ATLANTA, Ga. — Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson was named the recipient of the 2014 ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award at the organization’s annual meeting.
”I’m honored to be the recipient of this year’s Industry Appreciation Award,” said Stephenson. “The retailers who make up ComicsPRO are among the industry’s very best and I think they do some very important work on behalf of comics and the Direct Market, so as awards go, I think it’s really cool.”
“I also think that even though it’s my name on the award, it’s actually more of a testament to how far Image has come over the last few years, and that couldn’t have happened without the hard work and dedication of all the talented men and women at Image Comics,” continued Stephenson. “Jessica Ambriz, Emilio Bautista, Branwyn Bigglestone, David Brothers, Jonathan Chan, Jennifer de Guzman, Addison Duke, Monica Garcia, Drew Gill, Emily Miller, Patricia Ramos, Ron Richards, Kat Salazar, Jenna Savage, Tyler Shainline, Jeremy Sullivan, and Meredith Wallace don’t get enough credit for the incredible support they provide to all the creators Image works with, but I absolutely would not be able to do what I do without them.”
The award nominations are submitted by ComicsPRO members, narrowed down by the organization’s Board of Directors, and voted upon by members of ComicsPRO. The award was created to honor individuals who have shown particular support of the Direct Market in the comic industry.
Eric Stephenson has been publisher of Image Comics since 2008 and has championed diversity at the publisher. Stephenson’s comics career began in 1992 as Jim Valentino’s assistant during the early days of Image Comics. Later, he became editor at Rob Liefeld’s Extreme Studios. While at Extreme, Stephenson also scripted numerous comics, including “Youngblood” and “New Men.” After a brief stint as a freelance comics writer, he returned to Image in 2001 as Director of Marketing. In 2004, he became Executive Director, then succeeded Erik Larsen as Publisher in 2008. Stephenson is also the writer of Image’s “Nowhere Men.”
There are two categories for the Industry Appreciation Award, one for professionals who are still active in the business of comics and a Memorial Award one for those who have passed away and left an indelible mark on the profession of comic book specialty retailing.
The Memorial Award was given to Julius Schwartz and was accepted on his behalf by his granddaughter.
Schwartz, a longtime DC Comics editor, started his career in 1932 as the co-publisher of Time Traveller, among the first science fiction fanzines. In the 1930s, Schwartz represented noted authors as Alfred Bester, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, and H. P. Lovecraft. Schwartz also helped organize the first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939. In 1944 he went to work as an editor for All-American Comics, which soon merged with National Periodical Publications to form DC Comics. Schwartz was best-known for his work at DC Comics, which reinvigorated the superhero genre in the comics industry. His updating of 1940s characters for the modern era revolutionized DC Comics.