Eisner Awards FAQ

What are the Eisner Awards?

The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards are considered the “Oscars” of the comics world. Named for the pioneering comics creator and graphic novelist Will Eisner, the awards are given out in more than two dozen categories during a ceremony each year at Comic-Con International: San Diego.

How are the nominees selected?

The nominees in each category are chosen by a blue-ribbon panel of judges who meet in San Diego in the spring of each year.

Who selects the judges, and on what basis?

The judging panel, which changes each year, consists of five or six people representing various aspects of the comics industry. Usually included are a comics creator, a critic/reviewer, a graphic novel librarian, a comics retailer, a scholar, and a member of the Comic-Con organizing committee. The judges are selected by a special awards committee within Comic-Con International. This committee is open to input from a variety of sources.

How can works be submitted for consideration by the judges?

In early January a Call for Entries is issued that specifies the process for submission and lists the expected categories. The Call for Entries is available in PDF form on the Eisner Awards webpage and is also sent out via mail and email to publishers.

What are the basic qualifications for submission?

Printed works must have been distributed in the United States between January 1 and December 31 of the previous year. Online material must have been first published in that same time period.

Who can submit material for consideration?

Publishers are invited to submit up to five eligible nominees in each category. Creators who self-publish their works or who have reason to believe their publisher is not submitting their work can also send in nominations.

Do I have to send multiple copies of everything being submitted?

No, only one copy of each comic or book is needed, no matter how many categories it is being submitted for. For online material, providing appropriate URLs is a must, but printouts can also be helpful for the judges.

What if I submit something in the wrong category?

Publishers/creators can suggest the categories for their submissions, but the judges have the discretion to determine the most appropriate categories. Each year, some categories are added and others are combined or dropped, so the final category list will reflect the publishing patterns of that year.

Are works published outside the U.S. eligible?

They are if they were distributed in the United States. These works are eligible in all of the regular categories as well as in the specific categories of Best U.S. Edition of International Material.

What qualifies to be a digital comic or webcomic?

For the Best Digital Comic category, works must be longform—that is, comparable to comic books or graphic novels in storytelling or length. Webcomics similar to daily newspaper strips, for example, would not be eligible. Digital comics should have a unique URL, be part of a webcomics site, or otherwise stand alone (not be part of a blog, for instance).

Who votes for the Eisner Awards, and how are votes cast?

Voting is open to comic book/graphic novel/webcomic creators (writers, artists, cartoonists, pencillers, inkers, letterers, colorists, translators); all nominees in any category; comic book/graphic novel publishers and editors; comics historians and educators; graphic novel librarians; and owners and managers of comic book specialty retail stores. Once the nominees have been chosen (usually in May), voting opens on the online ballot site, and registered voters are able to cast their ballots.

Where and when are the winners announced?

The winners are announced in a gala ceremony at Comic-Con International: San Diego. The awards ceremony is held on the Friday night of Comic-Con in the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

What does it cost to attend the Awards ceremony?

The ceremony is open to anyone with a Comic-Con four-day or Friday badge. There is also a special seating area for those with Comic-Con Professional badges.

If I am a nominee, do I get preferred seating?

Yes, all nominees, presenters, sponsors, and special guests have VIP seating in the front area of the ballroom. All nominees who wish to attend the ceremony should contact Eisner Awards administrator Jackie Estrada in advance of Comic-Con to reserve VIP seats.

How can my company become a sponsor for the awards?

Sponsorships are available to any company that would like to support the Eisner Awards program, with the exception of publishers whose works are eligible for nomination. Sponsorship information can be obtained from Eisner Awards administrator Jackie Estrada by emailing: jackie@comic-con.org

What’s it like to attend the Awards ceremony?

You’ll get a souvenir program and a complimentary copy of a Will Eisner graphic novel as you enter the ballroom on Friday night. During the course of the evening you can expect to see top creators from the comics industry as well as comics-related celebrities onstage to announce the nominees in each category and hand out the trophies to the winners. The onstage festivities and nominated works are projected on giant screens in the beautiful Indigo Ballroom. Be sure to hold onto your program so that you can keep notes on titles that pique your interest. In addition to the Eisner Awards, you’ll see presentations of the Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award, the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award, the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, and the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing. No-host bars are available both inside and outside the ballroom area, and at the conclusion of the awards, you can mingle with the greats of the comics industry at the afterparty in the ballroom foyer.

Is there somewhere I can see the nominees besides at the ceremony?

All the nominated works are on display in the Art Show, in the Sails Pavilion of the Convention Center.