There will never be too many prizes

April 8, 2009

You know, I sometimes think I should just start a category called “I agree with Simon Jones.” This time around, he’s considering the recently announced Eisner Award nominations and the relative dearth of manga in the mix.

“Awards shows are about promoting industry and rewarding creativity, more than being the final word on objective quality with a clause about equal time. If we all want to see more manga being recognized, then the impetus is on manga industry pros and fans to create and fund our own respectable manga award. Granted, the track record on that front isn’t sterling…”

I might only add that award shows, at their most cover-the-eyes delightful, are also about mortifying dance numbers, but other than that, his sentiments did effectively preempt what would probably have been a rather half-hearted bit of snark on this year’s roster.

Okay, so the slate for Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Japan is safe as houses. It’s also unimpeachable, and I’m really happy that the committee picked Dororo instead of Black Jack for its perennial Tezuka slot. (I love Black Jack, don’t get me wrong, but I really thought Dororo just sang.) Based on the books that I’ve read and what I’ve heard of the rest, the Best Publication for Teens/Tweens slate is pretty much unimpeachable as well. (Could I fill a slate of Best U.S. Edition of International Material for Teens/Tweens–Japan? Good grief, how many slots do I have to work with?)

But really, it’s well past time there was some kind of serious, sustained annual awards program for manga. I think Deb Aoki’s polls of the best new manga titles of 2008 would be an outstanding foundation for such a program. If she can be persuaded to keep doing it year after year, they could (with periodic tweaking) really evolve into something enduring.