Official Press Release
The judges for the 2005 Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards have been announced by Awards administrator Jackie Estrada. These five individuals come from a wide range of backgrounds and include a librarian, a well-known comics retailer, a cartoonist, and two writers for mainstream entertainment publications. The judges will be meeting in early April to determine the nominations for what are considered the “Oscars” of the comics industry. Ballots will then go out to the entire comics industry in May, and the recipients will be announced in a gala ceremony at Comic-Con International: San Diego in July.
The judges are:
Gib Bickel, co-owner of the The Laughing Ogre in Columbus, Ohio. Gib started reading comics with Amazing Spider-Man #148 and enjoys the comics medium more every year. He’s a regular participant in The CBIA (Comic Book Industry Association) website and is on the Free Comic Book Day committee. He and his partners opened The Laughing Ogre in 1994; the store has won Best Comic Store in Columbus more than once in its ten years of operation.
Steve Conley, cartoonist, self-publisher, and online pioneer. He has written and illustrated his online and printed comics series Astounding Space Thrills since 1998 and has run the award-winning design studio Conley Interactive since 1996. In addition to his co-creation comicon.com, Conley owns and manages such comics-related websites as iCOMICS, BLOOP.tv, and The Pulse, a popular daily comics news site. He also serves as executive director of SPX, the Small Press Expo.
Katharine Kan, librarian/consultant. Kat has been a comics reader all her life. As a librarian working with teens, she saw the new graphic novels being published in the mid-1980s as perfect for them. She started writing the first column devoted to graphic novels in library literature, “Graphically Speaking,” in 1994 (published in Voice of Youth Advocates). She has also been writing graphic novel reviews for Diamond Previews (posted at their Bookshelf website). Kat was a librarian in public libraries in Hawaii and Indiana from 1984 through 2002 and is now working as a freelance consultant, doing book selection for Brodart’s book distribution division, specializing in graphic novels and young adult literature. She is also chair of the Graphic Novel Task Force for Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association.
Tom McLean, associate editor in special reports at Variety. He oversees his share of the more than 180 specials published each year on topics as diverse as the Oscars, videogames, and film festivals. Tom has edited both of Variety’s Comic-Con specials. Since joining Variety in 1999 he has written dozens of articles and also writes “Bags and Boards,” Variety’s daily weblog on the business of comics. A comics and sci-fi fan since his childhood in Edmonton, Canada, Tom has followed the comics industry since the mid-1980s. After earning a degree in journalism from the University of Arizona, he wrote his first professional article about comics-on the death of Superman in 1992-while on staff at a small Arizona newspaper.
Tom Russo, freelance writer/reviewer. He regularly covers comic book movies and related genres as a contributing writer for Entertainment Weekly and Premiere magazine. In recent years, he’s written production features on both Spider-Man movies and on Van Helsing; upcoming projects he’s covering include Sin City and Batman Begins. Tom reviews comics for EW and has also written for Wizard and, back in the day, Marvel Age.
“The judges are chosen for their knowledge about comics, their wide-ranging tastes, and their impartiality,” says Estrada. Because publishers and creators have the opportunity to submit their work for consideration, the judges are able to look at the full spectrum of material published in the previous year. The 2005 Call for Entries will be sent out to publishers in early January and will be posted on the Comic-Con International website.
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