Countdown To The Eisners 2015 – Best Digital/Web Comic

eisner_imageThe bound & published medium isn't for everyone, for sometimes it can be constricting for such massive, imaginative ideas when it comes to storytelling. Not only that, but to offer a story online makes it accessible to virtually everyone with a computer or smartphone with an internet connection. Just make sure it's on a consistent publishing schedule and the fans will have no problem returning to the site when the story updates. The best part is a lot of webcomics are free, and allow the reader to start from the very beginning and play catch-up at their leisure. I spent many a study period in high school catching-up on PvP and Real Life when I probably should have been studying for tests. And when the reader wants to show support to the creator, they can simply donate on the website, or if the creator is successful enough, publish their works that originated online and sell it at their store or at conventions. To some, it's a living. To others, a hobby. To the fans, it's another reason to celebrate comics. Here are the nominees for the Best Digital/Web Comic category.

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 work on my webcomic BattleLabrador so I can be eligible for next year, let the games begin!

Best Digital/Web Comic

Bandette, by Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover

Bandette and Monsieur compete for the title of "Greatest Thief in the World" by seeing who can steal the rarest of artifacts. Meanwhile, Bandette continues her one-woman war on Absinthe and his evil organization FINIS, who has called in the hitman Il Tredici to take care of her. And just when it looks like Bandette has bitten off more than she can chew, an unexpected ally drops in to help kick butt. Action, humor, romance, and pirate pigs galore continue to make Bandette a hit all-ages title.

Failing Sky by Dax Tran-Caffee

Comprised of interrelated stories, Failing Sky is a digital graphic novel like no other. Beginning with a sinking ship and young love at a local marina, it slowly evolves and branches out into other stories through interactive icons. A pair of gardening shears on a boat gives you an origin story of how they got there, as does a watch and pair of boots. Everything is connected, and makes for a great read following several different characters. With the interactive format of dragging the panels, it makes of an unconventional yet intriguing read from Tran-Caffee.

The Last Mechanical Monster, by Brian Fies

In 1941, Fleischer Studios released an animated Superman short pinning the Man of Steel versus a mad scientist and his robot army. After spending more than six decades in prison for his crimes, the scientist, now an old man, is released from prison and has one thing on his mind: Revenge. Watching him try and adapt to the year 2005 is humorous, for while technology has advanced, his methods and mindset have not. He still wants to create new robots to steal for him, but simple things like finding the right parts and programing them in this new time are challenging to him. Feis takes a forgotten character and breathes new life into him, making for an enjoyable read.

Nimona, by Noelle Stephenson

Supervillain Ballister Blackheart never wanted a sidekick, but after being hounded by the shapeshifter Nimona, he finally gave in. Now he has help planning kidnappings involving genetically modified dragons, but the problem is Nimona wants to take things to the next level with brutality and slaughter. When it comes to taking care of the no-good hero Sir Goldenloin, Blackheart calls dibs because of an injustice he suffered by him back in the day, vowing to expose Goldenloin as the fraud he is. Stephenson's art and story make for a terrific read with tons of humor.

The Private Eye by Brian Vaughan & Marcos Martin

Taking place in Los Angeles in the semi-distance future, everyone has a secret identity. I'm not talking about superheroes, but after The Cloud blew up revealing everyone's secrets, people had to protect what they had left of their identities. It's up to one private investigator to solve a background check that suddenly becomes a murder-mystery. It's as if Vaughan took Facebook, Blade Runner, and Wikileaks, and blended them together for a sci-fi noir tale with fabulous illustrations from Martin.


failing_sky_coverWho I think should win:
Failing Sky by Dax Tran-Caffee

There's a reason Failing Sky has been nominated for the past two years in a row for this category, and it's because of Tran-Caffee's ingenious way of storytelling. Starting out simple, then slowly progressing to more complex, it feels like there's hundreds of stories waiting to be clicked on and explored throughout the main storylines. Themes of art, feminism and transgenderism do come up, and are approached in a caring manner that works well with whatever story is at hand.

Tran-Caffee's art is a beautiful mixture of pencils, inks, and watercolors, and can definitely bring that extra artistic 'umph' when needed. And yet there are still several stories waiting to be told and discovered.

Who I think will win:
Nimona, by Noelle Stephenson

With Nimona and Lumberjanes, Stephenson is on an unstoppable roll this year. Her medieval sci-fi tale of Nimona is highly enjoyable ad humorous, making it that almost anyone can read it and find something entertaining about the odd pairing of Ballister Blackheart and Nimona. The art definitely does a great job fitting the light-hearted tone of the story, while still remaining a tad bit feisty and wild.

Stephenson has been garnering well-deserved praise this past year, mounting an army of new fans and intrigue of what she'll conquer next.

Who I think should have been nominated:
Stand Still. Stay Silent by Minna Sundberg

The level of detail that Sundberg has put into not only the story, but the art, is just fantastic. More than half of Northern Europe is wiped-out from a pandemic, and the survivors have to take shelter to save themselves from the Silent World. One band of explorers venture forth into the Silent World, only to find the aftermath eerie and monstrous, and more importantly, unsafe. Do not read this webcomic alone in the dark.

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 click on his sweatshirt on Twitter and see where that story takes you @CamComicCorner.