Countdown To The Eisners 2015 – Best Anthology

eisner_imageOne of the things I love most about comic anthologies is the diversity of the content. Anthologies tend to be a mixed bag of stories and art, but in the end there's definitely something for everyone. I can't list how many artists and writers I've come to discover in the pages of 2000AD and Dark Horse Presents, making me a lifelong fan and following them to whatever project they're working on next. It's a chance for the reader to enjoy an infinite number of stories within one issue or volume, simultaneously giving them the most bang for their buck. Today's article is focusing on the Best Anthology category. No matter if you're a fan of fantasy, horror, erotica, or history, there's definitely a nominee in this category that relates to your personal tastes. Now if only someone could produce an anthology focusing on reviewers writing about anthologies, we could simply title it "Anthology."

Keep in mind I cannot vote for who wins (nor can you, probably), as per the rules. However, that's not keeping me from being vocal regardless!

Who is eligible to vote?
Comic book/graphic novel/webcomic creators (writers, artists, cartoonists, pencillers, inkers, letterers, colorists
All nominees in any category
Comic book/graphic novel publishers and editors
Comics historians and educators
Graphic novel librarians
Owners and managers of comic book specialty retail stores

Who is not eligible to vote?
Comics press or reviewers (unless they are nominees)
Non-creative publisher staff members (PR, marketing, assistants, etc.)
Before I get back to creating Bleeding Cool Presents so I can be eligible for next year, let the games begin!

Best Anthology

In the Dark: A Horror Anthology, edited by Rachel Deering (Tiny Behemoth Press/IDW)

A grizzly collection of 24 different horror stories from some of the biggest names in the industry, In the Dark exceeds expectations and delivers a healthy dose of thrills to every horror fan. A fitting tribute to the horror comics of old, it also includes a massive pin-up gallery as well as a history of horror comics by Mike Howelett. Includes contributions from Cullen Bunn, Justin Jordan, Rachel Deering, Steve Niles, Matthew Dow Smith, Scott Snyder, Nate Powell, and several more.

Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, edited by Josh O'Neill, Andrew Carl, & Chris Stevens (Locust Moon)

An absolute celebration of Winsor McCay, Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream collects a stunning array of writers and artists, providing them with a page or two to dedicate their own take on a Little Nemo adventure. The creative spirit of McCay can definitely be felt, for it's obvious that those who contributed were inspired by him in one shape or form. Includes works from David Mack, Paolo Rivera, Dean Haspiel, J.G. Jones, Mark Buckingham, Paul Pope, P. Craig Russell, Jill Thompson, and several more.

Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It, edited by Ann Ishii, Chip Kidd, & Graham Kolbeins (Fantagraphics)

A fascinating history lesson of gay erotic manga in Japanese culture and the men who made it popular worldwide. Half biographies of the creators, half highlight reels of their popular works, Massive educates and entertains the reader, even if they're a fan of the subject matter or not. I found the tale of Caveman Guu particularly hilarious. Features Tagame, Inu Yoshi, Kumada Poohsuke, Takeshi Matsu, Jiraiya, Gai Mizuki, Fumi Miyabi, Seizoh Ebisubashi, and Kazuhide Ichikawa. A must-have collection for fans of gay erotic manga.

Masterful Marks: Cartoonists Who Changed the World, edited by Monte Beauchamp (Simon & Schuster)

Review copy unavailable.

To End All Wars: The Graphic Anthology of The First World War, edited by Jonathan Clode & John Stuart Clark (Soaring Penguin)

Focusing on The Great War and why it wasn't necessarily so great, Clode and Clark assemble 27 comics taking place during World War I based on actual events and people. The artwork ranges from beautiful and raw ("Between the Darkness," "Die and Become"), to what feels like not ready for print, with one comic even being lettered with Comic Sans. Includes looks at the war from the perspectives of air, sea, and land, To End All Wars shares content for those looking to learn more about the often overlooked war. Introduction by Pat Mills.


little_nemo_dream_another_dream_coverWho I think should win:
Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, edited by Josh O'Neill, Andrew Carl, & Chris Stevens (Locust Moon)

An anthology Winsor McCay himself would be proud of. Just looking at the massive list of names who have contributed to the collection is jaw-dropping in its own right, but then actually seeing what they've contributed is simply mind-blowing. To see some of the best juggernauts in the industry get lost in their own imaginations is the stuff of dreams, and constantly I was going back and rereading stories throughout. The colors, the illustration, the style and tone, all of it magnificent.

It's a collection so good, that by the end of the book you're afraid of falling out of bed, waking up, and realizing the whole experience was just a fantastical dream.

Who I think will win:
Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It, edited by Ann Ishii, Chip Kidd, & Graham Kolbeins (Fantagraphics)

While the average comic book readers haven't picked-up or observed gay erotic manga before, and won't be all too familiar with the contributing creators, the men highlighted are actually titans in the gay erotic manga industry, Tagame in particular. To learn of the history and influence of it in Japanese culture is interesting and intriguing, and it definitely qualifies as one of the lesser-known parts of comic book history.

Educational as it is erotic, Ishii, Kidd, and Kolbeins put their hearts and souls into making this anthology unique and important. One has to admire the beauty of it, no matter their sexual orientation.

Who I think should have been nominated:
Above The Dreamless Dead: World War I In Poetry And Comics, edited by Chris Duffy (First Second Books)

What better way to celebrate the centennial of World War I than to read some poems from the brave soldiers who fought in it? Above The Dreamless Dead succeeds in offering comic readers and poetry lovers something intoxicatingly different, highlighting one of the best things about mixing media in the comics medium. With so many talented artists who helped contribute to this project, it's a crime it wasn't nominated for any Eisners this year.

Who do you think should win / been nominated?

Cameron Hatheway is a reviewer and the host of Cammy's Comic Corner, an audio podcast. You can wake him up from reading the Little Nemo anthology on Twitter @CamComicCorner.