The slate of 2024 Eisner Award judge have been announced as as usual they are an outstanding group of comics professionals, covering educators, librarians, retailing and creators: Ryan Claytor, N.C. Christopher Couch, Andréa Gilroy, Joe Illidge, Matias Lewis and Jillian Rudes. 

Somewhat notable: librarian Jillian Rudes is one of the foremost expertson Manga in the US – it should be interesting to see if manga makes itself felt in other categories this year.        

Ryan Claytor is the coordinator of the Comic Art and Graphic Novel minor and assistant professor at Michigan State University, where he teaches Comics Studio courses and spearheaded the development of the interdisciplinary Comics minor between the Art and English departments. As a cartoonist, Claytor’s achievements have included six Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo prizes and two nominations for the Ringo Comic Industry Award. He is known for his award-winning self-published nonfiction comics, including his autobiographical series And Then One Day, as well as his collaborative work on Coin-Op Carnival: Electrifying Tales of Mechanical Contraptions and A Hunter’s Tale.

N. C. Christopher Couch is a professor (Ph.D. Columbia U), author, curator, and veteran comic book and graphic novel editor. His books include Jerry Robinson: Ambassador of Comics (Abrams ComicArts) and The Will Eisner Companion (with Steve Weiner, DC Comics). At UMass Amherst, Amherst College, and the School of Visual Arts he teaches courses on comics, graphic novels, science fiction, film, and Native American art history. He has curated exhibitions at the American Museum of Natural History, Smith College Museum, and UMass. He was senior editor at Kitchen Sink Press and editor-in-chief at CPM Manga.

Andréa Gilroy is the owner of Books With Pictures Eugene, Oregon. Before opening her shop, Andréa worked in academia, earning her Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Oregon in 2015 after completing a dissertation examining comics history and the way comics represent identity. She has worked as a comics educator, including acting as 2016–17 interim director of the University of Oregon Comics & Cartoon Studies Program. She also served on the board of International Comics Art Forum and as an assistant curator on the first two Marvel: A Universe of Superheroes exhibitions. In 2020 she pivoted to retail, building a space that uses the power of comics and the passion of fans to build community.

Joseph Illidge’s career in comics ranges from the groundbreaking publisher Milestone to DC Comics’ Batman franchise to Heavy Metal magazine. He is the writer of the newly announced Harriet Tubman middle-grade graphic novel for HarperCollins, the MPLS Sound historical fiction graphic novel about Prince and 80s music from Humanoids, and co-author of the Judge Kim and the Kids Court series of children’s graphic novels from Simon & Schuster. He is a board member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Mathias Lewis has been a part of the comic book Industry for over 25 years, as a retailer, journalist, writer, flatter, and direct market consultant. He is the owner of San Marcos, CA’s Knowhere Games and Comics.

Jillian Rudes is the founder of Manga in Libraries, an organization that provides manga readers’ advisory lists and hosts manga webinars, workshops, and panels. In 2023, her book Manga in Libraries: A Guide for Teen Librarians was published by the American Library Association. She currently serves as the school librarian at a grade 6–12 public school in New York City. Jillian instructs a manga course at the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at Queens College and is the current recipient of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) research grant, focusing on teenage BIPOC readers of manga.