Photo by Maureen McTigue
The winners of the award recognizing pioneering comics writers have been announced:
John Broome and Frank Jacobs have been selected to receive the 2009 Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing. The choice made by a blue-ribbon committee chaired by writer-historian Mark Evanier was unanimous.
The Bill Finger Award was instituted in 2005 at the instigation of comic book legend Jerry Robinson.
“Each year, we select two writers who favored us with important, inspirational work that has somehow not quite received its rightful recognition,” Evanier explains. “The idea is that the award may go some distance to rectifying that, and I sure hope this one does. Because no one is more deserving than Frank Jacobs, for his past and current work, and John Broome for the legacy he left behind.”
Frank Jacobs was the first freelance writer hired by Al Feldstein when he assumed the editorship of MAD magazine in 1957, and his byline continues to appear in MAD more than 50 years later. More than 300 issues have featured his witty satires of movies and TV shows, but he is most famous as the magazine’s poet laureate, filling its pages with his amazing poems and song parodies, many of which have drawn praise from the composers of the works he burlesques. MAD has published numerous original paperbacks of Jacobs’ work, and in 1972 he authored The MAD World of William M. Gaines, the definitive history of MAD and EC Comics.
Photo by Maureen McTigue
John Broome began writing for science-fiction pulps in the early forties. When his agent, Julius Schwartz, left agenting to become a comic book editor, Broome followed. From 1946 through 1970, he wrote for DC Comics, mostly for books edited by Schwartz. His work included “The Justice Society of America” and “Detective Chimp,” among other features, but his most notable scripts helped define the Silver Age of Comics with The Flash, Green Lantern, “The Atomic Knights,” and “The Elongated Man.” Broome passed away in 1998, only months after making the only comic book convention appearance of his life: at the 1997 Comic- Con International.
The Bill Finger Award honors the memory of William Finger (1914–1974), who was the first and, some say, most important writer of Batman. Many have called him the “unsung hero” of the character and have hailed his work not only on that iconic figure but on dozens of others, primarily for DC Comics.
In addition to Evanier, the selection committee consists of Charles Kochman (executive editor at Harry N. Abrams, book publisher), comic book writers Kurt Busiek and Tony Isabella, and writer/editor Marv Wolfman.
The 2009 awards are underwritten by Comic-Con International. DC Comics is the major sponsor; supporting sponsors are Comics Buyer’s Guide (CBG) and Heritage Auctions.
The Finger Award is presented under the auspices of Comic-Con International: San Diego and is administered by Jackie Estrada. The awards will be presented during the Eisner Awards ceremony at this summer’s Comic-Con on the evening of Friday, July 24, at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.