2008 Eisner Award Hall of Fame Nominees

PR with emphasis added. Of some interest is the fact that now what we’d call “modern” or contemporary Marvel and DC creators are beginning to show up on the ballot, like Len Wein and Barry Windsor-Smith.

Voting is now open for the Hall of Fame category of the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. In a change from previous years, the judges have arrived at the nominations early in the year, and the voting in this category will be online only. According to Eisner Awards administrator Jackie Estrada, this change was instituted to test the new online voting process for the awards and to reduce the number of categories the judges will have to deal with when they meet in early April to determine the rest of the nominees.

The Hall of Fame nominees are Matt Baker, John Broome, Reed Crandall, Rudolph Dirks, Arnold Drake, George Evans, Creig Flessel, Graham Ingels, Mort Meskin, Tarpe Mills, Gilbert Shelton, George Tuska, Mort Weisinger, Len Wein, and Barry Windsor-Smith.

Eligible voters can visit www.eisnervote.com to register and then select up to four picks in the Hall of Fame category. The deadline for voting is April 18. To vote, you must be a professional working in the comics industry, whether as a creator (writer, artist, cartoonist, colorist, letterer), a publisher or editor, or a retailer (comics store owner or manager). Further eligibility information is provided at the site.

The judges have also selected two individuals to automatically be inducted into the Hall of Fame: the pioneering cartoonist R. F. Outcault (who created “The Yellow Kid” and “Buster Brown”) and Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson (who founded what is now DC Comics and published the first comic book to contain all-new material, New Fun #1, in February 1935).

The 2008 Eisner Awards judging panel consists of John Davis (director of pop culture markets, Bookazine), Paul DiFilippo (SF and comics author), Atom! Freeman (owner of Brave New World Comics in Santa Clarita, CA), Jeff Jensen (senior writer, Entertainment Weekly), and Eva Volin (supervising children’s librarian for the Alameda Free Library in Alameda, CA).

The judges were assisted by students at Vermont’s Center for Cartoon Studies, who made suggestions for Hall of Fame nominees and provided background information on the people they suggested. Eisner Awards administrator Jackie Estrada notes that the involvement of the students was very helpful and is looking forward to working with Steve Bissette and CCS students again next year.

The online voting process is being conducted by Mel Thompson and Associates, the official tabulators of the Eisner Awards. The rest of the categories will be available for online voting in mid-April. In addition, paper ballots will still be mailed out and will be tabulated along with the online votes for the other categories.

The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards are conducted under the auspices of Comic-Con International: San Diego, and the gala awards ceremony will be held on July 25 in San Diego. Further information about the awards can be found at http://www.comic-con.org/cci/cci_eisners_main.shtml.

Comments

  1. Regarding this Hall of Fame thing, I wrote this three years ago, and no one has ever given me a reason to think otherwise:

    I’m wondering- since these are all legendary, outstanding creators, WHY is it necessary to have this baseball-like voting process? Don’t they all DESERVE to be in? Haven’t they all paid their dues and then some? And it’s not even like baseball, where anybody who’s been retired for five years is eligible, ensuring that there will be a bunch of second-stringers mixed in with the all-timers. Put ‘em ALL in, I say! Then nominate another dozen to put in next year!

  2. To which, Brother Bacardi, I append a hearty “Amen.”

    Anyone who can read this list of nominees, and conclude that any one of them does NOT belong in any comics industry Hall of Fame worthy of the title, (1) has an insufficient grasp of the industry’s history, and (2) ought not to have a vote.

    I concur: Honor them all, and honor a bunch more next time. It isn’t as though these great creative talents — and many more I could name — have been overpraised in our here-today, forgotten-tomorrow popular culture.

  3. Tom Spurgeon says:

    I have as fine a grasp of industry history as anyone in North America, and scanning that list I don’t think five of those creators should be in a comics hall of fame.

    Of course, they’re the ones that will probably go in first.

    Seriously, though, I’d say that list has two great creators, one near-great creator, a group of very fine creators and two just-okay creators.

    You can take away my vote now.

    I think the voting is fine the way it is. If everyone went in, there would no doubt be complaints about the next 15 creators eligible. If you put them in, too, and the next group and the next group, where does it end? Do we all get to be in the Hall of Fame? Heidi, would you introduce me?

  4. In my mind, not having Alan Moore in the comic’s hall of fame is like not having the Beatles in the Rock & Roll hall of fame. He changed the face of comics, as we know them (just as the Beatles changed music as the world knew it) and although he’s at times seen this as a reason to apologies (grim and gritty and the like) I still say thank you. Having said that, I appreciate that anyone would take the time to maintain a comics hall of fame, and say thank you for that, too. (My God, the Dark Tower novels are getting into my head.) I’ll vote for Len Wein, I think.

  5. Torsten Adair says:

    Wow. The man who pioneered the comicstrip in America is just now getting into the Hall Of Fame? Methinks we need an Old Timers committee to sift through the history books.
    How long must someone wait before they become eligible?

  6. I’ll vote for Stevens and Gerber.
    Oh…wait…

  7. I’ll vote for Stevens and Gerber.
    Oh…wait…

    I will vote for Wein. Dude.

  8. FYI:

    The basic rule of thumb for the Hall of Fame is that a nominee’s first professional work must have appeared at least 35 years before the year he or she is nominated. So far 2008, the qualifying year is 1973.

    Jackie Estrada

  9. Torsten Adair says:

    For thems that blogs… IDEA: Analyze all of the inductees and nominees. Who entered on the first ballot? Who appeared once and was never renominated? Who has never been nominated? And what are the rules and regulations? Is it whomever gets the most votes? Or is a percentage required, like in baseball?
    I think the baseball procedure is best: nominations by a committee of critics and historians, vote by the general membership, and committees to nominate noncreators like editors, publishers, retailers, and agents. And a nice dinner where each inductee gets a nice retrospective, separate from the Eisner Awards.

  10. No, i don’t think anyone and everyone who is nominated should be elected. But in most cases, these careers deserve enshrinement and recognition, and I see no good reason to delay and delay and delay until the nominee is dead- when no one is happy about it except perhaps next-of-kin.

    Of the names on this list, I’d say only Tuska, who certainly had a long, productive career but was really only a journeyman, with a style that was workmanlike at best, Broome, who certainly made an impression in DC’s early Silver Age but precious little else, is iffy to me as well. Wein wrote some great stuff for DC early in his career, and via his blog seems to be a hell of a nice guy, but when he went to Marvel his work became anonymous and uninspired, so I don’t think I’d put him in either- although his role in the creation of the New X-Men certainly deserves consideration (for good or ill). Dirks is the only name I’m unfamiliar with; I’m sure he’s only a Google search away though. All the others, as far as I’m concerned, deserve to be in there, but only five will, and another year goes by. It just doesn’t seem right.

    Tom, if I had a vote, you’d get it.

    For what it’s worth, I think the Baseball HoF is way too exclusive too, and even worse when it comes to political gameplaying. And don’t get me started about the goddamned Rock and Roll hall…

  11. Maybe it’s just because I was born in 1981, but I’m having a really hard time thinking of anything Len Wein’s done that would justify his being put in the Eisner Hall of Fame.

  12. Jackie Estrada says:

    About Len Wein, excerpted from wikipedia:

    Wein and artist Bernie Wrightson created the horror character Swamp Thing in The House of Secrets #92 (July 1971). Over the next several decades, Swamp Thing would star in DC series and miniseries — including an initial 1972–76 series begun by Wein and Wrightson, and the mid-1980s Saga of the Swamp Thing, edited by Wein and featuring early work by writer Alan Moore — as well as two theatrical films, and a syndicated television series. He wrote a well-regarded run of Justice League of America (issues #100–118) with artist Dick Dillin. He co-created, with artist Carmine Infantino, and wrote the backup feature “The Human Target” in Action Comics, Detective Comics and The Brave and the Bold.

    In the early 1970s, Len began writing regularly for Marvel Comics. He succeeded Roy Thomas as editor-in-chief of the color-comics line in 1974, staying a little over a year before handing the reins to Wolfman. Remaining at Marvel as a writer, Wein had lengthy runs on Marvel Team-Up, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Mighty Thor and Fantastic Four, as well as shorter runs on such titles as The Defenders and Brother Voodoo. In 1975, he and artist Dave Cockrum revived the Stan Lee / Jack Kirby mutant-superhero team the X-Men after a half-decade’s hiatus, reformatting the membership. Among the characters the duo created were Nightcrawler, Storm, Colossus, and Thunderbird; Wein had additionally created Wolverine earlier, with artists John Romita Sr. and Herb Trimpe, in The Incredible Hulk. Wein plotted the next two X-Men stories with artist Cockrum. These issues were then scripted by Chris Claremont, who developed the series into one of Marvel’s leading franchises.

    At the end of the 1970s, following a dispute with Marvel management, Wein returned to DC as a writer and then eventually an editor. He scripted a long run of Batman and collaborated on Green Lantern with artists Dave Gibbons and Mark Farmer. He also dialogued the mini-series Legends over the plots of John Ostrander and the artwork of John Byrne and Karl Kesel. As editor, he worked on the first mini-series Camelot 3000, and such successful series as The New Teen Titans, Batman and the Outsiders, Crisis on Infinite Earths, All-Star Squadron, and Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons’s acclaimed and highly influential Watchmen miniseries. Wein later wrote a Blue Beetle revival, scripted a revamped Wonder Woman over penciller George Pérez’s plots, and created the superhero Gunfire with artist Steve Erwin.

  13. I’d vote for Wein just for creative input on X-Men and Swamp Thing, even if they were better-realized by later creators. But then I’d do the same for Bill (CAPT MARVEL) Parker if he was on the ballot.

    Same thing for Broome. Only a small amount of his work is pivotal, but that deserves recognition, at least as much as that of Shelton.

    I like to think of Tarpe Mills as one of the first practitioners of the graphic novel but suspect I’ll be alone in that opinion.

    I concur that Tuska’s not a Hall of Fame guy. His best work is his early crime comics, which almost no one remembers, but even so, there are dozens who did better work.

    Ditto Alan Moore.

  14. Oops. I meant “ditto the earlier-expressed sentiments on Alan Moore,” not that he’s not a Hall of Fame guy.

  15. Rafael Kayanan says:

    Len Wein’s New X-Men contributions and his Swamp Thing books were already “better realized”. Talented writers who came after were already mining from a treasure chest.

  16. Gerber is eligible next year. If he isn’t in when the voting done, then I’ll complain about the process.

  17. Aw, hell, my inner 13-year-old says put Wein in, because he wrote two of my favorite comics series, Phantom Stranger and Swamp Thing, that year.

  18. I’d suggest that it would be simpler to have a vote every year listing who -doesn’t- deserve to be in the hall of fame, but I’m afraid that I’d achieve that honor on the very first ballot….

  19. What Micheal said concerning Len Wein being up for the HALL of FAME.

    I forgive him for saying what he posted, provided he gave his age, so he didn’t know better: HOWEVER if he were ten years older and he still questioned Mr. Wein’s contributions to the comic book industry , I think many of us would have took him out in a back alley and worked him over with a brass knuckled shiatsu massage.

    ~

    Coat

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