The Russ Manning Award approaches like an awards ceremony which was once scheduled to be a year ago but has, over the period of a year, increased in nearness. Over the next five days, I’ll walk you through each artist nominated. Let’s hold hands.

The first of this year’s five nominees is Craig Cermak, who was one of those lucky few who fell off a giant Joe Kubert head and was subsequently invited to enrol at The Kubert School. After graduating,  Cermak came on as the illustrator for a spin-off of Dynamite’s Voltron series called Voltron: Year One – his first major, paid work. This was the book which garnered him the nomination for the Russ Manning Award.

Prior to drawing Voltron: Year One, Cermak was responsible for the webcomic series The Vitruvian Underground, written by Ramon Villalobas. It was from here that Cermak was caught by Dynamite’s talent scout and asked to come aboard, which he agreed to quickly. Earlier this year, on a Dynamite panel at C2E2, Cermak said of the project

This is my first published book. I’m frightened and exhilarated. I’m younger than most of you, so I missed Voltron when I was growing up

Cermak – and this is going to frustrate all of you who haven’t yet been asked to draw awesome books about space robots – is only 22. That means even I can look down on him and call him a youngster! Which is emotionally devastating. With a Russ Manning nomination already on his side, you should expect to hear a lot more from Cernak over the next few years. In fact, after the first issue of Voltron: Year One came out, Dynamite’s Publisher Nick Barrucci, delighted with the news, said:

We need to find some more graduates of Kubert…