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Judges’ Choices (will be automatically inducted)
The Eisner Awards judges have selected four individuals to automatically be inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame for 2017.
Milt Gross (1895–1953)
Milton Gross began his cartooning career in 1915, producing a number of humorous newspaper strips. After serving in World War I, he went on to create strips like Frenchy, Banana Oil, and Help Wanted. His big break came with Gross Exaggerations, a weekly column of prose and cartoons. In 1926 Nize Baby, a book collection of some of these columns, appeared and was an instant hit. Under the same title, Gross began a Sunday page feature in 1927. Other books by Gross include Hiawatta Witt No Odder Poems, De Night In De Front From Chreesmas, Dunt Esk, and the pioneer wordless graphic novel He Done Her Wrong. In 1933, Gross was hired away from the New York World by newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, for whom he produced such strips as Count Screwloose of Tooloose, Dave's Delicatessen, Otto and Blotto, and That's My Pop! Gross became a celebrity, famous for his cartooning, scriptwriting, radio shows, and columns.
H. G. Peter (1880–1958)
At age 61, Harry G. Peter began drawing Wonder Woman, collaborating with writer William Moulton Marston. Peter started with the Amazon’s first appearance in Sensation Comics in 1941 and continued drawing the feature for close to two decades. Wonder Woman #97, cover dated April 1958, was Peter's last issue.
Antonio Prohías (1921–1998)
Antonio Prohías is best known for his 30 years of work with MAD magazine on his comic feature “Spy Vs. Spy,” which has been adapted into a series of animated shorts, several video games, a series of live-action television commercials, and a Sunday strip. Prohías’s two feuding spies stand among the handful of comics characters with an immediate, globally recognized iconic meaning. In the late 1940s Prohias began drawing cartoons for the prestigious Cuban newspaper El Mundo. His wordless material enjoyed international appeal, and by the late 1950s he was the president of the Association of Cuban Cartoonists. On May 1, 1960, just three days before Castro gained control of El Mundo and the rest of Cuba’s free press, Prohías fled Cuba for New York City.
Dori Seda (1950–1988)
Dori Seda was one of the pioneers of the autobiographical comics genre in underground comix. She started her career when she was hired by Last Gasp publisher Ron Turner to do the bookkeeping for the company. Her stories were published in several comics and anthologies, including Wimmen's Comix, Rip-Off Comix, Tits 'n Clits, and Weirdo. Dori's only full-length solo book was Lonely Nights Comics. Her work is collected in Dori Stories (1999), which also includes memorial essays by friends. In 1988, Last Gasp established the Dori Seda Memorial Award for Women, whose first (and only) recipient was Carol Tyler.
Nominees (four will be chosen by voters for induction into the Hall of Fame)
Best known for his long-running series comics series Hate, Peter Bagge got his start in the 1970s drawing comics for the seminal Punk magazine. In the 1980s his Neat Stuff was one of the most lauded alt-comics series, and he edited Weirdo (taking over for R. Crumb) for several years. He launched Hate (starring Buddy Bradley) in 1990. In recent years he’s produced several critically acclaimed collections and graphic novels, including Yeah!, Apocalypse Nerd, Everyone’s Stupid But Me, and Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story.
Howard Cruse first appeared on the national comics scene with his underground strip Barefootz in 1972. In 1979 he began editing Gay Comix, an anthology featuring comix by openly gay and lesbian cartoonists. In 1983 Cruse introduced his comic strip Wendel to the pages of The Advocate, the national gay newsmagazine, where it appeared regularly until 1989. His 1995 graphic novel Stuck Rubber Baby (published by Paradox Press) won Eisner and Harvey Awards and went on to be translated into numerous languages around the world; it was republished by Vertigo in 2010.
In the 1970s, Steve Englehart was Marvel's lead writer, handling such series as The Avengers, Captain America, The Defenders, Thor, Dr. Strange, and half a dozen others. In 1973 Steve and artist Jim Starlin co-created the character Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. In 1976 Englehart was hired by DC to revamp their core characters (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Green Lantern) and had memorable runs on Justice League of America and Detective Comics. He left comics for a while but returned to Marvel in the 1980s, writing the creator-owned Coyote, along with stints on West Coast Avengers, the second Vision and the Scarlet Witch limited series, Silver Surfer, and Fantastic Four. In 1992, he co-created the Ultraverse comics universe for Malibu Comics and wrote Night Man and the superhero-team series The Strangers. Night Man was later adapted for a syndicated television series that ran for two seasons.
Justin Green is most noted for the 1972 underground title Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary. This solo comic book detailed Green's struggle with a form of OCD known as scrupulosity, within the framework of growing up Catholic in 1950s Chicago. Intense graphic depiction of personal torment had never appeared in comic book form before, and it had a profound effect on other cartoonists and the future direction of comics as literature. The underground comix pioneer was also a contributor to such titles as Bijou Funnies, Insect Fear, Arcade, Young Lust, and Sniffy Comics. In the 1990s, Green focused his cartooning attention on a series of visual biographies for Pulse!, the in-house magazine for Tower Records. It ran for ten years and was later collected as Musical Legends.
Roberta Gregory began her comics career in 1974 with the creation of the comic strip “Feminist Funnies” in the college humor paper Uncle Jam. That same year, she sold her first story to the underground publication Wimmen’s Comix. She later expanded “Feminist Funnies” into a comic book titled Dynamite Damsels, which has been noted as one of the first regulation-sized comic books self-published by a female creator. In the 1980s, Gregory began work on two fantasy-genre projects, “Winging It” and “Sheila and the Unicorn,” as well as publishing stories in nearly every issue of Howard Cruse’s anthology Gay Comix. Gregory is best known for her character “Bitchy Bitch,” who debuted in 1991 in the ongoing series Naughty Bits, published by Fantagraphics. The popularity of the character prompted the creation of a weekly strip beginning in the late ’90s, multiple stage productions, and several appearances on the Oxygen Network’s half-hour animated series Life’s a Bitch.
Known for his non sequitur-spouting character Zippy the Pinhead, Bill Griffith had his first work published in 1969 in the East Village Other and Screw. His first major comic book titles included Tales of Toad and Young Lust, a bestselling series parodying romance comics. He was co-editor of Arcade: The Comics Revue for its seven-issue run in the mid-1970s. The first Zippy strip appeared in Real Pulp #1 (Print Mint) in 1970. The strip went weekly in 1976, first in the Berkeley Barb and then syndicated nationally. Today the daily Zippy appears in over 200 newspapers worldwide. Most recently, Griffith produced the Eisner Award-nominated autobiographical graphic novel Invisible Ink: My Mother’s Love Affair with a Famous Cartoonist.
Gilbert Hernandez, along with his brothers Jaime and Mario, self-published the first issue of Love and Rockets in 1981. It was picked up by Fantagraphics Books in 1982 and ran 50 issues before the brothers took a break to pursue solo projects. From 1983 to 1996, Gilbert produced the legendary Palomar saga, collected in such graphic novels as Heartbreak Soup and Human Diastrophism. Gilbert’s other works include Marble Season, Birdland, and Girl Crazy. Love And Rockets was revived in 2000 and still continues today.
Jaime Hernandez, along with his brothers Gilbert and Mario, self-published the first issue of Love and Rockets in 1981. It was picked up by Fantagraphics Books in 1982 and ran 50 issues before the brothers took a break to pursue solo projects. Jaime’s L&R titles include Whoa, Nellie!, Maggie and Hopey Color Fun, Penny Century, and The Love Bunglers.
Editor and publisher Francoise Mouly founded Raw Books and Graphics in 1978. With her husband Art Spiegelman she launched Raw magazine in 1980, which is perhaps best known for serializing Spiegelman’s award-winning Maus. A lavishly produced oversize anthology, Raw published work by Lynda Barry, Charles Burns, Kim Deitch, Ben Katchor, Richard McGuire, Lorenzo Mattotti, Gary Panter, Joost Swarte, Jacques Tardi, and Chris Ware, to name but a few. When Mouly became art director at The New Yorker in 1993, she brought a large number of cartoonists and artists to the periodical's interiors and covers. In 2008 she launched Toon Books, an imprint devoted to books for young readers done by cartoonists.
Jackie Ormes (1911–1985)
Jackie Ormes was the first, and for a long time only, black female newspaper cartoonist. From 1937 to 1938 she created the Dixie in Harlem comics featuring Torchy Brown. After returning to her roots in journalism, she published Candy, a powerful single-panel cartoon about a witty housemaid in 1945. Then she created Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger, another single-panel cartoon about a pair of sisters that ran for 11 years through 1956. Finally, from 1950 to 1954, Ormes revamped Torchy Brown in Torchy in Heartbeats as an eight-page color comic insert, including many paper dolls as was in vogue for the time.
George Pérez started drawing comics at Marvel in 1974. After working on such titles as Fantastic Four, The Inhumans, and The Avengers, he developed a reputation as the artist who liked to draw group books. In addition to his Marvel stints, he is best known for his work on DC’s The New Teen Titans, Wonder Woman, and Crisis on Infinite Earths.
P. Craig Russell
After establishing a name for himself at Marvel on Killraven and Dr. Strange in the 1970s, artist P. Craig Russell went on to become one of the pioneers in opening new vistas in the field with, among other works, adaptation of Michael Moorcock’s Elric for graphic novels and comics, and adaptations of operas by Mozart (The Magic Flute), Strauss (Salome), and Wagner (The Ring of the Nibelung). His more recent work includes graphic novel adaptations of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and The Graveyard Book.
Posy Simmonds is a British cartoonist, illustrator, and children’s book author. Her newspaper strips (including “The Silent Three” and “Posy”) were hugely popular in England in the 1970s and 1980s. Her first graphic novel, Gemma Bovery, first appeared in the pages of The Guardian in the early 1990s in serialized format and was later collected in book form. Her second graphic novel, Tamara Drewe, was also originally serialized in The Guardian. Both graphic novels were made into feature films. She was made a Member of the British Empire in 2002 for her services to the newspaper industry.
Walter Simonson began drawing for DC Comics in 1972 and was soon tapped by writer/editor Archie Goodwin to draw a new backup feature called Manhunter, which went on to win three best story of the year awards for the pair. Since then, Simonson has written and drawn nearly every major character for both Marvel and DC Comics. Highlights include Star Wars, Fantastic Four, Elric, and Thor, the latter of which would go on to become his most famous work. His run on the series lasted nearly four years and is considered by many to be the defining version of the Thunder God.
Jim Starlin started at Marvel Comics in 1972 and has been working on and off in comics ever since. His body of work includes Amazing Spider-Man, Batman, 'Breed, Captain Marvel, Cosmic Odyssey, Daredevil/Black Widow: Abatoir, Doctor Strange, Dreadstar, Gilgamesh II, Hardcore Station, Infinity Abyss, Infinity Crusade, Infinity Gauntlet/War, Iron Man, Master of Kung Fu, Silver Surfer, Thanos Quest, The End of the Marvel Universe, Warlock and the Infinity Watch, Warlock, Wyrd: The Reluctant Warrior, Marvel The End, Thanos, Mystery in Space, Death of the New Gods, Kid Kosmos: Kidnapped, and Rann/Thanagar Holy War. He is best known for creating or co-creating the Marvel characters Thanos, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, and Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu.
Popular manga creator Rumiko Takahashi is said to be the bestselling female comics artist in history, with hundreds of millions of her books sold around the world. Takahashi's first published work was the one-shot Katte na Yatsura in 1978. Later that year her first major work began being serialized, Urusei Yatsura. She went on to create such classic works as Maison Ikkoku, Ranma ½, InuYasha, One Pound Gospel, Mermaid Saga, and Rumic Theater. Several of her works have been animated.
While attending Yale University, Garry Trudeau created a comic strip called “Bull Tales,” which began appearing in the Yale Daily News in 1969. Universal Press Syndicate bought the strip and started selling it nationwide to over 400 newspapers under the title “Doonesbury.” The strip is now syndicated to over 1000 daily and Sunday newspapers worldwide. In 1975, Trudeau was the first comic strip artist to win the Pulitzer Prize, followed by the Rueben Award in 1996. The strip was made into an animated short film in 1977 and a Broadway musical in 1984.