One of the particular features of working in the academic environment is that individual scholars’ contributions to their fields’ bodies of knowledge are often recognized directly via various kinds of “best publication” awards – usually a combination of an actual cash award, of course recognition, and, perhaps most importantly, a line on the CV!
This practice is common across disciplines and subject areas. In 2011, for example, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations presented its Stuart L. Bernath Scholarly Article Prize – “$1,000…awarded annually to the author of a distinguished article appearing in a scholarly journal or edited book, on any topic in United States foreign relations”, to Andrew McKevitt, for his article “You are not alone!”: Anime and the globalizing of America. Continue reading
Recently, the judging panel for the 2016 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, which will be presented in July at Comic-Con International: San Diego and serve to “[highlight] the best publications and creators in comics and graphic novels” from around the world announced this year’s slate of nominees. As has been the case for years now, manga titles are only honored in the Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia category. But, for the first time, a book on Japanese comics has received a Best Scholarly/Academic Work nomination.
Boys Love Manga and Beyond: History, Culture, and Community in Japan is published by the University Press of Mississippi – which has already contributed significantly to anime/manga studies with God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post World War II Manga (2009) and Japanese Animation: East Asian Perspectives (2013). It has been particularly active in comics studies in general – in fact, every year since the Eisners first introduced an award category for academic books on comics in 2012, at least one of their titles has received a nomination.
Earlier this week, Comic-Con International announced the full list of nominees for this year’s Eisner Awards, the major form of recognition of the year’s best comics (widely defined), comics artists and creators, and publications related to comics – including periodicals, general interest books, and academic/scholarly works. Five Japanese comics received nominations in the Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia category (the 1939-1944 and 1944-1953 volumes of Shigeru Mizuki’s Showa: A History of Japan both received a nomination, so the total number in the category can be six), and Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It is a nominee in the Anthology category.
Unlike last year, none of the five books nominated for the Best Scholarly/Academic Work award deal with manga. But, Comics Through Time: A History of Icons, Idols and Ideas is nominated as a Best Comics-Related Work. A comprehensive encyclopedia on a wide range of topics dealing with comics, it focuses primarily on American comic books, but acknowledges that “comics” as a term encompasses a wide variety of approaches and forms. A work of this kind, one that strives to be comprehensive, simply cannot ignore Japanese comics – and so, among the entries in it are several on manga, individual manga titles, and on Osamu Tezuka. Continue reading
Over two posts earlier this year, I discussed the list of nominees in the “Best Scholarly/Academic Work” category for the 2014 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards – two essay collections with chapters on manga, and the International Journal of Comic Art, which has consistently published articles on various topics related to Japanese comics. The 2014 Eisners were announced and presented on July 25 at a San Diego Comic Con ceremony. The title selected to receive the Best Scholarly/Academic Work Eisner was Black Comics: The Politics of Race and Representation (2013, Bloomsbury Academic). The book is an “analytic history of the diverse contributions of Black artists to the medium of comics” – and, as I mentioned when I first found out about it, its scope turns out to include one title that definitely fits under the definition of manga – a comic that is published in Japanese and for a Japanese audience. The comic in question is Felipe Smith’s Peepo Choo, written by a non-Japanese author, but published first in the Japanese magazine Morning 2, and then translated by the author himself for U.S. publication. Casey Brienza (City University London), who has rapidly risen to be one of the most prominent scholars of manga and the manga industry outside Japan discusses it in the chapter ‘Beyond B&W: The global manga of Felipe Smith’. Continue reading