At every San Diego Comic-Con for the last ten years, the festival organisers have handed out an “Icon” Award. This is given to people who are credited with bringing comics to a wider audience, and have made a lasting, positive, important impact on the medium as a whole. Starting with Frank Miller in 2006 and most recently recognising Reginald Hudlin in 2015, the award is given out at *some point* during each convention – nobody knows when, or who, will receive the award each year.
For 2016, the award has been given to Sergio Aragonés.
Having come to the US in the 1960s, Aragonés started at newspapers before coming to publishers including DC Comics – but it was his long-running series Groo which saw him come to national attention. Along with collaborators Mark Evanier and Stan Sakai, Aragonés has seen the series last for decades, switching from publisher to publisher. In fact, a new story called Groo: Fray of the Gods came out from Dark Horse only a short while ago.
The second long association many will have is between Aragonés and Mad Magazine, for whom he still works to this day. He’s worked for just about every publisher and has won multiple awards over his lengthy career. In fact, interestingly, thanks to Groo he was the first Mexican to ever win an Eisner Award.
Aragonés was presented with the Award part-way through a “quick draw” panel he was at on Saturday, and was apparently visibly shocked to have been given the consideration. Slightly overcome and unable to give a speech, those at the panel say that he instead drew his thanks instead.