Comic-Con International has announced that the Eisner Awards judges have selected four individuals to automatically be inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame for 2017.
Usually the judges add two people to the Hall, but the number has been doubled this year as part of the Will Eisner centennial celebration – he would have turned 100 on March 6. The judges’ picks are —
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.
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.
The judges have also chosen 17 nominees from which voters will select another four people to go into the Hall of Fame this summer. These nominees are Peter Bagge, Howard Cruse, Steve Englehart, Justin Green, Roberta Gregory, Bill Griffith, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, Francoise Mouly, Jackie Ormes, George Pérez, P. Craig Russell, Posy Simmonds, Walt Simonson, Jim Starlin, Rumiko Takahashi, and Garry Trudeau.