PR with emphasis added. Of some interest is the fact that now what we’d call “modern” or contemporary Marvel and DC creators are beginning to show up on the ballot, like Len Wein and Barry Windsor-Smith.
Voting is now open for the Hall of Fame category of the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. In a change from previous years, the judges have arrived at the nominations early in the year, and the voting in this category will be online only. According to Eisner Awards administrator Jackie Estrada, this change was instituted to test the new online voting process for the awards and to reduce the number of categories the judges will have to deal with when they meet in early April to determine the rest of the nominees.
The Hall of Fame nominees are Matt Baker, John Broome, Reed Crandall, Rudolph Dirks, Arnold Drake, George Evans, Creig Flessel, Graham Ingels, Mort Meskin, Tarpe Mills, Gilbert Shelton, George Tuska, Mort Weisinger, Len Wein, and Barry Windsor-Smith.
Eligible voters can visit www.eisnervote.com to register and then select up to four picks in the Hall of Fame category. The deadline for voting is April 18. To vote, you must be a professional working in the comics industry, whether as a creator (writer, artist, cartoonist, colorist, letterer), a publisher or editor, or a retailer (comics store owner or manager). Further eligibility information is provided at the site.
The judges have also selected two individuals to automatically be inducted into the Hall of Fame: the pioneering cartoonist R. F. Outcault (who created “The Yellow Kid” and “Buster Brown”) and Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson (who founded what is now DC Comics and published the first comic book to contain all-new material, New Fun #1, in February 1935).
The 2008 Eisner Awards judging panel consists of John Davis (director of pop culture markets, Bookazine), Paul DiFilippo (SF and comics author), Atom! Freeman (owner of Brave New World Comics in Santa Clarita, CA), Jeff Jensen (senior writer, Entertainment Weekly), and Eva Volin (supervising children’s librarian for the Alameda Free Library in Alameda, CA).
The judges were assisted by students at Vermont’s Center for Cartoon Studies, who made suggestions for Hall of Fame nominees and provided background information on the people they suggested. Eisner Awards administrator Jackie Estrada notes that the involvement of the students was very helpful and is looking forward to working with Steve Bissette and CCS students again next year.
The online voting process is being conducted by Mel Thompson and Associates, the official tabulators of the Eisner Awards. The rest of the categories will be available for online voting in mid-April. In addition, paper ballots will still be mailed out and will be tabulated along with the online votes for the other categories.
The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards are conducted under the auspices of Comic-Con International: San Diego, and the gala awards ceremony will be held on July 25 in San Diego. Further information about the awards can be found at http://www.comic-con.org/cci/cci_eisners_main.shtml.