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Women make history, and receive overdue recognition, at 2018 Eisner Awards

A panel from “My Favorite Thing Is Monsters,” by Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)

FROM THE Golden Age to the rising age, the Eisner Awards over the weekend were largely a celebration of women being recognized as strongly as ever at what’s commonly called “the Oscars of comics.”

Marjorie Liu, for instance, became the first woman to win the best-writer honor, which was first awarded to Alan Moore exactly three decades ago. Liu is the co-creator, with artist Sana Takeda, of Image Comics’ fantasy epic “Monstress,” about young female warriors who, according to Liu, “become monsters in their own right.” “Monstress” won five Eisners, including best continuing series and best publication for teens.

Then there was Emil Ferris, a breakthrough star in her 50s for her first graphic novel, “My Favorite Thing Is Monsters” (Fantagraphics). Ferris has been an artistic warrior in her own right, recovering from West Nile virus and fighting to regain the use of her drawing hand. Ferris won three Eisners, including best writer-artist and best colorist.

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There was Tillie Walden, receiving the best-reality-based-work honor for her graphic memoir “Spinning” (First Second). Walden became one of the youngest Eisner winners ever at age 22.

And from the other end of comics history rose Joye Murchison Kelly. At 90, Kelly was finally receiving due recognition decades after her contributions to Wonder Woman went uncredited — for comics written by creator William Moulton Marston dating from the World War II era.

Kelly, who was on hand Friday night at the ceremony hosted by San Diego’s Comic-Con International, received the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing — an honor that also went to the late DC Comics/All-American Publications writer-editor of the Golden and Silver ages, Dorothy Roubicek Woolfolk. They are the first two women to receive the award in its 13-year history.

Also honored Friday were Rumiko Takahashi, the legendary manga artist who, at 60, was inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame — a quarter-century after she received Comic-Con’s Inkpot Award. Also inducted into the Hall of Fame, among others, were Karen Berger, the celebrated former DC/Vertigo editor; the late comics direct-market pioneer Carol Kalish; and the late Jackie Ormes (“Torchy Brown,” “Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger”), the first African American woman to create a syndicated newspaper comic strip.

The rediscovered legacy of pioneering black cartoonist Jackie Ormes

Among works by other creators of color, Jillian Tamaki’s collected stories in “Boundless” (Drawn & Quarterly) won the best graphic album/reprint honor; best limited series went to Marvel’s “Black Panther: World of Wakanda,” by Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Alitha E. Martinez; and best anthology went to Beyond Press’s “Elements: Fire, A Comic Anthology” by Creators of Color as edited by Taneka Stotts.

‘Boundless’ illustrates the perils of seeking transcendence in a wired world

Gay and Walden will be featured speakers Sept. 1 at the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival, as part of the Graphic Novels presentation moderated by The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs.

“There was an energy in the room that kept growing with every victory for a woman, a person of color or a queer person,” Walden, who was on hand at the event’s Indigo Ballroom, told Comic Riffs. “It’s about time.”

The honor for best adaptation from another medium went to Abrams ComicArts’ “Kindred,” by the late sci-fi legend Octavia Butler as adapted by Damian Duffy and John Jennings. And the trophy for best academic/scholarly work went to University of Arizona Press’s “Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics,” by Frederick Luis Aldama.

As previously announced, New York-based philanthropist Frederick Joseph was one of two recipients of the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, for his GoFundMe campaign that mushroomed into a national movement as the “Black Panther Challenge,” to help minority and underprivileged children see this year’s Marvel movie in theaters.

‘Black Panther Challenge’ creator gets Comic-Con’s humanitarian award

Elsewhere, Liu shared her writing award with Washington-based writer Tom King of DC Comics.

Among multiple winners were Katie O’Neill’s “The Tea Dragon Society” from Oni Press and Kodansha’s “Akira 35th Anniversary Edition.”

Here is a full list of the 2018 winners of the Eisner Award, which — named for pioneering creator Will Eisner — honors outstanding achievements in comics:

Best Writer: Marjorie Liu, “Monstress” (Image); and Tom King, “Batman,” “Batman Annual #2,” “Batman/Elmer Fudd Special #1,” “Mister Miracle” (DC)

Best Writer/Artist: Emil Ferris, “My Favorite Thing Is Monsters” (Fantagraphics)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team: Mitch Gerads, “Mister Miracle” (DC)

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art): Sana Takeda, “Monstress” (Image)

Best Cover Artist: Sana Takeda, “Monstress” (Image)

Best Coloring: Emil Ferris, “My Favorite Thing Is Monsters” (Fantagraphics)

Best Lettering: Stan Sakai, “Usagi Yojimbo,” “Groo: Slay of the Gods” (Dark Horse)

Best Graphic Album — New: “My Favorite Thing Is Monsters,” by Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)

Best Graphic Album — Reprint: “Boundless,” by Jillian Tamaki (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Adaptation From Another Medium: “Kindred,” by Octavia Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy and John Jennings (Abrams ComicArts)

Best Continuing Series: “Monstress,” by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (Image)

Best Short Story: “A Life in Comics: The Graphic Adventures of Karen Green,” by Nick Sousanis, in Columbia Magazine (Summer 2017)

Best Single Issue/One-Shot: “Hellboy: Krampusnacht,” by Mike Mignola and Adam Hughes (Dark Horse)

Best Limited Series: “Black Panther: World of Wakanda,” by Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Alitha E. Martinez (Marvel)

Best New Series: “Black Bolt,” by Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward (Marvel)

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8): “Good Night, Planet,” by Liniers (Toon Books)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12): “The Tea Dragon Society,” by Katie O’Neill (Oni)

Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17): “Monstress,” by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (Image)

Best Humor Publication: “Baking With Kafka,” by Tom Gauld (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Anthology: “Elements: Fire, A Comic Anthology,” by Creators of Color, edited by Taneka Stotts (Beyond Press)

Best Reality-Based Work: “Spinning,” by Tillie Walden (First Second)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material: “Run for It: Stories of Slaves Who Fought for the Freedom,” by Marcelo D’Salete, translated by Andrea Rosenberg (Fantagraphics)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material — Asia: “My Brother’s Husband, Vol. 1,” by Gengoroh Tagame, translated by Anne Ishii (Pantheon)

Best Archival Collection/Project — Strips: “Celebrating Snoopy,” by Charles M. Schulz, edited by Alexis E. Fajardo and Dorothy O’Brien (Andrews McMeel) [Disclosure: The Post’s Comic Riffs wrote the foreword for “Celebrating Snoopy."]

Best Archival Collection/Project — Comic Books: “Akira 35th Anniversary Edition,” by Katsuhiro Otomo, edited by Haruko Hashimoto, Ajani Oloye and Lauren Scanlan (Kodansha)

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism: The Comics Journal, edited by Dan Nadel, Timothy Hodler and Tucker Stone, (Fantagraphics)

Best Comics-Related Book: “How to Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels,” by Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden (Fantagraphics)

Best Academic/Scholarly Work: “Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics,” by Frederick Luis Aldama (University of Arizona Press)

Best Publication Design: “Akira 35th Anniversary Edition,” designed by Phil Balsman, Akira Saito (Veia), NORMA Editorial, and MASH•ROOM (Kodansha)

Best Digital Comic: “Harvey Kurtzman’s Marley’s Ghost,” by Harvey Kurtzman, Josh O’Neill, Shannon Wheeler and Gideon Kendall (comiXology Originals/Kitchen, Lind & Associates). [Disclosure: comiXology is owned by Amazon, whose founder, Jeffrey P. Bezos, owns The Post.] 

Best Webcomic: “The Tea Dragon Society,” by Katie O’Neill, (Oni Press)

Eisners Hall of Fame: Judges’ choices: Carol Kalish, Jackie Ormes; voters’ choices: Charles Addams, Karen Berger, Dave Gibbons, Rumiko Takahashi

Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award: Frederick Joseph; Comics4Kids

Bill Finger Excellence in Comic Book Writing Award: Joye Murchison Kelly; Dorothy Woolfolk

Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award: Hamish Steele (writer/artist, Pantheon), Pablo Tunica (artist, TMNT Universe)

Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award: Norma Comics, Barcelona

This post has been updated.

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