It’s that time of year again! The 2016 Eisner Award nominations have been announced and the list includes a ton of great female creators. So many, in fact, that there are too many for a single post. Rather than try to talk about all of these great comics, this post focuses on the nominees that will have the greatest appeal among teens and other fans of young adult literature.
Bandette by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover has once again earned a double nomination in both Best Digital/Webcomic and Best Continuing Series. This is an extremely fun series that follows a thief with a heart of gold on her adventures. Two volumes are currently available, Presto! (which was on YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels 2014 list) and Stealers Keepers! Also on the list for a second year in a row is Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona, which is nominated in the Best Graphic Album-Reprint. This one also qualifies for the currently ongoing 2016 Hub Challenge, so check it out now if you are participating!
Also nominated in the Best Continuing Series category is Giant Days by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, and Max Sarin, a series that follows a group of friends through their lives at college. The irreverent and off-beat stories are hugely entertaining and have so far been collected in two volumes. For more college adventures, but with a superhero twist, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson, which was nominated for Best New Series, follows Doreen Green as she tries to balance her life as a secret superhero with college life.
This year’s nominees in both the Best Publication for Kids (9-12) and the Best Publication for Teens (13-17) include a wealth of great titles by women, all of which are well worth checking out. Of particular note, Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola with art by Emily Carroll is an updated take on the Baba Yaga folk tale and is sure to appeal to those who enjoy creepy artwork and a modern take on familiar stories. Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova is also a great book that will have wide appeal. It tells the universal story of trying to fit in and make friends at a new school. Fans of This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki will also be excited to see that Jillian Tamaki’s newest work, SuperMutant Magic Academy has been nominated. These offbeat comics are all set at a boarding school that is slightly reminiscent of Hogwarts, but even more weird and hilarious.
In the category of Best U.S. Edition of International Material-Asia, both A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima and A Bride’s Story by Kaoru Mori made the list. These series have both earned YALSA recognition in the past as well and should definitely be in your Manga collection. As an added bonus, A Silent Voice qualifies for the 2016 Hub Challenge, so you have no excuse not to start reading it now!
Older teens will find plenty of interest amongst this year’s nominations as well. Lady Killer by Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich brings a 1960’s style to the world of assassins. And, it just so happens, that the particular assassin in question is a housewife whose family has no idea about her extracurricular activities. Unabashedly violent and extremely engaging, Lady Killer’s nomination for Best Limited Series is well deserved. For those who prefer realistic stories and memoirs, Lucy Knisley’s Displacement, which is the moving story of a vacation that Knisley took with her grandparents, has been nominated for Best Lettering.
In addition to these categories, new members will be inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame at this year’s ceremony. Tova Jansson, the famed Finnish cartoonist who created the Moomin strips, has been selected as one of the Judge’s Choice candidates, who will be automatically inducted. Beyond this, Eisner voters have also nominated a number of possible inductees including Lynda Barry, Francoise Mouly, and Rumiko Takahashi. Lynda Barry is the creator of Ernie Pook’s Comeek and a well-known educator on creativity who has written a number of books on the topic including Syllabus, a book that is sure to fascinate anyone interested in teaching creativity. Francoise Mouly is an editor and publisher who, with her husband Art Spiegelman, launched Raw magazine which would go on to publish Spiegelman’s Maus. Rumiko Takahashi is probably best known in the U.S. for Ranma 1/2, but U.S. fans may not know that she is considered “the bestselling female comics artist in history” with her work sold all around the world.
Whether you are a long time comic fan or new to the format, these books are all great additions to your to-be-read list. Who’s read some of them already? Let me know which are your favorites in the comments!