The 2020 Eisner Award Winners

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The Will Eisner Awards, named for a writer-artist who was an early adopter of the graphic novel format, began in 1988 at Comic-Con. They cover more than 24 categories of the comics industry and are often regarded as the equivalent of its Oscars.  

A panel of five to six judges selects the nominees. The judges generally include a comics creator, a critic, a librarian, a retailer, an academic and a member of the Comic-Con organizers. They consider works published in the previous year that are distributed in the United States.  

Voting is then open to a wide range of people with interests in comics: creators, nominees, publishers, editors, critics, historians, librarians, store owners and more.  As the nominees can come from independent presses, self-publishing or large publishers, a look at the award winners is a great entry into what is being created in a given year.  

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has a fabulous graphic novel collection and you can read many of the winning works through our print or eResources options. Here is a list of the 2020 award winners. The full list is also available on the Eisner website along with lists of past winners. 

You can sign up for a free library card here. If you are new to our eResources, check out these tutorial videos on how to get started.  

If you’re looking for more book suggestions, we’re happy to recommend them! Use this Book Recommendation form to send us some information about what you like to read and we’ll curate a list just for you.  

If you have any additional questions, you can contact a librarian through FacebookInstagram or Twitter. You can also call us at 412-622-3114 or email us at info@carnegielibrary.org. 

Are You Listening?

Bea is on the run. And then, she runs into Lou. The duo embarks on a long drive to nowhere, but strange happenings–some whimsical, some terrifying–seem to follow them no matter where they go. Bea and Lou are both looking for something on the road, and the journey itself may turn out to be exactly what they need. This title received an Eisner Award for “Best Graphic Album—New.”

Bitter Root, Vol. 1: Family Business

Once known as the greatest monster hunters of all time, the Sangerye family specialized in curing the souls of those infected by hate, but those days are fading. A terrible tragedy has claimed most of the family, leaving the surviving cousins split between curing monsters and killing them. Now, with a new breed of monster loose on the streets of Harlem, the Sangerye family must come together, or watch the human race fall to untold evil. This title received an Eisner Award for “Best Continuing Series.” You can also check out this title as eBook on Hoopla.

Cats of the Louvre

The world-renowned Louvre museum in Paris contains more than just the most famous works of art in history. At night, within its darkened galleries, an unseen and surreal world comes alive–a world witnessed only by the small family of cats that lives in the attic. Until now… This title received an Eisner Award for “Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia.”

Comics: Easy as ABC!

Master cartoonist and teacher Ivan Brunetti presents a comprehensive how-to guide, outlining cartooning basics via humorous step-by-step lessons. Includes advice, techniques, quotes and doodles from a host of veteran cartoonists. This title received an Eisner Award for “Best Publication for Early Readers.”

Guts

Raina has a stomach bug, but when her tummy troubles don’t go away, she notices that it also coincides with her worries about food, school and changing friendships. This title received Eisner Awards for “Best Publication for Kids” and “Best Writer/Artist.” You can also check out this title as eBook on Overdrive/Libby.

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass

With just five dollars and a knapsack to her name, 15-year-old Harleen Quinzel is sent to live in Gotham City. She’s not worried, though-she’s battled a lot of hard situations as a kid, and knows her determination and outspokenness will carry her through life in the most dangerous city in the world. And when Gotham’s finest drag queen, Mama, takes her in, it seems like Harley has finally found a place to grow into her most “true true” with new best friend Ivy at Gotham High. But when Mama’s drag cabaret becomes the next victim in the wave of gentrification that’s taking over the neighborhood, Harley’s fortune takes another turn. Now Harleen is mad. In turning her anger into action, she is faced with two choices: join activist Ivy, who’s campaigning to make the neighborhood a better place to live, or team up with her anarchist friend Joker, who plans to take down Gotham one corporation at a time. This title received an Eisner Award for “Best Writer.” You can also check out this title as eBook on Hoopla.

Hot Comb

An auspicious debut examining the culture of hair from the Rona Jaffe Foundation award-winning cartoonist, Hot Comb offers a poignant glimpse into Black women’s lives and coming of age stories as seen across a crowded, ammonia-scented hair salon while ladies gossip and bond over the burn. This title received an Eisner Award for “Best Short Story.”

The House

Three adult siblings return to their family’s quaint vacation home a year after their father’s death. They each bring their respective wives, husbands and children there with the intention to clean up the residence and put it on the market, but as garbage is hauled off and dust is wiped away, decades-old resentments quickly fill the vacant home. Through flashbacks into each sibling’s memories – the fig trees they grew up climbing, the pergola they never got around to build, the final visits to the hospital – Roca gives us a glimpse into domestic moments of joy, guilt and disappointment while asking what happens to brothers and sisters when the only person holding the family together is now gone. This title received an Eisner Award for “Best U.S. Edition of International Material.” You can also check out this title as eBook on Hoopla.

Invisible Kingdom, Vol. 1: Walking the Path

In a small solar system in a far-flung galaxy, two women one a young religious acolyte and the other, a hard-bitten freighter pilot uncover a conspiracy between the leaders of the most dominant religion and an all-consuming mega-corporation. On the run from reprisals on both sides, this unlikely pair must decide where their loyalties lie and risk plunging the world into anarchy if they reveal the truth. This title received Eisner Awards for “Best New Series” and “Best Painter/Digital Artist.” You can also check out this title as eBook on Hoopla.

You can check out “Invisible Kingdom, Vol. 2: Edge of Everything” as eBook on Hoopla.

LaGuardia: A Very Modern Story of Immigration

In an alternate world where aliens have integrated with society, pregnant Nigerian- American doctor Future Nwafor Chukwuebuka has just smuggled an illegal alien plant named Letme Live through LaGuardia International and Interstellar Airport…and that’s not the only thing she’s hiding. She and Letme become part of a community of human and alien immigrants; but as their crusade for equality continues and the birth of her child nears, Future–and her entire world–begins to change. This title received an Eisner Award for “Best Graphic Album—Reprint.” You can also check out this title as eBook on Hoopla.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me

Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley’s dream girl, but Freddy is learning Laura is not the best girlfriend, so she seeks help from a mysterious medium and advice columnists to help her through being a teenager in love. This title received Eisner Awards for “Best Publication for Teens,” “Best Writer” and “Best Penciller/Inker.” You can also check out this title as eBook on Overdrive/Libby.

Little Bird, Vol. 1: The Fight for Elder's Hope

“Little Bird” tells the story of a young resistance fighter battling against an oppressive American Empire while searching for her own identity in a world on fire. A gorgeously illustrated epic where one girl risks everything to save her people, their land, and the freedom they so desperately deserve. This title received an Eisner Award for “Best Limited Series.” You can also check out this title as eBook on Hoopla.

Making Comics

“Making Comics” is the follow-up to Barry’s bestselling “Syllabus” and this time she shares all of her comics-making exercises. In a new hand drawn syllabus detailing her creative curriculum, Barry has students drawing themselves as monsters and superheroes, convincing students who think they can’t draw that they can, and most important, encouraging them to understand that a daily journal can be anything so long as it is hand drawn. Barry teaches all students and believes everyone and anyone can be creative. At the core of “Making Comics” is her certainty that creativity is vital to processing the world around us. This title received Eisner Awards for “Best Comic-Related Book” and “Best Publication Design.”

Pretty Deadly, vol. 1: The Shrike

Death’s daughter rides the wind on a horse made of smoke and her face bears the skull marks of her father. Her origin story is a tale of retribution as beautifully lush as it is unflinchingly savage. This title received an Eisner Award for “Best Cover Artist.” You can also check out this title as eBook on Hoopla.

Pretty Deadly, vol. 2: The Bear

Sarah Fields is dying and her children strike a bargain with the Immortals: give them one month more, until the moon is full again, to find their little brother so that he may see his mother one last time. But the boy is far, far away, in the trenches of France, stalked by the Reapers of Vengeance and Cruelty. This title received an Eisner Award for “Best Cover Artist.” You can also check out this title as eBook on Hoopla.

You can check out “Pretty Deadly, vol. 3: The Rat” as eBook on Hoopla.

 

Snow, Glass, Apples

A not-so-evil queen is terrified of her monstrous stepdaughter and determined to repel this creature and save her kingdom from a world where happy endings aren’t so happily ever after. This title received an Eisner Award for “Best Adaptation from Another Medium.” You can also check out this title as eBook on Hoopla.

They Called Us Enemy

George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father’s—and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future. This title received an Eisner Award for “Best Reality-Based Work.” You can also check out this title as eBook on Overdrive/Libby, as eBook on Hoopla or as eBook in Spanish on Hoopla.

The Usagi Yojimbo Saga. Book 1

Usagi Yojimbo is one of the longest running and best-loved comic adventures of all time. Running from 1984 to the present day, and showing no sign of diminishing in popularity, the rabbit ronin is now seen as a figurehead of the comic book scene, and crucial to bringing the ideas of feudal Japan to a wider western audience. This series received an Eisner Award for “Best Lettering.” You can also check out this title as eBook on Hoopla.

You can check out other titles in this series as eBook on Hoopla.

The Way of the Househusband

A former yakuza legend leaves it all behind to become your everyday househusband. But it’s not easy to walk away from the gangster life, and what should be mundane household tasks are anything but! He was the fiercest member of the yakuza, a man who left countless underworld legends in his wake. They called him “the Immortal Dragon.” But one day he walked away from it all to travel another path–the path of the househusband! The curtain rises on this cozy yakuza comedy! This title received an Eisner Award for “Best Humor Publication.”

Witch Hat Atelier

A beautifully-illustrated story about a girl who longs for magic in her life and learns that, on the inside, she already is what she wishes she could be. This title received an Eisner Award for “Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia.” You can also check out this title as eBook on Overdrive/Libby.