The 2020 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were handed out on 24 July in an online ceremony.
I did write a little rundown on the awards a while back, with some predictions on the winners. I'm delighted to say that I only got one prediction right.
Yes, I'm delighted.
Let's take a look at the winning manga in each category!
Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia
The nominees for the dedicated manga/manhwa category were:
BEASTARS by Paru Itagaki, translation by Tomo Kimura (VIZ Media)
Cats of the Louvre by Taiyo Matsumoto, translation by Michael Arias (VIZ Media)
Grass by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, translation by Janet Hong (Drawn & Quarterly)
Magic Knight Rayearth 25th Anniversary Edition by CLAMP, translation by Melissa Tanaka (Kodansha)
The Poe Clan by Moto Hagio, translation by Rachel Thorn (Fantagraphics)
Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama, translation by Stephen Kohler (Kodansha)
My prediction: Grass
And the winner is...oh wait, I meant 'winners'. Yes, you heard right: it was a tie this time around.
Rarely have I been happier to be wrong. I had made incorrect assumptions about the kind of manga that wins this prize (tending to be more gritty and realistic), and both Witch Hat Atelier (one of my personal favourites) and Cats of the Louvre are in defiance of this. Both capture a certain kind of enchantment, with the magical fantasy of the former and the magical realism of the latter. Both received excellent treatment with their localizations. Both deserved to win. And they did.
Contrary to my predictions of a big night for manga/manhwa, only one other manga managed to bag a prize. And it came from the most unexpected source of all.
Best Humour Publication
The nominees were:
Anatomy of Authors, by Dave Kellett (SheldonComics.com)
Death Wins a Goldfish, by Brian Rea (Chronicle Books)
Minotäar, by Lissa Treiman (Shortbox)
Sobek, by James Stokoe (Shortbox)
The Way of the Househusband, vol. 1, by Kousuke Oono, translation by Sheldon Drzka (VIZ Media)
Wondermark: Friends You Can Ride On, by David Malki (Wondermark)
My prediction: Sobek
And the winner is...
Kousuke Oono, you absolute madlad. You managed to take a yakuza man, that most Japanese of caricatures, put him in a cute apron, and make him transcend cultural borders. Props to Sheldon Drzka's translation that successfully localized the accented dialogue without losing the appeal of the original. As I mentioned in my earlier article, humour is a culturally subjective thing, and to have a manga take the top spot in this category is a big, big deal. Well done, Tatsu! Now you may go back to chopping fingers...er, fish, I mean.
Well, looks like I got everything wrong, right? But I did make one accurate prediction, and that was that Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran would take home the Best Adaptation from Another Medium prize for Snow, Glass, Apples. So I wasn't entirely useless.
That's all for now. See you again at the next manga awards!