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UC Graphic Novelist Nominated for Prestigious Eisner Awards

UC graphic novelist Carol Tyler is a finalist for several Eisner Awards, the American comics industry’s highest recognition.

Date: 7/14/2013
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Provided by Carol Tyler
University of Cincinnati graphic novelist Carol Tyler, adjunct professor of fine arts, is recently out with her third graphic novel in a distinguished series that has brought her favorable reviews and coverage in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and  top placement on a list about "cosmic comics."

And now, Tyler’s latest novel, “You’ll Never Know: Soldier’s Heart,” is nominated in four categories for Eisner Awards, the American comics industry’s highest award. It's unusual that a work would receive four nominations, and with these four nominations, the entire series has now been nominated for a total of eight Eisners over the past several years.

"You'll Never Know: Soldier's Heart" is currently nominated in the categories of
Book cover
"You'll Never Know: Soldier's Heart"

  • Best Reality-Based Work
  • Best Graphic Album
  • Best Lettering
  • Best Writer/Artist
Winners will be announced in a gala ceremony in San Diego, Calif., July 19.

Tyler’s “You’ll Never Know” series, published by Fantagraphics Books, details her father’s World War II service in North Africa, Italy, France and Belgium where he fought at the Arno River and in the Battle of the Bulge. Woven throughout the books are tales of the lifelong effects felt and difficulties experienced by the Tyler family due to what is now commonly referred to as post-traumatic stress disorder.

The three-book “You’ll Never Know” series consists of:
  • "A Good and Decent Man" (2009)
  • "Collateral Damage" (2010) 
  • "Soldier’s Heart" (2012)
“I now see the books as one way of preserving a time and a place,” explains Tyler, adding, “My dad (Chuck Tyler, 93) was an everyman soldier, and the world he came of age in is gone. I wanted to anchor him in a time and a place and not have his experiences disappear.”

She continues, “His was a little voice among millions of voices, and I hope that some day, my contribution in recording his battles during and after the war will find their way in the World War II sections of libraries, along with the books that cover the Holocaust, women during the war, internment camps and the already recognized heroes.”

Throughout her trilogy, Tyler, of UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP)  reflects on the war that was and its profound impact on the soldiers in it and the families they came home to or the ones they started after the war. And while that may seem like ancient history to the students in her classes, it’s work that has connected to a wide audience.

That’s in part because Tyler renders her father’s experiences and the effects of his wartime experiences on the family in detailed inks and subtle watercolors. The format of the book and the variety of page designs provides the effect of looking at a family album.
Partial panel from "Soldier
Partial panel from "Soldier's Heart."

“My favorite experience is when readers who I don’t know send me feedback or a greeting on Facebook. They’re taking the trouble to find me and sharing their own family experiences,” she states, adding, “I’ve also loved presenting at graphic arts conventions and at the recent Military Writers Society of America conference.”

Both military veterans and their families can relate to Tyler’s work because she includes both a soldier’s view and that of his family in after years. She sets her father’s story within her own search to discover his past: “The outer shell is my search for his story, which he refused to talk about for 60 years after the war. The outer shell consists of my plowing through difficulties to find his story and capture it. His story is the inner shell of the series.”
  • See more about Carol Tyler’s “You’ll Never Know” series, including a brief video (scroll down to bottom of link) where her father, veteran Chuck Tyler, discuss his landing in North Africa where his shipmates drowned as well as recollections from his experiences in W.W. II Europe.
  • Apply to UC's undergraduate program in fine arts.