The Eisner Awards are held each year to recognize the best of comics, both past and present. This year’s event took place this past Friday during San Diego Comic-Con, and it did more than pick its favorites. The Awards celebrated comic creators’ diversity, naming female winners in categories where they’d never been recognized before, as well as adding placing a number of veteran women into its Hall of Fame.
Perhaps chief among these is Rumiko Takahashi, whose work as a mangaka (or manga creator) has won her millions of readers, fans and accolades over the last 40 years. A four-time nominee for the Hall of Fame treatment, Takahashi finally made it in on the back of the Voters’ Choice category. This makes her the first female mangaka, and only fourth overall, to receive the Eisner’s biggest honor.
Takahashi is the creator of a varied slate of series, including 1978’s sci-fi comedy Urusei Yatsura, which Viz Media will be re-releasing next year, the publisher just announced during Comic-Con, and rom-com martial arts manga Ranma 1/2. Most popular with stateside readers is Inuyasha, which ran for 12 years and 56 volumes. Its anime aired on Adult Swim for more than a decade as well.
Takahashi’s win is a monumental step in recognizing the work of perhaps more marginalized Japanese creators. That goes for the more contemporary categories too, where women received several major awards. Monstress author Marjorie Liu became the first woman ever to win Best Writer, much to her own surprise.
“Waaaaait. I’m ... the first woman to win the Best Writer award? I didn’t believe it,” she tweeted.
Waaaaait. I’m...the first woman to win the Best Writer award? I didn’t believe it. But, but...— Marjorie Liu (@marjoriemliu) July 21, 2018
I’m really going to cry. I’m crying right now. https://t.co/RREDGmD1CZ
She split the award with Tom King, the owner of several previous Eisner Awards and whose most recent work is on the Batman series. It was a much bigger year for Liu, however, as she and artist Sana Takeda picked up numerous other accolades in other categories this year.
Elsewhere, female writers and artists cleaned up in categories like Best Limited Series (Roxane Gay and Alitha E. Martinez shared their win for Black Panther: World of Wakanda with Ta-Nehisi Coates); Best Reality-Based Work (wunderkind Tillie Walden’s Spinning); and Best Graphic Album — New, which went to quinquagenarian first-timer Emil Ferris for My Favorite Thing is Monsters.
The full list of Eisner Award winners is below.
Best Short Story: ”A Life in Comics: The Graphic Adventures of Karen Green,” by Nick Sousanis, in Columbia Magazine (Summer 2017)
Best Single Issue/One-Shot: Hellboy: Krampusnacht, by Mike Mignola and Adam Hughes (Dark Horse)
Best Continuing Series: Monstress, by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (Image)
Best Limited Series: Black Panther: World of Wakanda, by Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Alitha E. Martinez (Marvel)
Best New Series: Black Bolt, by Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward (Marvel)
Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8): Good Night, Planet, by Liniers (Toon Books)
Best Publication for Kids (ages 9–12): The Tea Dragon Society, by Katie O’Neill (Oni)
Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17): Monstress, by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (Image)
Best Humor Publication: Baking with Kafka, by Tom Gauld (Drawn & Quarterly)
Best Anthology: Elements: Fire, A Comic Anthology by Creators of Color, edited by Taneka Stotts (Beyond Press)
Best Reality-Based Work: Spinning, by Tillie Walden (First Second)
Best Graphic Album—New: My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, by Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
Best Graphic Album—Reprint: Boundless, by Jillian Tamaki (Drawn & Quarterly)
Best Adaptation from Another Medium: Kindred, by Octavia Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy and John Jennings (Abrams ComicArts)
Best U.S. Edition of International Material: Run for It: Stories of Slaves Who Fought for the Freedom, by Marcelo D’Salete, translated by Andrea Rosenberg (Fantagraphics)
Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia: My Brother’s Husband, vol. 1, by Gengoroh Tagame, translated by Anne Ishii (Pantheon)
Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips: Celebrating Snoopy, by Charles M. Schulz, edited by Alexis E. Fajardo and Dorothy O’Brien (Andrews McMeel)
Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books: Akira 35th Anniversary Edition, by Katsuhiro Otomo, edited by Haruko Hashimoto, Ajani Oloye, and Lauren Scanlan (Kodansha)
Best Writer: Tom King, Batman, Batman Annual #2, Batman/Elmer Fudd Special #1, Mister Miracle (DC), Marjorie Liu, Monstress (Image) (tie)
Best Writer/Artist: Emil Ferris, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters (Fantagraphics)
Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team: Mitch Gerads, Mister Miracle (DC)
Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art): Sana Takeda, Monstress (Image)
Best Cover Artist: Sana Takeda, Monstress (Image)
Best Coloring: Emil Ferris, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters (Fantagraphics)
Best Lettering: Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo, Groo: Slay of the Gods (Dark Horse)
Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism: The Comics Journal, edited by Dan Nadel, Timothy Hodler, and Tucker Stone, tcj.com (Fantagraphics)
Best Comics-Related Book: How to Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels, by Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden (Fantagraphics)
Best Academic/Scholarly Work: Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics, by Frederick Luis Aldama (University of Arizona Press)
Best Publication Design: Akira 35th Anniversary Edition, designed by Phil Balsman, Akira Saito (Veia), NORMA Editorial, and MASH•ROOM (Kodansha)
Best Digital Comic: Harvey Kurtzman’s Marley’s Ghost, by Harvey Kurtzman, Josh O’Neill, Shannon Wheeler, and Gideon Kendall (comiXology Originals/Kitchen, Lind & Associates)
Best Webcomic: The Tea Dragon Society, by Katie O’Neill, teadragonsociety.com (Oni Press)
Hall of Fame:
Judges’ Choices: Carol Kalish, Jackie Ormes
Voters’ Choices: Charles Addams, Karen Berger, Dave Gibbons, Rumiko Takahashi
Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award: Frederick Joseph; Comics4Kids
Bill Finger Excellence in Comic Book Writing Award: Joe Murchison Kelly; Dorothy Woolfolk
Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award: Hamish Steele (writer/artist, Pantheon), Pablo Tunica (artist, TMNT Universe)
Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award: Norma Comics, Barcelona, Spain