Kalish, Ormes Named to Eisner Hall of Fame

The Eisner Awards judges have selected two individuals to automatically be inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame for 2018, Carol Kalish (pioneering direct sales manager for Marvel Comics), and Jackie Ormes (first black female newspaper cartoonist, for the strip Dixie in Harlem featuring the character Torchy Brown). Voters will select four more inductees.

Carol Kalish (1955–1991)

Carol Kalish served as Direct Sales Manager and Vice President of New Product Development at Marvel Comics from 1981 to 1991. She is credited with pioneering the comics direct market when it was in its adolescence, in part through a program in which Marvel helped pay for comic book stores to acquire cash registers. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Kalish spearheaded the expansion of the Marvel’s distribution into previously unexplored retail outlets, including major bookstores such as B. Daltons and Waldenbooks. In 2010 she was posthumously awarded the first ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award.

Jackie Ormes (1911–1985)

Jackie Ormes was the first, and for a long time only, black female newspaper cartoonist. From 1937 to 1938 she wrote and drew Dixie in Harlem comics featuring Torchy Brown. After returning to her roots in journalism, she published Candy, a 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, which ran for 11 years through 1956. Finally, from 1950 to 1954, Ormes revamped Torchy Brown into Torchy in Heartbeats, an 8-page color comic insert, including many paper dolls as was popular in the time.

The judges have also chosen 16 nominees from which voters will select four to be inducted in the Hall of Fame this summer. These nominees are Charles Addams, Jim Aparo, Gus Arriola, Karen Berger, Howard Cruse, Carlos Ezquerra, Dave Gibbons, Paul Levitz, Tarpé Mills, Francoise Mouly, Thomas Nast, Lily Renée Peter Phillips, Posy Simmonds, Rumiko Takahashi, John Wagner, and S. Clay Wilson.

[Thanks to Mark Hepworth for the story.]

11 thoughts on “Kalish, Ormes Named to Eisner Hall of Fame

  1. Glad to see Carol getting the recognition; wish she were alive to appreciate it.

    Of course, if she was alive, the comics industry wouldn’t look much like it currently does…

  2. Weepily delighted to hear the news. Kurt Busiek is absolutely correct; one wonders about the shape of an alternate universe in which she’d been able to continue to guide the comics business.

  3. I’d be hard pressed to name just four from that list. I must say, though, I’d love to see Gus Arriola get some sunshine after all he gave.

    Maggie Thompson, ever since that late 70s Denver con where Cathy and I baby-sat young Stephen*, I’ve wondered if Don used that drawing of Mayor McCheese (who had just walked under a low branch, with comical effect) that he asked for and got from me shortly after I drew it. I don’t expect that the original is still sitting on the desk with a note to return it, but if it was ever printed, I’d like to get it back via a hard copy or scan thereof. I remember being inordinately pleased with it.

    *We both enjoyed hanging with him. His behavior was exemplary, and his love of game shows was delightful.

  4. I’m good at neither names nor editors, but Karen Berger is one of those that I remember. Legion of Super-Heroes, Sandman, Hellblazer, Swamp Thing.

    It is impossible for me to know the impact of an editor, but the number of iconic works she has worked on is staggering.

  5. @Kip W: It’s worth the trip if you’re in the area and it’s one of the magic days! And especially worth it if Sweet Thursday is one of your very favorite books.

    If you look at the picture in the link, where the rightmost poster with Italian writing was then? Now there’s a triply-autographed poster from an exhibition of Arriola, a guy named Dedini who I didn’t now by name, and Hank Ketcham. The ink is fading but the autographs are still there, as is the house copy of Opus 100.

  6. I expect Dedini was Eldon Dedini, longtime Playboy cartoonist whose signature situation was of a Pan sort of fellow, happily consorting with zaftig nymphs in a fullpage color Arcadia.

    Hank Ketcham also turns up in H. Allen Smith’s Two Thirds of a Coconut Tree (I think that’s the one—his Tahiti book), as a fellow character on the cruise, and for having contributed a simple map/chart of some voyage they took, with various numbers indicating important events that Smith couldn’t recall by the time he made the book, except that #4 was the spot where one of the women yelled “Birds!” (Smith also cited Ketcham in his contribution to a collection of recipes that Ace “Cowpokes” Reid put together. Smith was supposed to give a recipe for fried mush, but ended up just talking about it instead, and saying that Ketcham made good fried mush, and concluded “Hell, anybody can make fried mush!”)

    I don’t know Sweet Thursday yet.

  7. *Fingers crossed that Rumiko Takahashi manages to get into the Hall of Fame this year.*

    Other than that, I’m glad to see Ornish and Kalish get inducted.

  8. @Kip W.: “I don’t know Sweet Thursday yet.”

    It’s the sequel to Cannery Row, which I’ve never read, so I sympathize. And yeah, it’s Eldon Dedini. I think he worked for the New Yorker, too. I’m not sure, but I think he did the a nude painting, ninety degrees counterclockwise from there in the room. It’s a zaftig New Year’s nymph, so I think I’m likely to be right.

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