Countdown To The Eisners – Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips

By Cameron Hatheway

Every morning my breakfast routine starts with the comic strips. Opinions, local news, and sports will follow in whatever order I see fit, but without question the comics always come first. For a lot of people, myself included, the comic strips were what first got me interested in comic books. Some of the comics that came out decades ago still appear in the paper today, whether they are dailies or Sundays only, with still a tremendous fan following. One of the things we take for granted nowadays is being able to purchase a collection of the restored older comics, be it Prince Valiant or Tarzan, but back in the 40s and 50s readers of all ages weren't afforded such luxuries. Today I'll be focusing on the Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips category. If you need a reminder of what's been nominated, you can find the entire list right here, and see what I chose last time right here.

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 not eligible to vote?

  • Comics press or reviewers (unless they are nominees)
  • Non-creative publisher staff members (PR, marketing, assistants, etc.)
  • Fans

Before I get back to stapling a bunch of Garfield Minus Garfield strips together so I can be eligible for next year, let the games begin!

Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips

Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim, vol. 2, edited by Dean Mullaney (IDW/Library of American Comics)

Review copy unavailable.

Mister Twee Deedle: Raggedy Ann's Sprightly Cousin, by Johnny Gruelle, edited by Rick Marschall (Fantagraphics)

Collecting Twee Deedle strips as well as the earlier comics and illustrations of Johnny Gruelle, this book is filled with wonderful adventures that were enjoyed by all ages back in the day when newspaper strips reigned supreme. Feeling a little like Little Nemo at times, Gruelle was a master storyteller as youngsters Dickie and Dolly learned about nature with the wood sprite Twee Deedle. Also his bird's-eye view pieces were obviously influential to the Where's Wally? artist Martin Handford.

Percy Crosby's Skippy, vol. 1, edited by Jared Gardner and Dean Mullaney (IDW/Library of American Comics)

Review copy unavailable.

Pogo, vol. 2: Bona Fide Balderdash, by Walt Kelly, edited by Carolyn Kelly and Kim Thompson (Fantagraphics)

The second volume (of 12) of the dailies and Sunday strips following everyone's favorite possum of the Okefenokee Swamp, Pogo. This collection is edited by Walt Kelly's daughter Carolyn, and you can really feel the attention to detail in making sure the comics are crisp and colorful. Bona Fide Balderdash is a bona fide hit with Pogo fans.

captain_easy_coverRoy Crane's Captain Easy: The Complete Sunday Newspaper Strips, vol. 3, edited by Rick Norwood (Fantagraphics)

Lickety Whop! Filled with adventures at sea, exploring for treasure, and battling pirates, Captain Easy was one of the most action-packed Sunday strips of its time. In this third volume the action continues as Easy and Wash travel the globe getting themselves into some pretty precarious situations. The coloring is divine, and this collection does Crane's storytelling justice.

Who I think should win:

Roy Crane's Captain Easy: The Complete Sunday Newspaper Strips, vol. 3, edited by Rick Norwood (Fantagraphics)

captain_easy_page32Before Indiana Jones, before Captain Action, there was Captain Easy. Yes, that name wouldn't go over so well in today's society, but after seeing how manly he is you wouldn't think twice to make fun. This collection in particular takes our adventurer and his friends all over the world, and I could only imagine how painful it was back then waiting for the next Sunday to come. The coloring is fantastic, and looks like it was fresh from the original printer.

Crane's illustrations really brought life and energy to the Sunday strips, and future collections are in great hands over at Fantagraphics.


Who I think could win:
Pogo, vol. 2: Bona Fide Balderdash, by Walt Kelly, edited by Carolyn Kelly and Kim Thompson (Fantagraphics)

Starring some of the most popular anthropomorphic characters in comics, it's no wonder that Walt Kelly's Pogo has inspired generations of storytellers since its initial launch in the 1950s. In this second volume, you can really see where Kelly gets into his routine as the characters become livelier, and the stories sometimes blissfully wackier.

This collection in particular includes the famous Pogo running for president storyline ("I Go Pogo"). The meticulously-restored strips do this collection great justice.


Who I think should have been nominated:
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson (Andrews McMeel Publishing)

A boy and his tiger. They go on adventures, travel to other planets, and form the best club ever known to man; G.R.O.S.S. (Get Rid Of Slimy girlS).


Who do you think should win / been nominated?

Cameron Hatheway is the host of Cammy's Comic Corner and Arts & Entertainment Editor of the Sonoma State STAR. You can sell him a swink on Twitter @CamComicCorner.

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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