2020 Eisner Award Winners Announced

The Eisners were awarded remotely and under some controversy due to a voter data breach.

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Photo: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

The 2020 Eisner Awards were presented by Phil Lamarr as part of Comic-Con At Home, the digital remote replacement for this year’s pandemic-canceled San Diego Comic-Con.

The big winners on the night were women creators, winning outright or a share of almost two thirds of the awards. Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell took home three awards: Best Publication for Teens, Best Writer, and Best Penciller/Inker. Invisible Kingdom from G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward; Lynda Barry’s Making Comics; Usagi Yojimbo’s Stan Sakai; and the juggernaut that is Raina Telgelmeier each took home two awards. Other notable wins included David Walker, Chuck Brown and Sanford Greene’s Bitter Root’s Best Continuing Series; Best Limited Series to Darcy Van Poelgeest and Ian Bertrom for Little Bird; Emma Rios for Best Cover Artist for her work on Pretty Deadly; and Chip Zdarsky and Jason Loo’s Afterlift for Best Digital Comic.

Unfortunately, the awards were marred by scandal. Eisner voting was abruptly shut down on June 18th after what Comic Con International called an “anomaly” – later revealed by The Hollywood Reporter to be a pretty disturbing breach of private data and vote integrity. Users who logged into the site could refresh the page and be taken to another voter’s page, complete with personally identifiable information, like full names and addresses. The refreshed page would also show the other voter’s completed ballot, and allow the user to change someone else’s vote. CCI shut down voting on June 18th, and sent an email to Eisner Voters a week later, announcing that they were tossing the initial results and asking voters to recast their ballots. However, several voters reported not receiving the second email, and thus, not being able to cast an updated ballot. 

CCI insists that the final results were the same as the initial round of balloting. However, insisting that the second results are identical to the potentially tainted and untrustworthy first round is not especially confidence inspiring. Wendy Browne, Publisher of the now Eisner-winning comics site Women Write About Comics, summed up the frustration well:

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We want this industry to do and be better. But when even the industry’s most prestigious prize is embarrassingly tainted by mismanagement that results in potentially skewed results and privacy breaches left unaddressed — on top of a hellish year that has compounded the injustices, corruption, and inequality all around us — it’s hard for me to see this year’s Eisner win as anything but bittersweet. It makes accepting an award marred by such uncertainty difficult for me, because this does not reflect our principles and who we are. We deserve better, as do all those nominated in this year’s Eisner Awards.

Here is a full list of the winners.

Best Short Story

“Hot Comb,” by Ebony Flowers, in Hot Comb (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Single Issue/One-Shot

Our Favorite Thing Is My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, by Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)

Best Continuing Series

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Bitter Root, by David Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene (Image)

Best Limited Series

Little Bird by Darcy Van Poelgeest and Ian Bertram (Image)

Best New Series

Invisible Kingdom, by G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward (Berger Books/Dark Horse)

Best Publication for Early Readers

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Comics: Easy as ABC, by Ivan Brunetti (TOON)

Best Publication for Kids

Guts, by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic Graphix)

Best Publication for Teens

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell (First Second/Macmillan)

Best Humor Publication 

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The Way of the Househusband, vol. 1, by Kousuke Oono, translation by Sheldon Drzka (VIZ Media)

Best Anthology

Drawing Power: Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival, edited by Diane Noomin (Abrams)

Best Reality-Based Work

They Called Us Enemy, by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker (Top Shelf)

Best Graphic Album—New

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Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden (First Second/Macmillan)

Best Graphic Album—Reprint

LaGuardia, by Nnedi Okorafor and Tana Ford (Berger Books/Dark Horse)

Best Adaptation from Another Medium

Snow, Glass, Apples, by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran (Dark Horse Books)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material

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The House, by Paco Roca, translation by Andrea Rosenberg (Fantagraphics)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia (TIE)

Cats of the Louvre, by Taiyo Matsumoto, translation by Michael Arias (VIZ Media)

Witch Hat Atelier, by Kamome Shirahama, translation by Stephen Kohler (Kodansha)

Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips

Krazy Kat: The Complete Color Sundays, by George Herriman, edited by Alexander Braun (TASCHEN)

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Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books

Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo: The Complete Grasscutter Artist Select, by Stan Sakai, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)

Best Writer

Mariko Tamaki, Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass (DC); Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me (First Second/Macmillan); Archie (Archie)

Best Writer/Artist

Raina Telgemeier, Guts (Scholastic Graphix)

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Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team

Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me (First Second/Macmillan)

Best Painter/Digital Artist

Christian Ward, Invisible Kingdom (Berger Books/Dark Horse)

Best Cover Artist

Emma Rios, Pretty Deadly (Image)

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Best Coloring

Dave Stewart, Black Hammer, B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know, Hellboy and the BPRD (Dark Horse); Gideon Falls (Image); Silver Surfer Black, Spider-Man (Marvel)

Best Lettering

Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo (IDW)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism

Women Write About Comics, edited by Nola Pfau and Wendy Browne, www.WomenWriteAboutComics.com

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Best Comics-Related Book

Making Comics, by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Academic/Scholarly Work

EC Comics: Race, Shock, and Social Protest, by Qiana Whitted (Rutgers University Press)

Best Publication Design

Making Comics, designed by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly)

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Best Digital Comic

Afterlift, by Chip Zdarsky and Jason Loo (comiXology Originals)

Best Webcomic

Fried Rice, by Erica Eng, https://friedricecomic.tumblr.com

Hall of Fame

Judges’ Choices: Nell Brinkley, E. Simms Campbell

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Voters’ Choices: Alison Bechdel, Howard Cruse, Stan Sakai, Louise Simonson, Don and Maggie Thompson, Bill Watterson