Gardner Fox and George Gladir have been selected to receive the 2007 Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing. The choice was made unanimously by a blue-ribbon committee chaired by writer and historian Mark Evanier.
The Bill Finger Award was instituted in 2005 under the supervision of comic book legend Jerry Robinson. The awards committee is charged each year with selecting two recipients, one living and one deceased.
“Each year, we ask ourselves who, among all the fine writers who’ve contributed to comics has a body of work out there deserving of greater recognition,” Evanier notes. “Gladir and Fox not only have that but both men laid down important groundwork on which other writers could and did build . . . just like Bill Finger did.”
Gardner Fox received a law degree in 1935 but instead opted for comics, writing his first stories in 1938 for the pre-Batman Detective Comics. He was also the first writer after Bill Finger to contribute to Batman’s adventures and was responsible for several components of the character’s mythology. Perhaps more notably, he created or co-created a bevy of important characters in comics’ so-called “Golden Age,” including The Flash, Hawkman, The Sandman, Starman, and Doctor Fate, and he launched what some call the first-ever superhero team, The Justice Society of America. In the late fifties and sixties, he worked on the revivals of most of those features, including the Justice League of America, and also co-created new characters such as Adam Strange. In his amazing career, he wrote an estimated 4,000 comic book scripts and also found time to author more than 100 novels, many of them under other names. Fox passed away in 1986.
George Gladir has been a full-time comic book writer since 1959, when he got his first assignment from Archie Comics. At first he wrote mainly one-page gags for Archie’s Joke Book, but he quickly went on to write stories for the many Archie titles, including Archie’s Madhouse, the book in which he created “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” drawn by the legendary Dan DeCarlo. In the early 1960s, he simultaneously started writing for Cracked Magazine, MAD’s most successful competitor. He became Cracked’s head writer, and over the next 30 years wrote some 2,000 pages for the magazine, many of them illustrated by Hall of Famer John Severin. In addition to still writing for Archie, George recently co-created (with Stan Goldberg) Cindy and Her Obasan, a fantasy adventure about an American 10-year-old and her Japanese fairy godmother.
The Bill Finger Award remembers 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 character but on dozens of others, primarily for DC Comics.
In addition to Evanier, this year’s blue-ribbon selection committee included writer/historian Jim Amash, comics and animation writer Paul Dini, writer Tony Isabella, and writer/editor Marv Wolfman.
The 2007 awards are being underwritten by DC Comics (the major sponsor), along with supporting sponsors Comics Buyer’s Guide (CBG) and Heritage Auctions.
The Finger Award falls 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 Friday, July 27.
Additional info: www.comic-con.org