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This year’s panel of Eisner judges have named four creators to the Will Eisner Awards Comics Hall of Fame: Ernie Bushmiller, Jack Jackson (Jaxon), Marty Nodell, and Lynd Ward. Traditionally, the judges pick two automatic inductees, but in the official press release, Eisner Awards administrator Jackie Estrada said, “The judges felt that some significant contributors to comics’ history were being consistently overlooked by the regular voter. Choosing only two creators to induct was proving too difficult this year. The solution they chose was to single out individuals from four aspects of the medium.”
The quartet certainly is eclectic. Nancy, originally a spinoff of the flapper comic Fritzi Ritz, has been a staple of the funny pages since the 1930s, and although it seems trivial to look at (Art Spiegelman once commented that it was easier to read Nancy than to not read Nancy), Bushmiller has his admirers. Jaxon was one of the first underground cartoonists and co-founded Rip Off Press with Gilbert Shelton (creator of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers). Nodell, a comics artist from the Golden Age, worked for DC and Marvel before they were DC and Marvel and was the co-creator of the Green Lantern. And Ward has just returned to public notice with the Library of America’s new edition of his wordless graphic novels, which were created entirely as woodcuts.
Voters (who must be active in the comics industry in some way) will get to choose four more inductees from a list of 14: Bill Blackbeard, Chris Claremont, Kim Deitch, Rudolph Dirks, Mort Drucker, Jenette Kahn, George McManus, Dennis O’Neill, Harvey Pekar, Cliff Sterrett, Roy Thomas, Rodolphe Töpffer, George Tuska, and Marv Wolfman. The last day to vote is March 25, and the results will be announced at Comic-Con in San Diego next July.