The six individuals chosen to choose next year’s Will Eisner Award nominees have been selected and as usual it’s an eclectic mix of people, reflecting the diverse paths to comics that so many have now. The judges met at a super secret location in April to pick the nominees, with the winner announced, complete with tears and cash bar, at a gala awards ceremony on Friday, July 25 at Comic-Con in San Diego.
Guidelines for submitting material for the judges will be announced on the Comic-Con website in early January. The deadline for submitting nominations is March 17.
And they are:
Kathy Bottarini, owner of Comic Book Box, in Rohnert Park, CA. Kathy graduated from Sonoma State University with degrees in English, art history, and art studies in 1988. She began her comic retailing adventure as an employee of the Comic Book Box in August 1986 when she was concurrently employed as the slide librarian for Santa Rosa Junior College. She remained at her librarian job for only a year and stayed with the Comic Book Box before buying the store in 1994. Her goal is to continue introducing new generations to comics.
William H. Foster III, professor of English at Naugatuck Valley Community College, Connecticut. Professor Foster has been an expert commentator on comics for both CNN News and National Public Radio. His exhibit “The Changing Image of Blacks in Comics” has been displayed at a number of venues across the country, including the 1998 Comic-Con International Comic Arts Conference. He has traveled worldwide to speak on the topic of comic books, including Germany, England, China, Costa Rica, and Sweden. He is the author of two collections of essay on blacks in comics: Looking for a Face Like Mine (2005) and Dreaming of a Face Like Ours (2010). He is currently at work on the third book in the series.
Christian Lipski, comics reviewer and journalist. Christian has written hundreds of pieces about comic book news in Portland, Oregon and nationally. He has also moderated comics panels for Portland-area conventions, including Stumptown Comics Fest, Rose City Comic Con, and Orycon. In his spare time, he is in two bands and moonlights as a pirate.
Lee Oeth, member of the Board of Directors, Comic-Con International: San Diego. Lee is a longtime comics fan who has been involved with Comic-Con since 1985, when he started as a volunteer in the anime department. He has been on the Board of Directors since 2008 and an assistant to Comic-Con President John Rogers for the past two years. He was also a judge for the 2013 Russ Manning Promising Newcomer award. His comics collecting days go back to the 1970s when Richard Alf ran Comic Kingdom in San Diego.
Jenny Robb, curator and associate professor, Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at the Ohio State University, the largest academic research institution dedicated to cartoons and comics. Before coming to Ohio State in 2005, she served as curator of the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco for 5 years. She holds masters degrees in history and museum studies from Syracuse University. She is the author of several comics-related articles, including “Bill Blackbeard: the Collector Who Rescued the Comics” in the Journal of American Culture and “From the Periodical Archives: Winsor McCay, George Randolph Chester and the Tale of the Jungle Imps” published in American Periodicals: A Journal of History, Criticism, & Bibliography.
James Romberger, fine artist and cartoonist who lives and works in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. In the mid-1980s, he was co-founder of the seminal East Village installation gallery Ground Zero. Romberger’s pastel drawings are in many private and public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Post York, his multimedia comic book/flexidisc collaboration with his son Crosby for Uncivilized Books, was nominated for an Eisner award in 2013, a year that also saw a revised edition of the critically acclaimed graphic novel Seven Miles a Second, Romberger’s collaboration with Marguerite Van Cook and the late David Wojnarowicz (published by Fantagraphics). For DC/Vertigo, Romberger collaborated with MacArthur fellow Jay Cantor on Aaron and Ahmed, with Peter Milligan on Bronx Kill, and with Jamie Delano on the “Renegade” arc of 2020 Visions. He is a longtime contributor to the activist comics magazine World War 3 Illustrated. Romberger also writes critically for Publisher’s Weekly and the pop culture websites Hooded Utilitarian, The Beat, and Comics Journal.