There are many, many places this column could start this week. The headliners are obvious, and that’s probably where I should start. Too bad. I’m starting with things I like, because the parts loaded with consternation were talked about plenty before I got here. Let’s get into the week that was by exploring ten things I liked or didn’t like from the week of comics, led by an Immortal resurrection.
1. Thor, Getting Immortal
When writer Al Ewing last appeared on Off Panel, he talked about how he wanted to do another 50 issue run, and how he’d like to approach it similarly as Immortal Hulk, at least in the sense that it was filled with big swings. He wanted to get another crack at it, because he wanted to see if he could get it perfectly right this time. When he said all that, my read on it was it was both a good goal and, because of how he delivered it, something that might have been on the horizon already.
Well, it turns out was. Al Ewing will be writing the upcoming The Immortal Thor, a deliberate callback to the title of Ewing’s perhaps most beloved work, with artist Martín Cóccolo and colorist Matthew Wilson joining him on the book. I’d heard about this book a little bit ago, but word arrived earlier than expected seemingly, as a leak from something revealed it to the world earlier this week, before Polygon officially announced it yesterday (this was a common theme of the week). And that Polygon announcement finds Ewing emphasizing similar messaging as he did in our chat on Off Panel, a promise of big swings, big ideas, and perhaps even some true Immortality for the character.
This is a welcome turn. Ewing is, in my opinion, the strongest writer currently working at Marvel, and has been for a little while now. Immortal Hulk was a bit of an unexpected hit, a up-and-coming writer tackling a somewhat depressed stock in the moment. This is peak of his powers Ewing defining a character that has already had a defining run in the past decade, and I say this with certainty: this comic is going to rule. Ewing being on the book ensures that. Cóccolo being colored by Wilson ensures that. Alex Ross following his covers of Immortal Hulk with covers here…well, that doesn’t ensure its quality, but it’s a nice plus. I’m calling my shot: this big swing will be a home run when it hits in August.
(Related but unrelated: Quick shouts to Saladin Ahmed and Aaron Kuder on being the new Daredevil team and Kyle Starks for writing a Pet Avengers book. I don’t have big thoughts on those announcements besides…thumbs up!)
2. The Eisner Noms, Hitting
The Eisner nominations are out!
As per usual for the event that is often called the comic Oscars by those looking for a quick shorthand, I don’t have a ton to add about the award nominations, if only because there’s only so much you can say beyond “Good job with this award” or “I sure would have preferred to see this (insert person or comic here) nominated.” Art is subjective, and these awards are decided by a small group of judges who cannot possibly be expected to read everything, even though they assuredly tried. But the shortest possible version of this point is this: good job by the judges, and good job by everyone nominated.
But because I am me, the short version is not enough. Here’s a quick rundown of thoughts:
- Zoe Thorogood leading everyone in nominations with five feels like an appropriate recognition of talent, so heck yes
- Daniel Warren Johnson’s Do a Powerbomb! earning a single nomination and it being in Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17) of all categories is bewildering, but maybe that’s what Image/DWJ submitted it for? That was a strange one
- I don’t totally understand how some multi-category elements work. For example, when I first looked through the list, I was shocked to see that Kate Beaton’s Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands was not nominated in the Best Graphic Album—New category. But then I noticed it was in Best Graphic Memoir, which makes sense, but does it qualify in both? Per the Eisner rules, “the same item or person can be submitted in more than one category,” but whether or not something ends up having multiple nominations across categories might be a more subjective idea for the judges to decide
- Speaking of Best Graphic Memoir: unsurprisingly given the year in autobio comics, there was a stacked lineup in that category. Thorogood versus Beaton is going to be a battle.
- Image and DC led the way for the most nominations, but I was surprised by how DC/Marvel heavy it was in the top categories.
- The Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism category was interesting, if only because the nominees included the entirety of the work of two ongoing print publications, one digital publication, a single issue of a print publication, and the total work of a single journalist across multiple publications. It seems as if pretty much anything goes there!