Eric Stephenson Wins 2014 ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award
At the annual Comics Professional Organization convention this past Friday, Image Comics’ own Eric Stephenson was honored with the 2014 ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation award. This is his third nomination and his first win. The ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation award exists to commend proponents of the direct market in the comic book industry.
ComicsPRO, or the Comics Professional Retail Organization, is a trade organization created to support comic book retailers who follow the direct market approach. The direct market is the dominant style of distribution in the comic book industry, which essentially cuts out middleman distributors and has publishers selling their books directly to the retailers themselves.
Stephenson was given the award shortly after he delivered a speech on the constantly changing state and digitizing of the comic book industry, and the ensuing importance of the direct market and retailer participation. In the speech, he stated, “Sales will always fluctuate, but given that print was being pronounced dead as early as 20 years ago, the comics market has remained remarkably stable.”
In selecting the awardee, ComicsPRO members submit nominees, the board of directors narrows down the nominees, and the members then vote for the winner. While indeed a proud recipient of the award, Eric Stephenson called it “more a testament to how far Image has come over the last few years.”