Photo of Kalish (right) by Jackie Estrada

Pioneering cartoonist Jackie Ormes and influential Marvel Marvel marketing manager Carol Kalish have been selected for induction into the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame for 2018.


Ormes was the first black female newspaper cartoonist, for the strip Dixie in Harlem featuring the character Torchy Brown. Kalish was the first direct sales manager for Marvel, credited with helping develop the direct sales market in foundational ways.

An additional 16 nominees have been announced, of whom four will be selected. The list include six women…which has to be some kind of record. The list: Charles Addams, Jim Aparo, Gus Arriola, Karen Berger, Howard Cruse, Carlos Ezquerra, Dave Gibbons, Paul Levitz, Tarpé Mills, Francoise Mouly, Thomas Nash, Lily Renée Peter Phillips, Posy Simmonds, Rumiko Takahashi, John Wagner, and S. Clay Wilson.

Bios on the nominees can be found here.

Online voting is open to professionals working in the comics or related industries as a creator (writer, artist, cartoonist, colorist, letterer), a publisher or editor, a retailer (comics store owner or manager), a graphic novels librarian, or a comics historian/educator. The deadline is March 16.

More on the inductees:


Carol Kalish, Will Eisner Hall of Fame Judges' Choice Inductee

Carol Kalish (1955–1991)

Carol Kalish served as Direct Sales Manager and Vice President of New Product Development at Marvel Comics from 1981 to 1991. She is credited with pioneering the comics direct market when it was in its adolescence, in part through a program in which Marvel helped pay for comic book stores to acquire cash registers. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Kalish spearheaded the expansion of the Marvel’s distribution into previously unexplored retail outlets, including major bookstores such as B. Daltons and Waldenbooks. In 2010 she was posthumously awarded the first ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award.


Jackie Ormes, Will Eisner Hall of Fame 2018 Judges' Choice Inductee
Jackie Ormes (1911–1985)

Jackie Ormes was the first, and for a long time only, black female newspaper cartoonist. From 1937 to 1938 she wrote and drew Dixie in Harlem comics featuring Torchy Brown. After returning to her roots in journalism, she published Candy, a single-panel cartoon about a witty housemaid in 1945. Then she created Patty-Jo ’n’ Ginger, another single-panel cartoon about a pair of sisters, which ran for 11 years through 1956. Finally, from 1950 to 1954, Ormes revamped Torchy Brown into Torchy in Heartbeats, an 8-page color comic insert, including many paper dolls as was popular in the time.

And more on the ceeremon and judges:

The 2018 Eisner Awards judging panel consists of librarian Candice Mack (Los Angeles Public Library), comics reviewer/journalist Graeme McMillan (i09, Wired, Hollywood Reporter), comics retailer Tate Ottati (Tate’s Comics, Lauderhill, FL), comics scholar Nhora Serrano (Hamilton College, Clinton, NY), writer/artist/educator Alexander Simmons (Blackjack, Scooby Doo, Archie; Kids Comic Con), and longtime Comic-Con volunteer William Wilson (anime/manga expert).

The judges would like to give a special thank you to the students at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Vermont (courtesy of Steve Bissette and James Sturm) for their helpful input to the Hall of Fame selection process.

Submissions are currently being accepted in the other Eisner categories; the deadline is March 16. The nominees for these categories will be announced in late April.

The Eisner Awards will be presented at a gala awards ceremony to be held on July 20 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. Jackie Estrada is the Eisner Awards Administrator.


  1. While I bow to no one (well, to Richard Howell) in my admiration for Carol Kalish, and she’s absolutely deserving of this recognition…

    Mike Friedrich was Marvel’s first Direct Sales Manager, and Carol started at Marvel in March 1982, not in 1981. Mike hired Carol as his assistant, knowing he’d be leaving soon — he wanted to have a successor in place, and Carol was duly and deservedly promoted when he left.

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