Official Press Release
Presented each year to recognize “Greatness in Oregonians,” the Governor’s Gold Awards ceremony is held in conjunction with a benefit auction in support of Special Olympics Oregon. Recipients are chosen by Oregon’s current governor, Ted Kuongoski, and former governors John Kitzhaber, Barbara Roberts, and Victor Atiyeh.
Six awards in all were presented Saturday night, October 9th, at a ceremony at the Oregon convention Center in Portland. Dark Horse Comics, and its sister entity Dark Horse Entertainment, received one of the awards. Called “possibly the state’s best-kept secret,” Dark Horse Comics was cited as a revolutionary force in comics publishing without whose “unprecedented contributions, that industry might well have withered away.” Dark Horse entertainment was also heralded for its contributions to the motion picture field.
Presenting the award was film director John Landis who, as the only non-Oregonian presenter, felt emboldened to advise the current gubernatorial candidates, former governor Kitzhaber and his opponent Chris Dudley (who was also present) to stick to attacking the issues and not each other. Landis went on to regale a very receptive audience with anecdotes from his time directing the film Animal House in Eugene and Cottage Grove, Oregon, and related an off-color joke that he said was told to him by one of the governors in attendance prior to the ceremony. Landis also played a recording from comedian Don Rickles (who was the subject of the Dark Horse-produced, Landis-directed documentary Mr. Warmth), delivering a series of his trademarked backhanded compliments to Dark Horse Publisher Mike Richardson.
Accepting the award, Richardson thanked the Dark Horse Comics and the DHE staff, and the company’s many freelance writers and artists, for their contributions to Dark Horse’s books, films, and other products, and for making Dark Horse “such an exciting and invigorating place to work.” Richardson also mentioned that he had begged the organizers of the ceremony not to make him follow Landis’s presentation.
Other recipients of the Gold Award this year were Oregon Iron Works, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, The ford Family Foundation, and Dr. Brian J. Druker.
Landis himself commented that the award to Dr. Druker was a hard act to follow. While working at the Oregon Health & Science University, Dr. Druker developed an antibody instrumental in the creation of the drug Gleevec®, which attacks cancer cells on a molecular level. Said Landis, referring to himself and the other award recipients, “What a bunch of schmucks we are. ‘I run a winery’ ‘I built a golf course’ ‘I make comic books.’ What does he do? He cures cancer!”