If you’re into writers of the past and present or cartoonists of the future, here’s your chance to help honor someone in either category. Both the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing
— which recognizes comics writers past and present — and the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award — which recognizes a new artist who is, uh, promising — are open for nominations. Both awards and finalists are chosen by juries, but they accept nominees.
Winners in both will be announced during this year’s Eisner Award ceremony at Comic-Con.
Here’s the guidelines for the Manning:
Comic-Con International (Comic-Con) has announced that submissions are now being accepted for the 31st annual Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award. The award will be presented on July 19 during the Eisner Awards Ceremony at Comic-Con International in San Diego. Started in 1982 as a joint presentation of Comic-Con International and the West Coast Comics Club, this award honors a comics artist who, early in his or her career, shows a superior knowledge and ability in the art of creating comics. The deadline for all submissions is April 5.
To qualify for the award:
1. The artist must be a newcomer to the comic field, with no professional work published prior to January 2011. Exceptions to this rule are:
A. Work done as an unaccredited assistant to another artist
B. Fanzine publications
C. Small press with a print run of 2000 or less
D. A one-shot in a new talent anthology comic
2. The artist’s work must have been published prior to submission.
3. A sample of the artist’s work must be included.
4. A sample of the artist’s pencil work should be submitted if it was inked by another artist.
5. If multiple names are credited to the work, what the artist contributed must be made clear.
6. If selected as a nominee, the artist (or publisher) should be prepared to provide 25 copies of the work to be sent to the judges.
7. Those who entered last year may enter again this year if they still meet the criteria.
In the spirit of revered artist Russ Manning (Tarzan, Star Wars, Magnus Robot Fighter), the most important criteria for selection are storytelling ability, clarity of expression and narrative flow, and illustrative flow. Writing is not a consideration except in a tie. A nominee from last year may be resubmitted if he or she still meets the criteria.
All submissions will be reviewed by a panel of artists and other knowledgeable in the comic art field, who will select the five finalists. The winner will be selected by a blue ribbon panel of comics professionals, including prior Russ Manning winners and Russ Manning’s former assistants.
Submissions should include a submissions form (available for download at http://www.comic-con.org/awards/russ-manning) and be sent to Russ Manning Award, 150 S. James, Orange, CA 92869.
Each July at the Comic-Con International, we present something called the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing. Actually, we present two of them — one to a deceased writer of the past and one to someone’s who still with us. Ideally, the person who’s still with us will be with us at Comic-Con to receive it in person. So around this time, I solicit nominations of who you think oughta get one. If you have a thought, I’d love to hear it but please, remember the following…
1. This is an award for a body of work as a comic book writer. I put those points in bold because every year, people send me — in the clearest demonstration I’ve seen that comic books impair one’s reading skills — the names of artists. One person wrote me last year to suggest John Buscema. I wrote back to him that John Buscema was a wonderful artist, not a wonderful writer. The fellow wrote back to argue, “He co-wrote an issue of one Marvel book once so he qualifies.” No. Doesn’t work like that.
2. Bill Finger in his lifetime received almost no credit for his work and nowhere near a respectable share of the revenue it generated. So this award is for a writer who has received insufficient reward for his or her splendid body of work. It can be insufficient in terms of recognition or insufficient in terms of legal tender or it can, of course, be both. Every year, someone writes me to say, “How can you have an award for comic book writing and not give it to Stan Lee?” Well, maybe because he’s the most famous, well-compensated person in the history of the medium. Frankly, I think if I called Stan and told him we wanted to give him an award because his work was so uncelebrated, he’d slap me. Right after he fired his publicist.
3. A person can only win this award once. So far, it has gone to Arnold Drake, Alvin Schwartz, George Gladir, Larry Lieber, Frank Jacobs, Gary Friedrich, Del Connell, Steve Skeates, Jerry Siegel, Harvey Kurtzman, Gardner Fox, Archie Goodwin, John Broome, Otto Binder, Bob Haney and Frank Doyle. Those folks are therefore ineligible.
Beyond all that, it can be anyone with a body of writing work in comic books. Not strips. We’ve fudged the definition to include MAD but will fudge no further. My address is on this page. If you have a thought, I’d love to hear it and pass it on to our Blue Ribbon Judging Committee, none of whom has a blue ribbon.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.