For the first time in the long history of comics in Portugal (the sequential art was introduced here in 1850) a Portuguese album was nominated for the Eisner Awards, the Oscars of the comics industry in the USA that have been around since 1988. Filipe Melo, the writer, and Juan Cavia, the illustrator, produced the beautiful story “Ballad for Sophie”, first published in Portugal in 2020. The book has been published in Brazil, France, Spain, and the United States. The English adaptation, written by Gabriela Soares for Top Shelf Productions, was nominated in four categories: Best Graphic Album – New; Best U.S. Edition of International Material; Best Writer, and Best Painter/Multimedia Artist.
Notwithstanding the remarkable achievement by a Portuguese album produced by Filipe Melo (Portuguese) and Juan Cavia (Argentinian), there were other Portuguese artists to enter the nominations list: Filipe Andrade, Best Penciller and Best Coloring with Inês Amaro. They were involved in the creation of “The Many Deaths of Laila Starr”, written by Ram V and published by BOOM! Studios.
This is the culmination of an amazing decade long period where the quality of the Portuguese comics has increased a lot. But I wonder what other Portuguese albums could have been (or can yet be) nominated if they were translated and published in the United States. This is a purely speculative and subjective exercise based on my judgment of taste:
“Tu és a Mulher da Minha Vida, ela é a Mulher dos Meus Sonhos”, by Pedro Brito and João Fazenda. First published in 2002 (94 pages).
“Beterraba: A Vida Numa Colher”, by Miguel Rocha. First published in 2003, 120 pages.
“Kong the King”, by Osvaldo Medina. First published in 2015 (138 pages).
“Os Regressos”, by Pedro Moura and Marta Teives. First published in 2018 (65 pages). For the short review in the Portuguese Portal, click here.
“Andromeda, or the Long Way Home”, by Zé Burnay. First published in 2018 (128 pages). For the short review in the Portuguese Portal, click here.
“O Homem de Lugar Nenhum, Vol. 1”, by Tiago Barros and Fábio Veras. First published in 2021 (136 pages).
There are many other short stories, albums, webcomics and digital comics I could include here that have, in my humble opinion, the necessary quality to be nominated. Hopefully each comics critic and artist will start doing their own lists and then we can compare notes. One thing about the comics published online is that they do not have to be published in the United States to be considered. You just send it to the director of the contest, and she will share the link with the jury.
The prizes will be delivered in July 2022, at the San Diego Comic Con. Stay tuned!