Last week at San Diego Comic Con, the Eisner Award winners were announced. I have some pretty general thoughts about the winners. I’m super excited for Jill Thompson for her three Eisner wins, including her work on Wonder Woman: the True Amazon, which honestly, if you left the Wonder Woman film and said, “I want a whole film set on Themyscira”, this is the book for you. Image’s hit book Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples came away with four Eisners, winning best series four of the last five years, only being ousted by Southern Bastards in 2016. There was also a split of one category into two this year. One of my favorite comics Bandette was has won best digital comic for the past three years; however, this year, the award was split into two separate categories, Best Digital Comics and Best Webcomic, which means more digital artists will be recognized for their work while skipping the publishing gatekeepers.
I did a little back of the envelope calculations because I was curious about representation in a few different categories. What makes the Eisners difficult to analyze is the frequency of duplicate nominees, so, I took a look at both the statistics with and without duplicate winners. While the numbers below are in no way statistically sound, they give a general sense of trends in the comic book industry.
The first broad category I was interested in is the representation of male and female creators at the Eisners. With the #MakeMyAMilkshake storm this weekend after a female Marvel editor posted a selfie of her and her female coworkers enjoying a milkshake, only to be contacted with comments about how women are “ruining” comics, I really wanted to see how women are represented.
— Heather Antos (@HeatherAntos) July 28, 2017
According to a March article from Vice.com, 16% of Marvels creators were female. This underrepresented the number of women who won Eisners in 2017. With duplicates, 71% of the winners were male, 29% female and without duplicates, 77% were males and 23% were females. So we can see that few women are nominated overall because they tend to win multiple awards. This is not intended to take away from their accomplishments, both Fiona Staples and Jill Thompson are exceptional artists and creators and serial multiple Eisner Award winners; however, as more women enter the comic book field, I hope we see more, and different women, nominated and winner prestigious comic awards.
In line with the gender of the creators, I was also interested in the representation of the characters in Eisner nominated books. Including duplicate winners, primarily male lead comics was 44% of the winners, female lead comics 32% and ensemble casts at 24%. When removing duplicate winners, males were 46%, females 36% and ensembles 18%. So, male centered books are still in the lead, but not by much. What else is interesting is looking at the breakdown of the ensembles. Saga is about a family seen by the world around them as an abomination, The Wicked + the Divine is about a pantheon of gods, Beasts of Burden follows a clan of dogs and cats as they protect the world from evil, all these ensembles have the distinct theme of family.
Did any of your favorite comics or creators win at the Eisner’s this year? Anyone you think really should have been nominated, but was looked over? Let me know on Twitter @librnwithissues