This week on The Wednesday Club, Geek & Sundry’s weekly show talking comics, hosts Amy Dallen, Taliesin Jaffe, and Matt Key were joined by comic book writer (and Eric’s TBD RPG player) Jody Houser to talk about the Eisner Awards.
The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, or simply the Eisners, are an annual presentation at San Diego Comic-Con honoring the year’s best contributions to comics.
Jody’s ongoing series Faith from Valiant Comics is nominated this year for Best New Series, and last year Matt was the writer for the unforgettable awards ceremony hosted by John Barrowman. Thanks to their expertise and Amy and Taliesin’s experiences attending the ceremony, Wednesday Club watchers were treated to a behind-the-scenes peek at one of the comic industry’s highest honors.
The awards are named after Will Eisner, a comic book creator with an undeniable impact on how comics are crafted. “He had an enormous amount of influence on the way comic book stories are told,” said Taliesin.
“[Eisner] devoted his entire life to advancing the art form of comics,” Amy said.
Eisner’s best known work is The Spirit. The eponymous character first appeared in 1940, a detective who was declared dead but actually was placed in “suspended animation” after an experiment. He becomes a masked crimefighter with no superpowers but his quick wit. “I love this,” said Taliesin. “This stuff is great.”
“The Spirit is a very interesting example of comics,” said Amy, “because Will Eisner had been working in comics for a couple of years already when he was approached by a newspaper syndicate.
“It started out as a 16-page supplement, essentially a comic book that came inside your newspaper. It was extremely successful.”
(DC Comics, Will Eisner)
PS, Preventive Maintenance Monthly is a unique body of work by Will Eisner, started during his time in the Army as as he drew comic-book-style training manuals about weapon safety and equipment maintenance. In 1951, he began Preventive Maintenance Monthly, short comics used as instruction materials with the same goal of training soldiers. Publication ended in 1971.
“It’s the most [wonderful] art you could have in a magazine designed to teach basic engineering maintenance skills,” Amy said.
(Abrams, Will Eisner)
Faith is a new ongoing comic series from Valiant that stars Faith Herbert, a superhero who struggles with balancing her secret identity with her heroics. Her alter ego is Zephyr, a hero with the power of flight. Unlike most superhero comics, Faith maintains her optimism despite what her superhero life throws at her. “I love Faith because she is sunny, not stupid,” said Amy.
“Faith is the type of character that I’m like, ‘I want to be friends with her, she’s so much better than me,’” Jody said.
(Valiant Comics, Jody Houser, Francis Portela, and Marguerite Sauvage)
Mother Panic is part of DC’s Young Animals imprint. Violet Paige is a rich, privileged socialite in Gotham known for her outrageous behavior. But no one knows she’s actually Mother Panic, a vigilante clad in all white whose thirst for vengeance is much messier than Batman’s quest for justice.
“She’s essentially seeking revenge for the wrongs of her youth,” said Jody. And while her background seems similar to Bruce Wayne’s (although her mother is alive), Violet’s life took a much darker turn.
“What if the divide between Batman and Bruce Wayne wasn’t really there?” asked Jody.
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What’s your favorite Eisner-nominated book? Tell us in the comments.
Top Images: Geek & Sundry
Other Image: Valiant Comics (Kevin Wada)