Monday, November 10, 2008

Eisner Award Judges for 2009

You might have heard elsewhere -- if you follow comics news, which I bet a whole lot of you don't -- that I'm one of the judges for next year's Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards.

I had such a great time as a judge for the World Fantasy Awards a few years back that I just couldn't say no when I was asked this time. (Even though the Eisners have a vast and bewildering array of categories.) The good thing about the Eisners -- or maybe it's the weird thing about the Eisners; I'll see once deliberations start -- is that the judges don't pick the final winners. The judges narrow the whole field down to the nominees in every category, and then comics-industry voters pick the winners.

Anyway, here's the full press release, for the terminally curious:


Contact: Jackie Estrada


SAN DIEGO - The judging panel has been selected for the 2009 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. This blue-ribbon committee will choose the nominees to appear on the Eisner Awards ballot. This year's judges are:

Amanda Emmert (formerly Fisher) has worked in comics retailing since she was 16. She owns Muse Comics & Games in Missoula, MT, which opened originally as The Splash Page in 1996. Amanda is currently the Communications Coordinator for ComicsPRO, the trade association for comic book retailers, which she helped to incorporate in 2004. Amanda also serves on the Free Comic Book Day Retailer Committee

Mike Pawuk has been a teen services public librarian for the Cuyahoga County Public Library for over 12 years. A lifelong fan of comic books and graphic novels, he's been recognized as one of the leading librarians in the country on this medium. Mike was the chair for the 2002 YALSA all-day preconference on graphic novels, and he regularly does presentations for libraries on building graphic novel collections. He is the author of Graphic Novels: A Genre Guide to Comic Books, Manga, and More, published by Libraries Unlimited. Currently, Pawuk does graphic novels reviews for the popular culture website and is serving on the American Library Association's Great Graphic Novels for Young Adults book selection committee.

John Shableski works for Diamond Book Distributors as a sales manager with a focus on the independent bookstore market and on public and school libraries. He's been a moderator and panelist at Book Expo and other trade shows, a guest speaker at library events and regional book shows, and a symposium coordinator. He is currently collaborating on several graphic novel symposiums across the country. After a career in radio broadcasting and in marketing and advertising, he landed at book distributor Brodart Co., where, with librarian Kat Kan he worked to develop their graphic novel program. He has been with Diamond since 2007. He is a regular contributing writer on the blog “Buzz, Balls and Hype,” where he posts columns on his perspective of the publishing world as “The Graphic Novels Guy.”

Ben Towle is a cartoonist and educator living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He's known primarily for his work with SLG Publishing, including the recent historical fiction graphic novel Midnight Sun as well as his earlier volume of comics folk tales, Farewell, Georgia. He's taught cartooning and comics classes at schools and workshops across the country and is the co-founder of the National Association of Comics Art Educators. Ben is currently hard at work on a creator-owned story about turn of the century Chesapeake Bay oystermen and also on a biographical graphic novel about Amelia Earhart for Hyperion Books.

Andrew Wheeler went almost directly from Vassar College to the Science Fiction Book Club, in an attempt to avoid the real world entirely. He worked at the SFBC for 16 years, rejuvenating the moribund graphic novel program there and eventually overseeing the Altiverse program, which featured comics, media tie-ins, and similar books. After rising to senior editor at the parent company of the SFBC he moved on to become a marketing manager at the 200-year old publishing firm John Wiley & Sons. His reviews of comics and manga have appeared at

The judges will meet in San Diego in late March to select the nominees that will appear on the Eisner Awards ballot. The nominees will then be voted on by professionals in the comic book industry, and the results will be announced in a gala awards ceremony on Friday, July 24, in Ballroom 20 at Comic-Con International: San Diego.

The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards (named for the comics and graphic novel pioneer) are presented under the auspices of Comic-Con International: San Diego and are considered the “Oscars” of the industry. This will be the awards program’s 21st year.

More information on the Eisner Awards can be found at www.

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