Drawn to Comics: Celebrating the Eisner-Nominated Women of 2014

by rory midhani

by rory midhani

The nominees for the Eisner Awards were announced last week. The Eisners (named after legendary comic creator Will Eisner) are kind of like the Oscars of the comic book world, except that instead of an exclusive Academy voting on them, any comics professional can go and vote. As you can see by the list of nominees, it’s not that common that women get nominated for Eisners. Out of the 30 categories and more than 160 nominees, only 35 belong to women. Since that’s the case, I wanted to make sure I did what I could to draw attention to these super talented artists, writers and creators who brought us amazing comics this year.

Although less than a fifth of the nominations went to women, there are a few women who scored multiple nominations. These women are Fiona Staples, Emma Ríos, Jordie Bellaire, Isabel Greenberg and Judith Vanistendael. Staples, Ríos and Bellaire are all artists, while Greenberg and Vanistendael are writers/artists.

Saga art by Fiona Staples

Saga art by Fiona Staples

Staples is nominated for her work on Saga. I’ve said before that Saga is the “current best comic in the world” and I’m still going to stand by that. It’s nominated for Best Continuing Series and Staples is nominated for Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art) and Best Cover Artist for her work on it. While it is an amazingly well-written book (enough to get a Best Writer nomination for Brian K. Vaughn) with brilliant characters and world building, Staple’s art really seals the deal with this book. She is able to create beautiful and wondrous scenes in outer space and magnificent and truly otherworldly alien planets. Although Saga definitely follows in the footsteps of other Space Epics, because of Staple’s art it could never be mistaken for another work.

Pretty Deadly art by Emma Rios

Pretty Deadly art by Emma Ríos

The second woman with multiple nominations, artist Emma Ríos, is being recognized for her work on Pretty Deadly, which also helped Kelly Sue DeConnick get a nomination for Best Writer. Ríos is nominated for both her cover art and her pencilling/inking. This is a supernatural/western tale full of legend and lore, blood and brimstone and murder and mystery. And it is so cool. DeConnick was already one of my favorite writers from her work on Captain Marvel and Avengers Assembleso I was excited to see her work on an independent title with a skilled and unique artist like Ríos. Ríos really makes this book feel like it belongs both in the old west and in a world ruled by superstition and violence. Her art is dark and mysterious in a that feels like she’s drawing based on dreams that she had of this grim and bizarre tale.

Pretty Deadly also helped Bellaire to get one of her nominations, as she did coloring for that book, as well as many others (including the also terrific Journey into Mystery for Marvel). Bellaire is probably being most recognized, however, for her work on DC/Vertigo’s The Wakewhich also garnered her a Best Cover Artist nomination. The book was also nominated for Best Limited Series, Best Writer and Best Penciler/Inker. This is a horror/sci fi series based in the deep ocean.

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth art by Isabel Greenberg

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth art by Isabel Greenberg

I haven’t previously heard of either Greenberg or Vanistendael, but I’m excited to check out their work. Greenberg’s nominations stem from her book, The Encyclopedia of Early Earthwhich received nominations for Best Graphic Album – New and Best Writer/Artist. Her book is about ill-fated lovers in an ancient civilization that existed long before ours. Vanistendael is also nominated in the Best Writer/Artist category, as well as the Best US Addition of International Material and Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art) for her book When David Lost His VoiceWhen David Lost His Voice tells the story of a man named David who is diagnosed with cancer and the effect that has on his relationships with his wife and children.

The Adventures of Superhero Girl art by Faith Erin Hicks

The Adventures of Superhero Girl art by Faith Erin Hicks

There are a few other creators that I’m already a fan of. Melanie Gilman (who is non-binary) was nominated for her terrific webcomic As the Crow Flies, which I’ve covered here at Drawn to Comics before. It’s a wonderful story about a queer girl of color at a Christian summer camp and features beautiful colored pencil art done by Gilman. If you haven’t checked it out before, the comic is only getting better and it’s really starting to amp up right now, so I would definitely recommend giving it a look. Another nominee, Faith Erin Hick‘s The Adventure’s of Superhero Girl, started out as a webcomic, but here was nominated in the category Best Humor Publication, for her book published through Dark Horse. This was one of my favorite lighthearted webcomics before it was in book form, and so I’m really happy to see it nominated here. You can still check out a lot of her Superhero Girl comics online.

Most of these comics can either be purchased at your local comic book shop or online through various retailers. If you’re a comics professional, you can vote online for the Eisners. Here’s a full list of all the women nominated and what categories they’re being recognized in:

Best Single Issue

Demeter, by Becky Cloonan (self-published)

Best Continuing Series

Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image)

Best Publication for Early Readers

Odd Duck, by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon (First Second)

Best Publication for Kids (Ages 8-12)

The Adventures of Superhero Girl, by Faith Erin Hicks (Dark Horse)

Jane, the Fox, and Me, by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault (Groundwood)

Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard, vol. 2, edited by David Petersen, Paul Morrissey, and Rebecca Taylor (Archaia/BOOM!)

Best Publication for Teens (Ages 13-17)

Dogs of War, by Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox (Graphix/Scholastic)

Templar, by Jordan Mechner, LeUyen Pham, and Alex Puviland (First Second)

Best Humor Publication

The Adventures of Superhero Girl, by Faith Erin Hicks (Dark Horse)

Best Digital/Webcomic

As the Crow Flies, by Melanie Gillman

Best Graphic Album- New

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, by Isabel Greenberg (Little, Brown)

The Property, by Rutu Modan (Drawn & Quarterly)

War Brothers, by Sharon McKay and Daniel LaFrance (Annick Press)

Best US Addition of International Material

When David Lost His Voice, by Judith Vanistendael (SelfMadeHero)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia

The Heart of Thomas, by Moto Hagio (Fantagraphics)

Utsubora: The Story of a Novelist, by Asumiko Nakamura (Vertical)

Best Writer

Kelly Sue DeConnick, Pretty Deadly (Image); Captain Marvel (Marvel)

Best Writer/Artist

Isabel Greenberg, The Encyclopedia of Early Earth (Little, Brown)

Judith Vanistendael, When David Lost His Voice (SelfMadeHero)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team

Emma Ríos, Pretty Deadly (Image)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art)

Sonia Sanchéz, Here I Am (Capstone)

Fiona Staples, Saga (Image)

Marguerite Van Cook, 7 Miles a Second (Fantagraphics)

Judith Vanistendael, When David Lost His Voice (SelfMadeHero)

Best Cover Artist

Sean Murphy/Jordie Bellaire, The Wake (DC/Vertigo)

Emma Ríos, Pretty Deadly (Image)

Fiona Staples, Saga (Image)

Best Coloring

Jordie Bellaire, The Manhattan Projects, Nowhere Men, Pretty Deadly, Zero (Image); The Massive (Dark Horse); Tom Strong (DC); X-Files Season 10  (IDW); Captain Marvel, Journey into Mystery (Marvel); Numbercruncher (Titan); Quantum and Woody (Valiant)

Best Lettering

Carla Speed McNeil, Bad Houses; “Finder” in Dark Horse Presents (Dark Horse)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism

Comics and Cola, by Zainab Akhtar

The Comics Journal #302, edited by Gary Groth and Kristy Valenti (Fantagraphics)

Best Comics-Related Book

The Art of Rube Goldberg, selected by Jennifer George (Abrams ComicArts)

The Love and Rockets Companion, edited by Marc Sobel and Kristy Valenti (Fantagraphics)

Best Comics-Reality-Based Work and Best International Publication

Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life, by Ulli Lust (Fantagraphics)

Best Scholarly/Academic Work

Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation, edited by Sheena C. Howard and Ronald L. Jackson II (Bloomsbury)

Drawing from Life: Memory and Subjectivity in Comic Art, edited by Jane Tolmie (University Press of Mississippi)

Best Publication Design

The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme: A Panorama, by Joe Sacco, designed by Chin-Yee Lai (Norton)

Welcome to Drawn to Comics! From diary comics to superheroes, from webcomics to graphic novels – this is where we’ll be taking a look at comics by, featuring and for queer ladies. So whether you love to look at detailed personal accounts of other people’s lives, explore new and creative worlds, or you just love to see hot ladies in spandex, we’ve got something for you.

If you have a comic that you’d like to see me review, you can email me at mey [at] autostraddle [dot] com.

Header by Rory Midhani

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Mey Rude is a fat, trans, Latina lesbian living in LA. She's a writer, journalist, and a trans consultant and sensitivity reader. You can follow her on twitter, or go to her website if you want to hire her.

Mey has written 572 articles for us.


  1. I’ve said it before, but I love this column. I would clearly be lost in the Wild World Of Comics without your reviews. Oh, and I’m so happy Melanie Gilman was nominated!

  2. Fiona Staples is so amazing. Saga is one of my favorite series right now, and her artwork never fails to blow my mind. Her character designs are just so gorgeous!

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