Six individuals will automatically be inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame this summer, with four more to be chosen by voters before the Eisner Awards ceremony at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
Those four will be chosen from a field of 17, which include many names that make you stop and think, “Wait, they’re not in the Hall of Fame yet?” It’s a loaded field, leading to some hard choices for voters: Howard Chaykin, Gerry Conway, Kevin Eastman, Steve Englehart, Moto Hagio, Larry Hama, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, David Mazzucchelli, Jean-Claude Mézières, Grant Morrison, Gaspar Saladino, Jim Shooter, Garry Trudeau, Ron Turner, George Tuska, Mark Waid and Cat Yronwode.
The judges chose the following six people for automatic induction into the HoF:
Publisher Max Gaines, the founder of Educational Comics who is credited with devising the first four-color, saddle-stitched newsprint comic in 1933, which led to the comic book format we know today. He was also co-publisher at All-American Publications, one of two companies that eventually merged to become DC Comics, where he published Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and more. After his death, Gaines’ son Bill took over Educational Comics, shortening the name to EC and turning it into a publisher of horror, science fiction and western comics, among others.
Marvel Editor Mark Gruenwald, who was also the longtime writer of comics like Captain America, Squadron Supreme and Quasar. He also drew a few comics for Marvel. Gruenwald passed away from a heart attack in 1996.
Illustrator Marie Duval, co-creator in 1867 of the British cartoon character “Alley Sloper,” considered the first recurring cartoon character. The wildly popular character (a hard-drinking working class shirker) is thought to have inspired both Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp persona and W. C. Fields. Besides Ally Sloper, Marie Duval drew a range of comic fantasies (“caricatures”) for the magazine Judy, a Victorian rival to Punch.
Cartoonist Rose O’Neill, creator of The Kewpies in 1912. A four-panel comic strip by O’Neill was featured in a 1896 issue of Truth magazine, making her the first American woman to publish a comic strip.
Artist Alex Niño, whose work has appeared in the pages of House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Creepy, Heavy Metal, Thriller and more.
Artist P. Craig Russell, the award-winning artist of Elric, Night Music, Sandman, Killraven, Norse Mythology, Doctor Strange and more. Russell’s career spans five decades, and he has won several Harvey and Eisner Awards.
The 2022 Eisner Awards judging panel consists of comics writer/editor Barbara Randall Kesel, author/art historian Kim Munson, writer/editor/journalist Rik Offenberger, librarian Jameson Rohrer, comics journalist/historian Jessica Tseang and retailer Aaron Trites. The Eisner Hall of Fame trophies will be presented during Comic-Con on July 22.