So About That Eisner Award

So About That Eisner Award

A moment after closing Graeme McMillan's article in The Hollywood Reporter detailing the shadow cast by irregularities in this year's Eisner Awards voting process, I received a notification that a new email had arrived. "Hi Wendy and gang," it began, and proceeded to inform me of plans for tonight's virtual Eisner Awards ceremony, culminating in

A moment after closing Graeme McMillan’s article in The Hollywood Reporter detailing the shadow cast by irregularities in this year’s Eisner Awards voting process, I received a notification that a new email had arrived. “Hi Wendy and gang,” it began, and proceeded to inform me of plans for tonight’s virtual Eisner Awards ceremony, culminating in the announcement that Women Write About Comics had won in the category of Best Comics-related Periodical/Journalism.

This should have been a moment of joy. Instead, my heart is heavy.

This award means so much to many of us at WWAC. And FUCK. We deserve to be recognized for what we do! I am forever honoured to work with this array of incredible people from whom I have learned so much and will continue to learn so much more. We share a passion for this industry that we unabashedly share with our readers. We strive to be honest and open about the medium we love. It’s that same passion and integrity that leads us to call out the industry’s ugliness and depravity when too often others shy away from the truth about the emperor’s not-so-new clothes.

We want this industry to do and be better. But when even the industry’s most prestigious prize is embarrassingly tainted by mismanagement that results in potentially skewed results and privacy breaches left unaddressed — on top of a hellish year that has compounded the injustices, corruption, and inequality all around us — it’s hard for me to see this year’s Eisner win as anything but bittersweet. It makes accepting an award marred by such uncertainty difficult for me, because this does not reflect our principles and who we are. We deserve better, as do all those nominated in this year’s Eisner Awards.

I know our value goes well beyond an award. Still, I know too that this award means a lot for many of us here at WWAC, people who have worked very hard and deserve acknowledgement. So I do accept it on behalf of all of our contributors this year, with hope for a future Eisner Awards process that is no longer discoloured by questionable voting practices. Or better yet, an award that better recognizes the value of comics journalism and critique. And the continued hope for an industry that is willing to face and stand up to the ugly truths about itself, clear out the trash, and remember that comics are for everyone.

Award or not, I am no less proud to be a part of WWAC now as I am every single year since I joined this team. When I submit our site for this or any other award, it is with the absolute belief in the words we write here and the hard work that goes into each piece. The clusterfuck that was this year’s Eisner voting process might cast uncertainty over the validity of our win, but there is no doubt in my mind that we deserve true accolades for what we do. Here’s why:

WWAC works hard to provide a vital viewpoint for the comic book industry. We press issues that are often ignored or overlooked by the rest of the community, highlight fresh and interesting ways that fandoms engage with their favorite comic books and comics-adjacent media, and deliver unflinching, well-thought out criticism from a variety of diverse voices. 

Due to our specific mandate, WWAC prioritizes representation across the spectrum: cis and trans women, nonbinary folk, and other marginalized genders. In a time when these voices and communities are still underserved by the industry as a whole, we believe that our work in amplifying them is crucial to the evolution of comics. We are passionate about comics and want to see the industry be everything it can and should be. Comics are for everyone and criticism is how every art form learns and evolves. We are not afraid to bang the drums as the platform that reminds readers, creators, and publishers of this.

WWAC publishes content five days a week, covering all aspects of the comic book industry and comics-related transmedia. Our site is well-known for criticism, but equally commended for its reviews, interviews, news, investigative journalism, and event coverage. We are serious about comics, but we are also fun and funny — and sometimes even a little (a lot) horny on main. 

The following are samples of the articles we have produced this past year that will show you our dedication and the range of our comics coverage.

Series

Over the years, we have developed a number of special series. Focusing on everything from academic coverage to spotlighting various aspects of the industry, we pride ourselves on writing about the topics that aren’t always at the forefront elsewhere. 

Comics Academe: One of our oldest series, Comics Academe is also one of the first spaces on the internet for public-facing comics studies scholarship, becoming a platform for young scholars. Several articles have been included on syllabi across the United States, Canada, and abroad. 

PubwatchGoing well beyond solicitations and press releases, our team of Pubwatchers provide monthly rundowns on the news, insights, and mini reviews for various publishers.

By the Letters:Through a series of interviews and roundtables, this series explores the often overlooked role of letterers and their significance to the comics industry and to education.

The Vampyre’s Legacy: Two Centuries of Blood: Two hundred years ago, the vampire genre was born. This heavily researched 12-part series moves through the decades of its transformation through film, prose, and comics.

The Wedding Issue Grand Finale: Superman and Lois Lane: Aside from “Who would win in a fight?” nothing gets comic fans more heated than the question of whether or not superheroes should marry. This series walks the aisle with the most significant times comic companies took the plunge and got their characters hitched.

Con DiariesWe attend numerous events throughout the year, from the more well-known comics conventions, to smaller festivals and exhibits. On top of the varied coverage we provide from these events, we offer more personal, on the ground perspectives through our Con Diaries, often highlighting some of the aspects of conventions that are overlooked. 

Cover GirlYou can’t judge a book by its cover, but covers are what sell comics. In this monthly series, we analyze the cover of a recent comic that features one or more women.

Essays and Features

Our essays and features are where our passion truly shines. We feature articles that entertain and amuse, and those that come from a place of pain shaped by the harm caused by stories that ignore, co-opt, or deny the representation every fan deserves. We provide in-depth opinion pieces that can cut deep or make our readers smile because they feel that they have finally been seen through our words. 

Questioning Chelsea Cain’s Feminist Agenda:Chelsea Cain was back under scrutiny after the release of Man-Eaters #9 where imagery of propaganda posters in concentration camps featured text from fan tweets that had been critical of Cain’s work on the book. Here, Cain’s disingenuous conversations and actions, as well as the gender essentialism of Man-Eaters is called into question for the harm that it does in erasing nonbinary and trans masculine people from her narrative.

The Performative Horniness of Dawn of X: Marvel Comics’ Dawn of X has decreed “make more mutants,” but while heterosexuality is depicted on a regular basis in X-Men stories, queer relationships remain poorly represented.

I Went to Narnia and All I Got was this Lousy Complex: Lewis, Gaiman, Grossman, Fearscape: This essay discusses The Problem of Susan and beyond, exploring Susan Pevensie being cast out of Narnia and what that has meant for a female character originally written by a man.

Comics and Kink: The Erotica Side Hustle of Superman Co-Creator Joe Shuster: What do you get when you mix Superman and hardcore erotica? A really good fanfic, for one… but also a look at co-creator Joe Shuster’s secret side hustle!

He-Man, Hugos, and Who Benefits From Fandom: Kevin Smith’s plans for He-Man begs the question of why a person in their 40s requires an olive branch from a cartoon? Shouldn’t He-Man instead look to a new generation of young fans and the untapped potential within them, spawning the kind of fandom engagement that resulted in AO3’s 2019 Hugo win?

Previously On Comics: Pointing Fingers at Comics Critics: Comics critics take a lot of heat for expressing critical opinions about work they review. Instead of taking the opportunity to learn, creators lash out — and are praised for their immature and unprofessional behaviour. 

Fat Thor is a Joke. That’s Why I Love Him: Fatness in narrative, whether it be comedic or tragic, as shorthand for depression, as shorthand for failure, is fatphobic. Avengers: Endgame’s Fat Thor gave us something different.

The Violence in the System: Transmisogyny in Uncanny X-Men #17: When cisgender writers co-opt the experiences of trans folk, as Matthew Rosenberg did in Uncanny X-Men #17. When they depict the violence that occurs against them without bothering to depict them, trans people are not helped.

Do I Hate the Nine-Panel Grid or Do I Just Resent Watchmen? An analysis of the use of the nine-panel grid in comics. How well can this format be used to tell the story that needs to be told?

The X-Men’s Dissipating Storm: The X-Men’s Storm is an iconic African American character, but it’s rare to see her actually drawn with African American features to define her identity. This essay explores her creation and evolution as a character, and how she has been portrayed.

Mark Waid Crafted the Fake Siancong War to Keep Marvel Characters Young… and It’s Even Worse Than it Sounds: To explain why the Punisher isn’t 80 years old, Mark Waid crafted the Siancong War to replace real world events and their significance, without consideration for the real people it erases.

Reviews

From large publishers to independent, small press, and webcomics, we pride ourselves on highlighting the diversity of comics as a storytelling medium. 

Interviews

Often asking the questions other sites are missing, WWAC strives to make the interview process as fun and interesting for the interviewee as it is for our readers.

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4 Comments

  • Matthew Erman
    July 25, 2020, 3:15 pm

    Congratulations everyone! Honored to even be mentioned on this page.

    REPLY
  • Katrina Long
    July 25, 2020, 3:21 am

    Tēnā koutou katoa

    Congratulations on winning the Eisner! You say it is bittersweet, and having read your article, I understand a bit of where you’re coming from.

    I wanted to add a bit more of the sweet.
    As a reader of your site, I just want to say that I have learned so much from you all and discovered new and interesting comics through your work. (A particular favourite is On A Sunbeam.) I really value the work you do, as a cis Pākehā woman who wants to be a good ally, I find your team’s writing and perspectives to be really helpful. I have recommended your site to lots of people.

    Thank you so much.

    Ngā mihi
    Katrina

    REPLY

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