Countdown To The Eisners 2015 – Best Single Issue Or One-Shot

eisner_imageHave you noticed how expensive comic books are nowadays? And when the events are happening the prices shoot-up even more. Nothing I just typed is news to the majority of readers, but it does remind us that when we plop down $4-5 on a single issue of something, it better be worth every cent. In today's column we'll be focusing on Best Single Issue (or One-Shot). Sometimes you can pick up a random single issue of whatever series and thoroughly enjoy it, even though it's your first introduction to that comic's universe. That's the sign of a good issue, where while every character and situation is alien to you, it's still possible to follow and really savor. Hence why the following nominees were selected.

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 posing as Robert Kirkman so I can be eligible for next year, let the games begin!

Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)

Astro City #16: "Wish I May" by Kurt Busiek & Brent Anderson (Vertigo/DC)

Brainiac villain Simon Sez agrees to help the superhero Starbright stop crime for a day, and in return he wants a small group of high school friends to drop by the lair and help celebrate his 16th birthday. What starts as a truce ends with Simon renouncing his evil ways and taking over the Starbright mantle when the original hero falls. Not only is it a great story of an outcast turning into the hero, but Busiek also touches on gender identity issues with the Simon, who identifies as being a woman by the end of the story.

Beasts of Burden: Hunters and Gatherers, by Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson (Dark Horse)

A mysterious invisible force is plaguing the fields and woods of Burden Hill, and it's up to the heroic gang of cats and dogs to get to the bottom of it and vanquish it. Using one of their own as bait, the creature gives chase into the woods before fatally falling through an old bridge. The beast, a Windslither, won't be bothering the residents of Burden Hill any longer, but a new sinister force is on the rise. Beautiful art by Thompson and intriguing story by Dorkin, this latest Beasts of Burden one-shot is on par with the rest.

Madman in Your Face 3D Special, by Mike Allred (Image)

While 3D is often seen as gimmicky and unneeded, Allred & company definitely make the most of it in this $10 one-shot of reprinted material and pin-ups. Transforming the style of art to mimic those of great and recognizable cartoonists of old (Sendak, Schultz, Herriman), Madman journeys throughout his own consciousness, trying to wake before it's too late. There are pin-ups galore as well by some of the biggest names in the industry. Come for the 3D, stay for the comics.

Marvel 75th Anniversary Celebration #1 (Marvel)

At 75 years old, Marvel celebrates its own legacy with this issue with five short stories and a handful of covers of comics that never happened. The first story celebrates the various origins of the Marvel characters we hold dear by Alex Robinson and Chris Samnee. The second is an old Stan Lee Captain America story illustrated by Bruce Timm, the third is an Alias story by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos. The fourth story features Spider-Man as is by Tom DeFalco and Stan Goldberg, and the fifth story is Wolverine battling his demons by Len Wein and Paul Gulacy. Love Marvel? Then you probably already have this issue.

The Multiversity: Pax Americana #1, by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely (DC)

It feels like Grant Morrison is trying to out-Watchmen Watchmen, only unlike Moore, he's allowed to use the classic Charlton characters (Blue Beetle, the Question, Captain Atom, etc). Going backwards and forwards and filled with dense scenes and dialogue, it's easy to get confused if you're not paying attention in this conspiracy/assassination romp. And yet, Morrison and Frank Quitely keep things entertaining and intriguing in their own unique way. This issue alone could serve as the subject of a college-level class, forcing students to dissect and analyze every panel and find meaning in the themes and character actions.

the_multiversity_pax_americana1Who I think should win:
The Multiversity: Pax Americana #1, by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely (DC)

While I won't pretend to understand everything that went on in the issue, I'm smart enough to realize genius when I see it. What Morrison and Quitely set out to accomplish forces the reader to see the story from different perspectives, avoiding traditional linear storytelling. It's great seeing the Question interact with Blue Beetle, and the opening pages with Peacemaker alone is worth the money.

Because of how intricate the storytelling is, it's no wonder that The Multiversity has taken so long to produce. At the end of the day either you love Morrison's writing or you hate it, you can't have it both ways according the internets.

Who I think will win:
The Multiversity: Pax Americana #1, by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely (DC)

It's a breath of fresh air compared to the rest of the nominees, and the dynamic duo of Morrison and Quitely is enough for some Eisner voters to skip the rest.

Who I think should have been nominated:
Moon Knight #5, by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire (Marvel)

As Moon Knight ascends five stories to rescue a kidnapped girl, he's kicking tremendous amounts of ass every floor. The way Shalvey executes Moon Knight's every move and counter-attack is a thing of beauty, satisfying that need for good action sequences throughout.

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 nominate him for Best Single-Minded Twit on Twitter @CamComicCorner.