2014 Eisner Nominations: By The Numbers

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San Diego Comic Con is right around the corner, which means the Eisner Awards will soon be announced! Taking place on Saturday evening of Comic Con weekend, the Eisners are voted on by comic professionals and are one of the most prestigious honors a creator can receive. Many of us that cannot attend SDCC will enjoy an exciting, but somewhat sad evening following the announcements of each winner on Twitter. So much of the focus leading up to the Eisners understandably surrounds the content, but we decided to take a closer look at the nominations by publisher and by gender. Awards are often disregarded as being unimportant, or simply an opportunity for pros to give each other pats of the back. They are significant in what they represent, and that is what the comic industry considers the best of the best; the face of the industry is reflected in these nominees. We have a few graphs to explore and will also explain our methods for counting nominations along the way.

2014 Eisner Awards by Publisher

For nominations by publisher, every category and nominee of the Eisner awards was counted, including the numerous works associated with Best Coloring nominees. Digital and webcomics that were not associated with a publisher were counted as self-published. Nominees in Best Comics Related Periodical/Journalism were only counted if they were physically published (The Comics Journal released by Fantagraphics was the only one to meet this criteria, though their website, which was also nominated, was not counted). Twenty-one publishers who received one nominated work each were combined into one category (other) to reduce the size of our graph. They are as follows: Annick Press, Bongo, Canton Street Press, Chronicle, Desert Island, Fanfare/Ponent Mon, Graphic Universe/Lerner, Groundwood, Koyama, Last Gasp, McFarland, Norton, Oily, Pantheon, PictureBox, Sunday Press, Tinto Press, Titan, Uncivilized Books, Valiant, and Vertical. Clearly the last year has been a financial and critical success for Image Comics as evidenced by their impressive twenty-one nominations.

 

2014 Eisner Awards by Gender

For nominations by gender, a few categories were not counted. Best Comics Related Periodical/Journalism was not included. Since most of these sites are comprised of large teams of contributors, we felt it would not accurately reflect the gender of the content creators to only count the named editors. Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips and Best Archival Collection/Project—Comic Books were also left out since the purpose of analyzing this data is to determine the state of gender representation amongst nominated creators from the last year. In order to keep the focus on comic creators, we did not include writers of the original source material for the Best Adaptation From Another Medium category.

 

There are only a few categories where men and women are close to equally nominated, and shockingly several major categories were devoid of any women. These include Best Short Story, Limited Series, New Series, Graphic Album Reprint, and Adaptation From Another Medium. One category has women outnumber men as nomineesBest Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art). Best Digital/Webcomic may have the most surprisingly low number of female nominees. This category is still rather new and the panelists deciding the nominees may be more familiar with traditional comic media, but it is still a glaring omission considering the diversity and quality amongst webcomic creators. For instance, consider the sad fact that E. K. Weaver’ The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal will never be nominated for an Eisner after having recently ended its six year run.

2014 Eisner Awards by Gender, SDCC14

Looking at the nominations regardless of category shows that women make up 20.94% of the nominees. This is probably still better than past years, but we look forward to seeing more female creators gain accolades as the industry welcomes more women as creators, readers, and subjects.
To further explore the nominated works and creators, here is the full list of this year’s nominated works (and our resource for creating these graphs). What books and creators do you feel were overlooked this year? What are you hoping will win?

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About Author

Megan Byrd

Megan is a Chicago based professional photographer by day and a comic book blogger by nights and weekends at comicbookcandy.com. As a former comic book retail employee, Megan writes about the industry with an insider perspective. Megan still moderates a monthly Ladies’ Night event at Graham Crackers Comics in downtown Chicago, and is editor-in-chief of Ladies’ Night Anthology.

7 Comments

  1. John Shableski on

    Hi Megan,
    This is a great posting! As an Eisner Judge(2008)I think I can help fill in a bit more on the details of how books wind up on the nominees list for the Eisner’s. Much of this has so much to do with the promotional support by the publisher and the creators. Publisher and creators/talent can submit titles for consideration.
    As judges we saw the broad range of attempts at campaigning: books dumped into a box to passionately written cover letters from the writer. Then there are publishers who dont send books at all.
    As judges we were also allowed to petition a title we had discovered on our own that had not been submitted. If we were able to pursued the other judges then the book would make it to the voting round.
    The final list of nominees is the result of tons of discussion and comparison against other worthy titles from that particular category.

    Judging the Eisner’s been for some, like the movie 12 Angry Men or it can be a brilliant experience of conversation, argument and satisfaction.

    In my year, we really strove to consider only the story and not the personalities behind the stories. And I sincerely believe that all the Eisner juries have taken the same approach.

    So, if you note a certain lack of representation then make sure you hound your friends to submit their books for the next year’s considerations. As judges we seriously welcome any and all great stories. Each year, we get to see more and more great stuff. It will be great to see what happens next year.

    • Megan Byrd

      John, thank you for responding to our post! We at WWAC and our readers definitely benefit from knowing more about the nomination / voting process behind the Eisners. Our hope in writing this feature is to encourage discussion and the resulting data gives me hope that comics are definitely becoming more diverse in regards to gender. Knowing the importance of sending submissions for consideration is valuable information for creators, publishers, and fans as well. This is especially true in the realm of webcomics; for creators who may not yet have industry connections or traditional publishing experience, a vocal fan base touting their work could make a difference in nominations.

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  3. Jackie Estrada on

    One of the nominees was left out in the Graphic Album-New category, since there were 3, not 2, female nominees, and in fact a woman won the award: Rutu Modan for “The Property.”

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