Eagle Award (comics)

Eagle Award
EagleAward-logo2.jpg
Eagle Award logo from c. 2012. It uses the same image from the UK's Eagle comic, modeled on the top of a large brass inkwell owned by Marcus Morris, the comic's founder. [1]
Awarded for British-based awards for comic book creators, titles, and characters
Sponsored by Mike Conroy (1977–2014)
Cassandra Conroy (2008–2014)
Location British Comic Art Convention (1977–1979)
London Comic Mart (1983)
Birmingham Comic Art Show (1984, 1986)
UKCAC (1987–1990)
Comic Festival (2000, 2002)
Comic Expo (2004, 2006–2008)
London MCM Expo (2010–2012)
London Film and Comic Con (2014)
Country United Kingdom
Hosted by
Formerly called MCM Awards
The Stan Lee Eagle Award
True Believer Comic Awards (2014)
First awarded 1977
Last awarded 2014
Website EagleAwards.co.uk (defunct)

The Eagle Award was a series of awards for comic book titles and creators. They were awarded by UK fans voting for work produced during the previous year. Named after the UK's Eagle comic, they were launched in 1977 for comics released in 1976.[2]

"[S]et up and financed by a group of dealers and fanzine editors" with the intention of including "people with... diverse interests... to make the poll as impartial as possible,"[2] the Eagles were described as "the first independent [in the UK], nationally organised comic art awards poll." The hope was that the Eagle Awards would "become a regular annual fandom event,"[2] and indeed, they were the preeminent British comics award in the 1980s and the 2000s (being mostly dormant in the 1990s), variously described as the country's comics equivalent of the Oscars[3] or the BAFTAs.[4][5] The Eagle Awards were usually presented in a ceremony at a British comic book convention; venues over the years included the British Comic Art Convention, UKCAC, Comic Festival, Comic Expo, and the London MCM Expo. Hosts for the ceremonies included such notables as Simon Pegg, Norman Lovett, Fraser Ayres, Billy West, and Anthony Stewart Head.

Initially the Eagle Award itself was a certificate; eventually the award became an engraved trophy.

Notable repeat Eagle Award winners included Alan Moore, who won the Favourite Comicbook Writer award an impressive eleven times (including sweeping the U.K. and U.S. categories in the period 1985–1987); Terry Austin, who won the Favourite Inker award nine times; Alex Ross, who won the Favourite Comics Artist (Fully Painted Artwork) seven times in ten possible years; and Laura DePuy Martin, who won the Favourite Colourist award six straight times. 2000 AD won the Favourite (Colour) Comic award 12 times, while The Walking Dead won Favourite Black & White Comicbook seven straight times. Batman was voted Favourite Comicbook Character 12 times and Judge Dredd won the award seven times; while the X-Men dominated the Favourite Comicbook Group or Team category, winning it eight times in the span of 11 years. Wolverine won the Favourite Comicbook Character category three times, the Favourite Supporting Character award three times, and the Character Most Worthy of Own Title twice.

In 2014, in connection with Stan Lee, the Eagle Awards were renamed, and presented as, the True Believer Comic Awards. They have not returned since then.

History

1977: conception and debut

Original Eagle Award logo

The Eagle Awards were set up by Mike Conroy, Nick Landau, Colin Campbell, Phil Clarke, and Richard Burton. Because the Eagle symbol was perceived (as described by Burton) as "a standard of quality ... seldom reached" in early 1977, the Eagle Awards were named "with official blessing from IPC" (Eagle's then-publisher).[2]

The Eagles were launched at the British Comic Art Convention,[2] the earliest British fan convention devoted entirely to comics (and usually known by the moniker Comicon). The first awards ceremony was held 3 September 1977, at the Bloomsbury Centre Hotel, London. The 1978 and 1979 awards were also presented at the British Comic Art Convention. Almost from the beginning the awards included separate UK and US sections.

The 1980s: a Golden Age

Marvel's X-Men comic and creators dominated the 1981 Eagles, winning Favourite Comic Book, Artist (John Byrne), Writer (Chris Claremont), Inker (Terry Austin), Character (Wolverine), Single Comic Book Story (X-Men #137, "The Fate of the Phoenix"), Continued Comic Book Story ("The Dark Phoenix Saga," X-Men #135–137), and Cover (X-Men #136, by Byrne and Austin).[6] The 1981 awards were organized by Burton and Conroy, and sponsored by Burton, Conroy, Colin Campbell, Bob Smart, and four UK comics retailers: Forbidden Planet, Forever People, Nostalgia & Comics, and Comics Showcase.[6]

After a hiatus in 1982, the Eagle Awards returned in 1983, presented at the London Comic Mart by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.[3]

The 1984 Eagle Award nominations were announced in May[7] with Howard Chaykin's American Flagg! dominating the nominations — Favourite Penciler, Inker, Writer, Comic, Character (Reuben Flagg), Supporting Character (Raul the cat), New Comic, Single or Continued Story, and two nominations for Favourite Cover[7] — and winning seven of them.[8] The 1984 awards presentation was at the Birmingham Comic Art Show.

By the mid-1980s the work of British authors often dominated both the UK and US categories. In 1985 Alan Moore won favorite writer in both categories, and in 1986 (presented on June 1 at the Birmingham Comic Art Show),[9][10] the awards "proved to be a virtual clean sweep ... by Alan Moore," who not only again won "favourite writer in both the US and UK categories," but had his work win for favourite comic book, supporting character and new title in the US, and character, continuing story and "character worthy of own title" in the UK (in which last category his works held all top three spots).[11]

The awards became almost fully annual in 1987, in conjunction with the United Kingdom Comic Art Convention (UKCAC); they were held at the UKCAC in 1987, 1988, and 1990.

The 1990s: a fallow period

The Eagle Awards went dormant during most of the 1990s, as organizer Mike Conroy focused on his freelance writing (including becoming editor of Comics International).[12] From 1990 to 1997, the Eagles were replaced by the UK Comic Art Awards, and then from 1997 until 2003 (with the exception of the year 2000) were supplanted by the National Comics Awards.[13]

The 2000s: a return to (hesitant) prominence

In 2000, on the 50th anniversary of the birth of Eagle,[14] the Eagle Awards returned. The ceremony was held April 22, 2000, at the Bristol Comic Festival (known as "Comics 2000"); this time MC'd by actor/comedian Simon Pegg.[14] There were no Eagle Awards distributed in 2001; voting for comics published in 2000 ended in October 2001 and the winners were announced in June 2002 (at the Comic Festival,[citation needed] which had replaced UKCAC), so news reports announced these variously as the 2000, 2001, or 2002 Eagle Awards.[15] The Eagles again went dormant in 2003 (replaced by the National Comics Awards).

The Eagle Awards returned in 2004 (sponsored by the retailer Ace Comics)[16] and were presented at the inaugural Comic Expo, held November 6–7, at the Ramada City Inn in Bristol;[16] the Eagles were again not presented in 2005.

The 2006–2008 awards presentations were held at the Comic Expo in Bristol, with the 2008 awards being notable for accusations of ballot-stuffing.[4]

Management of the Eagle Awards was transferred from co-founder Mike Conroy to his teenage daughter Cassandra Conroy in 2009 (although Mike Conroy stayed on as advisor). The previous years' venue the Bristol Comic Expo scaled back that year, and was not available for the evening awards ceremony. After attempting to go forward with the Eagle Awards as an online-only process,[17] the Conroys were forced to cancel the 2009 awards due to a "lack of nominations."[18]

2010–2014: rifts, name changes, and demise

The 2010–2012 awards were presented at the London MCM Expo. At the 2012 awards it was announced that the award would in future be called the MCM Award.[19][20] The announcement prompted a public rift between MCM and the Conroys;[21][22] as a result no Eagles were awarded in 2013.

The Conroys decided to continue the awards separate from MCM, and in April 2014 it was announced that the award would be presented at the London Film and Comic Con (LFCC) and be named The Stan Lee Eagle Award, with the backing of Stan Lee in his last European convention appearance.[22] In June 2014, however, it was announced that the new award would be called the True Believer Comic Awards.[23][24] The inaugural True Believer Comics Awards were presented July 12, 2014,[25] at the LFCC, with host Anthony Stewart Head and a special appearance by Stan Lee.[26] They have not been awarded since.

Dates and locations

Year Date Convention City Venue Presenter/Host Notes
1977 Sept. 3 British Comic Art Convention London Bloomsbury Centre Hotel First annual presentation
1978 July 29 British Comic Art Convention London Bloomsbury Centre Hotel Presentation held in the Park Room
1979 Sept. 1 British Comic Art Convention Birmingham Hotel Metropole, National Exhibition Centre
1980
1981
1982 NO AWARDS PRESENTED
1983 Oct.[27] 15[28] London Comic Mart Westminster Central Hall Westminster Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
1984 June 2 Birmingham Comic Art Show[7] Birmingham Midlands Arts Centre[29] Walt Simonson
1985
1986 June 1 Birmingham Comic Art Show Birmingham National Motorcycle Museum
1987 Sept. 5 United Kingdom Comic Art Convention (UKCAC) London UCL Institute of Education
1988 Sept. 24 UKCAC London Logan Hall, UCL Institute of Education
1989 NO AWARDS PRESENTED[30]
1990[31] Sept. 23[32] UKCAC London UCL Institute of Education Paul Gambaccini and Dave Gibbons
1991 NO AWARDS PRESENTED Replaced by the UK Comic Art Awards
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998 NO AWARDS PRESENTED
1999 NO AWARDS PRESENTED Replaced by the National Comics Awards
2000 Apr. 22 Comic Festival ("Comics 2000") Bristol Jurys Bristol Hotel Simon Pegg 50th anniversary of the birth of the Eagle
2001 NO AWARDS PRESENTED Again replaced by the National Comics Awards
2002 June 1 Comic Festival[citation needed] Bristol British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, Temple Quay Known variously as the 2000, 2001, or 2002 Eagle Awards
2003 NO AWARDS PRESENTED Again replaced by (the final edition of) the National Comics Awards
2004 Nov. 6 Comic Expo Bristol Ramada City Inn
2005 NO AWARDS PRESENTED
2006 May 13 Comic Expo Bristol British Empire & Commonwealth Exhibition Hall/Ramada Plaza Hotel
2007 May 12 Comic Expo Bristol British Empire & Commonwealth Exhibition Hall/Ramada Plaza Hotel Norman Lovett[33] John M. Burns given the Eagle Awards 30th Anniversary Award for Outstanding Achievements in British Comics[34]
2008 May 10 Comix Expo Bristol British Empire & Commonwealth Exhibition Hall/Ramada Plaza Hotel Fraser Ayres[4]
2009 NO AWARDS PRESENTED
2010 Oct. 29[35] London MCM Expo London ExCeL London
2011 May 27 London MCM Expo London One Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, London Docklands Billy West[36]
2012 May 25 London MCM Expo London One Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock Final Eagle Award under that name
2013 NO AWARDS PRESENTED
2014 July 12 London Film and Comic Con London Earls Court 2 Anthony Stewart Head first (and only) presentation of the True Believer Comic Awards; special appearance by Stan Lee

Nominations and voting

At the outset of the Eagle Award, ballots were made available to "most dealers, shops and fanzines." The initial method of casting votes was designed to be inclusive and straightforward,[2] with completed forms able to be returned to the same place, rather than a centralized location. An initial ballot formed a list of nominees, from which the voting ballot was created and disseminated in the same manner.[2]

The awards for 1983 used an open voting system, with no pre-selected nominees.[28] In 1984, the Eagles introduced a new nomination system composed of "prominent British fans, publishers, dealers, and artists," which put forward three names in each category.[3]

The 1986 Eagles saw the introduction of a "free vote . . . rather than pre-selected nominees," creating a "fairer reflection of fans' opinions — and some anomalous results, especially in the Roll of Honor category."[11]

The 2004 awards saw online voting for the first time; over 13,000 voting forms were "received via post, email and website counting centres."[16]

For the 2007 awards, nominations were made by the general comics-reading public via the Eagle Awards website; the five most popular became nominees for the awards.[37]

Categories

Over the course of their existence, the Eagle Awards were eventually awarded in more than 30 categories.

The first ballot had nominations in 19 categories:

  1. Favourite Comicbook Artist
  2. Favourite British Comics Artist
  3. Favourite Comicbook Writer — U.S.
  4. Favourite British Comics Writer
  5. Favourite Comicbook — Dramatic
  6. Favourite Comicbook — Humour
  7. Favourite Dramatic Black & White Comics Magazine
  8. Favourite Black & White Comicbook — Humour
  9. Favourite Comic Publication All Time
  10. Favourite Comicbook Character
  11. Favourite British Comic Character
  12. Favourite Comicbook Team
  13. Favourite New Comic Title
  14. Favourite Single Comicbook Story
  15. Favourite Continued Comic Story
  16. Favorite Professional British Comic Publication
  17. Favourite British Fan Publication
  18. Favourite British Fan Personality
  19. Favourite Comics Creator All Time

The next year's ballot, 1978, had 21 categories, dropping Favourite British Fan Personality and Favourite Comic Publication "All Time," and adding categories for Inker, Villain, and Supporting Character. The 1979 ballot dropped categories for Favourite Comic — Dramatic and Favourite Comic — Humour and added categories for Cover and Character Most Worthy of Own Title.

The nominations for Favourite Single Comicbook Story and Favorite Continued Comicbook Story were separate from 1977 to 1980 and then again from 2011 to 2014; they were merged as one category from 2000 to 2010. Similarly, the Favourite Cover category was only divided into British and American sections from 1984 to 1990.

Reflecting an interest in long-form comics, the Best Original Graphic Novel category was added in 1986. The Favourite Team category was dropped after 1990.

With the revival of the Eagles in 2000, categories for Favourite Writer and Favourite Artist were no longer separated into UK and US sections, and a host of new categories were added:

  • Favourite Comics Artist — Fully Painted Artwork
  • Favourite Colourist
  • Favourite Comics Editor
  • Favourite Black & White Comicbook
  • Favourite British Small Press Title
  • Favourite Trade Paperback/Reprint Collection
  • Favourite Comic Strip/Newspaper Strip
  • Favourite Comics-Based Movie or TV
  • Favourite Comics Related Website
  • Favourite Comics Related Website (Fan-Organized)
  • Favourite Comics E-Zine

The Favourite Comics Related Website (Fan-Organized) category was dropped in 2002, but five more award categories were added:

  • Favourite Comics Writer/Artist
  • Favourite Manga Comic
  • Favourite European Comic
  • Favourite Comics-Related Book
  • Favourite Web-based Comic

The 2004 Eagles dropped awards for the long-running categories Supporting Character and Character Most Worthy of Own Title, as well as the relatively new categories of British Small Press Title, Comic Strip/Newspaper Strip, and Comics E-Zine. It added a Favourite Letterer category as well as the one-off category Favourite Comics-Related Merchandise.

The 2006 Eagles saw the addition of a Favourite Publisher award, and the 2008 Eagle Awards added categories for Favourite Newcomer: Writer and Favourite Newcomer: Artist while dropping the long-running categories Favourite Character/Hero and Favourite Villain.

The final set of awards, in 2014, were given in 28 categories.

The following is a comprehensive list of the Eagle Award categories and the years they were presented, many of which were divided into British sections and (North) American sections. These categories included:

  • Favourite Writer (1977–2014)
  • Favourite Artist/Penciler (1977–2014)
  • Favourite Comic/Colour Comicbook (1977–2014)
  • Favourite Black & White Comicbook (2000–2014)
  • Favourite New Title (1977–2014)
  • Favourite Single or Continued Story (1977––2014) — divided into separate categories for Single and Continued 1977–1980, and 2011–2014
  • Best Original Graphic Novel (1986–2014)
  • Favourite Comic Strip/Newspaper Strip (2000–2004)
  • Favourite Cover (1979–2014)
  • Favourite Character/Hero (1977–2008)
  • Favourite Villain (1978–2008)
  • Favourite Supporting Character (1978–2004)
  • Character Most Worthy of Own Title (1979–2004)
  • Favourite Specialist Comics Publication/Magazine About Comics (1977–2014)

General categories not divided into U.K. and U.S. sections were:

  • Favourite Comics Writer/Artist (2002–2012)
  • Favourite Inker (1978–2014)
  • Favourite Comics Artist — Fully Painted Artwork (2000–2014)
  • Favourite Colourist (2000–2014)
  • Favourite Comics Letterer (2004–2014)
  • Favourite Comics Editor (2000–2014)
  • Favourite Publisher (2006–2014)
  • Favourite Newcomer (1997)
  • Favourite Newcomer: Writer (2008–2014)
  • Favourite Newcomer: Artist (2008–2014)
  • Favourite Comic: Dramatic (1977–1978)
  • Favourite Comic: Humour (1977–1978)
  • Favourite Black & White Comicbook - Humour (1977–1980)
  • Favourite Comics Magazine (1977–1980)
  • Favourite British Small Press Title (2000–2004) — specific to the U.K.
  • Favourite Manga Comic (2002–2014)
  • Favourite European Comic (2002–2014)
  • Favourite Team (1977–1990) — divided into U.K./U.S. in 1985 only
  • Favourite Trade Paperback/Reprint Collection (2000–2014)
  • Favourite Comics-Related Book (2002–2014)
  • Favourite Comics-Based Movie or TV (2000–2014)
  • Favourite Comics Related Website (2000–2014)
  • Favourite Comics E-Zine (2000–2004)
  • Favourite Web-based Comic (2002–2014)
  • Roll of Honour (1977–2014) — originally called "Favourite Comics Creator All Time"

Finally, there were a few one-off awards:

  • Favourite British Fan Personality (1977)
  • Favourite Comic Excluding North American and UK titles (2000) — became separate awards for Favourite Manga and Favourite European Comic
  • Favourite Comics Related Website (Fan-Organized) (2000)
  • Favourite Comics-Related Merchandise (2004)
  • 30th Anniversary Award for Outstanding Achievements in British Comics (2006)

Past winners

Listed by year presented

People

Alan Moore won this award an impressive eleven times (including sweeping the U.K. and U.S. categories in the period 1985–1987), with Chris Claremont winning it four times (all in the span 1977–1981).

Mike Mignola won this award three times while Frank Miller won it twice.

Multiple winners of this award included John Byrne, Brian Bolland, and Alan Davis with three wins; and Neal Adams, John Bolton, George Pérez, Bill Sienkiewicz, Frank Miller, Brian Talbot, Frank Quitely, and J. H. Williams III with two awards apiece.

Terry Austin won this award nine times in an eleven-year span (from 1978 to 1988).

Alex Ross dominated this award, winning it seven times in 10 possible years.

Laura DePuy Martin won this award six straight times from 2000 to 2008.

2000 AD's Tharg the Mighty won this award four times (with three of those awards going to Matt Smith); Axel Alonso also won the award three times.

  • 1997 Alex Ronald[50]

Works

2000 AD was dominant in this category, winning 12 times; X-Men was in second place with six wins (five of them in the period 1977–1981).

Savage Sword of Conan prevailed in this category three times in the five years it was awarded.

  • 1977 Mad magazine

The Walking Dead won this category seven straight times.

Characters

Batman won this category 12 times; Judge Dredd won seven times, and Wolverine won it three times.

DC's The Joker won this category five times, 2000 AD's Torquemada won four times, and Marvel's Magneto came away with three wins.

The X-Men dominated this category, winning it eight times in the span of 11 years.

Comics Press & Media

Multiple award-winners in this category included Wizard with six wins, Fantagraphics Books with its publications Amazing Heroes and The Comics Journal racking up seven wins in total, and the British publication Speakeasy with four wins.

Comic Book Resources was a repeat winner in this category, with five wins in 14 years.

  • 2000 Sequential Tart[14]
  • 2002 Comic Book Electronic Magazine
  • 2004 Newsarama

Special awards

See also

Other Languages

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