The Eisner Awards judges have selected two people to be automatically inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame for 2020.
These inductees are pioneering newspaper cartoonist Nell Brinkley (creator of the Brinkley Girl) and African American cartoonist/illustrator E. Simms Campbell (Esquire, Life, Judge, Playboy, and many other magazines).
Nell Brinkley (1886-1944)
Nell Brinkley was an American illustrator and comics artist who was sometimes referred to as the “Queen of Comics” during her nearly four-decade career working with New York newspapers and magazines. Her comics are a luxuriously rendered visual chronicle of woman’s progress over the decades, from her Victorian-era heroines to her Deco-styled independent working women. Her iconic Brinkley Girl, celebrated in song and on stage, surpassed the Gibson Girl in popularity. Her creative legacy can be seen everywhere, from Dale Messick, Ramona Fradon, Marie Severin, and Trina Robbins to sh?jo manga.
E. Simms Campbell (1906–1971)
E. Simms Campbell was an indispensable part of Esquire magazine’s birth in the early 1930s. He established its visual style and invented the original “Esky” character. And, in the words of its founding editor Arnold Gingrich, his full-page color cartoons “catapulted the magazine’s circulation from the start.” Campbell may also be the first African American illustrator not only to break the color line in mass-market publications but to earn widespread public acclaim as well. During his art career, Campbell produced cartoons for a variety of magazines such as Life, Cosmopolitan, and nearly every issue of Esquire until his early-1960s hop over to Playboy. He did covers for Judge and The New Yorker and created woodcut-style illustrations for a Langston Hughes young adult novel.
The judges have also chosen 14 nominees from which voters will select 4 to be inducted in the Hall of Fame this summer. These nominees are Alison Bechdel, Howard Cruse, Moto Hagio, Don Heck, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Francoise Mouly, Keiji Nakazawa, Thomas Nast, Lily Renée Peter Phillips, Stan Sakai, Louise Simonson, Don and Maggie Thompson, James Warren, and Bill Watterson.
The 2020 Eisner Awards judging panel consists of comics reviewer Martha Cornog (Library Journal), journalist/historian Jamie Coville (CollectorTimes.com, TheComicBooks.com), author/academic Michael Dooley (Art Center College of Design, Print magazine), novelist/comics writer Alex Grecian (The Yard, Proof, Seven Sons), podcaster/Comic-Con volunteer Simon Jimenez, and retailer Laura O’Meara (Casablanca Comics, Portland, ME).