A Slice of Fried Gold

2008 Eisner Award winners are out!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lost in all of the hullabaloo that is the San Diego Comic Con (you know, like the insane buzz the Watchmen movie developed, the new Wolverine movie going from "cautious but intrigued" to "give me it now!" in interest levels, incredible panels like the Gerard Way/Grant Morrison love fest, and even Gnarls Barkley performing a cover of Radiohead's "Reckoner") was actually a lot of really awesome comic related news. I know, I know, who wants to go to the SDCC to talk about actual comic books right?

Well I do! It is kind of the point isn't it? I know it's become the de facto celebrity event of the year somehow and the biggest launching pad for movies known to man (take that France! Keep your Cannes, we have Comic Con!) but I like to think there is still interest in the published portion of the deal. One of the most ignored topics from the SDCC (besides the great news that Image has taken on Robert Kirkman as a full partner - congrats Robert!) was the announcement of the 2008 Eisner Award winners, which is essentially the Academy Awards of comics.

As a huge fan of both award ceremonies of the sort and of comics, it was an exciting announcement for me, and unlike other similar events they got everything mostly correct. Best continuing series? Y the Last Man!!! Best writer? Ed Brubaker!!! Best limited series? The Umbrella Academy!!! Heck, they even nailed the best publication for kids category by giving that one to the deadly duo of Mouse Guard mini's. So they pretty much rocked the house.

But they still had one massive mistake. They gave single issue of the year to Justice League of America #11, an issue called "Walls" that was written by New York Times best seller (as he is always referred to in comic ads) Brad Meltzer and drawn by Gene Ha. Great creators, very good issue especially considering it was sandwiched between 26 issues of unabashed mediocrity.

But issue of the year? Seriously? You had Y the Last Man #58 and #60, Captain America #25, Silver Surfer: Requiem #4, any issue from Immortal Iron Fist's excellent "The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven" arc, All-Star Superman #10, any issue from Brubaker's Criminal, and Civil War: Confession to work with, and that issue gets the award? Those are just the issues I could think of right off hand that were far superior to that issue. Even within the category you had the absolutely breathtaking Sensational Spider-Man Annual by young gun Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca.

I know they can't satisfy everyone with every award, I just don't understand how they can be so far off on such a major award. Of course, there is the very likely chance that it is just me on this one.


Troy Olson said...

In the past I always thought it would be fun to go to Comic Con...but now, it just seems so crazy and overblown. It's a lot easier to just read Newsarama over the weekend and find out everything that way.

As for the Eisners -- Even not having read any of the nominees for Best Single Issue, I still think Meltzer shouldn't have received the award. How's THAT for an uninformed opinion.

I've read enough of his work (Identity Crisis, first few issues of the new Justice League) to know that he just isn't anything special as a writer and I can't tell if they gave him the award because of his "high profile" name (really, is he that well known in the literary world?) or for the simple fact that the voters didn't read the other nominees.

Gene Ha though, he can keep his Eisner. He can draw the shit out of anything.

David Harper said...

Yeah, I'm a huge Gene Ha fan. The guy is incredible. Meltzer's run on Justice League was so unspectacular it boggled my mind, especially after the #0 issue was a truly interesting issue that drummed up excitement for the series.

How's this for telling you the state of things about JLA? They've used Amazo TWICE as the villain in 26 issues. Seriously? Twice? Weak sauce.

He's essentially a poor man's John Grisham, except he likes comics. I have no problem with the guy and think that DC could do far worse than him, but it bugged me that they couldn't find anything better.

But yeah, Comic Con is definitely overblown at this point. I'd hate to fight the crowds trying to get to all of the panels and what not while also trying to get sketches by artists and talk to writers. I'd prefer to go somewhere smaller and more casual, like the Emerald City Comic Con.

One of these days...

Troy Olson said...

John Grisham -- you hit it out of the park with that comparison.

The worst thing about Meltzer's run is that I know good stories can be told with the JLA.

Apparently it must be difficult though, because since the Morrison and Waid runs on it in the 90's it's all been pretty much crap, save for perhaps an issue here or there.

I don't know, maybe it's too hard for some people to write JLA when you have the Big Three in there as such dominant personalities. Plus, there are probably a ton of editorial mandates you have to keep in line with concerning all the big crossovers...

David Harper said...

God, Morrison and Waid's runs were so awesome. That's because they stuck to great stories with the great characters. I swear to god, every issue anymore is some melodrama with Black Lightning, Vixen, Hawkgirl, Red Arrow, and Red Tornado.

Morrison's run was genius because he kept it to the big seven -Supes, Bats, Wonder Woman, Martian Manunter, Flash, Green Lantern, and Aquaman - and focused on major deals that only the best of the best could handle.

The funny thing about books like JLA (and the same thing can be said to be true about X-Men and Avengers books to a lesser extent) is that their respective publishers are so freaked out about screwing up the books that they do that by being taking out any risks. Meltzer and McDuffie are not writers you're going to get risk taking from at all.

I just don't understand why JLA isn't the best book DC makes - they have the components to do it, just not the capable creative team to make it happen.

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