ComicsPRO is the only trade organization dedicated to the progress of direct market comic book retailers.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Paul Levitz, Carol Kalish honored with ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Awards

ComicsPRO 2010 Industry Appreciation Award from BSIComics on Vimeo.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- ComicsPRO honored former DC Comics president and publisher Paul Levitz with the first ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award. Carol Kalish, former direct sales manager at Marvel, was honored with the posthumous ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award.

ComicsPRO created the award to honor those who work behind the scenes, from publishers, distributors, marketers and more, in bringing comic books to market. ComicsPRO member retailers voted on the award, which ComicsPRO President Joe Field described as a "Hall of Fame" award.

Levitz was president of DC Comics from 2002–2009 and worked for DC for over 35 years in a wide variety of roles.

"He is someone who has been one of our best friends in this business," Field said.

Levitz thanked fellow nominee Bob Wayne of DC and other members of his DC Comics team in accepting the award. He also thanked those in the retail field for their support.

"Thank you for making my service to the field possible," Levitz said.

Kalish was Marvel’s Direct Sales Manager from the mid-1980s to early 1990s. She was instrumental in professionalizing the comics specialty retail field. Kalish passed away in September 1991 at the age of 36.

"Anyone who had the pleasure of working with her knew ... her goal was not just to grow Marvel Comics sales, but to grow the entire industry," said Field.

Levitz read a statement from Kalish's longtime significant other, Richard Howell, while accepting the award on her behalf. It recounted Kalish's days building up the direct market, with cash register programs and other innovations. It was her goal to make the direct market as strong as it could be, according to the statement.

"I think she would have been very pleased by this award and the validation it represents," said Howell's statement.

- Matt Price
More ComicsPRO coverage

ComicsPRO president Joe Field looks to the future

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — ComicsPRO president Joe Field said that despite a down economy and the growing digital format, there’s no reason print-format comic books can’t continue to thrive. Field spoke to gathered retailers on Friday morning at the ComicsPRO annual members meeting.

“Comics today are more ubiquitous than at any time in the last 25 years,” Field said.

“We’re not going to get lost because there is a new kind of comics medium on the way,” Field said. “No medium has ever completely replaced the one that went before it. ”

Field said comic books have been “left for dead” by supposed experts many times throughout his career, but direct-market retailers’ resilience have kept the medium going. Now, Field said, huge numbers of people are interested in the type of material available in comics. Field said other media featuring those characters and concepts can be competition for comics, but they can also be commercials for comics.

“There is an incredibly bright future for our market if we are willing to make it happen,” Field said.

- Matt Price

Read more ComicsPRO coverage at Nerdage