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HomeIndustry Award Archive

The ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award Archive

About the award:

The direct market remains the way most comic-book stories get from creator to fan. ComicsPRO wants to honor those people who stand in that gap and help smooth the process. From publishers, distributors, marketers, creators and more, a lot of people are involved in bringing the stories we all love to market. ComicsPRO would like to stand up and recognize those who have been simply the best at what they do, making the comic-book direct market more successful for all of us. ComicsPRO has created The ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award to honor these individuals.



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. After a period of accepting nominations from members, the ComicsPRO Board of Directors presents the final ballot. Members will vote for one Award recipient from each category.

2013 ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award Winners

2013 ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award Winner - Cindy Fournier 

Fournier is the VP of Operations for Diamond Comic Distributors. She works from Diamond’s home office of Timonium, MD, where she oversees the myriad of duties related to transportation, warehouse management and operations.  In a very critical role for the industry, Cindy is responsible for pulling together all the various aspects of making sure retailers get their shipments in an efficient and cost-effective manner.  Fournier has worked in the comics field since 1987, starting with the mail order division of  Mile High Comics. She then went on to work for Alternate Realities Distribution Company, which was then acquired by Bud Plant Distribution.  After Bud Plant sold to Diamond, Cindy was transferred to Hayward, CA, to run Diamond’s distribution center there. 

2013 Industry Appreciation Memorial Award Winner - Will Eisner

Will Eisner’s breadth of material spans the eight decades of American comics history, veering from his earliest efforts in adventure and superhero comics while the medium was in its infancy, to 35 years of more mature work best exemplified by the standard-bearer for all graphic novels, A Contract With God. He is credited as an early proponent of the graphic novel and of keeping evergreen material in print. His impeccable design sense raised the bar for every artist that came with and after him. On the business side, Eisner understood the unique relationship between creator and retailer, founding the “Spirit of Comics” award that recognizes the work of the industry’s brightest retailers. 

The 2013 nominees are Scott Dunbier, David Gabriel, Bill Schanes, Eric Stephenson.
The 2013 memorial nominees are Julius Schwartz, Shel Dorf, and Joe Kubert. 


2012 Industry Appreciation Award Winners

2012 Industry Appreciation Award Presentation

Bob Wayne
Wayne, a former comic book retailer in the Dallas/Fort Worth TX area, joined DC Comics in the mid ‘80s as a Direct Sales manager and has been on the forefront of the changes in the comics business ever since. Currently serving as DC’s Senior Vice President—Sales, Wayne has always maintained his loyalty to the field of comics specialty retailing and has been responsible for many of DC’s retailer-friendly best practices. Wayne is a recipient of the Inkpot Award, commemorating his years of service to the comics industry and his work with Comic-Con International.

2012 Industry Appreciation Memorial Award Winner

Phil Seuling
The organizer and founder of the New York Comic Art Conventions of the ‘70s, Seuling was a founder of the direct-market form of comic-book distribution. Seuling, a school teacher with a passion for comics, arranged distribution deals to buy DC and Marvel Comics direct from the publishers. In 1974, Seuling founded Seagate Distribution, which sold comics non-returnably, and the Direct Market was born. In an age when comic shops were merely second-hand collectors’ stores, Seuling saw the potential for making a direct connection between comic publishers and their most rabid fans. Comic specialty shops are possible in part because of Seuling’s foresight more than 35 years ago. Phil Seuling passed away in 1984 at the age of 50.




2011 Industry Appreciation Award Winners

Stan Lee's Acceptance Speech - 2011 Industry Appreciation Award


Stan Lee
At 88 years young, Stan Lee continues his one-man assault on all media. As a writer and editor starting in the Golden Age of Comics, Lee has been one of the industry’s most important figures for nearly 70 years. With artists including Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, Lee co-created many of Marvel Comics’ best-known characters. His “Amazing Spider-Man” story in issues 96-98 caused the Comics Code Authority to rethink its policies. And long before the blockbuster big screen successes of Spider-Man and X-Men, Lee, as president and chairman of Marvel Comics, pushed Marvel’s expansion from being solely a publishing house to a becoming a large multimedia corporation.

Lee is now creating new characters for BOOM! Studios and Archie Comics. He is also the head of POW! Entertainment, an advanced media and entertainment company that encompasses the creation, production and licensing of original intellectual properties. Stan Lee was inducted into the comic book industry's Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1995.

2011 Industry Appreciation Memorial Award Winner

Jack Kirby
Perhaps the most important comic book artist to those of us working in the comics specialty market. Kirby entered the fledgling comics industry in the 1930s. With writer and business partner Joe Simon, Kirby created the highly successful superhero character Captain America for Timely Comics in 1941. During the 1940s, Kirby would create a number of comics for various publishers, often teaming with Simon. After serving in World War II, Kirby returned to comics, and in the 1960s, Kirby co-created many of Marvel Comics' major characters, including the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Hulk, along with writer-editor Stan Lee. Kirby left Marvel in 1970 to create new work for DC Comics, which included his Fourth World saga, including The New Gods, Mister Miracle, and The Forever People. Kirby returned to Marvel in the mid-to-late 1970s, then moved into TV animation and independent comics.

 2010 Industry Appreciation Award Winner

2010 Industry Appreciation Award Acceptance Speeches

Paul Levitz
The president of DC Comics from 2002–2009, Levitz has worked for DC for over 35 years in a wide variety of roles. In the early ‘70s, Levitz co-wrote and published a popular comic fan magazine, The Comic Reader, one of the early publications aimed at the comic shop market. At the age of 18, Levitz became a professional comic-book writer, penning the tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes. At age 20, he was the editor of Adventure Comics. For the next three decades, he served the company in a variety of editorial and executive roles. Levitz led DC Comics to found the Retailer Representative Program to get focused feedback from direct market retailers. Levitz has also served on the board of the CBLDF.

2010 Industry Appreciation Memorial Award Winner

Carol Kalish
As Marvel’s Direct Sales Manager from the mid-’80s to early ‘09s, Kalish was instrumental in professionalizing the field of comics’ specialty retailer. With her guidance, Marvel engaged the retail community to push sales, not only of Marvel products, but all products leading to a more profitable direct market. Kalish spearheaded programs to make cash registers and discounted store fixtures available to retailers wanting to upgrade their operations. Carol passed away in September 1991 at the age of 36.