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Read (Comics & Graphic Novels) Harder: Challenge Accepted, Part Five

The words Graphic Novel Making Contest are in a speech bubble with an illustration of a pencil to the right.

Welcome back to the Read (Comics and Graphic Novels) Harder Challenge! Check out our previous selections in our Challenge Accepted posts.

Task Five: A Will Eisner Award Winner from the 2000s-Present

The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards (aka Eisner Awards) are the highest prize for creative achievement in comics and graphic novels in the United States. Named in honor of the pioneering cartoonist Will Eisner, the awards were first conferred in 1988. Since 1991, the awards have been announced at the San Diego Comic-Con. Here’s what we read this week:


Natasha's Pick:

Invisible Kingdom: Volume 1, book cover

Invisible Kingdom: Volume 1 Willow Wilson

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. -Publisher’s Description

This fantastic and immersive graphic novel won the 2020 Eisner Award for Best New Series and Best Painter/Digital Artist. -Natasha


Megan's Pick:

The Sandman: Endless Nights, book cover

The Sandman: Endless Nights Neil Gaiman

Alternately haunting, bittersweet, erotic and nightmarish, the seven stories in this book--one for each of the Endless siblings, each illustrated by one of the best artists in comics--reveal strange secrets and surprising truths. Born at the beginning of time, Destiny, Death, Dream, Desire, Despair, Delirium, and Destruction are seven brothers and sisters who each lord over their respective realms.

This highly imaginative book, the first graphic novel to be listed on the New York Times best-seller list, boasts diverse styles of breathtaking art as these seven peculiar and powerful siblings each reveal more about their true being as they star in their own tales of curiosity and wonder. -Publisher’s Description

The segment “Death - Death and Venice” won the 2004 Eisner for Best Short Story and the book as a whole won Best Anthology in the same year. -Megan


More Recommendations

Tokyo Tarareba Girls, book cover

Tokyo Tarareba Girls Akiko Higashimura

"I spent all my time wondering 'what if,' then one day I woke up and I was 33." She's not that bad-looking, but before she knew it, Rinko was thirty-something and single. She wants to be married by the time the Tokyo Olympics roll around in six years, but...that might be easier said than done! The new series by Akiko Higashimura erupts with sharp opinions on girls and tons of laughs!! -Publisher's Description

Tokyo Tarareba Girls won the 2019 Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia


My Favorite Thing is Monsters, book cover

My Favorite Thing is Monsters Emil Ferris

Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late ’60s Chicago, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is the fictional graphic diary of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, filled with B-movie horror and pulp monster magazines iconography. Karen Reyes tries to solve the murder of her enigmatic upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a holocaust survivor, while the interconnected stories of those around her unfold. When Karen’s investigation takes us back to Anka’s life in Nazi Germany, the reader discovers how the personal, the political, the past, and the present converge. -Publisher's Description

The author’s 2017 debut graphic novel debut won three Eisner awards in the categories Best New Graphic Album, Best Writer/Artist and Best Coloring, as well as an Ignatz for “Outstanding Graphic Novel.” Volume 2 is expected to hit the shelves in 2021.

Saga, book cover

Saga Brian K. Vaughan

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults. -Publisher's Description

This series has won a bunch of Eisner awards, including Best New Series in 2013, Best Continuing Series in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017. Artist Fiona Staples and Writer Brian K. Vaughan also have a handful of Eisner awards for Best Artist and Best Writer for their work on the series.


Making Comics, book cover

Making Comics Lynda Barry

Making Comics is the follow-up to Barry's bestselling Syllabus, and this time she shares all 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. -Publisher’s Description

Lynda Barry took home two Eisner awards for Making Comics: Best Comics-Related Book and Best Publication Design. Barry’s earlier comic What It Is won an Eisner for Best Reality Based Work in 2009.


Blacksad, book cover

Blacksad Juan Diaz Canales

Private investigator John Blacksad is up to his feline ears in mystery, digging into the backstories behind murders, child abductions, and nuclear secrets. Guarnido's sumptuously painted pages and rich cinematic style bring the world of 1950s America to vibrant life, with Canales weaving in fascinating tales of conspiracy, racial tension, and the "red scare" Communist witch hunts of the time. Guarnido reinvents anthropomorphism in these pages, and industry colleagues no less than Will Eisner, Jim Steranko, and Tim Sale are fans!

Whether John Blacksad is falling for dangerous women or getting beaten to within an inch of his life, his stories are, simply put, unforgettable. -Publisher’s Description

Creators Guarnido and Diaz Caneles received many prizes and nominations for the series, including three Eisner nominations in 2004, an Eisner win in 2011, two wins in 2013, and another win in 2015. The series isn’t over yet! There are two more volumes of hardboiled series awaiting English translation, the story was adapted to a video game released in 2019.


Blog Category
Graphic Novels

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