Comic-Con International has announced fifteen individuals who will automatically be inducted to the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame Nominees for 2023. These inductees include 11 deceased comics pioneers and 4 living creators. The deceased greats are: Jerry Bails, Tony DeZuniga, Justin Green, Jay Jackson, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Win Mortimer, Diane Noomin, Gaspar Saladino, Kim Thompson, and Mort Walker. The judges’ living choices are Bill Griffith, Jack Katz, Garry Trudeau, and Tatjana Wood.
The judges have also chosen 16 nominees from whom eligible voters will select 4 to be inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer. These nominees are Gus Arriola, Brian Bolland, Gerry Conway, Edwina Dumm, Mark Evanier, Creig Flessel, Bob Fujitani, Warren Kremer, Todd McFarlane, Keiji Nakazawa, Ann Nocenti, Paul Norris, Bud Plant, Tim Sale, Diana Schutz, and Phil Seuling. More information on the inductees and nominees can be found below.
The 2023 Eisner Awards judging panel consists of librarian Moni Barrett, educator/collector Peter Jones, retailer Jen King, journalist Sean Kleefeld, scholar/comics creator A. David Lewis, and instructor/curator TJ Shevlin.
The Eisner Hall of Fame trophies will be presented in a special program during Comic-Con on the morning of July 21. This is a change from previous years, when the Hall of Fame was part of the Friday night Eisner Awards ceremony. This year the Hall of Fame winners will have their own special spotlight in the daytime, giving more fans the opportunity to attend.
2023 EISNER HALL OF FAME JUDGES’ CHOICES
These individuals will automatically be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Jerry Bails (1933–2006)
Known as the “Father of Comic Book Fandom,” Jerry Bails was one of the first to approach comic books as a subject worthy of academic study, and he was a primary force in establishing 1960s comics fandom. He was the founding editor of the fanzines Alter-Ego, The Comicollector, and On the Drawing Board, the forerunner to the long-running newszine The Comic Reader, designed to showcase the latest comic news. He then headed the drive to establish the Academy of Comic-Book Fans and Collectors. Another important contribution was his Who’s Who of American Comic Books, published in four volumes during 1973–1976.
Tony DeZuniga (1932–2012)
Tony DeZuniga was the first Filipino comic book artist whose work was accepted by American publishers and was instrumental in recruiting many other Filipino artists to enter the U.S. comics industry in the early 1970s. He is best known for co-creating Jonah Hex and Black Orchid. DeZuniga divided his time between DC and Marvel, drawing not only Jonah Hex and Conan but also many other well-known characters including Doc Savage, Thor, The X-Men, Swamp Thing, Batman, Dracula, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Red Sonja, The Punisher, and Spider-Man.
Justin Green (1945–2022)
Justin Green is most noted for the 1972 underground title Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary. This autobiographical 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.
Jay Jackson (1905–1954)
Jay Paul Jackson was an African American artist who spent many years working for the Chicago Defender, in addition to working as an illustrator for science fiction magazines such as Amazing Stories and Fantastic Adventures. Jackson introduced the world to the first black superhero on January 6, 1945, in “the oldest, longest continuously running black comic strip,” Bungleton Green, in the Chicago Defender. Bungleton Green, the name of the character as well as the strip, became the literal embodiment of the black ideal, a man who in all ways was equal, even superior, to the whites whose relentless oppression Jackson constantly fought.
Jeffrey Catherine Jones (1944–2011)
Jeff Jones began creating comics in 1964. While attending Georgia State College, Jones met fellow student Mary Louise Alexander, whom she married in 1966. After graduation, the couple moved to New York City but split up in the early 1970s (writer/editor Louise Jones Simonson was inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame in 2020). In New York Jones found work drawing for King Comics, Gold Key, Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella, as well as Wally Wood’s Witzend. In the early 1970s when National Lampoon began publication, Jones had a strip in it called Idyl. From 1975 to 1979 Jones shared workspace with Bernie Wrightson, Barry Windsor-Smith, and Michael Wm Kaluta, collectively named The Studio. By the early 1980s, Jones had a recurring strip in Heavy Metal titled I’m Age. In the late 1990s, Jones started taking female hormones and had sex reassignment surgery. She passed away in May of 2011.
Aline Kominsky-Crumb (1948–2022)
Kominsky-Crumb was born Aline Goldsmith in 1948, in Long Island, New York. In 1971 she moved to San Francisco and fell in with the all-female collective that founded Wimmen’s Comix, and contributed stories to the anthology’s inaugural issues. In 1975, she departed Wimmen’s Comix and with fellow former contributor Diane Noomin launched Twisted Sisters, which would eventually spawn an anthology and a limited series featuring work by many Wimmen’s Comix contributors. Kominisky married Robert Crumb in 1978, a few years after the couple began co-creating the comic Dirty Laundry, about their life together. Aline drew her own character, “the Bunch,” later collected into Love That Bunch. In 1981 she took the editorial reins of Crumb’s Weirdo anthology and remained the series’ editor through its 1993 conclusion. In 1990, the Crumbs moved to a small village in southern France, where they continued to collaborate. Aline’s 2007 memoir, Need More Love, earned her critical acclaim.
Win Mortimer (1919–1998)
Canadian artist James Winslow Mortimer began working for DC Comics in 1945 and quickly became a cover artist for comics featuring Superman, Superboy, and Batman. He succeeded Wayne Boring on the Superman newspaper strip in 1949, leaving it in 1956 to create the adventure strip David Crane for the Prentice-Hall Syndicate. During the same period, Mortimer returned to DC and worked on a large variety of comics, ranging from humor titles such as Swing with Scooter to superhero features starring the Legion of Super-Heroes and Supergirl. He and writer Arnold Drake co-created Stanley and His Monster in 1965. By the early 1970s, he was freelancing for other publishers. At Marvel, he drew virtually every story in the TV tie-in children’s comic Spidey Super Stories (1974–1982) as well as the short-lived Night Nurse series. Mortimer’s work at Gold Key Comics included Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery, The Twilight Zone, and Battle Of The Planets.
Diane Noomin (1947–2022)
Pioneering female underground cartoonist Diane Noomin (married to cartoonist Bill Griffith) is best known for her character Didi Glitz and for editing the groundbreaking anthology series Twisted Sisters. Noomin’s comics career began in the early 1970s and included appearances in Wimmen’s Comix, Young Lust, Arcade, Titters, Weirdo, and many others. DiDi first appeared in a story called “Restless Reverie” in Short Order Comix #2 (Family Fun, 1974). Noomin has said that she used DiDi as a shield in addressing material which in later years was increasingly autobiographical. Most recently, Noomin edited the anthology Drawing Power: Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival (Abrams ComicArts, 2019), which was inspired by the global #MeToo Movement. The book won the 2020 Eisner Award for Best Anthology.
Gaspar Saladino (1927–2016)
Gaspar Saladino started at DC in 1949 and worked for more than 60 years in the comics industry as a letterer and logo designer. It has been calculated that he designed 416 logos, lettered 52,769 comic book pages and 5,486 covers, and produced 411 house ads. The logos he designed for DC included Swamp Thing, Vigilante, Phantom Stranger, Metal Men, Adam Strange, House of Mystery, House of Secrets, and Unknown Soldier, among others. For Marvel, Saladino’s logos, which he either created or updated, include The Avengers, Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, Captain America and the Falcon, and Marvel Triple Action. During the early 1970s Saladino lettered the interiors for the then-new Swamp Thing. It was in the pages of this series that he created the concept of character-designated fonts, with Swamp Thing’s distinctive outlined, “drippy” letters.
Kim Thompson (1956–2013)
Kim Thompson was born in Denmark in 1956 and grew up in the rich and varied publishing world of European comics. He arrived in the U.S. in the 1970s and immediately joined with Gary Groth, founder of Fantagraphics, to serve as co-publisher for the next three decades. Kim began working with The Comics Journal, helping produce the news reports, interviews, criticism, and commentary that would guide and outline the growth of both mainstream comics and the independent comics publishing movement going into the 1980s. By the early 1980s, Fantagraphics began publishing a list that included many of the most acclaimed comics and graphic novels of the era—among them the Hernandez Brothers’ Love and Rockets and many others—and Thompson was instrumental in their acquisition and publication. Thompson was also a key figure in bringing the best of European graphic novels to the U.S., acquiring and translating works.
Mort Walker (1923–2018)
Mort Walker was one of the best known gag-a-day cartoonists in the world. He created three long-running and famous newspaper comics: his signature series Beetle Bailey (1950– ), Hi and Lois with Dik Browne (1954– ), and Boner’s Ark (1968-2000). Mort Walker was not only a creative spirit in comedy, but he also loved his profession. He wrote various essays and books about comics. He was the first to think up names for comics symbols and imagery which had previously remained unnamed. The man also turned the National Cartoonists’ Society into an actual professional organization and established its annual Reuben Award to honor artists and writers. He founded a Museum of Cartoon Art (1974–2002), whose huge collection of original artwork is nowadays part of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.
Bill Griffith (1944– )
Known for his non sequitur-spouting character Zippy the Pinhead, 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-’70s. 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, he produced the autobiographical Invisible Ink: My Mother’s Love Affair with a Famous Cartoonist.
Jack Katz (1927– )
Jack Katz began his career at the age of 16, doing art for Archie Comics and Fawcett’s Bulletman, and working as an assistant on several strips for King Features in the second half of the 1940s. In the early 1950s, he went to work as a comic book penciler for Marvel/Atlas Comics and continued into the early 1970s. He did art on many war, mystery, and romance titles, mainly for Marvel, but also for Better Publications. Katz was additionally present in DC’s romance titles and in the horror magazines of Warren Publishing and Skywald in the 1970s. Then he dropped out of mainstream comics to devote 12 years to his First Kingdom project: a complex science fiction epic that tells of man’s migration into space, the ensuing galactic battles, and the great mystery of mankind’s origin before the fall of civilization. Katz completed this series with issue number 24 in 1986.
Garry Trudeau (1948– )
Trudeau attended Yale University and was a cartoonist and writer for The Yale Record. He also created a comic strip called Bull Tales that moved to 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. In his long career, Trudeau has been groundbreaking in dealing with topics like homosexuality in comic strips. He also has been a strong advocate of cartoonists’ rights. In 1975, Trudeau was the first comic strip artist to win the Pulitzer Prize, followed by the Reuben Award in 1996. Doonesbury was made into an animated short film in 1977 and a Broadway musical in 1984.
Tatjana Wood (1926– )
Tatjana Weintrob immigrated from Germany to New York in 1948, attending the Traphagen School of Fashion. In 1949, she met comics artist Wally Wood, and they married in 1950. During the 1950s and 1960s, she sometimes made uncredited contributions to Wood’s artwork. Beginning in 1969, she did extensive work for DC Comics as a comic book colorist. She was the main colorist for DC’s covers from 1973 through the mid-1980s. She did coloring on the interiors of such acclaimed series as Grant Morrison’s acclaimed run on Animal Man, Alan Moore’s issues of Swamp Thing, and Camelot 3000. She won the Shazam Award for Best Colorist in 1971 and 1974.
2023 EISNER AWARDS HALL OF FAME NOMINEES
Voters will choose 4 individuals from these 16 to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Gus Arriola (1917–2008)
Gus Arriola wrote and drew the Mexican-themed comic strip Gordo. The strip prominently featured Mexican characters and themes, set a high standard with its impeccable art and design, and had a long and successful life in newspapers (1941–1985). R.C. Harvey wrote in Children of the Yellow Kid: “A strip remarkable for its graphic evolution is Gus Arriola’s Gordo. A pioneer in producing ‘ethnic’ comics, Arriola drew upon his own Mexican heritage in creating a strip about a portly south-of-the-border bean farmer. . . . When the strip started, it was rendered in the big-foot style of MGM animated cartoons, upon which Arriola had been working until then. But over the years, Arriola dramatically changed his way of drawing, producing eventually the decorative masterpiece of the comics page, the envy of his colleagues. He frequently made the strip educational, informing his readers about the culture of Mexico.”
Brian Bolland (1951– )
Brian Bolland is a British comic artist originally known for his work on Judge Dredd. He was one of the first British artists to be recruited by DC Comics in the early days of what became known as “the British Invasion,” which revolutionized the industry in the 1980s. One of his earliest works for DC was Justice League of America #200 in 1982, though he is better remembered for the 12-issue limited series Camelot 3000, DC’s first-ever “maxi-series.” He also drew the Batman graphic novel The Killing Joke, written by Alan Moore, and a Judge Dredd/Batman team-up, also by Moore. In recent years, he has concentrated mainly on providing cover art, most of it for DC.
Gerry Conway (1952– )
Gerard F. “Gerry” Conway is an American writer of comic books and television shows. He is best known for co-creating the Marvel Comics vigilante The Punisher (with artist Ross Andru) and scripting the death of the character Gwen Stacy during his long run on The Amazing Spider-Man. He is also known for co-creating the DC Comics superhero Firestorm (with artist Al Milgrom), and for scripting the first major, modern-day intercompany crossover, Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man.
Edwina Dumm (1893–1990)
Edwina Dumm drew the comic strip Cap Stubbs and Tippie for nearly five decades. After graduating from high school, Edwina took a job as a stenographer for the Columbus Board of Education and enrolled in a cartooning correspondence course from the Landon School in Cleveland. Upon completing the course, she became a staff artist at the Daily Monitor in 1916 and began drawing a daily editorial cartoon at that time. She was the first woman in the nation to work as an editorial cartoonist for a daily newspaper. In 1918 she moved to New York City and submitted work to the Adams Syndication Service. Her new creation, Cap Stubbs and Tippie, followed the adventures of a mischievous little boy and his shaggy dog; it premiered as a daily strip in 1918. A Sunday page was added in 1934. Edwina’s success in New York City expanded well beyond her comic strips. She illustrated several books, and she achieved her dream of creating a cover for Life magazine in 1930 when she illustrated the cover for its January issue. Edwina’s achievements were honored in 1978, when she received the Gold Key Award from the National Cartoonists Society Hall of Fame, making her the only woman to receive this honor.
Mark Evanier (1952– )
Mark Evanier entered the comics industry in 1969 as an assistant to the great Jack Kirby, whom he wrote about in his award-winning book Kirby, King of Comics. Mark has written hundreds of comic books, most notably Blackhawk, Crossfire, DNAgents, and New Gods. He has worked with Sergio Aragonés for over 40 years on Groo the Wanderer. He is also a historian of comic books and animation.
Creig Flessel (1912–2008)
Creig Flessel drew the covers of many of the first American comic books, including the pre-Batman Detective Comics #2–17 (April 1937–July 1938). He had debuted in comics the year before with stories in the seminal More Fun Comics #10 (May 1936). He drew many early adventures of the Golden Age Sandman and has sometimes been credited as the character’s co-creator. When DC Comics editor Vin Sullivan left DC and formed his own comic book publishing company, Magazine Enterprises, Flessel signed on as associate editor. Flessel continued to draw comics, often uncredited, through the 1950s, including Superboy stories in both that character’s namesake title and in Adventure Comics; and anthological mystery and suspense tales in American Comics Group’s (ACG’s) Adventures into the Unknown.
Bob Fujitani (1921–2020)
Artist Bob Fujitani (half-Japanese, half-Irish) drew comics for a variety of publishing houses beginning in the early 1940s. His Golden Age credits include work for Ace/Periodical House (Lash Lightning), Avon (Eerie, western), Dell (adventure and historical comics), Harvey (Green Hornet, Shock Gibson), Hillman (Flying Dutchman), Holyoke (Cat-Man), Lev Gleason (Crime Does Not Pay, Two-Gun Kid), and Quality (Black Condor, Dollman). He is also well remembered by fans for his art on the Gold Key series Turok, Son of Stone and Doctor Solar. In the comic strip world, he worked as a ghost inker on the Flash Gordon daily in the 1960s and the 1970s and on the Rip Kirby daily in the 1990s.
Warren Kremer (1921–2003)
Warren Kremer was born in the Bronx as the son of a sign painter, from whom he inherited his steady drawing hand. He studied at the School of Industrial Arts and went straight into print services, working for pulp magazines. He gradually took on more comics work in Ace Publications, his first title being Hap Hazard. Kremer ended up working for Harvey Comics, where he stayed for 35 years and became a leading penciller, working on titles such as Casper, Little Max, Joe Palooka, Stumbo the Giant, Hot Stuff, Richie Rich and Little Audrey. After Harvey closed its doors in 1982, Kremer worked for Star Comics, Marvel’s kids imprint, and contributed to titles like Top Dog, Ewoks, Royal Roy, Planet Terry, and Count Duckula.
Todd McFarlane (1961– )
Todd McFarlane began drawing comics professionally in 1984. He eventually worked his way to the top of Marvel’s artist roster with successful runs on The Incredible Hulk and Amazing Spider-Man. Marvel gave McFarlane a new title that he solely could write, pencil, and ink: Spider-Man. The first issue appeared in September 1990 and became the best-selling comic book of all time, selling more than 2.5 million copies. Following this incredible success, he left Marvel in August 1991 to form his own publishing company: Image Comics, together with his colleagues Erik Larsen, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. Here, he launched his series Spawn, which went on to become a 1997 movie and an animated TV series. He also founded Todd McFarlane Toys and a film/animation studio.
Keiji Nakazawa (1939–2012)
Keiji Nakazawa was born in Hiroshima and was in the city when it was destroyed by a nuclear weapon in 1945. He settled in Tokyo in 1961 to become a cartoonist. He produced his first manga for anthologies like Shonen Gaho, Shonen King, and Bokura. By 1966, Nakazawa began to express his memories of Hiroshima in his manga, starting with the fictional Kuroi Ame ni Utarete (Struck by Black Rain) and the autobiographical story Ore wa Mita (I Saw It). Nakazawa’s life work, Barefoot Gen (1972), was the first Japanese comic ever to be translated into Western languages. Barefoot Gen was adapted into two animated films and a live-action TV drama and has been translated into a dozen languages.
Ann Nocenti (1957– )
Ann Nocenti is an American journalist, filmmaker, teacher, comic book writer and editor. She is best known for her work at Marvel in the late 1980s, particularly the four-year stint as the editor of Uncanny X-Men and The New Mutants (written by Chris Claremont) as well as her run as a writer of Daredevil, illustrated primarily by John Romita, Jr. Ann has co-created such Marvel characters as Longshot, Mojo, Spiral, Blackheart and Typhoid Mary. She also wrote Catwoman for DC Comics.
Paul Norris (1914–2007)
Paul Norris studied at the Dayton (Ohio) Art Institute and moved to New York in 1940, where he got a job at Prize Publications, creating the series Power Nelson, Futureman, and Yank and Doodle. Moving to work for National, he launched Aquaman with Mort Weisinger, and collaborated on various other comics. In 1942, he drew his first newspaper strip, taking over Vic Jordan for the New York Daily PM. After returning from World War II, he was hired by King Features Syndicate and worked on several comic books starring Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim. Norris was also the artist of several episodes of Secret Agent X-9 during the period 1943–1946. His big break came in 1948, when he took over the Jungle Jim Sunday feature from Austin Briggs. In 1952, he took over the Brick Bradford daily strip from Clarence Gray, which he continued until 1987.
Bud Plant (1952– )
In his over 50 years in the comics industry, Bud Plant has been a retailer, distributor, and publisher. In 1972 Bud co-founded what became the comics retailer Comics & Comix in Berkeley, California, with John Barrett and Robert Beerbohm. In 1973 Comics & Comix helped host the first Bay Area comics convention, Berkeleycon 73, at the University of California, Berkeley campus. He also published a selection of comics and zines during the1970s, most notably Jack Katz’s First Kingdom. As a wholesale comics distributor in the 1970s and 1980s during the growth of the direct market, Plant absorbed some of his smaller rivals in the 1980s, and then sold his business to Diamond Comics Distributors in 1988. He still, as Bud Plant’s Art Books, sells quality reprints and graphic novels. He exhibited at the first 48 San Diego Comic-Cons, but stopped in 2018.
Tim Sale (1956–2022)
Artist Tim Sale began working in comics in 1983, and in the course of his career he worked with Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Harris Comics, and Oni Press, with his art gracing characters including Batman, Superman, Harley Quinn, and the Justice Society of America. With Jeph Loeb he created Batman: The Long Halloween, Challengers of the Unknown Must Die!, Superman for All Seasons, Batman: Dark Victory, Daredevil: Yellow, Spider-Man: Blue, Hulk: Gray, Catwoman: When in Rome, and Captain America: White. In 1999, Sale earned an Eisner Award for Best Short Story for “Devil’s Advocate,” with writer Matt Wagner in Grendel: Black, White, and Red #1. He also received Eisners for Best Graphic Album – Reprint for Batman: The Long Halloween and Best Penciller/Inker for Superman for All Seasons and Grendel Black, White, and Red.
Diana Schutz (1955– )
Diana Schutz is a Canadian-born comic book editor who started out editing a newsletter for Berkeley’s Comics & Comix in 1981. She went on to serve as editor-in-chief of Comico during its peak years, followed by a 25-year tenure at Dark Horse Comics. Some of the best-known works she has edited are Frank Miller’s Sin City and 300, Matt Wagner’s Grendel, Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo, Paul Chadwick’s Concrete, Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, and Sergio Aragonés’s Groo. In addition to editing, she has translated many French and Spanish comics works into English. Diana is now an adjunct instructor of comics history and criticism at Portland State University.
Phil Seuling (1934–1984)
Phil Seuling was a comic book retailer, fan convention organizer, and comics distributor primarily active in the 1970s. He was the organizer of the annual New York Comic Art Convention, originally held in New York City every July 4 weekend beginning in 1968. Later, with his Sea Gate Distributors company, Seuling developed the concept of the direct market distribution system for getting comics directly into comic book specialty shops, bypassing the then-established newspaper/magazine distributor method, where no choices of title, quantity, or delivery directions were permitted. He received an Inkpot Award at the 1974 San Diego Comic-Con.