Comic Con International presented Hall of Fame awards to several pioneering comics industry professionals on Friday. The inductees included Golden Age artists, letterers, colorists, editors and fans. The Will Eisner Hall of Fame presentation was hosted by Eisner Awards administrator Jackie Estrada and judged by Moni Barrette, Peter Jones, Jen King, Sean Kleefeld, A. David Lewis, and TJ Shevlin.

SDCC '23 Will Eisner Hall of Fame
Bill Griffith speaks during the Will Eisner Hall of Fame presentation at SDCC ’23.

 The recipients of the Will Eisner Hall of Fame Judge’s Choice Awards include:

Jay Jackson was an African American artist who created Bungleton Green, the first black superhero, in the Chicago Defender. Bungleton Green was the longest running black comic strip. 

Win Mortimer began working for DC Comics in 1945 as a cover artist and succeeded Wayne Boring on Superman in 1949, left in 1956 for Prentice-Hall Syndicate to create David Crane, and returned to DC later for Swim with Scooter, Legion of Super-Heroes and Supergirl

Gaspar Saladino was a comics letterer who designed over 416 logos and lettered 52,769 comic book pages, and 5,486 covers over his 60-year career. During the 1970s, he lettered the pages for Swamp Thing and created the concept of character-designated fonts.

Tatjana Wood was a colorist for DC. She colored the interiors of Grant Morrison’s Animal Man, Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, and Camelot 3000. Wood was a two-time recipient of the Shazam Award for best colorist.

Jack Katz began his 50-year career at the age of 16 doing art for Archie Comics and Bulletmen. Katz was an assistant on various strips for King Features Syndicate and a penciller at Marvel Comics before taking a 14-year hiatus from comics to teach and paint. Katz created the complex science-fiction epic First Kingdom, a 24-issue, 768-page graphic novel that took 12 years to complete. 

Jerry Bails was known as “the Father of Comic Book Fandom” and the first to treat comics as a subject worthy of academic study. Bails was the founding editor of Alter-Ego and The Comic Reader

Tony DeZuniga was the first Filipino artist to have work accepted by American publishers. DeZuniga was a mainstay at both DC and Marvel and was co-creator of DC’s Jonah Hex and Black Orchid.

Jeffrey Catherine Jones was an influential artist who was part of a collective of artists known as The Studio. This group included Bernie Wrightson, Barry Windsor-Smith and Michael Kaluta. In the 1980s, Jones had a recurring strip in Heavy Metal. Jones later quit comics to pursue an interest in expressionism.

Kim Thompson co-published Fantagraphics with Gary Groth for three decades. The duo started The Comics Journal, which offered news reports, interviews, criticism and commentary that would guide and fuel the growth of both mainstream and independent comics. 

Mort Walker produced his multi-award winning Beetle Bailey from 1950 up until his death in 2018. Walker also founded the National Cartoon Museum. 

Gary Trudeau’s Doonesbury was groundbreaking in its coverage of controversial topics. Doonesbury was the first comic strip to win the Pulitzer Prize. 

Justin Green’s 1972 underground comix title Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary was an autobiographical comic that documented his struggle with a form of OCD known as scrupulosity within the framework as a Catholic growing up in 1950s Chicago. The book had a profound effect on other cartoonists and the direction of comics and literature. 

Aline Kominsky-Crumb was an underground comix artist with the San Francisco female-based collective Wimmen’s Comix. In 1975, Kominsky-Crumb and fellow contributor Diane Noomin left Wimmin’s Comix to launch Twisted Sisters. Dirty Laundry was based on hers and Robert Crumb’s marital relationship.  

Bill Griffith’s daily comic strip Zippy started as an underground comic strip in 1970, but Zippy went weekly in underground papers in 1976,  first with the Berkeley Barb and then nationally through Rip Off Press Syndicate. In 1986, the strip was published by King Features Syndicate to over 200 newspapers worldwide. 

Diane Noomin was the influential editor of Wimmen’s Comix and Twisted Sisters. Noomin’s works addressed social issues such as feminism, body image, and miscarriages. 

And here now are the Will Eisner Hall of Fame recipients for the Voter’s Choice Awards:

  • Brian Bolland
  • Ann Nocenti
  • Tim Sale
  • Diane Schutz 

Congratulations to the Will Eisner Hall of Fame Class of 2023!

Miss any of our earlier SDCC ’23 coverage? Find it all here!