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What is an Eisner Award?

The Eisner Award, often dubbed the "Oscars of the comic world," honors the pinnacle of creative achievement in American comic books. Named after the legendary Will Eisner, these awards celebrate excellence across a myriad of categories, from writing to illustration. Curious about which artists and stories have been immortalized by this prestigious accolade? Join us as we delve into the world of Eisner-winning masterpieces.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

An Eisner Award is awarded to workers in the comic book and graphic novel industry. The Eisner Award is named after Will Eisner, a longtime writer and illustrator of both comic books and graphic novels. In the early 1980s, the comic book industry recognized contributors to their art form with the Kirby Awards. However, the Kirbys were short-lived, and the organization supporting the Kirby Awards disbanded in the mid 80s. Still feeling the importance of recognition of the graphic novel and magazine, many professionals came together to support a new organization, and yearly many in the industry are now honored to receive an Eisner Award.

The first nominees for an Eisner Award were artists and/or work published in 1987, with an award ceremony in 1988. Since that time, many have received an Eisner Award, given out annually in a number of categories. Currently, approximately 30 awards are given each year. One can win an Eisner Award in the following categories:

  • Best Short Story
  • Best Single Issue
  • Best Serialized Story
  • Best Graphic Album
  • Best Writer
  • Best Writer/Artist

    In addition to these and other categories for Eisner Awards, each year the voting body inducts writers, illustrators and others into the Eisner Awards Hall of Fame. One can also be nominated for a special Eisner Award for humanitarian contributions, or for being a newcomer who shows promise. Like the Oscars and the Emmys, a panel of judges nominates four to five works or artists for each category. Comic industry professionals then vote for their favorite nominee to receive an Eisner Award. Presentation of the Eisner Awards takes place at the yearly Comic Book Convention, which is held in Sand Diego California.

    Past Eisner Award recipients include Joss Whedon, well-known television director, for his work on the X-men comics, Frank Miller for several of his graphic novels, and Bill Watterson for two of his Calvin and Hobbes anthologies.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is an Eisner Award and why is it significant in the comic book industry?

    The Eisner Award, officially known as the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, is akin to the Oscars for the comic book industry. Named after the renowned cartoonist Will Eisner, creator of "The Spirit," these awards are highly prestigious and recognize excellence in comic book and graphic novel achievements. Winning an Eisner can significantly boost a creator's profile and sales, as it is a mark of quality and peer recognition within the industry. The awards are presented annually at the San Diego Comic-Con, the largest comic book and popular arts convention in the world.

    How are the nominees and winners of the Eisner Awards selected?

    Nominees for the Eisner Awards are chosen by a panel of judges, which typically includes experts from various sectors of the comic book industry. The panel changes annually to ensure a diverse and fresh perspective. Once the nominees are announced, the winners are determined by a vote open to professionals in the comic book industry, including creators, editors, publishers, and retailers. This peer-based voting system ensures that the awards reflect the opinions of those with expertise and experience in the field.

    What categories are included in the Eisner Awards?

    The Eisner Awards encompass a wide range of categories that reflect the diversity of the comic book industry. Categories include Best Short Story, Best Continuing Series, Best Limited Series, Best New Series, Best Publication for Kids, and Best Graphic Album, among others. There are also awards for individual achievements such as Best Writer, Best Artist, Best Letterer, and Best Colorist. The categories can evolve over time to accommodate changes and trends within the industry.

    Can international works win an Eisner Award?

    Yes, international works are eligible for Eisner Awards and there is a specific category for them: Best U.S. Edition of International Material. Additionally, there is a separate category for works from Asia, which is Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia. These categories highlight the global nature of the comic book industry and recognize the contributions of creators and works from around the world.

    How has winning an Eisner Award impacted the careers of comic book creators?

    Winning an Eisner Award can have a profound impact on a creator's career. It often leads to increased visibility, higher sales, and greater opportunities within the industry. An Eisner win serves as a stamp of excellence and can open doors to new projects and collaborations. For many creators, it is a career milestone that can elevate their work to a wider audience and solidify their reputation as top-tier professionals in the field.

  • Tricia Christensen
    Tricia Christensen

    Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent MusicalExpert contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

    Learn more...
    Tricia Christensen
    Tricia Christensen

    Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent MusicalExpert contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

    Learn more...

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      • The Eisner Award goes to workers in the graphic novel and comic book industries.
        By: Kristian Bjornard
        The Eisner Award goes to workers in the graphic novel and comic book industries.
      • Eisner Award categories include Best Writer/Artist.
        By: Denis Pepin
        Eisner Award categories include Best Writer/Artist.
      • 300 won three Eisner Awards in 1999.
        By: Peter Taylor
        300 won three Eisner Awards in 1999.