Celebrate Will Eisner Week!

Blog by SJPL Librarian Kay Donahue

What is Will Eisner Week?

Will Eisner Week is a celebration on the first week of every March for the man who championed graphic novels for the general public, as well as how graphic novels assist the promotion of literacy and free expression.

What are the Will Eisner Awards?

Did you know about the Will Eisner Comic Industry awards? They’re described as “the Oscars for comic books.” They were named by Fantagraphics employee Dave Olbrich after the conclusion of the Kirby Awards. They are named after Will Eisner, one of the founders of the modern graphic novel and creator of The Spirit. Just like the Oscars, they have become a big event in the comic world. After the awards moved to San Diego Comic-Con in 1991, they became the big Friday night event. They also feature big names in the industry along with celebrities, just like the Oscars. The first keynote speaker was Neil Gaiman back in 1995 and the honor has gone to authors like George R. R. Martin along with celebrities like Samuel L. Jackson and Patton Oswalt since then.

Some of the categories have changed over the years. For example, they added Best Digital Comic back in 2005! Some of the current categories include: Best Short Story, Best Single/One-Shot, Best Publication for Teens, and Best New Series. And much like SJPL’s Graphic Novel Making Contest, you need to be sure to read the Will Eisner Award rules for submissions. They have requirements like: Works must be published in the US in the last year, so while foreign works are fine, they need to have been released in the USA. Judges decide what categories you will be considered for, though you’re welcome to suggest one!

The Will Eisner Award judges changes from year to year, though they try to include a comic creator, a reviewer, a graphic novel librarian, a comic retailer, a scholar, and a member of the Comic-Con organizing committee. Voting is open to many of the groups mentioned above along with any nominees.

Who won!?

2022’s Will Eisner Awards winners have not been announced yet. However, here are the 2022 winners of the Will Eisner Award. San Jose Public Library has hundreds of titles that have won or been nominated! Below are some of the winners from recent years available at the San Jose Public Library.

Eisner Award Winners for Kids

Chibi Usagi Attack of the Heebie Chibis, book cover
Salt Magic, book cover
Our Little Kitchen, book cover
Comics Easy as ABC! : the Essential Guide to Comics for Kids : for Kids, Parents, Teachers..., book cover
Guts, book cover

Graphic Novels for Teens

The Legend of Auntie Po, book cover
Dragon Hoops, book cover
Goblin Girl, book cover
Harley Quinn Breaking Glass : a Graphic Novel, book cover
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, book cover

Eisner Award Winners for Adults

Bitter Root Rage & Redemption Volume Two, Rage & Redemption, book cover
Monsters, book cover
The Black Panther Party a Graphic Novel History, book cover
Undiscovered Country. Volume One, Destiny, book cover
Making Comics, book cover

Comic Crafts!

Will Eisner revolutionized the world of comics! Here are two fun comic crafts you can do at home. Create your own Foldable Bookmark and Captain America Wristband.