Since the founding of the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards (and their previous incarnation, the Kirby Awards), the following individuals have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Al Feldstein served as editor, writer, and artist for EC Comics beginning in 1947. He wrote most of what are considered the “classic” EC stories for the horror and science fiction titles, along with producing covers and interior art. He took over as editor of MAD magazine in 1956, which he shepherded until his retirement in 1984. Still active as an artist, Feldstein is now a well-known painter.
Lou Fine is known as one of the best artists to work in the Golden Age of comics. His career began at the Eisner/Iger Studio, where he specialized in covers for Fox Features titles. For Quality, he drew such features as “The Black Condor” and “Uncle Sam,” and he drew The Spirit for Will Eisner during Eisner’s stint in the service. His most highly regarded efforts were his art on “The Ray” in Smash Comics and his covers for Hit Comics.
One of the unsung heroes of the Golden Age, Bill Finger, along with Bob Kane, co-created Batman. Besides writing the first Batman stories and the first Robin story, he is credited with dreaming up such villains as the Penguin and Catwoman. He also wrote the first Green Lantern story and is the namesake of Comic-Con International’s Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing.
Harold R. Foster
For decades Harold R. Foster produced gorgeous Sunday comic strips of Tarzan and his own creation, Prince Valiant, which he wrote and illustrated for almost 40 years. He is lauded by all as one of the great artists of the comic strip field.
Gardner Fox was the first “full-time professional” comic book writer, with a career that spanned 34 years, from 1938 to 1972. In all, he churned out more than 4,000 scripts for DC, where he created the Flash, Sandman, Dr. Fate, Hawkman, Adam Strange, the Justice Society, and the Justice League, and he wrote for numerous other titles, from Batman to the Atom.
Working in what was primarily a men’s industry, Ramona Fradon drew comics for DC in the 1950s and 1960s, with a memorable run on Aquaman. She also co-created Metamorpho. After a hiatus in the late 1960s, she returned to DC to draw such titles as Plastic Man. She left DC in 1980 to bring her distinctive style the Brenda Starr newspaper strip, which she continued to draw until her retirement in 1995.
Although he worked on both comic books (EC Comics stories and covers) and comic strips (Li’l Abner, Johnny Comet), Frank Frazetta is best known for his book and magazine covers (Tarzan, Creepy, Eerie, and especially Conan) and movie posters. His style has influenced untold numbers of fantasy painters and illustrators.
Highly successful author Neil Gaiman broke into comics in 1986 with some short “Future Shock” strips for 2000 AD. But he really attracted notice with his and Dave McKean’s graphic novel Violent Cases, published in 1987. DC brought him on to write the limited comics series Black Orchid, which was followed in 1989 by the groundbreaking series The Sandman for DC’s Vertigo line; the series lasted 75 issues, through 1996, and had several spinoffs and one-shots. Gaiman’s other comics work has included the series Death, Marvel 1602, and Miracleman, as well as the graphic novels Signal to Noise, Mr. Punch, and How to Talk to Girls at Parties.
Although most people probably think of MAD magazine when they think of Gaines (he was the publisher of the humor magazine from its inception until his death), William Gaines had his greatest influence in founding and publishing the EC Comics line, from Tales From the Crypt to Weird Science.
In 1933, Max Gaines devised the first four-color, saddle-stitched newsprint pamphlet, a precursor to the color-comics format that became the standard for the American comic book industry. He was co-publisher (with Jack Liebowitz) of All-American Publications, a seminal comic book company that introduced such enduring fictional characters as Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Hawkman. He went on to found Educational Comics, producing the series Picture Stories from the Bible. He authored one of the earliest essays on comic books, a 1942 pamphlet titled Narrative Illustration: The Story of the Comics. After Gaines’ death (in a motorboating accident) in 1947, Educational Comics was taken over by his son Bill Gaines, who transformed the company (now known as EC Comics) into a pioneer of horror, science fiction, and satirical comics.
Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez
Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez was born in Spain and began drawing comics professionally in Argentina at age 13. In the 1960s, he drew romance titles for Charlton Comics. He came to the U.S. in 1974 and started working for DC Comics, drawing series such as Superman, Batman, Hawkman, Tarzan, and Jonah Hex. His other notable work includes Atari Force, Deadman, New Teen Titans, and On the Road to Perdition. Since 1982, Garcia-Lopez has designed and pencilled the definitive versions of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and many other characters for various DC Comics style guides, which are created for licensees only. His style guide art has been seen on countless DC Comics licensed products and is still being used today.
Writer Steve Gerber, best known for co-creating Howard the Duck, wrote such titles as The Defenders, Man-Thing, Omega the Unknown, and Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel and was one of the founders of the Malibu Comics Ultraverse.
Dave Gibbons started out in underground comics in the UK in the early 1970s. His work appeared to the first issue of 2000 AD in 1977, and he served as the lead artist on Doctor Who Weekly/Monthly for over 60 issues. His best-known work appeared in 1986: DC’s Watchmen, with writer Alan Moore. Gibbons both drew and lettered the landmark miniseries, later collected into a bestselling graphic novel that has been lauded as one of the top works in comics history. Gibbons’s other works include Frank Miller’s Give Me Liberty and Martha Washington Goes to War, the Eisner Award–winning graphic novel The Originals, and Green Lantern Corps for DC. In 2014 he was appointed the UK’s first Comics Laureate.
DC, Marvel, and Dell. He also served as editor-in-chief at Charlton and as executive editorial director of DC Comics, where he was the guiding force behind Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, among other projects.
Jean “Moebius” Giraud
Jean Giraud first came to the attention of Americans as the artist on the western graphic novel series Lt. Blueberry. In 1975, he founded Metal Hurlant (which became Heavy Metal in the U.S.). His signature art style on such SF/fantasy series as Airtight Garage and Arzach (which he created under the name Moebius), has been highly influential on a wide variety of artists.