Official Press Release
The judging panel has been named for the 2006 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. This blue-ribbon committee will be choosing the nominations to appear on the Eisner Awards ballot. This year's judges, selected by Awards Administrator Jackie Estrada, are:
Christopher Allen, managing editor for ComicBookGalaxy.com. He has written for The Comics Journal, MoviePoopShoot.com, NinthArt.com, and other websites. He is also into the fifth year of his "Breakdowns" column for ComicBookGalaxy.com.
John Gallagher, cartoonist, self-publisher, and award-winning designer. Under the Sky-Dog Press banner, John has written and illustrated his online and printed graphic novel series Buzzboy since 1998. John organized, edited, and published the More Fund (2003) and Even More Fund (2004) comics anthologies, which raised thousands of dollars to benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. He is a member of the SPX Steering Committee and sits on the Baltimore Comic-Con advisory board.
Nisha Gopalan, comics editor at Entertainment Weekly. As a staff editor at EW, she also works on the News and Notes and music sections. Prior to joining EW, Nisha was employed at Premiere magazine, where she was pretty much the only comics enthusiast in the office and used that distinction to interview any comics creator she could get on the phone.
Robert Randle, purchasing brand manager for Diamond Comic Distributors. He graduated from the Maryland Institute, College of Art in 2001 with a BFA in Illustration and has completed freelance art assignments for a variety of clients, including published works in the comic book industry. He has been a buyer for Diamond since 2002 and is responsible for the promotion and distribution of various large, mid-range, and small publishers, reviewing new submissions for acceptance into the Previews catalog, and writing reviews for comics in the Staff Picks section of Previews.
Robert Scott, owner/operator of Comickaze Comics Books and More in San Diego. An avid reader of comics in his early teens, Robert has continued his love of the medium as a fan, retailer, writer, and/or publisher (AFC Studio) for the last 25 years. He is also the founder of the CBIA (Comic Book Industry Alliance), an industry trade forum. Robert previously co-owned The Comic Alternative, also in San Diego, in the early 1980s and reentered comic retailing with Comickaze in 1992; the store was recently named San Diego's Best Comic Store for 2005 by City Beat.
"The judges are chosen for their knowledge about comics, their wide-ranging tastes, and their impartiality," says Estrada. They are also chosen to represent all aspects of the comics industry, including creators, journalists, retailers, and distributors.
The judges will be meeting at the end of March to arrive at nominations in a more than two dozen categories. The judges can also add, delete, or combine categories. For instance, in 2005, the judges added a webcomics category. The ballot with the selected nominees will go out to professionals in the comics industry in April. The results will be announced in July in a gala ceremony at Comic-Con International.
When they convene, the judges will be looking at thousands of works submitted by hundreds of publishers and creators. A Call for Entries will be mailed out to publishers at the end of December; it will also be posted at the Comic-Con International website (www.comic-con.org).
"Because all 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," says Estrada. "The judges can also bring in works that were not officially submitted but that they deem worthy of consideration. Our goal is to be as inclusive as possible in the judging process. Each year the judges seem to find lesser-know gems to draw attention to, along with the better-known creations."
Estrada also points out that much of the judges' work occurs prior to the actual judging session. As submissions arrive, she passes the information along to the judges, who can request to see books they haven't heard of or haven't read yet. "I send off many 'care packages' in February and March," says Estrada. "In 13 years of supervising Eisner judges, I'm pleased at at how seriously everyone takes the responsibility. And with more and more material being submitted each year, it really is a tough job to try to read everything-and with no reward other than a weekend in San Diego, where they main activity is more comics reading!"
Anyone with questions about the Eisners can e-mail Jackie Estrada: firstname.lastname@example.org