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The Eisner Awards Were Marred by Insulting and Sexist Comments From Presenters

Old men + alcohol + a microphone = an awkward time.

The Vision comic

San Diego Comic Con has exploded from its humble origins as the Golden State Comic Book Convention in 1970 to a massive multimedia promotional event for film, television, video games, and oh yeah, comics. The once-small nerd con is now a behemoth of publicity where studios spend untold amounts of money promoting their latest projects on what is now a global stage.

But despite the three-ring circus of it all, SDCC is still a place where comics are celebrated, most notably at the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, which celebrates the achievements of comic and graphic novels. It’s the Oscars for comics, and still a major draw at the convention. But this year’s event was featured several insulting and upsetting comments from presenters, as noted by The Hollywood Reporter:

“Loser: The Eisner Awards

It’s not the winners of this year’s Will Eisner Comic Awards (i.e. the Oscars for comics) that were the problem; it’s that the day after the awards were given out, those who attended were talking more about what was wrong with the ceremony than who won any category. Complaints included an ill-considered joke about ICE agents coming for MAD Magazine cartoonist Sergio Aragones, multiple presenters complaining about the difficulty they had with nominees’ names and commentary about how easy the convention has to be for hot girls. Perhaps it’s time for a rethink before next year’s awards?”

Sexist and racist jokes have no place at any awards event, especially in 2019. And mispronouncing names is a particular pet peeve. presenters have one job: reading names off of a card. Surely there were other comic luminaries available to present who wouldn’t insult the nominees. Many fans took to social media to complain about the event, which apparently has a history of awkward and uncomfortable comments:

It’s a frustrating but unsurprising turn of events that undercuts the progressive, inclusive comics that won awards. There were some terrific, passionate speeches from winners like Desiree Rodriguez, who accepted the award for Best Anthology for Lion Forge’s Puerto Rico Strong.

Big winners of the night included Tom King, who won awards for Best Writer (Batman, Mister Miracle, Heroes in Crisis, Swamp Thing Winter Special), Best Limited Series (Mister Miracle), Best Short Story (“The Talk of the Saints” Swamp Thing Winter Special), and Best Graphic Album—Reprint (The Vision).

John Allison, Max Sarin and Julia Madrigal’s Giant Days took home Best Continuing Series and Best Humor Publication, and Jen Wang won Best Writer/Artist and Best Publication for Teens (ages 13–17), for her genderqueer graphic novel The Prince and the Dressmaker.

Hopefully, the Eisners can course-correct next year and deliver an awards show worthy of its nominees.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: Eisner winner The Vision by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, and Michael Walsh, Marvel Comics)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.