11:38: And we’re done! Go forth and celebrate.
11:32: The final category of the evening, Best Continuing Series, goes to “The Walking Dead.” Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard are both here to accept! I keep saying it, but it’s really, really nice that “The Walking Dead” and “Scott Pilgrim,” the two big stories of the weekend, are both creator-owned comics.
11:29: Best Limited Series or Story Arc: Eric Shanower and Skottie Young’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”
11:27: Best New Series: John Layman and Rob Guillory’s “Chew.” Layman is pleased: “I don’t think that anybody thought that a cannibal bird flu book would be good, or be a success…”
11:26: The final presenter of the evening is Dave Gibbons! Introduced to the tune of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” no less.
11:23: Best Graphic Album–New: David Mazzucchelli’s “Asterios Polyp.” The big winner tonight, apparently. Chip Kidd accepts again! As several people have noted, he has pretty extraordinary pants.
11:21: Best Graphic Album–Reprint: “Absolute Justice,” by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger and Doug Braithwaite. Paul Levitz accepts on their behalf.
11:16: Berkeley Breathed and Phil LaMarr are presenting now. Best Reality-Based Work: Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s “A Drifting Life.”
11:13: The Russ Manning Award for Most Promising Newcomer, presented by Eric Shanower, goes to Marian Churchland for “Beast.”
11:10: Best Adaptation from Another Work: “Richard Stark’s Parker: the Hunter,” by Darwyn Cooke. Scott Dunbier accepts.
11:09: Best Single Issue: Captain America #601, by Ed Brubaker and Gene Colan.
11:04: Carol Tyler and Laurie Sandell are now presenting, starting with Best Short Story, which goes to Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim’s “Urgent Request.”
11:02: Apparently, everyone who decided “I’m gonna stay until 11:00, but that’s it” is now trickling out. Hey, there are parties going on tonight.
11:01: Best Writer/Artist–Nonfiction: Joe Sacco for “Footnotes in Gaza.” Mark Siegel accepts on his behalf.
10:58: Best Writer/Artist: David Mazzucchelli for “Asterios Polyp.” Chip Kidd comes up to accept it on his behalf.
10:55: “We move from grief to Hate“: Peter Bagge is the next presenter. “We now move on to the easiest and least important part of comics: the writing.” Best Writer: Ed Brubaker, accepted by his “Incognito”/”Criminal” collaborator Sean Phillips.
10:49: …Harvey Pekar; Howard Post; George Tuska; Al Williamson; Ken Krueger; Shel Dorf; and the traditional memorials to Jack and Roz Kirby.
10:44: Will Eisner memorialized first. Then this year’s deaths: Art Clokey, Frank Frazetta; Ellie Frazetta; Dick Giordano; Vicky Kelso Goulart; Jim Harmon; Carl Macek; Dan O’Bannon…
10:43: The annual In Memoriam segment, announced by Maggie Thompson.
10:38: Elected hall of fame recipient #4: Mort Weisinger. Apparently his reputation really is up for re-evaluation. Paul Levitz provides some historical context about him.
10:36: Elected hall of fame recipient #2: Dick Giordano, accepted by Pat Bastienne. #3: Michael W. Kaluta, accepted by Shelly Bond.
10:34: Mary Skrenes thanks the HERO Initiative. God I love this business sometimes.
10:32: Elected hall of fame recipient #1: Steve Gerber. His daughter Samantha Gerber and Mary Skrenes accept for him.
10:31: Are there other industries that have annual award ceremonies that devote significant amounts of time to recognizing people who did important work in them 30 or 40 or 70 years earlier, accepted by their children and grandchildren? I kind of love that about the Eisners, much as it makes them longer.
10:28: Aragonés tells an anecdote about how long-winded Hogarth was.
10:21: The Hall of Fame Awards, presented by Sergio Aragonés. Judges’ choices: Burne Hogarth and Bob Montana.
10:20: The Vault of Midnight, from Ann Arbor, MI, is the winner. Accepting on their behalf, Joe Field from ComicsPRO. Actually, that was relatively brief.
10:19: And now Ferrara’s repeating the names of the 5 finalists, including “Comics and Vegetables,” in Tel Aviv. I love that name.
10:15: Now that they’ve introduced the judges, they’re about to name the 21 nominees. Twenty-one.
10:13: It’s time for the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Awards, presented by Joe Ferrara. Please let them have found a way to streamline the presentation of this particular award. Please.
10:08: Best U.S. Edition of International Material: Asia. Claremont is REALLY having a hard time pronouncing the nominees’ names. The winner: Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s “A Drifting Life”; Peggy Burns of Drawn & Quarterly accepts.
10:04: Chris Claremont and Milo Manara are up as presenters. Their first category: Best U.S. Edition of International Material. Winner: “The Photographer” by Emmanuel Guibert et al.; Mark Siegel of First Second accepts.
10:03: Wow–we’re halfway through the actual awards! We might actually get out of here by 11:30. Unless something suddenly slows things down…
9:57: Best Archival Collection/Project–Comic Books… and before Thomas Jane announces the winner, he tells the story of a fistfight between Archie Goodwin and Alex Toth about who would get to have Dave Stewart as his assistant. Stevens’ “The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures” Deluxe Edition wins, of course; editor Scott Dunbier and Stewart’s mother accept on the late artist’s behalf.
9:53: Best Archival Collection/Project–Strips: “Bloom County: The Complete Library,” vol. 1. Berkeley Breathed and Scott Dunbier accept the award. Breathed’s not a guy you see speaking in public very often, and he looks really happy.
9:50: Best Anthology: “Popgun” vol. 3.
9:49: Thomas Jane is the new presenter, introduced with the requisite dick jokes.
9:46: Another wave of people getting up to hit the bar during the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, presented by Ruth Clampett to Jeannie Schulz. (Her intro music is, of course, “Linus and Lucy.”)
9:44: Best Publication Design: Curtis King and Josh Beatman’s design for “Absolute Justice.” In their absence, Robinson accepts it on their behalf.
9:42: Best Comics-Related Book: Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle’s “The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics.”
9:38: James Robinson presenting now. Best Comics-Related Periodical or Journalism goes to the Comics Reporter.
9:35: Best Painter/Multimedia Artist: Jill Thompson for “Beasts of Burden” and “Magic Trixie and the Dragon.”
9:33: Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team: J.H. Williams III for “Detective Comics.”
9:32: Back to actual awards. Best Coloring goes to Dave Stewart, with nine nominated titles, accepted on his behalf by Scott Allie. “I don’t know why they showed the sodomy page from ‘Zero Killer.’ That was kinda weird.”
9:28: New presenter: Robert Ben Garant. An amusing routine involving Thomas Lennon Skyping in with two black eyes and a bottle of whiskey ensues.
9:24: Friedrich has a long speech, but he’s reading it very, very, very quickly.
9:18: Robinson gives a short speech about Finger; Evanier announces that the awards’ principal sponsor is DC Comics, which probably does owe Finger a favor or several million. This year’s awards are going to Gary Friedrich and the late “Captain Marvel” writer Otto Binder.
9:16: A break from the Eisners proper for the Bill Finger Excellence in Comics Writing Award, presented by Mark Evanier and Jerry Robinson. (Intro music: the “Batman” theme.)
9:14: Best Digital Comic: Cameron Stewart’s “Sin Titulo.”
9:12: Best Lettering: David Mazzucchelli for “Asterios Polyp,” accepted on his behalf by Stephen DeStefano.
9:11: Best Cover Artist goes to the mighty J.H. Williams III for his “Detective Comics” covers. It’s accepted on his behalf by James Sime.
9:09: James Sturm and Jillian Tamaki are the next presenters! Intro music, fittingly for Sturm: “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School.”
9:06: Best Humor Publication: “Scott Pilgrim Vs. the Universe,” by Bryan Lee O’Malley, to absolutely nobody’s surprise. What an odd (but welcome) thing to have it presented by the movie’s cast! O’Malley high-fives all of them, then summons Thomas Jane to the stage. AWESOME.
9:03: Best Publication for Teens, presented by Brandon Routh. Huge cheers as Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson’s “Beasts of Burden” is named among the nominees. Unsurprisingly, it wins.
9:00: Best Publication for Kids is first up. Eric Shanower and Skottie Young’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is the winner.
8:57: The first presenters are the cast of “Scott Pilgrim”–a dozen of them, plus Edgar Wright!
8:56: “We look forward to coming back next year with something to show you.”
8:53: A movie based on Eisner’s work, by four directors: Alex Riviera, Ze Tung, Barry Jenkins and Shaun Baker, whose names I may not be spelling correctly: and five producers, one of them Bob Schreck. “And the clue as to what the property is is that there are four directors”: it’s a movie of “A Contract with God,” being announced for the first time tonight. Coming out 2012, apparently.
8:52: Denis Kitchen comes up to make a special announcement. What could it be?
8:48: Jackie Estrada, the awards’ administrator since 1990, comes up to explain Will Eisner’s importance, and to explain how the awards are judged and voted on.
8:47: Kayre Morrison, presenter, introduced to the strains of Eurythmics’ “Would I Lie To You?”
8:44: Requisite reminders that there are no losers, and that somewhere on the show floor there are areas that actually sell comic books. Morrison introduces his co-host Maurice La Marche, a.k.a. the Brain, as in Pinky.
8:42: Morbo the Annihilator, on a voice-over, has welcomed us to the Eisner Awards, introducing Bill Morrison (of Bongo Comics).
8:37: This year’s theme, incidentally, is “Comics Fiesta.” Hence the Latin music playing as people continue to filter in.
8:29: As promised, all attendees have been handed a Will Eisner graphic novel on entering the room. (These appear to be from DC’s old “Will Eisner Library” series; I got “The Building,” the guy next to me got “The Will Eisner Reader.”) DC may have had enormous amounts of overstock, but I can’t think of a more appropriate thing to do with it.
8:24: We are live at the Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards, being held in the Indigo Ballroom at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront. The event is scheduled to run 8:30-11:30 PM Pacific time; if it does not run substantially over… well, there’ll be partying in the streets. We’ll update this entry continuously until the fat lady sings or until our computer battery runs out, whichever comes first.
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