list is as consistently great. He truly has the Midas touch with every script he writes turning to gold.
Who We Think Should Win: Brian K. Vaughan
Some year Brian K. Vaughan will stop winning the Eisner for Best Writer. This is not that year. Next year doesn’t look likely either.
Sergio Aragonés, Sergio Aragonés Funnies (Bongo); Groo vs. Conan (Dark Horse)
Charles Burns, Sugar Skull (Pantheon)
Stephen Collins, The Giant Beard That Was Evil (Picador)
Richard McGuire, Here (Pantheon)
Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo: Senso, Usagi Yojimbo Color Special: The Artist (Dark Horse)
Raina Telgemeier, Sisters (Graphix/Scholastic)
Who We Think Will Win: Stan Sakai
It seems like everyone remembered that Stan Sakai is amazing in the past year, even though that has been consistently true for the past thirty years. He is returning to his ronin rabbit Usagi Yojimbo in a big way with a mini-series and special issue last year, along with the monthly resumption of the series this year. Sakai has been a lot of much deserved love both for his outstanding comics work and for being of the best people in the industry. This is likely to continue at the Eisner Awards.
Who We Think Should Win: Raina Telgemeier
As much as I love Sakai, both as a person and cartoonist, Raina Telgemeier seems like the most deserving nominee for this award. Her work in comics like Smile and Drama have struck a nerve outside of the mainstream comics community becoming a massive hit in schools. Her cartooning is concise, expressive, and filled with a sense of joy. The stories she is telling are not only masterfully done, but expanding the comics audience in a big way. It’s about time that Telgemeier is honored by her peers for the outstanding work she’s creating.
Adrian Alphona, Ms. Marvel (Marvel)
Mike Allred, Silver Surfer (Marvel); Madman in Your Face 3D Special (Image)
Frank Quitely, Multiversity (DC)
François Schuiten, The Leaning Girl (Alaxis Press)
Fiona Staples, Saga (Image)
Babs Tarr, Batgirl (DC)
Who We Think Will Win: Fiona Staples
Fiona Staples has been sweeping up almost every major comics award since the debut of Saga, including Eisner’s, Hugo’s, and Harvey’s. It’s no surprise considering the stunning beauty of Saga. Even when enormous, wart-covered giant testicles fill the page, it’s difficult to look away. Staples has revealed the consistent, deep quality that can be created using digital techniques and has earned every award she has received.
Who We Think Should Win: Frank Quitely
Frank Quitely drew a perfect comic in 2014 though. He literally drew 40 pages of comics that are without a single flaw. Looking at The Multiversity: Pax Americana #1, it’s possible to say with some assurance that Quitely is the best draftsman working in comics today. I could heap loads of adjectives onto him here, but it simply doesn’t get any better than perfection.
Best Painter/Multimedia Artist
Lauri & Jaakko Ahonen, Jaybird (Dark Horse)
Colleen Coover, Bandette (Monkeybrain)
Mike Del Mundo, Elektra (Marvel)
Juanjo Guarnido, Blacksad: Amarillo (Dark Horse)
J. H. Williams III, The Sandman: Overture (Vertigo/DC)
Who We Think Will Win: J.H. Williams III
It’s difficult to look at the work of J.H. Williams III and not have your jaw drop. His pages are masterpieces that blend panels together into complete paintings. He does not create individual units, only entire works. Neil Gaiman may receive a lot of praise for The Sandman: Overture, but Williams’ is the real master at work in those pages and the reason it’s worth waiting months between each issue.
Who We Think Should Win: Juanjo Guarnido
Guarnido’s work on Blacksad: Amarillo is not as flashy as Williams’ on Sandman: Overture, but his comics are a storytelling medium and no one else in this category tells a story as well as Guarnido. His character work is impeccable with emotions conveyed precisely and with the subtle touches of true humanity despite being worn by animals. Coloring and lighting are significant aspects of every panel, cueing thematic and emotional touches that readers may only notice on a subconscious level.Blacksad: Amarillo is a work of remarkable beauty and Guarnido tells every beat of the story perfectly.
Best Cover Artist
Darwyn Cooke, DC Comics Darwyn Cooke Month Variant Covers (DC)
Mike Del Mundo, Elektra, X-Men: Legacy, A+X, Dexter, Dexter Down Under (Marvel)
Francesco Francavilla, Afterlife with Archie (Archie); Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight (Dark Horse); The Twilight Zone, Django/Zorro (Dynamite); X-Files (IDW)
Jamie McKelvie/Matthew Wilson, The Wicked + The Divine (Image); Ms. Marvel (Marvel)
Phil Noto, Black Widow (Marvel)
Alex Ross, Astro City (Vertigo/DC); Batman 66: The Lost Episode, Batman 66 Meets Green Hornet (DC/Dynamite)
Who We Think Will Win: Jamie McKelvie/Matthew Wilson
McKelvie and Wilson have been nailing the covers on popular series like The Wicked + The Divine and Ms. Marvel. The simple design behind the former has inspired a variety of variants at Image, and the latter combines beauty and minimalism in every one. There’s something truly iconic behind the way in which McKelvie and Wilson are composing the covers for these popular series.
Who We Think Should Win: Francesco Francavilla
Besides Afterlife with Archie, none of the series Francesco Francavilla works on may sell nearly as well, but his covers are top notch. Francavilla has shown a knack for poster design that carries into his cover work. He manages to present the tone of the issue, significant series elements, and reference outside influences in almost every cover he creates. They are truly striking pieces of art that could even rival Dave Stewart’s masterful work as one of the best cover artists in comics.
Laura Allred, Silver Surfer (Marvel); Madman in Your Face 3D Special (Image)
Nelson Daniel, Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland, Judge Dredd, Wild Blue Yonder (IDW)
Lovern Kindzierski, The Graveyard Book, vols. 1-2 (Harper)
Matthew Petz, The Leg (Blue Creek Creative/Top Shelf)
Dave Stewart, Hellboy in Hell, BPRD, Abe Sapien, Baltimore, Lobster Johnson, Witchfinder, Shaolin Cowboy, Aliens: Fire and Stone, DHP (Dark Horse)
Matthew Wilson, Adventures of Superman (DC); The Wicked + The Divine (Image), Daredevil, Thor (Marvel)
Who We Think Will Win: Dave Stewart
Dave Stewart has a lot of Eisners, 8 to be exact. That’s not really a surprise though. Not only is he one of the most prolific colorists in the industry, but he works on some of the best series being published. Just look at the impressive list behind his name this year. He has a Kirby-eque work ethic and never delivers less than his best work. From the vibrant insanity of Shaolin Cowboy to the trenchant darkness of Hellboy in Hell, he brings a wide variety of worlds to life.
Who We Think Should Win: Nathan Fairbairn
If you’re thinking that Nathan Fairbairn wasn’t even nominated, you’re right, he wasn’t. And that’s ridiculous. Not only did Fairbairn work on two of the absolute best comics of 2014, Seconds and The Multiversity: Pax Americana #1 (as well asThunderworld #1), but he was a defining aspect of these works. Just consider the manner in which colors help to guide the eye and reflect The Question’s crazy theory in Pax Americana. Combine these enormous accomplishments with his recoloring ofScott Pilgrim, one that reinvigorated the complete series, and it’s not even a debate. Nathan Fairbairn was the best colorist working in comics in 2014. The Eisner nomination committee should be ashamed of themselves.
Joe Caramagna, Ms. Marvel, Daredevil (Marvel)
Todd Klein, Fables, The Sandman: Overture, The Unwritten (Vertigo/DC); Nemo: The Roses of Berlin (Top Shelf)
Max, Vapor (Fantagraphics)
Jack Morelli, Afterlife with Archie, Archie, Betty and Veronica, etc. (Archie)
Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo: Senso, Usagi Yojimbo Color Special: The Artist (Dark Horse)
Who We Think Will Win: Todd Klein
Todd Klein has been one of the best letterers in comics for a very long time. He cemented himself as a master of the skill in the 1980s on series like Sandman and Suicide Squad, and is still creating great work today. He’s a favorite amongst industry veterans and acolytes alike, fondly remembered for his work both old and new. It’s tough to compete with someone like Klein.
Who We Think Should Win: Todd Klein
Not only is Klein still one of the best in the industry after three decades, but he’s working on projects that bring out the absolute best in his work. Presenting words from masters like Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman in fantastical worlds like those ofFables and The Unwritten has given Klein the ability to do his best work. He’s doing too much too well to be denied the Eisner.
So who do you think ought to win the Eisners for best collected editions? Be sure to let us know in the comments below. And make sure to check out our presentation of other Eisner categories this week as well with looks at both Creators and Series nominated for awards.