Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand and Daredevil sweep 2012 Eisner Awards
The big winners at the 2012 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand (published by Archaia) and Daredevil (published by Marvel), each garnering three awards. Tale of Sand was awarded Best Graphic Album – New and Best Publication Design, and artist Ramón K. Pérez was chosen Best Penciller/Inker. Daredevil received the awards for Best Continuing Series, Best Single Issue (#7), and Best Writer (Mark Waid). The only other title with multiple wins was Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition, by Darwyn Cooke, which was chosen for Best Short Story and Best Graphic Album – Reprint.
The awards, considered the “Oscars” of comics, were presented in a gala ceremony at the Indigo Ballroom of the San Diego Hilton Bayfront on Friday July 13. The “Eisners,” which honor comics’ best and brightest, were held as part of Comic-Con International (Comic-Con), the largest comic book and popular arts event in Western Hemisphere. As a result of some streamlining measures (including the addition of a producer and stage manager and reduction in the number of presenters), this year’s ceremony clocked in at 2 hours and 25 minutes, about 45 minutes shorter than last year’s show. The ceremony also began a half-hour earlier than in the past, allowing for more after-show celebrating.
The publisher taking away the most awards was Dark Horse, with five total, including Best Anthology (Dark Horse Presents), Best Reality-Based Work (Green River Killer: A True Detective Story, by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case), and Best Humor Publication (Milk & Cheese: Dairy Products Gone Bad, by Evan Dorkin). Marvel Comics had three awards and shared two more, while Archaia and IDW receive three. Other publishers taking home trophies included Pantheon, BOOM!, DC, Drawn & Quarterly, Fantagraphics, First Second, Top Shelf, the University Press of Mississippi, and Yale University Press.
Presenters during the evening included The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard; Game of Thrones creator George R. R. Martin; actors Tricia Helfer and Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica) and Erin Gray (Buck Rogers); nominees Michael Allred, Laura Allred (who won the award for Best Colorist), and Eric Powell; voice actors Phil LaMarr (Futurama) and Debi Derryberry (Jimmy Neutron); and special guests Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse), Alison Becdel (Fun Home), and Michael Uslan (Batman movie producer). The evening wrapped up with the entertaining British talk show host Jonathan Ross. All were assisted onstage by presenter Kayre Morrison.
Past Eisner MC Bill Morrison presented the Hall of Fame Awards. The six inductees and their acceptors were comics historian Bill Blackbeard (accepted by Gary Groth), artist Richard Corben (accepted by Scott Allie), Katzenjammer Kids creator Rudolph Dirks (accepted by R. C. Harvey), Archie artist Harry Lucey (accepted by his daughter, Barbara), Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo (accepted by Morrison), and underground comix pioneer Gilbert Shelton (who traveled from France to accept the award).
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 Wee Pals cartoonist Morrie Turner, for his decades of charity work. The Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award (co-sponsored by the West Coast Comics Club) went to Tyler Crooks (artist of Petrograd, published by Oni, and B.P.R.D., published by Dark Horse) and was presented by past Russ Manning assistant Rick Hoberg.
The eighth annual Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing was presented by Mark Evanier to Frank Doyle (prolific Archie comics writer), accepted by Claire Doyle Regin, and to Steve Skeates (Hawk & Dove, Aquaman, Plop), who was on hand to accept. Maggie Thompson (editor of Comics Buyers Guide) introduced the special In Memoriam video salute.
The Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award, given to a store that has done an outstanding job of supporting the comics art medium both in the community and within the industry at large, went to two retailers: Akira Comics of Madrid, Spain and The Dragon of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.