Direct market pioneer Carol Kalish and black female newspaper cartoonist Jackie Ormes will be inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in July at Comic-Con International, as announced by CCI on their official blog this week.
Kalish, who worked as direct sales manager and vice president of new product development at Marvel Comics from 1981 to 1991, is credited with pioneering the comics direct market when it was in its adolescence, in part through a program in which Marvel helped pay for comic book stores to acquire cash registers. Kalish also spearheaded the expansion of the Marvel’s distribution into major bookstores such as B. Daltons and Waldenbooks. Kalish passed away in 1991 from a brain aneurysm, at the age 36.
Ormes was the first, and for a long time only, black female newspaper cartoonist. In the 1930s she wrote and drew Dixie in Harlem comics featuring Torchy Brown. After returning to her roots in journalism, she published Candy, a single-panel cartoon about a witty housemaid in 1945. Then she created Patty-Jo ’n’ Ginger, another single-panel cartoon about a pair of sisters, which ran for 11 years through 1956. Finally, from 1950 to 1954, Ormes revamped Torchy Brown into Torchy in Heartbeats, an 8-page color comic insert that included paper dolls. Ormes passed away in 1985.