Comic-Con International has announced that six writers will receive the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing this year, the second year in a row that they’ve given the award to that many people. In most years, the award is given to two recipients and presented during the Eisner Award ceremony at Comic-Con International — which will again be virtual this year.
“Since we are not yet in a position to honor a writer who is still with us in a proper ceremony, we’re going to a long list of comic book writers from the past who we feel did not receive sufficient recognition or reward for their contributions to the field. As with last year, we have selected six posthumous awards and no ‘alive’ award,” Mark Evanier, who chairs the selection committee, said. “Each of these six writers left us with a body of work that the judges deem worthy of this honor.”
The 2021 Bill Finger Award recipients include:
Robert Bernstein, who began writing comics in the 1940s and worked on titles for Fox, Hillman, Harvey, Atlas/Marvel, EC Comics, DC Comics, Archie and Spark. Characters he worked on included Superman, Superboy, Supergirl, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, Aquaman, Green Arrow, Congo Bill, Congorilla, Thor, Human Torch and Archie’s superhero titles. He passed away in 1988.
Audrey “Toni” Blum, who “very likely” was the first female comic book writer/creator. She began writing comics in the 1930s, usually under pen names or with no credit at all. Over the years, she worked with Will Eisner on The Spirit newspaper strip and other projects, and also for Quality Comics on titles like Black Condor, The Ray, Dollman and Uncle Sam. She passed away in 2020.
Vic Lockman, who broke into comics in the 1950s as a letterer and then wnet on to work in editorial, as an artist and eventually as a writer. Over the years he worked for Dell, Western, Disney and Terrytoons, working on characters like Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Uncle Scrooge, Goofy, the Looney Toons characters, Mighty Mouse and more. According to CCI, though, “but his most passionate work was for the Christian marketplace, where he published dozens of books and tracts, most of them featuring his writing and drawing on religion and controversial topics of the day.” Lockman died in 2017.
Robert Morales, who worked with artist Kyle Baker on Marvel’s Truth: Red, White & Black, which added Isaiah Bradley to Captain America’s history. Morales also wrote the regular Captain America title circa 2004. He passed away in 2013.
Paul S. Newman, who is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the all-time most prolific comic book writer. He began writing comics in the late 1940s and worked on titles like A Date With Judy, Doctor Solar, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Plastic Man, Prince Valiant, Smokey the Bear, The Sub-Mariner, Turok, Battlefield and many more for publishers like Avon Comics, the American Comics Group, Fawcett Comics, Timely (Marvel), Hillman, Fiction House and more. He passed away in 1999.
Robert “Bob” White, creator of Archie Comics’ Cosmo the Merry Martian. He worked as both a writer and artist for Archie in the 1950s and 1960s, on titles like Archie and Me, Archie as Pureheart the Powerful, Archie’s Jokebook, Archie’s Madhouse, Archie’s Mechanics, Betty and Veronica, Jughead, Reggie and Me and others. White also worked on Archie’s Mighty Crusaders line. He would eventually be fired by Archie when they discovered he was “moonlighting” on Tippy Teen for their rival, Tower Comics. He passed away in 2005.
The Bill Finger Award was created in 2005 via a proposal from the late comic book legend Jerry Robinson and honors William Finger, who was the first writer of Batman. His contributions to the character went unrecognized, though, with Bob Kane being listed as Batman’s sole creator until 2015. Past recipients of the award include William Messner-Loebs, Archie Goodwin, Steve Gerber and Bill Mantlo.