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36 Great Manga Missed by the Eisner Awards

Critics' Choices for Best "Not-Nominated But Still Great" Manga

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Sure, there were some great manga nominated for an Eisner award in 2009 but what about the ones that didn't get the nod from the nominating committee? See the year's best manga that got missed by the Eisner Awards, but are still worth your money and attention, as recommended by some of the web's top bloggers, critics, and comics creators.

For fun, I noted the possible Eisner categories that these titles could have ran in, in addition to the manga-centric Best U.S. Edition of International Material - Japan category.

See the seven manga nominated for the 2009 Eisner Awards, and the 2008 and 2007 nominees.

1. Disappearance Diary - 4 nominations

Disappearance Diary (Shissou Nikki)  by Hideo Azuma published by Fanfare / Ponent Mon
© Hideo Azuma

Author and Artist: Hideo Azuma
Publisher: Fanfare - Ponent Mon
Eisner Categories: Best Reality-Based Work, Best Graphic Album - New

"Disappearance Diary chronicles three periods of Azuma's life when he dropped out of his life as a successful manga-ka. He becomes homeless, he works for the gas company, and he's hospitalized for his alcoholism. It's the least self-justifying autobiography I've ever seen; he just tells what happened instead of trying to enoble it."
- David Welsh, Precocious Curmudgeon and The Comics Reporter

"Good call on Disappearance Diary. That one really had Eisner-nominee all over it."
- Todd Ciolek, Anime Insider, Anime News Network

"No Disappearance Diary? Doesn't make sense."
- Ryan Sands, Same Hat! Same Hat!

2. Emma - 4 nominations

Emma Volume 1 by Kaoru Mori, published by CMX Manga / Enterbrain Inc.
© Kaoru Mori / Enterbrain, Inc.

Author and Artist: Kaoru Mori
Publisher: CMX Manga
Eisner Categories: Best Writer/Artist, Best Continuing Series

"A beautifully drawn, elegantly told story of a maid, a young man of the gentry and their class-crossing romance in Victorian England."
- Deb Aoki, About.com Manga

"Emma for Best Continuing Series, Best Everything!"
- Eva Volin, No Flying No Tights, Good Comics for Kids, and ICv2 Guide to Manga

"Impeccably researched with quality art and very endearing storytelling. You can tell Mori-sensei dearly loves this era."
-Audra Furuichi, webcomic artist and co-creator of nemu*nemu

3. Real - 4 nominations

Real Volume 1 by Takehiko Inoue, a seinen manga series published by VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
© I.T. Planning, Inc.

Author and Artist: Takehiko Inoue
Publisher: VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
Eisner Categories: Best Writer/Artist, Best New Series

"A subtle, masterfully told story about young men who maintain their passion for basketball, despite being wheelchair-bound."
- Deb Aoki, About.com Manga

"Are you putting Real in the Best Edition of International Material - Japan or are you putting Takehiko Inoue in the Best Writer/Artist category? Not that Real isn't great, but I think that one highlights what Inoue accomplishes."
- David Welsh, Precocious Curmudgeon and The Comics Reporter

"Good call on Real, for its storytelling and artistry of presentation. That's another pairing of artist and story."
- Robin Brenner, No Flying No Tights

4. Sand Chronicles - 4 nominations

Sand Chronicles Volume 1 by Hinako Ashihara, a shojo manga published by Shojo Beat / VIZ Media
© Hinako ASHIHARA / Shogakukan Inc.

Author and Artist: Hinako Ashihara
Publisher: Shojo Beat / VIZ Media
Eisner Categories: Best New Series, Best Publication for Teens / Tweens

"Ashihara captures both the little moments and the big explosions of growing up and young love beautifully, and her character development is outstanding. Honestly, I was a little shocked when it didn't get a place in the Best Publication for Teens/Tweens category."
- David Welsh, Precocious Curmudgeon, The Comics Reporter

"An excellent shojo soap opera which begins in the present and, in flashback, spans several years of the heroine's life. Who will she end up with? For once, good question."
- Jason Thompson, Otaku USA and The Complete Guide to Manga

5. High School Debut - 3 nominations

High School Debut Volume 1 by Kazune Kawahara, a shojo manga published by Shojo Beat / VIZ Media
© 2003 by Kazune Kawahara / SHUEISHA Inc.

Author and Artist: Kazune Kawahara
Publisher: Shojo Beat / VIZ Media
Eisner Categories: Best New Series, Best Comics for Teens / Tweens

"I'm going to go out on a limb and say that High School Debut should have received an Eisner nomination. I slept on this license for all of 2008, now that I've read it, I'm a convert."
- Kai-Ming Cha, Publishers Weekly Comics Week

"High School Debut is by far, the most enjoyable new shojo manga series I read in 2008, period. It's funny, touching and endlessly delightful."
- Deb Aoki, About.com Manga

6. Vagabond - 3 nominations

Vagabond - VIZ Big Volume 1 by Takehiko Inoue from VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
© 1998-2007 I.T. Planning, Inc.

Author and Artist: Takehiko Inoue
Publisher: VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
Eisner Categories: Best Writer/Artist, Best Continuing Series

"An asset particular to manga is the ability to halt in a progression of images. Encouraged by the artist, the reader can stop at a panel and dwell in a moment of time. Retelling the fictionalized biography of Miyamoto Musashi, Inoue tells the story of men of great talent who express themselves through lethal weapons. Inoue uses this time dilation to get into the heads of these great minds as they test themselves in deadly competition."
- Scott Green, Ain't It Cool News Anime

"Still the best samurai manga I’ve ever read, and gorgeous just to look at."
- Todd Ciolek, Anime News Network, Anime Insider

7. xxxHolic - 3 nominations

xxxHolic Volume 1
@copy; CLAMP / KODANSHA

Author and Artist: CLAMP
Publisher: Del Rey Manga
Eisner Categories: Best Penciller/Inker Team, Best Continuing Series

"xxxHoLiC is the only comic I would call equal to the artwork of Dr. Strange. It’s the details that bring to life the mystical air of the manga. I confess to being completely emotionally invested in the series. CLAMP has created wonderful characters and a rich fascinating universe."
- Ed Sizemore, Comics Worth Reading

"xxxHolic is thoughtful, funny, mysterious, deeply philosophical, and insanely beautiful, with a story that provides fresh insights and surprises with each new volume. It *did* actually exceed my expectations in 2008, but somehow it always does!"
- Melinda Beasi, Pop Culture Shock

8. Bat Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan - 2 Nominations

Softcover edition of Bat Manga! by Chip Kidd, Geoff Spear, Saul Ferris - Pantheon Books
© DC Comics / Chip Kidd / Pantheon Books

Authors and Artists: Chip Kidd, Saul Ferris, Geoff Spear, Jiro Kuwata
Publisher: Pantheon
Eisner Categories: Best Archival Collection / Project - Comic Books, Best Comics-Related Book, Best Publication Design

"While controversies regarding attribution and presentation made Bat-Manga! a contentious subject, it offered readers a snapshot of something rarely seem by anyone other than collectors. Beyond presenting a time capsule of nearly-lost ephemera, Bat-Manga's own American re-interpretation of a Japanese reinterpretation of American pop culture represents a fascinating entry in the story of manga in America."
- Scott Green, Ain't It Cool News Anime

9. Black Jack - 2 nominations

Black Jack Volume 1 by Osamu Tezuka, a medical manga graphic novel published by  Vertical Inc.
© Tezuka Productions

Author and Artist: Osamu Tezuka
Publisher: Vertical
Eisner Categories: Best Graphic Album- Reprint, Best Archival Collection / Project - Comic Books, Best Publication Design

"Eisner voters have already proven their love for the godfather of manga -- so why not this medical manga series, which is one of his best?"
- Deb Aoki, About.com Manga

"As far as Black Jack, I would just add that Vertical has done a stunning job with both cover design and reproduction giving us a beautiful book showcasing Tezuka's wonderful art and storytelling."
- Ed Sizemore, Comics Worth Reading

10. Me and the Devil Blues - 2 nominations

Me and the Devil Blues Volume 1 by Akira Hiramoto from Del Rey Manga
Me and the Devil Blues © 2005 Akira Hiramoto/KODANSHA LTD. All rights reserved.

Author and Artist: Akira Hiramoto
Publisher: Del Rey Manga
Eisner Categories: Best Writer/Artist, Best New Series, Best Reality-Based Work

"An enticingly bizarre biography of an equally enigmatic blues figure. There’s really nothing else like it in comics."
- Todd Ciolek, Anime Insider, Anime News Network

"A fantastically original vision of the life of American blues legend Robert Johnson that's enhanced by moody, compelling artwork, Me and the Devil Blues takes readers to a world that is rarely seen in manga: the segregated deep South of the 1930's."
- Deb Aoki, About.com Manga

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