By Calvin Reid | Pub­lish­ers Weekly

Chris Ware

Chris Ware

Chris Ware’s extra­or­di­nary graph­ic nov­el-in-a-box, Build­ing Sto­ries (Pan­theon), won four Eis­ner Awards includ­ing Best New Graph­ic Nov­el and Bri­an K. Vaughan’s Saga (Image) received three Eis­ners dur­ing a brisk and enter­tain­ing gala awards cer­e­mo­ny at the 25th annu­al Will Eis­ner Com­ic Indus­try Awards—the Nation­al Book Awards of the Comics Industry—held last night dur­ing the San Diego Com­ic-Con Inter­na­tion­al. In addi­tion, Hope Larson’s adap­ta­tion of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrin­kle In Time (FSG) won for Best Pub­li­ca­tion for Teens and Jen­nifer and Matthew Holm’s Baby­mouse for Pres­i­dent (Ran­dom House) won Best Pub­li­ca­tion for Ear­ly Readers.

Among oth­er book-relat­ed awards, Juan Diaz Canales and Juan­jo Guarnido’s Black­sad: Silent Hell (Dark Horse) won Eis­ners for Best U.S. Edi­tion of Inter­na­tion­al Mate­r­i­al; and Nao­ki Urasawa’s 20thCentury Boys received an Eis­ner for Best U.S. Edition/Asia. In a tie for Best Real­i­ty-Based Work, Joseph Lambert’s Annie Sul­li­van and The Tri­als of Helen Keller (Cen­ter for Car­toon Studies/Disney) and The Carter Fam­i­ly: Don’t For­get this Song by Frank M. Young and David Lasky (Abrams Comi­cArts) both received Eis­ner Awards.

Pantheon editor/designer Chip Kidd holds one of the four Eisner Awards presented to Chris Ware for Building Stories at the 25th Annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards Ceremony.

Pho­to: Jody Culkin

Jef­frey Brown’s Darth Vad­er and Son (Chron­i­cle) won for Best Humor Pub­li­ca­tion; Fan­ta­graph­ics won an Eis­ner for Best Archival Col­lec­tion for Pogo. Vol. 2: Bona Fide Balder­dash by the late Walt Kel­ly, edit­ed by his daugh­ter Car­olyn Kel­ly and Kim Thomp­son, the late cop­ub­lish­er of Fan­ta­graph­ics who died ear­li­er this sum­mer. In addi­tion, Eis­ner Awards were pre­sent­ed to two prose works: Sean Howe’s Mar­vel Comics: The Untold Sto­ry (Harper­Collins) for Best Comics-Relat­ed Work; and Susan E. Kirt­ley for Lyn­da Bar­ry: Girl­hood Through the Look­ing Glass (Uni­ver­si­ty Press of Mis­sisip­pi) for Best Aadem­ic Work.

This year’s cer­e­mo­ny was enter­tain­ing and once again fea­tured best­selling nov­el­ist and Sand­man cre­ator Neil Gaiman, act­ing as straight-man to the antics of U.K enter­tain­er (and some­times comics writer) Jonathan Ross, in an literary/comedic award pre­sent­ing tan­dem that def­i­nite­ly left the crowd in stitch­es. Over the past few years Ross and Gaiman have become some­thing of com­e­dy team at the Eis­ners. This year, with a lit­tle help from actor John Bar­row­man, they took their schtick to new lev­els of hilar­i­ty with a goofy reprise of their on-stage man-kiss from a few years ago. Much laugh­ter ensued. This year’s awards cer­e­mo­ny also clocked in at a man­age­able and enjoy­able 2 ½ hours. The last award was pre­sent­ed at about 10:30 p.m.

Nom­i­nat­ed in five cat­e­gories Ware’s Build­ing Sto­ries almost swept the table, los­ing out only in the Best Col­or­ing cat­e­go­ry. Ware was not at the cer­e­mo­ny and his ever-grow­ing pile of Eis­ner Awards were accept­ed by the ever-so-droll Pan­theon edi­tor, author and design­er Chip Kidd—a mul­ti­ple Eis­ner Award win­ner himself—whose repeat­ed trips to the podi­um also gen­er­at­ed much laugh­ter through­out the evening. He capped off the evening by men­tion­ing that one of Ware’s four Eis­ners that evening was for Best Let­ter­ing, and said, with evi­dent and cheer­ful agree­ment from the audi­ence, “giv­ing Chris Ware an award for best let­ter­ing is like giv­ing Frank Lloyd Wright a prize for design­ing door knobs.”

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