GLAA Winners

G5 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Named

G5 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient - Jack Kirby
Born in 1917 in New York City to a family of Austrian Jewish immigrants, Jack Kurtzberg was a man consumed by imagination. He could make the comics panel seem too small to contain the stories he was telling.
Throughout a tough childhood raised without money and often involved in street fights, Kirby desired to escape this world he lived in. He almost did in 1926, when he lay between life and death, overrun by pneumonia that sent him past medical cure and into delirium. The situation was so dire that Jack’s mother called in the rabbis, who gathered around around his bed and chanted: “Demon come out of this boy! What is your name Demon?”

Who knows for sure what Jack Kirby saw that day, but fast forward 50 years, and you will meet the Demon Etrigran. It was the last character he created at DC Comics, and you can imagine it being funneled onto the page directly from a nine year old boy’s unconsciousness.

Kirby always saw the big picture. In 1941, Jack’s ability to tell stories ahead of their time was first seen at Marvel Comics with the publishing of Captian America #1. The issue, which appeared nearly a year before Pearl Harbor, has the hero using his shield to deflect Nazi bullets even as he hits Hitler with an explosive right hook. He went on to basically create Marvel’s entire stable of superheroes –Fantastic Four, Incredible Hulk, X-Men, Thor, and Silver Surfer.

But Jack’s real contributions to humanity began in 1971 when he moved to DC Comics and created his most extravagant mythology, the Fourth World – a series of inter-linked titles like New Gods, Mister Miracle and The Forever People as well as, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. It was groundbreaking in so many ways – and not just in its artistic vision. Kirby foresaw a day when comics would need to find alternate, more legitimate venues for sale. He envisioned a finite series that would be serialized and collected after the series had concluded. He was the first to see the promise of the graphic novel.

It was the first of many insights into the comic industry from the King. He is credited as the first comic book artist to design by the page rather than the panel. He foresaw that a small comic convention in San Diego would eventually be THE place that Hollywood came for their ideas. George Lucas certainly did. George penned a drama unfolding over an expanse of planets, while following a hero who turned out to be the offspring of the most inconceivable evil. And thus Orion and Darkseid became Luke and Vader.

Jack Kirby was, for all who follow the ways of gfest, the greatest comic book artist of all time. His career output is estimated at twenty-five thousand published pages. He could finish an entire comic book over a weekend. He never made a preliminary sketch. He never erased. Simply put – he was the King.

Kirby elevates us all into a realm where we can all fly among the immortal and omnipotent, the gods and the monsters, where we can easily believe — if even for a brief moment — that we could all be superheroes too.

G4 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Named

G4 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient - Stephen King – The Dark Tower
At the age of 19 Stephen King decided he would like to write an epic similar to The Lord of the Rings. What followed was an epic tale that gfesters can easily relate to – a tale of a gunslinger’s quest toward a goal that is both physical and metaphorical.

A poem written by Robert Browning, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” became the inspiration for his magnum opus. The Dark Tower series was written and published separately over a period of 22 years, consists of seven books, and beautifully incorporates many of the themes important to gfesters, including fantasy fiction, science fantasy, magic and brotherhood.

Roland’s quest is to find the Dark Tower, a fabled building said to be the nexus of all universes. Roland’s world is said to have “moved on,” and indeed it appears to be coming apart at the seams – mighty nations have been torn apart by war, entire cities and regions vanish from the face of the earth without a trace, time does not flow in an orderly fashion; even the sun sometimes rises in the north and sets in the east. As the series opens, Roland’s motives, goals, and his age are unclear, though later installments shed light on these mysteries, while introducing us to beloved characters such as Eddie Dean, Susannah Dean, Oy, Jake Chambers, Donald “Pere” Callahan, Cuthbert Allgood, Jamie De Curry, and Alain Johns. They became more than just characters. They became family.

In 2007, the combined genius of Robin Furth, Peter David and Jae Lee brought The Dark Tower to one of gfest’s favorite mediums – comic books. The Gunslinger Born is an expansion and interpretation of events covered in The Dark Tower series, beginning with Roland Deschain’s manhood test against Cort and ending with the last events of the flashback sequences in Wizard and Glass. Simply put – it is a masterpiece. A work that consistently exceeded expectations. And the world of comics that is no small feat.

“We are ka-tet. We are one from many.” – Roland Deschain

Finally, no discussion of the Dark Tower would be complete without acknowledging King’s work to put a name to the relationship that the founders of gfest themselves share – KA-TET. Stronger than mere brotherhood, ka-tet literally speaking, means “one made from many.” It is the place where individual lives are joined together by fate. More simply put, it is gfest.

Therefore, the co-founders of gfest are incredibly pleased to present one of literature’s greatest talents, and one of its greatest works with the Gfest Lifetime Achievement Award. And to Stephen King we say – Thankee Sai!

G3 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Named

G3 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient - Bruce Timm

Bruce was born in Oklahoma in 1961, and then moved briefly to Ohio, before the family finally settled in California.

Timm’s early career in animation was varied; he started at Filmation, working on the layout of Flash Gordon, He-Man & The Masters of the Universe, and The Lone Ranger (Timm also did background work on GI Joe). He also worked for numerous other employers, including Ralph Bakshi, Don Bluth Productions, and attempted to find work at both Marvel Comics and DC Comics, but without luck. Finally, in a decision that would forever alter the lives of all gfesters, Timm joined Warner Bros in 1989.

At Warner, Timm worked on Tiny Toon Adventures. However, he is best known for his subsequent work on the animated series based on various DC Comics superheroes, popularly referred to as the DC Animated Universe. Timm co-created and produced Batman: The Animated Series, which premiered in September 5, 1992, and went on to co-create and produce Superman: The Animated Series (premiered in September 1996), The New Batman Adventures (premiered in September 1997), and Batman Beyond (premiered in January 1999). He also served as producer on the feature-length Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker before taking the helm as creator and producer of the animated version of Justice League, which debuted in November 2001. This series continued in the form of Justice League Unlimited. Timm was also the executive producer of the Teen Titans animated series.

The Gfest Lifetime Achievement Award is clearly the most prestigious recognition Bruce Timm has received, but it is hardly the first. In 1993, Bruce won an Emmy for his work on Batman the Animated Series. He followed that win with a Daytime Emmy in 2001 for his work on Batman Beyond. He has also received several additional Emmy nominations.

The co-founders of gfest are incredibly pleased to present one of animations greatest talents, and one of our favorite creators with the Gfest Lifetime Achievement Award.

G2 Lifetime Acheivement Award Winner Named

G2 Lifetime Acheivment Award Recipient - Joseph Barbera
Barbera started his career as a tailor’s delivery boy. During the Great Depression he tried unsuccessfully to become a magazine cartoonist for a magazine called The NY Hits Magazine. In 1932 he joined the Van Beuren Studio as an animator and scriptwriter. He worked on cartoons such as Cubby Bear, and Rainbow Parades and also co-produced Tom and Jerry (a couple of boys, unrelated to his later cat-and-mouse series). When Van Beuren closed down in 1936, Barbera moved over to the MGM studios.

Lured by a substantial salary increase, Barbera left Terrytoons and New York for the new MGM cartoon unit and California in 1937. The following year he teamed up with William Hanna to direct theatrical short cartoons; Barbera was the storyboard/layout artist, and Hanna was in charge of the timing. Their first venture was Puss Gets the Boot (1940), the first Tom and Jerry film, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best (Cartoon) Short Subject.

Hanna and Barbera’s 17-year partnership on the Tom & Jerry series resulted in 7 Academy Awards for Best (Cartoon) Short Subject, and 14 total nominations, more than any other character-based theatrical animated series. Hanna and Barbera were placed in charge of MGM’s animation division in late 1955; however, this proved short-lived as MGM closed the division in 1957. They subsequently teamed up to produce the series The Ruff & Reddy Show, under the name H-B Enterprises, soon changed to Hanna-Barbera Productions. By using the limited animation techniques, Hanna and Barbera could provide programming for networks at reduced cost.

By the late 1960s, Hanna-Barbera Productions had become the most successful television animation studio, producing hit television programs such as The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, and Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!.

Hanna-Barbera had been a subsidiary of Taft Broadcasting (later Great American Communications) since 1967. The studio thrived until 1991, when it was sold to Turner Broadcasting. Hanna and Barbera stayed on as advisors and periodically worked on new Hanna-Barbera shows, including the What-a-Cartoon! series.

Hanna-Barbera, received eight Emmys, including the Governors Award of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 1988.

Their strengths melded perfectly, critic Leonard Maltin wrote in his book Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons. Barbera brought the comic gags and skilled drawing, while Hanna brought warmth and a keen sense of timing. Maltin wrote:

“This writing-directing team may hold a record for producing consistently superior cartoons using the same characters year after year – without a break or change in routine.”

Hanna, who died in 2001, once said he was never a good artist but his partner could “capture mood and expression in a quick sketch better than anyone I’ve ever known.”

After Hanna’s death, Barbera remained active as an executive producer for Warner Bros. Animation on television series such as What’s New, Scooby-Doo? and Tom and Jerry Tales. He also wrote, co-storyboarded, co-directed and co-produced the theatrical Tom and Jerry short The Karateguard in 2005, thus returning to his and Hanna’s first successful cartoon format.

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