Retailer Amanda Emmert (née Fisher), librarian Mike Pawuk, Diamond Books sales manager John Shableski, cartoonist/educator Ben Towle, and editor/critic Andrew Wheeler comprise this year’s Eisner blue-ribbon panel. They will meet in mid-March, so make sure you send in your Eisner-related books soon! More in the jump.
Amanda Emmert (formerly Fisher) has worked in comics retailing since she was 16. She owns Muse Comics & Games in Missoula, MT, which opened originally as The Splash Page in 1996. Amanda is currently the Communications Coordinator for ComicsPRO, the trade association for comic book retailers, which she helped to incorporate in 2004. Amanda also serves on the Free Comic Book Day Retailer Committee
Mike Pawuk has been a teen services public librarian for the Cuyahoga County Public Library for over 12 years. A lifelong fan of comic books and graphic novels, he’s been recognized as one of the leading librarians in the country on this medium. Mike was the chair for the 2002 YALSA all-day preconference on graphic novels, and he regularly does presentations for libraries on building graphic novel collections. He is the author of Graphic Novels: A Genre Guide to Comic Books, Manga, and More, published by Libraries Unlimited. Currently, Pawuk does graphic novels reviews for the IVC2.com popular culture website and is serving on the American Library Association’s Great Graphic Novels for Young Adults book selection committee.
John Shableski works for Diamond Book Distributors as a sales manager with a focus on the independent bookstore market and on public and school libraries. He’s been a moderator and panelist at Book Expo and other trade shows, a guest speaker at library events and regional book shows, and a symposium coordinator. He is currently collaborating on several graphic novel symposiums across the country. After a career in radio broadcasting and in marketing and advertising, he landed at book distributor Brodart Co., where, with librarian Kat Kan he worked to develop their graphic novel program. He has been with Diamond since 2007. He is a regular contributing writer on the blog “Buzz, Balls and Hype,” where he posts columns on his perspective of the publishing world as “The Graphic Novels Guy.”
Ben Towle is a cartoonist and educator living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He’s known primarily for his work with SLG Publishing, including the recent historical fiction graphic novel Midnight Sun as well as his earlier volume of comics folk tales, Farewell, Georgia. He’s taught cartooning and comics classes at schools and workshops across the country and is the co-founder of the National Association of Comics Art Educators. Ben is currently hard at work on a creator-owned story about turn of the century Chesapeake Bay oystermen and also on a biographical graphic novel about Amelia Earhart for Hyperion Books.
Andrew Wheeler went almost directly from Vassar College to the Science Fiction Book Club, in an attempt to avoid the real world entirely. He worked at the SFBC for 16 years, rejuvenating the moribund graphic novel program there and eventually overseeing the Altiverse program, which featured comics, media tie-ins, and similar books. After rising to senior editor at the parent company of the SFBC he moved on to become a marketing manager at the 200-year old publishing firm John Wiley & Sons. His reviews of comics and manga have appeared at ComicMix.com.