The 2006 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were presented at Comic-Con International in San Diego on Friday evening. Bongo Comics Creative Director Bill Morrison served as Master of Ceremonies, wearing an electric blue jacket and shirt with a red vintage hand-painted tie. “It’s a hooker; I’m wearing a hooker on my tie,” Morrison explained following the awards.
The Bill Finger Excellence in Comics Writing Award was presented by Jerry Robinson and Mark Evanier, with the awards going to Harvey Kurtzman and Alvin Schwartz. Kurtzman’s award was accepted by his daughter, Nellie, who remarked, “My father was given the finger by the industry many times, but this is the first time I’ve been pleased about it.” Alvin Schwartz, the creator of Superman’s Bizarro characters, was the second recipient of the Finger Award.
Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti presented the awards for Best Digital Comic, which went to Scott Kurtz for “PVP”; Best Publication for a Younger Audience, presented to Andy Runton’s “Owly”; and Best Anthology, which went to DC Comics for “Solo.”
The Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award, presented by Barry Short and Dody Manning, was presented to “Night Fisher” creator R. Kikuo Johnson.
Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett presented the Eisner for Best Coloring to Chris Ware, “Acme Novelty Library” #16. The Best Lettering Award was awarded to Todd Klein for “Wonder Woman,” “Justice,” “Seven Soldiers” #0, “Desolation Jones,” “Promethea,” “Top Ten: The Forty-Niners,” “Tomorrow Stories Special,” “Fables” and “1602: New World.” Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition was given to Aaron Renier for “Spiral-Bound.”
The next presenters were Entertainment Weekly Editor Nisha Gopolan and Publisher’s Weekly Senior News Editor Calvin Reid. They presented Eisners for Best Reality-Based Work to Kyle Baker for “Nat Turner”; Best Archival Collection – Comic Books to “Absolute Watchmen” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons; and Best Archival Collection – Comic Strips to “The Complete Calvin & Hobbes” by Bill Watterson.
Paul Dini and Misty Lee were presenters for the Best Penciller/Inker, Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art), and Best Cover Artist Eisners. The Best Penciller/Inker Award went to John Cassaday for “Astonishing X-Men” and “Planetary.” Ladronn received the Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art) Eisner for his work on “Hip Flask: Mystery City,” and James Jean was selected as Best Cover Artist for “Fables” and “Runaways.”
Joe Ferarra, owner of San Cruz’s Atlantis Fantasyworld comic shop, presented the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award to Zeus Comics of Dallas, Texas.
Actor Dean Haglund, best known for his portrayal of one of “The X Files'” Lone Gunmen, presented the Award for Best Comics-Related Periodical to Comic Book Artist. The award for Best Comics-Related Book was presented to “Eisner/Miller” (Dark Horse Books. There was a tie for the Best Publication Design Award, which was given to both “Acme Novelty Library Annual Report to Shareholders” and “Little Nemo in Slumberland.” Accepting the Eisner on behalf of Chris Ware, Pantheon’s Chip Kidd said, “Chris told me that he was hoping that ‘Little Nemo’ would win this award, so let me say on his behalf that he’s very sorry he won this, and he apologizes profusely.”
Eric Shanower (“Age of Bronze”) was recruited as a last-minute substitute presenter when Möebius was overcome by jet-lag. Shanower presented the awards for Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material, awarded to Joann Sfar’s “The Rabbi’s Cat”; Best Graphic Album – Reprint, given to “Black Hole”; and Best Graphic Album – New, to “Top Ten: The Forty-Niners.”
Maggie Thompson of Comics Buyers Guide acknowledged those who had passed away during the previous year in the “In Memoriam” portion of the ceremony. She listed Will Eisner, Jim Aparo, Seth Fisher, Tom Gill, Tim Hildebrandt, Jack Jackson, Selby Kelly, Joe Ranft, Robert Wise, Mickey Spillane, and Alex Toth, and concluded with the annual remembrance of Jack & Roz Kirby.
The Eisners for Best Writer, Best Writer/Artist, and Best Writer/Artist – Humor were presented by New Zealand-born artist Roger Langridge. The Best Writer Eisner was given to Alan Moore for “Promethea” and “Top Ten: The Forty-Niners”; Best Writer/Artist went to Geof Darrow for “Shaolin Cowboy”; and Best Writer/Artist – Humor was awarded to Kyle Baker for “Plastic Man” and “The Bakers.”
Calvin Reid, Publisher’s Weekly Senior News Editor was selected as the recipient of the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award for his work in promoting comics to the mainstream,
The Best New Series, Best Limited Series, and Best Continuing Series Eisner Awards were presented by John Wagner, and were awarded to “All-Star Superman” (Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely), “Seven Soldiers” (Grant Morrison and various artists), and “Astonishing X-Men” (Joss Whedon & John Cassaday), respectively.
Eddie Campbell presided over the Best Short Story was given to Paul Pope for “Teenage Sidekick” from “Solo” #3; Best Serialized Story was awarded to “Fables” #36-38, 40-41: “Return to the Homelands,” by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, and Steve Leialoha; and the winner of Best Single Issue was “Solo” #5 by Darwyn Cooke.
The evening was brought to a close with the induction of six new members of the Hall of Fame, presented by Sergio Aragonés. The Judges’ Choices were Disney veteran Floyd Gottfredson and “Wonder Woman” creator William Moulton Marston. Voters chose to add Vaughn Bodé (“Cheech Wizard”), whose award was accepted by his son, Mark; Ramona Fradon (“Aquaman,” “Metamorpho”); Russ Manning, with his widow, Dody Manning accepting for him; and Jim Steranko, who said that he was “…accepting this award on behalf of everybody who was nominated, until they get their own gold.”