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2012 Eisner Awards Drop ‘Best New Series’ for ‘Level of Quality’ in Eligible Submissions

The Eisner Award nominees for 2012 were announced yesterday, and eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that while two new categories appeared — Best Publication for Early Readers and Best Academic/Educational Work — four other categories were missing from the list: Best Writer/Artist–Nonfiction, Best Adaptation from Another Medium, Best New Painter, and most surprisingly, Best New Series.

Awards Administrator Jackie Estrada explained the decision in the press release that accompanied the announcement:

The judges chose to not have the New Series and Painter categories this year because they didn’t find enough contenders that reached the level of quality they were looking for.” However, Estrada says, “the extent and quality of the material submitted in the Kids and Teen categories was so high that the judges felt dividing these books into three categories was warranted.

ComicsAlliance reached out to Estrada for more information about the decision to drop Best New Series, and she provided a list of all the titles that were submitted by publishers for that category. She added that “if a title is on the list, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was eligible in the category; it means that the publisher or creator submitted it in that category. (I always try to verify eligibility before the nominations are finalized.)” The complete list of books submitted for Best New Series follows:

Angel & Faith, by Christos Gage & Rebekah Isaacs
Animal Man
Aquaman
Batwing
Batwoman
The Bionic Man
Blue Estate
Blue Exorcist
Breakneck (215 Ink)
Butcher Baker The Righteous Maker, by Joe Casey & Mike Huddleston (Image)
Charismagic, by Hernandez, Randolph, & Lopez (Aspen)
Daredevil
Dream War, by Andrea Grant (Copious Press)
FF
A Game of Thrones
Green Wake
I, Vampire, by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino
Jennifer Blood
John Carter Princess of Mars (Marvel)
Kirby: Genesis
La Mano Del Destino, by J. Gonzo (self-published)
Lady Mechanika, by Joe Benitez (Aspen)
Legend of Oz: The Wicked West, by Tom Hutchison & others (Big Dog Ink)
Mameshiba: On the Loose!
Memorial
Monocyte
Mudman, by Paul Grist (Image)
Near Death (Image)
Orchid, by Tom Morello & Scott Hepburn
Pilot & Huxley, by DanMcGuiness (Scholastic)
Planet of the Apes, by Darl Gregory & Carlos Magno
Punisher
Rachel Rising, by Terry Moore
Sergio Aragonés Funnies
Shame: Conception, by Lovern Kindzierski & John Bolton
Skullkickers (Image)
Snarked, by Roger Langridge
Spongebob Comics
Starborn, by Chris Robertson & Khary Randolph (BOOM!)
The Strain, by David Lapham, Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan, & Mike Huddleston
Swamp Thing
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Ultimate 7, by Robert Wawrzyniak, Shawn Surface, & Scot Shoemaker
Ultimate Spider-Man, by Bendis and Pichelli
Vic Boone (215 Ink)
Voltron
Wolverine & the X-Men

Estrada also confirmed that judges were allowed to suggest books that had not been submitted by publishers if they felt something was missing from a category.

The addition of the Early Readers and Academic/Educational categories seems like a smart move that quite fairly draws attention to the slew of excellent comics being produced in those areas — work that is all too often ignored by the comics press, present company included. Trimming categories with less impressive work in favor of categories where greater amounts of quality work are being produced is quite practical as well. But the deletion of a category as fundamental as Best New Series seems odd, particularly when three titles nominated for Best Continuing Series also had #1 issues during the eligibility period: Daredevil, Rachel Rising, and Ultimate Spider-Man.

Estrada confirmed that those three titles were on the list of submissions, “but I’m not sure Daredevil would be eligible, since it’s a reboot of a long-running title, as were many of the DC 52 titles.” As CA’s David Uzumeri observed, however, the superhero reboot nature of Invincible Iron Man #1 by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca did not prevent it from winning Best New Series in 2009.

The winners of the Eisner Awards will be announced at an awards ceremony during Comic-Con International in San Diego this July.

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