Official Press Release
The 17th Annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were bestowed on Friday July 15 in a gala ceremony in the ballroom at the San Diego Convention Center. The awards event was dedicated to Eisner, who died in January. His presence was felt throughout the evening, as presenter after presenter shared thoughts about the late comics giant. The ceremony was preceded by a slide show of Eisner's career and a video with taped tributes from many creators who couldn't attend, including Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, and Dave Sim. Will's widow, Ann, appeared briefly on stage to welcome everyone.
The Eisner award winners were spread out among a variety of creators and titles, with only a few projects winning two trophies. The multiple winners were Kyle Baker and Plastic Man (Best Writer/Artist Humor; Best Publication for a Younger Audience), Eric Powell and The Goon (Best Humor Publication, Best Continuing Series), Brian K. Vaughan and Ex Machina (Best Writer, Best New Series), Fables (Best Serialized Story, Best Cover Artist for James Jean), and The Complete Peanuts (Best Archival Project, Best Publication Design).
Dave Gibbons's The Originals (Vertigo) took the Best Graphic Album-New category, while Jeff Smith's massive Bone One Volume Edition was named Best Graphic Album-Reprint. The Best Single Issue award went to Dan Clowes' Eightball #23, following in the footsteps of the 2002 win for Eightball #22. Similarly, Osamu Tezuka's Buddha vols. 3-4 was awarded Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material, the category won by vols. 1-2 last year.
Comic Book Artist won the Best Comics-Related Periodical for the fourth time, while the Best Comics-Related Book award went to Gerard Jones's Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book. The first winner of the award for Best Digital Comic was Brian Fies for the autobiographical "Mom's Cancer," and many members of his family were on hand to see him accept. Writer Sean McKeever (A Waiting Place, Mary Jane) took home the trophy for Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition.
Among publishers, DC Comics and its imprints had seven (plus five shared) winners, led by Plastic Man, Ex Machina, and Fables. The Best Penciller/Inker category was a tie between two DC artists: John Cassaday (WildStorm's Planetary, along with Astonishing X-Men for Marvel) and Frank Quitely (Vertigo's WE3). DC creators also took home the honors for Best Painter (Teddy Kristiansen for the graphic novel It's a Bird . . .) and portions of Best Coloring (Dave Stewart) and Best Lettering (Todd Klein-his 12th win in the category). The Best Limited Series award went to Darwyn Cooke's popular DC: The New Frontier.
Dark Horse can claim five winners along with shares of two others. Besides Powell's The Goon, Dark Horse winners included Best Anthology (Michael Chabon'sThe Amazing Adventures of the Escapist), Best Writer/Artist (Paul Chadwick for Concrete: The Human Dilemma), and Best Short Story (Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson's "Unfamiliar").
The Peanuts and Eightball wins gave Fantagraphics three awards. Marvel shared in three awards (Penciller/Inker, Lettering, Coloring), but no other publisher had more than one winner.
Sergio Aragons presented the Hall of Fame Awards. The judges' choice awards went to the Golden Age artist Lou Fine and to the Asterix team of Ren Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. The four elected inductees were Johnny Craig, Hugo Pratt, Nick Cardy, and Gene Colan. Both Cardy and Colan were present to accept their trophies. Adele Kurtzman accepted for Craig.
Besides Aragons, Eisner presenters included Denis Kitchen, Jill Thompson, Scott McCloud, Joss Whedon, Michael Uslan, Michael Chabon, Pia Guerra, Dave Gibbons, and Jeff Smith. All made introductory comments about Will Eisner, from amusing anecdotes to heartfelt gratitude.
Among the other awards given out over the evening were the Comic-Con's Clampett and Manning awards. The Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, presented by Bob's daughter Ruth, went to George Prez for his donation of artwork to raise money for several charities, especially A.C.T.O.R. The Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award went to Chris Bailey, writer/artist of the all-ages title Major Damage, published by Sky Dog Press.
New this year was the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing. The chair of the awards jury, Jerry Robinson, presented the first Bill Finger Awards to Jerry Siegel (accepted by his widow, Joanne) and to Arnold Drake, who roused the crowd with a hilarious a caeplla song about the San Diego Comic-Con.
The Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailing Award was presented by Joe Ferrara. This year's winner was Night Flight Comics of Salt Lake City, owned by Mimi Cruz and Alan Carroll. CBLDF board member Greg Ketter presented the Fund's Defender of Freedom Award to Denis Kitchen, founder of the Fund, who spoke about the fact that 20 years after its inception the Fund is needed more than ever.
The major sponsor for the 2005 Eisner Awards is mycomicsshop.com. The principal sponsors are Century Guild, Diamond Comic Distributors, Gentle Giant, Isotope, and Odd Lott. Supporting sponsors include Alternate Reality Comics (Las Vegas), Atlantis Fantasyworld (Santa Cruz, CA), Comic Relief-The Comic Bookstore (Berkeley, CA), comicsunlimited.com, Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff (Concord, CA), Quebecor Printing, and Star*Reach. Ballots were tabulated by Mel Thompson and Associates.
Following is a complete list of the 2005 award winners. More information on the awards can be found at www.comic-con.org.
Winners, 2005 Eisner Awards
Best Short Story: ""Unfamiliar," by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson, in The Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft (Dark Horse Books)
Best Single Issue (or One-Shot): Eightball #23: "The Death Ray," by Dan Clowes (Fantagraphics)
Best Serialized Story: Fables #19-27: "March of the Wooden Soldiers," by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, and Steve Leialoha (Vertigo/DC)
Best Continuing Series:The Goon, by Eric Powell (Dark Horse)
Best Limited Series: DC: The New Frontier, by Darwyn Cooke (DC)
Best New Series: Ex Machina, by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, and Tom Fesiter (WildStorm/DC)
Best Publication for a Younger Audience: Plastic Man, by Kyle Baker and Scott Morse (DC)
Best Humor Publication: The Goon, by Eric Powell (Dark Horse)
Best Anthology: Michael Chabon Presents The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, edited by Diana Schutz and David Land (Dark Horse)
Best Digital Comic: Mom's Cancer, by Brian Fies
Best Graphic Album-New: The Originals, by Dave Gibbons (Vertigo/DC)
Best Graphic Album-Reprint: Bone One Volume Edition, by Jeff Smith (Cartoon Books)
Best Archival Collection/Project: The Complete Peanuts, edited by Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)
Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material: Buddha, vols. 3-4 by Osamu Tezuka (Vertical)
Best Writer: Brian K. Vaughan, Y: The Last Man (Vertigo/DC); Ex Machina (WildStorm/DC); Runaways (Marvel)
Best Writer/Artist: Paul Chadwick, Concrete: The Human Dilemma (Dark Horse)
Best Writer/Artist-Humor: Kyle Baker, Plastic Man (DC); Kyle Baker, Cartoonist (Kyle Baker Publishing)
Best Penciller/Inker (tie): John Cassaday, Astonishing X-Men (Marvel); Planetary (WildStorm/DC); I Am Legion: The Dancing Faun (Humanoids/DC); Frank Quitely, WE3 (Vertigo/DC)
Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art): Teddy Kristiansen, It's a Bird . . . (Vertigo/DC)
Best Coloring: Dave Stewart, Daredevil, Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate Six, Captain America (Marvel); Conan, BPRD (Dark Horse); DC: The New Frontier (DC)
Best Lettering: Todd Klein, Promethea; Tom Strong; Tom Strong's Terrific Tales (ABC); Wonder Woman (DC); Books of Magick: Life During Wartime; Fables; WE3 (Vertigo/DC); Creatures of the Night (Dark Horse)
Best Cover Artist: James Jean, Fables (Vertigo/DC); Green Arrow, Batgirl (DC)
Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition: Sean McKeever (A Waiting Place; Mary Jane; Inhumans; Sentinels)
Best Comics-Related Periodical: Comic Book Artist, edited by Jon B. Cooke (Top Shelf)
Best Comics-Related Book: Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book, by Gerard Jones (Basic Books)
Best Publication Design: The Complete Peanuts, designed by Seth (Fantagraphics)
Hall of Fame: Judges' choices: Lou Fine; Ren Goscinny and Albert Uderzo; Voters' choices: Nick Cardy, Gene Colan, Johnny Craig, Hugo Pratt
Other awards presented:
Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award: George Prez
Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award: Chris Bailey (Major Damage)
Bill Finger Excellence in Comic Writing Award: Jerry Siegel, Arnold Drake
Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailing Award: Night Flight Comics, Salt Lake City; Mimi Cruz and Alan Carroil, owners
CBLDF Defender of Liberty Award: Denis Kitchen