So This Happened...

By | Thursday, June 10, 2021 Leave a Comment
So yesterday, pretty much just as I had finished lunch, they announced this year's Eisner Award nominees. Unlike every other year I've ever scrolled through the list, however, this one was different for me. Because my name is on it.

I knew my publisher had submitted the book for consideration, but I didn't know I would be on the final list of nominees until acutally seeing it there. Hoped? Sure, but mostly as an idle pipe dream.

I was still a teen when I first heard about the Eisner Awards. I don't recall if it was necessarily the first year they had them (1988) or just one of those early years, but I do recall seeing a list of all the nominees in a random issue of Comics Buyers Guide I happened across. I remember going through that first list and not even recognizing most of the titles of the books being discussed, much less all the creators who worked on them. ("Concrete? What's that? Mike Baron? Never heard of him.") The list of nominees was elusive -- I could clearly see that the list represented the best work going on in comics at the time, but the vast majority of it flew over my head.

While not really deliberate or conscious, I began using the annual list of Eisner nominees as a sort of barometer for my knowledge of comics. I'd go through the list each year and see what I was familiar with. Could I at least recognize more names than I did the year before? Eventually, it got to where I was at least nominally aware of everyone on the list, and then it became a question of what I'd actually read. Sure, I knew who Kurt Busiek was, but had I actually read Astro City?

I've never gotten to the point where I'd read everything on each year's list, but I did start noticing several years ago that some of the names that might show up were folks I knew. Not just knew of, but people I knew personally and had friendships with. That was the weirdest damn thing for me. From having barely even recognized a handful of names on that list to being friends with several of them. It became an event where I could celebrate friends' successes, instead of just ensuring I was reading the best material.

But now, even more astonishingly, my name is actually among them.

It's a cliche to say "it's an honor just to be nominated" but it really is. I mean, look at the talent on this year's list! Even just in the same category I'm in! If you're gonna lose a footrace, there is no shame to losing to Usain Bolt, and there are five Bolts in this category already! I am truely humbled, honored, and stunned to have my name spoken alongside theirs.

When I was a kid, I never dreamed larger than being a footnote to a footnote to a footnote in the annals of comics history. I was thrilled to death when I was fifteen and got my first letter published. It meant that my name was now forever associated with comics. Formally. Officially. I would never have believed possible that I'd go on to write an entire book about comics, much less have it nominated for the biggest US industry award. I wrote Webcomics because it's a subject that not enough people are talking about, certainly not in anything resembling an academic sense. I hope that this nomination does shine some more spotlight on the subject, and gets people looking at webcomics with a more serious, concerted eye. If I can contribute that to the comics industry -- if that's how my name gets lodged in those aforementioned annals -- that so far exceeds what I ever thought possible, I can't even believe it now.

Kudos to everyone who has been nominated for an Eisner Award this year, regardless of what category. Another round of kudos to all my friends who've been nominated this year -- I am absolutely thrilled you're getting some very much deserved recognition! And yet another round of kudos to the other folks up for "Best Academic/Scholarly Work" -- I was only able to push myself to write a book like Webcomics because all of you have been doing a lot of the hard work in academia, pacing the way for books like mine. For that, I thank you.
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