The Beat

And the Comics Industry Person(s) of the Year are: Stan Lee and Olivia Jaimes

Once again, as we ran our annual Creator Survey, we asked people to pick the Comics Industry Person of the Year — someone who made a difference and moved the needle. This year there was no question about who it would be, but several other creators had an impact on voters in 2018 – and you’ll continue to hear from them in years to come.


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The overwhelming choice was the one and only Stan Lee. Although Stan’s passing on November 12th 2018 was fresh on everyone’s mind, his historical stature ensured that his achievements would be honored.

And as controversial a figure as Lee was, he deserves our respect for a very simple reason: he helped thousands, if not millions, of people to love comic books for more than 70 years. He was the greatest marketer comics has ever seen, or probably ever will see, and an editor who helped some of the medium’s greats make their signature work.

And the voters agreed:

It should be noted that Lee is the second posthumous recipient of the Comics Industry Person of the Year, after Kim Thompson in 2013.


Olivia Jaimes self-portrait

Although Stan was the overwhelming pick, one other figure garnered enough support to earn the Comics Industry Person of the Year, Newcomer Edition: Olivia Jaimes. The pseudonym of a person still unidentified, Jaimes trod boldly onto comic book scripture with a re-imagining of the Nancy comic strip that was not just updated but relevant, timely and insightful. She redefined the meaning of legacy comic strips and gave the world of webcomics a jolt as well.

And after nearly a year, she still hasn’t been outed– perhaps the greatest achievement of the year in a world without any privacy!

Reached for comment, Jaimes noted “I’m touched and honored— thank you. Please continue to give me many awards.”

And via her syndicate we have the first Olivia Jaimes self portrait, above!

As our voters wrote:

But we have a few more awards to give out!


Annie Koyama, photo by Robin Nishio

Although she is always mentioned many times in this survey (and last year won the Icon Award), there was more support than ever for the one and only Annie Koyama. She announced that she would be shutting down her publishing company in a few years (heartache!), but Koyama is still putting out some of the very best comics around, including this year Chlorine Garden, Space Academy 123, XTC69 and many more. We’re pleased to announce that the Publisher of the Year for 2018 is Annie Koyama.

“I am extremely honoured to have been named Publisher of the Year,” Koyama told The Beat when contacted wwith the news.  “It is bittersweet news, as Koyama Press enters our last couple of years of business.

“While I didn’t take the traditional road to becoming a publisher by any means, I am so proud of the more than one hundred titles we’ve published since 2007. 

“No one succeeds alone, so I am grateful for the help from my great team: Ed Kanerva, Helen Koyama and Daniel Nishio as well as all of the artists that we have been fortunate to represent, and to the best publishing peers.

“Thanks to everyone who voted. It means a lot.”

And our voters spoke:


Finally, Tom King once again garnered enough votes for us to name him the Comics Writer of the Year. Although controversial, his work on Batman, Mister Miracle and Heroes in Crisis had everyone talking.


Several cartoonists garnered multiple mentions, all of them women, enough to point to the generation of creators who are going to shape how the medium is viewed: Liana Finck, Lisa Hanawalt, Ngozi Ukazu and Lauren Weinstein. Weinstein has been through a few generations of this, but her work is more insightful and timely than ever.


Comics for young readers have been THE trend in comics for the last five years, and many authors known primarily for kids comics were mentioned.

Finally many people were mentioned only once, but with such moving testimonials that they are all worth noting. This is a collaborative industry and though comics aren’t perfect, and have a lot of problems, these are the people working to make it better.

And finally the intangible:

And that’s a wrap for 2018! Many thanks once again to the people who participated in the survey for their passion and insight.

Previous winners:

2017: Emil Ferris
2016: Gene Luen Yang and the March Trilogy Team
2015: Noelle Stevenson

2014: Raina Telgemeier
2013: Kim Thompson
2012: Eric Stephenson
2011: Kate Beaton/Jim Lee & Dan DiDio
2010: Robert Kirkman