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Claypool Artist Wins Award

03/07/2004. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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Friends of Lulu, the organization for women in comics, has nominated Amanda Conner - the artist of the Claypool Comics title SOULSEARCHERS AND COMPANY - for the group's 2004 Women Cartoonists Hall of Fame.

The award is so prestigious that according to Friends of Lulu rules, an individual can win only once in her lifetime.

Claypool, the independent comic publisher, has had Conner on its team since the first issue of SOULSEARCHERS in 1993. She has pencilled its first ten issues (with occasional help from artists such as John Heebink and Neil Vokes) and all of its covers - a run of nearly 70 issues and counting. Written and created by Peter David and Richard Howell, SOULSEARCHERS follows a team of inept supernatural investigators in tales that often include parody versions of pop icons such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek, and a number of comic-book characters.

Friends of Lulu is a national nonprofit organization whose purpose is to promote and encourage female readership and participation in the comic-book industry. The group has issued the Hall of Fame Award since 1997. Past winners include Wendy Pini (Elfquest), Lynn Johnston (For Better or Worse), Trina Robbins (Wonder Woman, GoGirl!), Hilda Terry (Teena), Marge Henderson Buell (Little Lulu), Ramona Fradon (Aquaman, Metamorpho), Dale Messick (Brenda Starr), and Marvel and EC Comics artist Marie Severin, who has also drawn SOULSEARCHERS for Claypool. Claypool nominees for other Friends of Lulu awards have included ELVIRA, MISTRESS OF THE DARK writer Janet Hetherington.

For the Hall of Fame award, Conner is up against strong competition. This year, the other nominees are Lynda Barry (Marlys, 100 Demons), Barb Rausch (Vicki Valentine, Barbie), Dorothy "Woolfolk" Roubicek (Wonder Woman, Zatanna) and Rumiko Takahashi (Maison Ikkoku, Ranma 1/2).

Conner is one of the youngest women to receive a Hall of Fame nomination; if she wins, she will be the youngest winner ever. Friends of Lulu will announce the winner at its annual awards event during the second night of Comic-Con International: Thursday, July 22, at 8:30 p.m. in San Diego s Bitter End café.

Claypool editor Richard Howell says, "I think it is clear to everyone by now what a treasure Amanda is for our industry, but we at Claypool take special pride in her achievements, since we were in on the secret early. Our publisher, Ed Via, has been a major booster of Amanda s talents since she was a high-school art student, and Ed and I hand-picked her to be the penciller for SOULSEARCHERS AND COMPANY, on which she really showed her stuff - range, control, power, character humor, inventiveness - for the first time on a continuing super-hero assignment. She wowed us all, and we are completely delighted over her success."


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