Guide to the Eisner Awards: Best Continuing Series


We roll on with a look at the nominees for Best Continuing Series…
the_boys_ennis.pngThe Boys
by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson

Have you ever wondered how we would deal with superheros if they actually existed? How would we balance their power? How would we keep them in check? The Boys is Garth Ennis‘s answer to those questions. The Boys are Billy Butcher, Wee Hughie, Mother’s Milk, The Frenchman, and The Female; they’re a CIA-backed team meant to keep superheros in check…and occasionally to bump one or two off. Ennis is a favorite of mine and this series is rife dark humor and themes and is just twisted enough to be fun without plunging over the top.
We’ll see if it has the stuff to win this category, something tells me that of the bunch, this is your dark horse (no offense to Dark Horse), but trust the strength of the nomination, this title is worthy.

buffy_joss_whedon.pngBuffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8 by Joss Whedon, Brian K.
Vaughan, Georges Jeanty, and Andy Owens
(Dark Horse)

I’ll admit it, I’m a Joss Whedon fan. I was brought into the fold with Firefly and then had to immerse myself with the rest of his canon. Buffy was a bit of a harder series for me to get into, and in truth the show ran hot and cold with me, and yet, when I heard that Whedon would be launching Buffy as a comic, well, I had to give it a shot.
Picking up where the television show left off, BtVS Season 8 finds our favorite vampire slayers a little bit older, but also more organized (now they have an arsenal of weapons, both human and otherwise, at their disposal), and still going after the undead with the same ferocity we know and love. There have been guest writers like Brian K. Vaughan and former Buffy TV writer Drew Goddard, among others. The scope here is larger too, no longer confined to stories that can be easily filmed for a television series, Whedon and crew can let their stories soar as high and far as their imaginations can take them. Perhaps that’s why this incarnation of Buffy feels so much more alive to me. Anyway, it’s a fun romp through the Buffy/Whedon universe.

urasawa_monster.pngNaoki Urasawa’s Monster
by Naoki Urasawa

Full disclosure here: This is not a title I’m familiar with, so I’m just presenting a straight overview.
According to Viz Media, who publishes this series, Monster began as a shorter work of manga, appearing in Shogakukan‘s Big Comic Original. It tells the story of surgeon Dr. Kenzo Tenma, who risks everything he has worked for to save the life of a doomed young boy. But then an odd string of murders leads to Dr. Tenma becoming the primary suspect. Sounds like a pretty good read, if you ask me.

the_spirit_darwyn.pngThe Spirit
by Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone

Talk about a reboot; Darwyn Cooke (artwork here and an interview here)and J. Bone (and also here team up to re-introduce Will Eisner’s classic character, The Spirit, to the comic mainstream.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the story, here it is in a nutshell: The Spirit was once police officer, Denny Colt, before he was killed (or stuck in suspended animation) by archvillain Dr. Cobra. But Denny comes back from the dead and vows to continue fighting crime as The Spirit. Cooke stays true the the, uh, spirit of the original and then ramps it up a notch to create what DC calls a “go-for-broke, shoot-the-lights-out collection of crime stories filled with action, adventure, [and] humor…”
As can be expected, the series has been updated to fit into today’s world: Ebony White no longer appears as a caricature (thank goodness) but as a streetwise kid and, of course, the internet is present and even plays into a storyline or two. Welcome back, Spirit.

y_last_man.pngY: The Last Man
by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan,
Jr. (Vertigo/DC)

C’mon, we’ve all heard it one way or the other, right? “Not if you were the last man on Earth!” Well, in Brian K. Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man, Yorick Brown becomes just that after a super virus kills off all the other males of the species. But Yorick’s life isn’t suddenly filled with possibilities, in fact, it seems like his life is suddenly under constant attack. His only real friend is his pet monkey, Ampersand, who happens to be the only other male thing in existence. Now Yorick, aided by Agent 355 from a mysterious Government agency, is trying to get in touch with his girlfriend, Beth, who was on a research trip to Australia at the time the plague hit, dodging capture by the Militant Anti-Male group The Daughters of the Amazon, with whom his sister Hero has joined ranks, while also trying to help discover the cause of what caused the virus in the first place.
I’ve been reading this series for quite some time now, though perhaps at a more relaxed pace than others, and love the story. Brian K. Vaughan is one of the better creative minds writing in comics today and Pia Guerra‘s crisp artwork will cause you to linger on a page just to soak in the pictures.
Still not sure? Why don’t you read Issue #1, it’s free after all. You can download it by clicking here (Courtesy of Vertigo/DC comics).