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2011 Eisner Hall of Fame inductees: Ernie Bushmiller, Jack Jackson, Martin Nodell, Lynd Ward

My coverage of the Eisner and Harvey awards is pretty haphazard, so far I’ve been lucky to hit the nominations and awards around the time they are actually happening, but this is pure coincidence, I can never remember the dates and I’ve got so much else on my plate, so many things are happening that I have to cover, and anyway, it’s only really the reprints and the Halls of Fame that are relevant to the overall theme of this here blog, but the 2011 Eisner Hall of Fame inductees have just now been announced, so for once I am absolutely topical and up to date with the breaking news. This year the guaranteed inductees have been expanded from two to four, because so many old timers have been overlooked for too long, and it would take forever to get them all in the Eisner Hall of Fame. Anyways, hearty congratulations to the late Ernie Bushmiller, Jack Jackson, Marty Nodell, and Lynd Ward, the father of the graphic novel. All four are great artists and all four have been reprinted extensively, so there is no excuse for not checking them out. Marty Nodell is the only one who is a bit too rustic and primitive to my taste, but there is no denying his place in comic book history as the creator of the golden age Green Lantern for National.

from http://www.comic-con.org/cci/cci_eisners_11halloffame.php

SAN DIEGO — Comic-Con International (Comic-Con), the largest comic book and popular arts event in the United States, announced today that the Eisner Awards judges have selected four individuals to automatically be inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame this summer. These inductees are Ernie Bushmiller, cartoonist on the Nancy newspaper strip for nearly 50 years; Jack Jackson (Jaxon), pioneer underground cartoonist (co-founder of Ripoff Press) and graphic novelist (Commanche Moon); Marty Nodell, Golden Age artist best known as the co-creator of Green Lantern; and Lynd Ward, woodcut artist hailed as a pioneer of the graphic novel (God’s Man).

Past judges have selected two automatic inductees, but this year that number has been expanded to four. “The judges felt that some significant contributors to comics’ history were being consistently overlooked by the regular voters,” notes Jackie Estrada, the Eisner Awards Administrator. “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.”

And now let’s take a look at those lovely reprints available at an online dealer near you:


Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies 1942-1945 [Paperback]

Ernie Bushmiller (author), Daniel Clowes (introduction)

Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books; Reprint edition (April 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606993607
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606993606

amazon.com review:

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The latest addition to Fantagraphics’ award-winning classic comic strip reprint series!

A funny thing happened on the way to comic-strip immortality.

For many years, Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy, with its odd-looking, squat heroine, nearly abstract art, and often super-corny gags, was perceived as the stodgiest, squarest comic strip in the world. Popular with newspaper readers, true—but definitely not a strip embraced by comic-strip connoisseurs, like Krazy Kat, Dick Tracy or Terry and the Pirates.

But then those connoisseurs took a closer look, and began to realize that Bushmiller’s art approached its own kind of cartoon perfection, and those corny gags often achieved a striking zen quality. In its own way, it turned out Nancy was in fact the most iconic comic strip of all. (The American Heritage Dictionary actually uses a Nancy strip to illustrate its entry on “comic strip.”)

Charter members of the Nancy revival include Art Spiegelman, who published Mark Newgarden’s famous “Love’s Savage Fury” (featuring Nancy and Bazooka Joe) in an early issue of RAW; Fletcher Hanks anthologist Paul Karasik (who with Newgarden created How to Read Nancy); Zippy the Pinhead creator Bill Griffith; underground publisher Denis Kitchen, who released several volumes of Nancy collections in the 1980s; Understanding Comics’ Scott McCloud, who created the “Five-Card Nancy” card game; Joe Brainard, who produced an entire Nancy book of paintings in 2008; and Andy Warhol, who produced a painting based on Nancy.

Beginning in the Spring of 2010, fans will be dancing with joy as Fantagraphics unveils an ongoing Nancy reprint project. Each volume contain a whopping full four years of daily Nancy strips (a Sunday Nancy project looms in the future), collected in a fat, square (what else, for the “squarest” strip in the world?) package designed by Jacob (Popeye, Beasts!, Willie and Joe) Covey.

This first volume will collect every daily strip from 1942 to 1945. (Fantagraphics will eventually release Nancy’s first four years, 1938-1941, but given the scarcity of archival material for these years we are giving ourselves some extra time to collate it all.)

This first Nancy volume will feature an introduction by another stellar Bushmiller fan, Daniel Clowes (from whose collection most of the strips in this volume were scanned), a biography of the artist, and much more. 1250+ black-and-white cartoons

About the Author

Ernie Bushmiller (1905-1982) inherited the glamour-girl Fritzi Ritz strip in 1925. But Fritzi’s niece Nancy, introduced in 1933, soon began to dominate, and in 1938 the strip officially became nancy. Bushmiller would continue to write and draw it until his death, winning the Reuben Award for best comic strip in 1976.

Daniel Clowes, a multi-Harvey, Eisner and Ignatz Award-winner, is a Chicago native living in Oakland, CA, with his wife Erika. His many books include David Boring, Ghost World, Wilson, Ice Haven, Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, Caricature, and 2011’s Mister Wonderful.

It appears that no Jack Jackson has been reprinted since 2003, what a shame, hard to believe, he was ubiquitous in the underground once. But, not to worry, back issues of Jaxon comix are not that expensive. 

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