Media Release — Comic-Con International is proud to announce that Otto Binder and Gary Friedrich have been selected to receive the 2010 Bill Finger Award for Achievement in Comic Book Writing. The choices made by a blue-ribbon committee chaired by writer-historian Mark Evanier were unanimous.
“This is an award about excellence and about contributions to the field which have not received the recognition they deserve,” Evanier explains. “Bill Finger sure merited more acclaim than he got and in his name, we try to honor others who have been similarly overlooked. Many people know of and love the work of Otto Binder and Gary Friedrich. Not nearly enough know the names of the men who created that work.”
Gary Friedrich was a member of the legendary Marvel Bullpen of the sixties, joining the company in 1967 after a brief stint working for Charlton Comics on strips that included Blue Beetle and The Sentinels. For Marvel, he began with westerns and quickly segued to super-hero features including The X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, and Marvel’s version of Captain Marvel. He distinguished himself with a long, memorable run writing Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, and in 1972 he co-created a new, memorable character with the name of Ghost Rider, which has had a successful run in publishing and which in 2007 resulted in a major motion picture bringing Friedrich’s co-creation to the screen.
Otto Binder sold the first of hundreds of science-fiction stories in 1930 at the age of 19. Within a few years, he was a major contributor to pulp magazines, and when comic books came along, he was an early entrant in that field and one of its most prolific writers. He was the primary scripter for the original Captain Marvel, authoring nearly a thousand stories—approximately half—of those featuring that hero and allied characters. It was largely due to Binder’s work for Fawcett Comics that Captain Marvel became the bestselling superhero of his era. Binder also found time over the years to write for Timely Comics, Quality, MLJ, Western Publishing and EC. In 1948 he began working for DC Comics and soon was writing Superman. In the course of writing that character he introduced such important, lasting elements of the mythos as Supergirl, Brainiac, Krypto the Super Dog, and The Legion of Super-Heroes. Binder passed away in 1974.
The Bill Finger Award honors the memory of William Finger (1914–1974), who was the first and, some say, most important writer of Batman. Many have called him the “unsung hero” of the character and have hailed his work not only on that iconic figure but on dozens of others, primarily for DC Comics. The Bill Finger Award was instituted in 2005 at the instigation of comic book legend Jerry Robinson, who worked with Finger on the original Golden Age Batman.
In addition to Evanier, the selection committee consists of Charles Kochman (executive editor at Harry N. Abrams, book publisher), comic book artist-historian Jim Amash, writer Tony Isabella, and writer/editor Marv Wolfman.
The 2010 awards are underwritten by Comic-Con International. DC Comics is the major sponsor; supporting sponsors are Heritage Auctions and Maggie Thompson.
The Finger Award is presented under the auspices of Comic-Con International: San Diego and is administered by Jackie Estrada. The awards will be presented during the Eisner Awards ceremony at this summer’s Comic-Con on the evening of July 23 at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront.