Nominees for the 2022 Eisner Awards have been announced, and among the hopeful candidates are popular series such as Spy x Family and Chainsaw Man. While the Eisner Awards have typically celebrated American comics, with the rising popularity of manga, Japanese works have become an integral part of the comics industry worldwide.
Under the ‘Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia’ category, the nominees are:
- Tatsuki Fujimoto’s Chainsaw Man
- Naoya Matsumoto’s Kaiju No. 8
- Junji Ito’s Lovesickness
- Toranosuke Shimada’s Robo Sapiens: Tales of Tomorrow
- Tatsuya Endo’s Spy x Family
- Haro Aso and Kotaro Takata’s Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead has also been nominated for the ‘Best Humor Publication’ award. Junji Ito has also been nominated for ‘Best Writer/Artist’ award which would be his second simultaneous win.
What are the Eisner Awards?
The Eisner Awards — also known as the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards — are the equivalent of the Oscars for the American comic book industry. Namesake Will Eisner is credited with popularizing the term ‘graphic novel’ with his work A Contract with God in 1978 which explored the struggles of Jewish characters in New York City.
The 1970s may have been a boom for the comics industry, but stories and themes focused on social issues were rare — many publishers believed them to have poor commercial viability. That didn’t stop Will Eisner, however, from working with the small publishing house Baronet Press to release the work.
Will Eisner’s graphic novel didn’t change the industry overnight, but it did help to inspire future creators. In 1988, the Eisner Awards were created to honor Will Eisner and to celebrate new works in the industry.
Comic-Con International: San Diego holds yearly ceremonies for the Eisner Awards. Fans interested in viewing the event in person can purchase tickets now! The event will run from July 21st to 24th at the San Diego Convention Center. Details about panel timeslots have yet to be announced, but be sure to watch Comic Con’s Programming Schedule page for updates.
What manga has previously won Eisner Awards?
The Eisner Awards mainly highlight American comics. But the ‘Best U.S. Edition of International Material’ category has been celebrating manga as early as the late 90s starting with Masashi Tanaka’s Gon Swimmin’.
Notable winners include classics such as Katsuhiro’s Akira in 2002, Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi Old Boy, and Osamu Tezuka’s Dororo in 2009. The year 2020 saw a tie between Taiyou Matsumoto’s Cats of the Louvre and Kamome Shirahama’s Witch Hat Atelier.
While manga has typically been restricted to the international category of the Eisner Award, 2021 marked the first year that a Japanese creator won the Best Writer/Artist category. Junji Ito’s Remina, Venus in the Blind Spot. And that’s not the only representation manga has received. The 2020 Best Humor Publication went to Kousuke Oono’s The Way of the Househusband.
Given the rise of manga’s popularity in America, it’s likely that the Eisner Awards will continue to highlight more Japanese-made works in the future. The barrier to obtaining manga in English is lowering with publishers licensing and translating works for native speakers to enjoy — making manga just as much a part of the American comic book industry as the likes of Marvel and DC.