Above: Art from Baltimore: The Plague Ships, by Ben Stenbeck. Copyright Mike Mignola/Dark Horse Comics 2011.
This year's Eisner Award nominations were announced recently, and local comic artist Ben Stenbeck is up for an award for his work collaborating with Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden. The comic series, Baltimore: The Plague Ships, written by Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden with art by Ben Stenbeck, is nominated for Best Limited Series.
Above: More Ben Stenbeck art from Baltimore: The Plague Ships. Copyright Mike Mignola/Dark Horse Comics 2011.
For the uninitiated, the Eisner Awards are basically the Oscars of the comics world, named after legendary cartoonist Will Eisner. Eisner created The Spirit comic series and originated the graphic novel format with his landmark 1978 publication A Contract With God. Established in 1987, the Eisner Awards are presented annually at a ceremony as a part of the Comic-Con International Convention held in San Diego, California. To date, the only New Zealander to win an Eisner Award is Dylan Horrocks, for Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition in 2002. Roger Langridge has also been nominated for two Eisner Awards in the past for his outstanding work on Fred The Clown.
News of the series nomination had taken Stenbeck by surprise. "It was totally unexpected and its a huge honour just to be nominated. As cliche as that might sound, its the honest truth."
Ben had nothing but praise for his collaborators; "Working with Mike and Chris is great. I'm into my third book with Mike and I still get nervous whenever I talk to him over the phone. There's still a little voice in the back of my head yelling 'holy fuck it's Mike Mignola!' over and over. Chris is great to work with, he's very tolerant of me taking liberties with his scripts. And he's writing some fantastic lunatic stuff. I'm half way through the next series Baltimore the Curse Bells that I think comes out in august. And then there's at least a few more (projects) lined up after that. I love doing this stuff, there isn't any other character around that Id rather draw. And I suck at drawing super heroes."
This winners will be announced at the Eisner Awards ceremony taking place on Friday July 22nd, at Comic-Con International in San Diego, California. Baltimore: The Plague Ships will be collected in hardcover from Dark Horse Comics on June 21st.
Here at Earth's End we wish Ben the best of luck! For more on Ben Stenbeck's artwork and past projects, check out his official website HERE.