Top Secret

The sun is barely up and my body refuses to go back to sleep. I have my second vaccine jab in a mere four hours time and my internal alarm clock is not taking any chances. I blearily switch on my phone and check my e-mail. I have one message subtitled top secret.

The secret is that The Book Tour is nominated for an Eisner award (the Oscars of comics, in case you were wondering) for Best Graphic Album. Staring at the ceiling my thoughts turn to what I will wear to the ceremony. Louis Vuitton? Gucci? Primark? I don’t own a tie, or a shirt for that matter, so will have to order one of those witty long sleeved t-shirts with a bow tie printed at the neck.

Four hours later and I am absurdly early to the health centre. Despite choosing to cycle there the journey took less time than by car. Indoors the queue snakes between an obstacle course of chairs. I have time to worry about my speech. Despite being nominated a few times for awards I haven’t won anything for my art since a colouring in contest at junior school. A travesty on par with the Academy’s snubbing of Scorcese and the Booker’s failing to award Beryl Bainbridge.

Back in 2000 I attended the ceremony when I was nominated for an Eisner. I sat at the table with my publisher, saw my name appear up on the screen and received a round of polite applause. There was no need to worry about falling off stage or forgetting to thank my wife/parents/editor/publisher/agent/preferred deity as I was in a category with both Frank Miller and Alan Moore. I wasn’t going to win so I only had to blush modestly and then applaud From Hell’s success.

In the health centre I am directed to a consultation room. There is some concern as the nurse cannot find me on the list. She flips between sheets of printouts. There is no Henry Watson. I refrain from shouting, “Don’t you know who I am?”

I bet this never happens to Eisner winner Alan Moore.

My true identity is eventually confirmed and I am jabbed and exited without the customary warning to wait fifteen minutes in the car in case of a serious reaction. I consider cycling back home but compromise by pushing the bike on the pavement. If I do keel over before reaching the front door I hope the obituary will mention my nomination.

Of course I won’t be attending the Eisner awards in person this summer. Not because I don’t own a suit, although that is a big part of it, but for more obvious reasons. It will take place virtually and possibly by livestream. Considering the number of times I have blurted out, “Can you hear me?” on every single Zoom call I have made over the last twelve months and the crucial moments where my camera decides not to work, I still have plenty of fodder for anxiety dreams.

Regardless of the result let me take this opportunity to thank my wife/parents/editor/publisher/agent/preferred deity now for their support. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Seriously, though. Thank you, Phil. I love you.

What are you waiting for? Rush out and buy multiple copies of my Eisner nominated book. It’s really very good.

The Book Tour is in it’s second printing in English. It is also available in Polish and French and will be translated into Spanish next year. Buy an art print of the handsome cover directly from me

Support my award nominated efforts through my store/digital comics/patreon or by leaving a positive review online.

Take care,


Leave a comment