Russ Manning’s clean, precise style of comic art has been an inspiration to many artists. Born in 1929, Manning did most of his comics work for Dell and Gold Key and in syndicated comic strips. Starting with Brothers of the Spear, a back-up feature in Tarzan, Manning went on to do Korak, Son of Tarzan, and “graduated” to the Tarzan title with a run of stunning adaptations of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ original novels, written by Gaylord Dubois. Manning created Magnus Robot Fighter 4000 A. D. for Gold Key in 1963, showing he was as equally adept at science fiction super heroics as he was at jungle tales. In 1969, he took over the Tarzan newspaper strip and started the Star Wars strip in 1978. Manning died in 1981, but will always be remembered not only for his incredible art, but as a mentor to young artists. It in this spirit that the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award—also known as the Manning Award—was created.
The Manning Award has been given out annually at the San Diego Comic-Con since 1982. It is presented to a comics artist who, early in his or her career, shows a superior knowledge and ability in the art of creating comics.
The first recipient of the award was former Manning assistant Dave Stevens. Other past recipients include Jan Duursema, Steve Rude, Scott McCloud, Art Adams, Eric Shanower, Dan Brereton, Jeff Smith, Gene Ha, Alexander Maleev, Goran Sudzuka, Eric Wight, David Petersen, Cathy Malkasian, Eleanor Davis, Marion Churchland, and Tyler Crook. (For a complete list of Manning Award winners please click here.)
Both Cermak and Martinez are previous nominees.
The nominees were selected by a committee consisting of representatives of the West Coast Comics Club and Comic-Con International. The winner will be chosen by past Manning award winners and Russ Manning assistants. The recipient will be announced during the Eisner Awards ceremony on July 19 at Comic-Con International in San Diego.