Monday, July 28, 2008

Memo to the Eisner Awards

You may have heard that the webcomic Eisner Award has gone to Sugarshock, which is hosted on the Dark Horse Comics My Space page.

Below, the words "Webcomic" and "Print Comic" are used as adjectives. 

Webcomic: Creator has worked mostly on the web
Print Comic: Creator has worked mostly in print

Webcomic: Creator's reputation is based on web work
Print comic: Creator's reputation is based on print work

Webcomic: Comic takes advantage of unique characteristics of the web
Print comic: Comic is designed with printing imperatives in mind

Webcomic:  Comic's presence is supported financially by the creator or a webcomic host
Print comic: Comic's presence has connections to print comic concerns and often a calculated plan to appear later in print

Webcomic: The creator works in genres and styles that are appearing on the web but not in print
Print comic: The comic appears ready-made to become a series or graphic novel

Webcomic: The URL is independent or leads to an online webcomic host
Print comic: The URL includes the name of a print publisher

Hear me out. I love print comics. But if you're going to give dozens of awards to print comics and one to webcomics, give it to a real webcomic.

The Eisner Awards' long relationship with print cause this choice, however worthy as a comic work of art, to reflect discredit on the Eisners as a whole. Whether it is subconscious log rolling or a profound misunderstanding of the essence of webcomics, it looks bad. This is a shame, because comics people seldom get the respect they deserve, and the Eisners are at least a partial remedy, when properly executed.