THEY CALLED US ENEMY and USAGI YOJIMBO Win at 32nd Annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards

The Industry Recognizes and Celebrates the Talent and Artistry of George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, Harmony Becker, Stan Sakai, Scott Dunbier, and Shawn Lee

SAN DIEGO, CA (July 25, 2020) – At last night’s Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards ceremony, Usagi Yojimbo from IDW Publishing and They Called Us Enemy from IDW imprint Top Shelf Productions received three coveted Eisners, the highest honor in the comics community as voted upon by professional peers.

Left to Right: Steven Scott, Harmony Becker, George Takei, Justin Eisinger.

Winner in the category of “Best Reality-Based Work”, the heartfelt graphic memoir They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker presents Takei’s firsthand account of a childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II.

“What a tremendous honor to be recognized by our peers in the comics industry with this Eisner Award for They Called Us Enemy,” say the creators in a joint statement. “We offer our deep thanks to the judges who nominated this book and everyone that voted. We also owe a special thanks to all the readers, librarians, educators, and shopkeepers that have embraced this story and spread the word. Because of you, the story of the wrongful imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II will be more widely known by future generations, and in that education there is hope for a brighter tomorrow.”

“In times of crisis, it can be tempting to consider books ‘nonessential,’ but that’s when it’s most essential to grapple with our history and our values, and to understand how the past still lives with us in the present,” says Top Shelf editor Leigh Walton. “As a young man, George Takei could find nothing in his school textbooks about his family’s imprisonment — now, his Eisner-winning graphic memoir is rapidly becoming adopted as a school text. It’s an honor to join the comics community in celebrating this team’s profound and beautiful achievement.”

Stan Sakai

Usagi Yojimbo, the beloved epic fantasy by Stan Sakai, claimed two Eisner Awards: Sakai as “Best Letterer” for his work on the monthly full-color Usagi Yojimbo comic book series, and “Best Archival Collection/Project — Comic Books” for Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo: Grasscutter Artist Select, a prestige hardcover collecting the seminal tales of the eponymous ronin hero, edited by IDW’s Scott Dunbier.

In response to the “Best Letterer” category win, Sakai says, “Lettering is usually an unrecognized part of the comic creation process, so this award is especially significant. I still do traditional hand lettering as I feel it gives a unique warmth to the storytelling.”

For the “Best Archival Collection/Project — Comic Books” award, Sakai says, “I’m so happy to receive this Eisner Award. Scott Dunbier and the team at IDW did an incredible job. This is a book I am very proud of. Thank you.”

Grasscutter Artist Select editor Scott Dunbier adds, “It’s an honor to receive this award. I would like to thank Shawn Lee for his inspired design and, of course, the maestro himself, Stan Sakai, whose work is a true inspiration.”

“Stan Sakai is a legend,” says IDW Editor-In-Chief John Barber. “We couldn’t be happier to have Usagi Yojimbo here at IDW, to see Stan’s extraordinary storytelling work — lettering included — recognized by the Eisner judges, and to witness the work continuing to inspire readers around the world!”

The 2020 Eisner Award judges recognized IDW Publishing and its imprints, Artist’s Editions, EuroComics, Library of American Comics, Sunday Press, Top Shelf, and Yoe Books, with a combined fifteen nods this year (fourteen nominations and one shared nomination), the most nominations for a publisher this year.

IDW Publishing and Top Shelf Productions would like to thank the judges and voters for this year’s awards and are honored to be included among such stellar competition.

They Called Us Enemy
Usagi Yojimbo
Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo: Grasscutter Artist Select

For Further Reading

Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 1: Bunraku and Other Stories
FC  •  $19.99 US / $25.99 CAN  •  ISBN 978-1-68405-657-6

Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo: Grasscutter Artist Select
BW  •  $150.00 US / $195.00 CAN  •   ISBN 978-1-68405-660-6
*Available Direct Exclusively from IDW Publishing

They Called Us Enemy
BW  •  $19.99 US / $25.99 CAN  •   ISBN 978-1-60309-450-4

Nos llamaron Enemigo (They Called Us Enemy Spanish Ed.)
BW  •  $19.99 US / $25.99 CAN  •   ISBN 978-1-60309-483-2

They Called Us Enemy Expanded Ed.
BW  •  $29.99 US / $39.99 CAN  •   ISBN 978-1-60309-470-2