Women in Comics: 2015 Eisner Award Nominations

eisnerawards_logo_13This month, I thought I would take a look at some of the great works by women that are nominated for this year’s Eisner Award. The Eisner Awards, or more correctly, the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, recognize the best achievements in American comics on an annual basis. The award nominations are typically announced in April with the awards being presented at San Diego Comic Con in July. This year, some wonderful works by women are nominated and it seems like a great time to consider both those that I have previously written about and some new gems. This post won’t look at the work of all of the Eisner nominated women, but will instead focus on those that will appeal to teens and fans of young adult literature.

Ms. MarvelMs. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona, Saga by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples, and Bandette by Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover are three of only four titles to have received three or more nominations which doesn’t surprise me at all. Ms. Marvel has been extremely popular for the way that it has reimagined the Ms. Marvel character as a teen Pakistani-American named Kamala Khan who is a huge fan of Carol Danver and ultimately ends up stepping into her shoes as Ms. Marvel. The series received a lot of publicity for the fact that Kamala Khan is the first Muslim character to headline a Marvel series and the story has helped to keep it popular. It earned not only Eisner nominations in the categories of Best New Series, Best Writer (for G. Willow Wilson), Best Penciller/Inker (for Adrian Alphona), Best Cover Artist (for Jamie McKelvie/Matthew Wilson), and Best Lettering (for Joe Caramagna), but also a Hugo nomination and a spot on YALSA’s 2015 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list. Continue reading Women in Comics: 2015 Eisner Award Nominations

Take a Closer Look at Comics

Magnifying Glass
Magnifying Glass by Auntie P. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This fall I have had an opportunity to delve into comic books and graphic novels in the course of writing my Women in Comics posts here, while taking a Coursera MOOC entitled “Comic Books and Graphic Novels,” and as an attendee at a symposium entitled Comics and the Classroom. Though I have long been a fan of comics and graphic novels, these activities have given me a new appreciation for the depth of comics and the artistry that is on view in some of the best examples of the genre. I have also learned some great strategies for analyzing comics similar to the way that one would analyze other types of literature or art. While some might feel that this takes the fun out of reading them and makes the process too academic, for me, it has opened up meanings that I might have missed, and subtleties that demonstrate the way that comics allow authors and artists to come together to create a complete work that is greater than the sum of its parts.

If this sounds interesting, here are some thoughts and suggestions on getting started doing close readings of comics.

Layout & Design: When analyzing comic books it is important to take the time to consider all of the elements both separately and together. This means looking at the overall layout of the page, whether it is broken into separate “panels” (the term for each box of a comic), the size and shape of each panel, the color and shading choices of the images, the layout and type of text, and the text, to name just a few potential elements. Ask yourself why each decision was made: What does each panel’s size convey? If the style of the lettering changes, what is this meant to say about the tone? All comics exist in the historical framework of those that have come before in the genre, so also consider what the style of art evokes in terms of genre, tone, and period?  Continue reading Take a Closer Look at Comics