Media Release -- The direct market remains the way most comic-book stories get from creator to fan. ComicsPRO wants to honor those people who stand in that gap and help smooth the process. From publishers, distributors, marketers, creators and more, a lot of people are involved in bringing the stories we all love to market. ComicsPRO would like to stand up and recognize those who have been simply the best at what they do, making the comic-book direct market more successful for all of us. ComicsPRO has created The ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award to honor these individuals.
There are two categories for the Industry Appreciation Award, one for professionals who are still active in the business of comics and a Memorial Award one for those who have passed away and left an indelible mark on the profession of comic book specialty retailing. After a period of accepting nominations from members through December 2012, the ComicsPRO Board of Directors presents the final ballot.
Members will vote for one Award recipient from each category. The winners of the 4th annual award will be announced at the 2013 ComicsPRO Annual Membership Meeting in Atlanta, GA on Friday, February 22nd.
The nominees for the 2013 ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award are, in alphabetical order:
The nominees for the 2012 ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Memorial Award are:
We would like to thank all of the nominees for the work they do (and have done) to improve the comics specialty market!
Brief biological notes that accompany the ballots for the award can be found below.
2013 ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award nominees
Scott Dunbier is the Senior Editor of Special Projects at IDW Publishing. His responsibilities include overseeing the oversized Artists Editions published by the company. At IDW, he developed the Richard Stark Parker graphic novel adaptations, the Rocketeer collections and new comic-book series. Previously, Dunbier was an original art dealer and later became the Executive Editor for Wildstorm. At WildStorm, which became a DC Comics imprint while Dunbier was there, Dunbier oversaw the ABC line of comics created by Alan Moore and helped create the Absolute line of hardcover collections.
Fournier is the VP of Operations for Diamond Comic Distributors. She works from Diamond's home office of Timonium, MD, where she oversees the myriad of duties related to transportation, warehouse management and operations. In a very critical role for the industry, Cindy is responsible for pulling together all the various aspects of making sure retailers get their shipments in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Fournier has worked in the comics field since 1987, starting with the mail order division of Mile High Comics. She then went on to work for Alternate Realities Distribution Company, which was then acquired by Bud Plant Distribution. After Bud Plant sold to Diamond, Cindy was transferred to Hayward, CA, to run Diamond's distribution center there.
A native of Massachusetts, a graduate of Boston College and life long comic book fan, David Gabriel has never been too far from comics. While working for Bernstein Investment Management & Research, Gabriel dreamed of creating a Mecca for comics. In 1999, he brought that dream to life as he started the New York City Comic Book Museum. Then in 2003, Gabriel joined Marvel and revolutionized their trade paperback program, quickly ascending to the position of SVP, Sales & Circulation, in 2007. From that position, Gabriel works with retailers to craft programs and incentives for the Direct Market.
Bill Schanes and his brother Steve Schanes co-founded Pacific Comics as an early direct-market comic book retail operation. A decade later, Schanes co-founded Pacific Comics as a publisher of mostly creator-owned properties, including those from hallowed veterans of the comic book business like Neal Adams, Jack Kirby and Sergio Aragones. After Pacific folded in 1984, Schanes joined Steve Geppi's Diamond Comic Distributors company in 1985. He has served as a National Account Representative, before ascending to Diamond's Upper management Team as the Vice President for Purchasing.
Eric Stephenson has been publisher of Image Comics since 2008 and has championed diversity at the publisher as it released a string of direct-market hits in 2012. A 20-year veteran of the comic book field, Stephenson's career began in 1992 as Jim Valentino's assistant during the early days of Image Comics. Later, he became editor at Rob Liefeld's Extreme Studios. While at Extreme, Stephenson also scripted numerous comics, including "Youngblood" and "New Men." After a brief stint as a freelance comics writer, he returned to Image in 2001 as Director of Marketing. In 2004, he became Executive Director, then succeeded Erik Larsen as Publisher in 2008.
2013 ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Memorial Award nominees
Will Eisner's breadth of material spans the eight decades of American comics history, veering from his earliest efforts in adventure and superhero comics while the medium was in its infancy, to 35 years of more mature work best exemplified by the standard-bearer for all graphic novels, A Contract With God. He is credited as an early proponent of the graphic novel and of keeping evergreen material in print. His impeccable design sense raised the bar for every artist that came with and after him. On the business side, Eisner understood the unique relationship between creator and retailer, founding the "Spirit of Comics" award that recognizes the work of the industry's brightest retailers.
Schwartz, a longtime DC Comics editor, started his career in 1932 as the co-publisher of Time Traveller, among the first science fiction fanzines. In the 1930s, Schwartz represented noted authors as Alfred Bester, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, and H. P. Lovecraft. Schwartz also helped organize the first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939. In 1944 he went to work as an editor for All-American Comics, which soon merged with National Periodical Publications to form DC Comics. Schwartz was best-known for his work at DC Comics, which reinvigorated the superhero genre in the comics industry. His updating of 1940s characters for the modern era revolutionized DC Comics.
Shel Dorf, a freelancer in the field of commercial design, helped to launch the comic conventions we love today. Starting in Detroit with Triple Fan Fair in the 1960s before moving to San Diego in 1970 where he helped launch what is known today as the San Diego Comic Con. Dorf was employed as a consultant on Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy adaptation and also contributed interviews to the comics press and movie collector magazines (including The Buyer's Guide, Film Collector's World), Milton Caniff: conversations and Mort Walker: Conversations) Chester Gould's daughter, Jean Gould O'Connell credits Dorf with bringing "Tracy out to another generation" through his work on the Tracy strip compilations. Jack Kirby made Shel into a character, a father figure named Himon who appeared in Mister Miracle.
Joe Kubert's career spans the history of the comic book in America. He began drawing comics in 1938, writing and drawing both mainstream comic book characters as well as graphic novels of his own conception. Kubert is best known for his work on Sgt. Rock of Easy Co., Hawkman, Tarzan, and illustrating covers for virtually all of DC's comics. During his 70 years in the business, he founded a School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, he wrote and illustrated his own graphic novels, including the award-winning Fax from Sarajevo. Kubert was inducted into both the Harvey Awards' Jack Kirby Hall of Fame and the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame. His school trained many of the next generation of comic-book artists.