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Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards goes virtual, nominees announced

A person flips through a comic book at the IDW Publishing at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
A member of the press flips through a comic book at the IDW Publishing booth at the Comic-Con International show at the San Diego Convention Center on July 17, 2019 in San Diego, California.
(Sam Hodgson/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

More than 170 titles and 60 publishers nominated for San Diego Comic-Con’s annual honor

Stay-at-home orders may have canceled San Diego Comic-Con 2020, but that won’t stop the organization from honoring this year’s industry talent. The convention, which teased the virtual Comic-Con@Home last month, just announced its nominees for the 32nd annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards.

Considered the Oscars of the comics industry, the awards — hosted by San Diego Comic-Con International — will recognize outstanding comic books and graphic novels published within the 2019 calendar year.

In total, there are 31 categories on the ballot. More than 170 titles received a nod, highlighting top writers, artists and designers. (A full list of nominees can be viewed at comic-con.org/awards/2020-eisner-awards-nominations.)

More than 60 publishers are represented in the nomination list, including San Diego-based IDW Publishing, indie darlings Image Comics and Dark Horse, and blockbuster names DC and Marvel. IDW and Image took center stage with 13 (plus one shared) and 11 (plus six shared) nominations each, respectively.

Among creators, prolific writer/artist James Stokoe leads with nominations in five categories, honored for his work published by Shortbox and Dark Horse.

Two individuals will also be inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame: newspaper cartoonist Nell Brinkley and cartoonist/illustrator E. Simms Campbell. Four additional creators will be inducted; voters picked from a list of 14 individuals put forth by the nomination committee. (Note: Hall of Fame voting is now closed.)

Jackie Estrada, the Eisner Awards Administrator, noted this year’s judging process was more difficult than usual due to the lockdown. Rather than convening in San Diego to review submissions, the six experts had to judge and interact virtually.

This remote judging extended the nomination process by two months, resulting in shorter voting window. The 2020 ballot is open now through June 18, available at eisnervote.com. Only comic book industry professionals are eligible to participate.

Final winners will be announced in July. Date and time is to be announced, but suspected to happen during this year’s Comic-Con@Home, scheduled to start July 23.


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