THIS YEAR’S Eisner Awards, which were presented over the weekend at Comic-Con International in San Diego, lived up to being especially applause-worthy for the diversity of the recognition — as the honorees included richly rendered graphic novels, strongly voiced digital comics and gorgeously archived comic strips.

And this year, in that spirit, Comic Riffs asked a range of the winners for their reactions to bagging an Eisner. Here is what they have to say:

“The award was such a surprise. Accepting the award was a blur … and it’s still sinking in. The biggest surprise was the story they chose; a wacked-out fantasy that I didn’t think anyone would take seriously. All in all, it’s a great honor.”–GILBERT HERNANDEZ,  whose “Untitled” in “Love and Rockets: New Stories #6” (Fantagraphics) won Best Short Story.

“Battling Boy,” by Paul Pope (First Second).

“I am humbled and elated that people believe in my vision and a child hero.”–PAUL POPE, whose graphic novel “Battling Boy” (First Second) won Best Publication for Teens.

“[I’m] so happy about winning an Eisner Award for ‘RASL.’ And a surprise! ‘RASL’ was a different kind of project — a five-year labor of love — and it means a lot to get that boost of approval from your peers.”–JEFF SMITH, whose “RASL” (Cartoon Books) won Best Graphic Album/Reprint.

“Once I got home, I decided to hide the award, just in case the Eisner committee realizes their mistake and comes to take it back.”CHIP ZDARSKY (aka Steven Murray), whose comic “Sex Criminals” (Image), with writer Matt Fraction, won Best New Series.

“The Property.” by Rutu Modan (Drawn and Quarterly).

“I am honored and happy to get the Eisner Award for my book. … The last month in Israel is so depressing and stressful, it was wonderful to have, at last, a reason to be happy.”–RUTU MODAN, speaking from her Tel Aviv home, upon winning Best Graphic Album/New for “The Property” (Drawn & Quarterly). [To read more of Modan’s comments, click HERE.]

“The Eisner [recognition] was so wonderful because I ignored my readers’ expectations and just wrote and drew what wanted to write, and in the end, I found reward and compassion from my readers instead of alienating them.”–MATTHEW INMAN, who won Best Digital/Webcomic for The Oatmeal. [To read more of Inman’s comments, click HERE.]

“It was so cool to be nominated alongside comics’ best artists  — to see my name in the same category as Sean Murphy and Andrew Robinson and David Aja. And I’m incredibly grateful that our book has found so much support from within our industry. This award is a wonderful reminder that what we’re doing is worthwhile, and sitting alone in my studio drawing naked robots isn’t actually a huge waste of time.” — FIONA STAPLES, who won in two categories — Best Painter/Multimedia Artist and Best Continuing Series (with writer Brian K. Vaughan) — for “Saga” (Image Comics).

“Love and Rockets: New Stories #6,” by the Hernandez Brothers (Fantagraphics.)

“The award itself was nice enough, but all the hearty congratulations afterwards was extremely touching and humbling.”–JAIME HERNANDEZ, who won Best Writer/Artist for “Love and Rockets New Stories #6” (Fantagraphics).

For the full list of Eisner Award winners, click HERE.