Comic-Con International has announced the recipients of this year’s Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Writing, which goes to writers who have not been given due recognition for their work.
Joye Hummel Murchison Kelly and Dorothy Roubicek Woolfolk, two comic book pioneers active in the 1940s, will be the first women to receive the award.
“We’re really excited about this one,” committee chair Mark Evanier said in a statement. “The comic book industry employed too few women in its early decades. Back when this year’s honorees were active, their gender was horribly unrepresented among the creative talents that made the comics—and what few there were went totally unrecognized. The work of these two extraordinary ladies deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated.”
Kelly worked with Dr. William Moulton Marston on Wonder Woman back in the 1940s, assisting him with writing the heroine and eventually creating scripts of her own. Her writing appeared in Wonder Woman, Sensation Comics and Comic Cavalcade under the byline “By Charles Moulton,” and none of it was credited to her. Woolfolk worked as a writer and editor in the 1940s for All-American Publications, Timely Comics and EC Comics. In the 1970s she edited comics for DC, including Wonder Woman, Young Romance, and Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane. She is often credited with adding the element of Kryptonite to the Superman mythos. She passed away in 2000.
According to CCI, the selection was unanimously made made by a committee that included Evanier, Charles Kochman, executive editor at Harry N. Abrams; comic book writer Kurt Busiek; artist/historian Jim Amash; cartoonist Scott Shaw!; and writer/editor Marv Wolfman.
The awards will be presented during the Eisner Awards ceremony at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel on the evening of Friday, July 20. Kelly, who is in her early 90s, will be at the ceremony to accept her award and will participate in a spotlight panel at CCI — her first-ever convention appearance.
The Bill Finger Award was created in 2005 via a proposal from the late comic book legend Jerry Robinson. “It’s to recognize and salute writers for a body of work that has not received its rightful reward and/or recognition,” Evanier said. “Even though the late Bill Finger now finally receives credit for his role in the creation of Batman, he’s still the industry poster boy for writers not receiving proper reward or attention.” Past recipients include Jack Kirby, William Messner-Loebs, Archie Goodwin, Steve Gerber and Bill Mantlo.