Mariko Tamaki named best writer at Eisner Awards

Her graphic novel Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O'Connell, also won best book for teens.
Mariko Tamaki is a Canadian comic creator. (Shawnee Custalow)

Canadian writer Mariko Tamaki was named the best writer at the 2020 Eisner Awards.

The U.S. prizes recognize the best in comic books and graphic novels. The books must be published in the U.S. but nominated creators are from all over the world. The winners are chosen through voting by comics industry professionals.

Tamaki writes Harley Quinn, Supergirl and Wonder Woman for DC and Archie for Archie Comics and has written several graphic novels. She has also written She-Hulk for Marvel.

"Getting to write for other companies and writing superhero stories is a pretty awesome job. I love taking existing characters and creating new stories for them," Tamaki told CBC Books in 2019.

She is also launching a literary imprint called Surely Books in 2021. It will focus on publishing comics by LGBTQ creators.

Tamaki also won the category for best book for teens alongside American illustrator Rosemary Valero-O'Connell for their graphic novel Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me is about a high school student named Freddy and her frustrating on-again, off-again relationship with a popular girl named Laura Dean. It previously won the 2019 Harvey Award for best young adult book.

Tamaki's other graphic novels include Skim and This One Summer, both created with her cousin Jillian Tamaki. 

Valero-O'Connell won best penciller/inker for her work on Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me.

Other Canadian winners include Chip Zdarsky and Jason Loo, who won best digital comic for Afterlift, and Darcy Van Poelgeest, who won best limited series for Little Bird, which he creates with Ian Bertram.

The complete list of winners is below.

  • Best short story: Hot Comb by Ebony Flowers
  • Best single issue/one-shot: Our Favorite Thing Is My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris
  • Best continuing series: Bitter Root by David Walker
  • Best limited series: Little Bird by Darcy Van Poelgeest, illustrated by Ian Bertram 
  • Best new series: Invisible Kingdom by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Christian Ward 
  • Best publication for early readers: Comics: Easy as ABC by Ivan Brunetti 
  • Best publication for kids: Guts by Raina Telgemeier 
  • Best publication for teens: Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O'Connell
  • Best humour publication: The Way of the Househusband, vol. 1 by Kousuke Oono, translated by Sheldon Drzka
  • Best anthology: Drawing Power: Women's Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival edited by Diane Noomin
  • Best reality-based work: They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott, illustrated by Harmony Becker
  • Best graphic album, new: Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden
  • Best graphic album, reprint: LaGuardia by Nnedi Okorafor, illustrated by Tana Ford
  • Best adaptation from another medium: Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman, illustrated Colleen Doran
  • Best U.S. edition of international material: The House by Paco Roca, translated by Andrea Rosenberg
  • Best U.S. edition of international material, Asia (tie): Cats of the Louvre by Taiyo Matsumoto, translated by Michael Arias and Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama, translated by Stephen Kohler (Kodansha)
  • Best archival collection/projects, strips: Krazy Kat: The Complete Color Sundays by George Herriman, edited by Alexander Braun
  • Best archival collection/project, comic books: Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo: The Complete Grasscutter Artist Select by Stan Sakai, edited by Scott Dunbier 
  • Best writer: Mariko Tamaki for multiple projects
  • Best writer/artist: Raina Telgemeier for Guts
  • Best penciller/inker or penciller or penciller/inker team: Rosemary Valero-O'Connell for Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me
  • Best painter/digital artist: Christian Ward for Invisible Kingdom
  • Best cover artist: Emma Rios for Pretty Deadly 
  • Best colouring: Dave Stewart for multiple projects
  • Best lettering: Stan Sakai for Usagi Yojimbo 
  • Best comics-related periodical/journalism: Women Write About Comics, edited by Nola Pfau and Wendy Browne
  • Best comics-related book: Making Comics by Lynda Barry 
  • Best academic/scholarly work: EC Comics: Race, Shock, and Social Protest by Qiana Whitted 
  • Best publication design: Making Comics designed by Lynda Barry
  • Best digital comic: Afterlift by Chip Zdarsky and Jason Loo
  • Best webcomic: Fried Rice Comic by Erica Eng



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