Countdown To The Eisners – Best Graphic Album-New

 By Cameron Hatheway

If this were the Academy Awards, this may be the grand finale of categories for some fans. It's certainly a category that people pay attention to, for the winner could be the next big present this holiday season for people to give to friends and family who are trying to get into comic books. If you really love them, you'll also give them all the nominees as well. But let's face it; those cheap bastards probably don't deserve it all. Whoever wins, they get to proudly display on their dust jacket that they are the best of the best of best, sir! With honors (Men In Black reference)! Today I'll be focusing on the Best Graphic Album-New 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 tapping the phones of the Eisner Judges so I can be eligible for next year, let the games begin!


building_stories_coverBest Graphic Album-New

Building Stories, by Chris Ware (Pantheon)

While it doesn't appear to be a graphic album from the box art (yes, I said 'box art') alone, inside consists of fourteen different comics in a variety of formats; cloth-bound, flip books, paper, and newspaper. We follow a nameless one-legged woman throughout different stages of her life, and with collection you can start anywhere and still get the same story. A work ten years in the making, it definitely shows that Chris Ware worked tirelessly on it.

Goliath, by Tom Gauld (Drawn & Quarterly)

Review copy unavailable.

The Hive, by Charles Burns (Pantheon)

Charles Burns is back with the sequel to his 2010 graphic novel X'ed Out, as we continue to follow the young performance artist Doug and try to figure out what ever happened between him and Sarah. In The Hive we get another version of Doug, his heavier future self. Taking place in past, present, and in dreams, Burns overwhelms the senses with his macabre characters and settings, making you feel uncomfortable yet intrigued at the same time.

Unterzakhn, by Leela Corman (Schocken)

Twin sisters Esther and Fanya grow-up in New York's Lower East Side during the early 1900s, and while they share a bed, they certainly don't share the same hopes and dreams. Fanya wants to help women with family planning when she grows up, and Esther wants to perform for the stage. Each girl takes on their own mentor, and the older they become the more radically they differ from one another.

You'll Never Know, Book 3: A Soldier's Heart, by C. Tyler (Fantagraphics)

The third book in her memoir trilogy (Book 1: A Good and Decent Man, Book 2: Collateral Damage) focusing on the relationship between her and her father, Carol Tyler explores her father's time overseas fighting in Africa and Europe. Carol starts putting together an album of his army years, but they hit a dead end when what her father remembers about period in particular doesn't corroborate with official records.

Who I think should win:
Building Stories, by Chris Ware (Pantheon)


Chris Ware looked at the format for the traditional graphic novel, said "fuck it," and went about making his own enthralling creation like the mad scientist he is. Everything from the presentation to the fourteen assorted stories on the inside was refreshing, for it's like a Choose Your Own Adventure for comic book fans who are so used to linear storytelling. Following a unnamed woman with one leg doesn't seem like much to write home about, but Ware is able to make you care deeply for her no matter what story you read first.

I've been a fan of Ware's work for a long time, and I can say without a doubt this is his magnum opus. He meticulously planned every detail over the span of a decade to make sure everything worked no matter where you started, and the execution is absolutely flawless.

Who I think could win:
Unterzakhn, by Leela Corman (Schocken)

Focusing on the career paths of both Esther and Fanya made for some compelling storytelling, for while you had a general idea of where each girl would land, there were definitely some twists and turns I did not see coming. The illustrations were fantastic, and watching the girls grow up (as well as how their father grew up) really showed how they landed into the roles of the abortionist and the dancer, and what unmentionable things they had to do to get there.

A nice period piece focusing on the Russian Jews of New York City at the turn of the century, illustrated beautifully in black and white.

Who I think should have been nominated:
Last Days of an Immortal, by Gwen De Bonneval and Fabien Vehlmann (Archaia)


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 start reading his Tweets in any order 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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