Jury #1 – Artist, Colourist, Cover Art

Our five person jury for the categories of Outstanding Artist, Outstanding Colourist and Outstanding Cover Art by a Canadian Artist, what we affectionately referred to as the Art’ Jury consists of:

-author and historian BLAKE BELL

– store manager AMY CHOP

– radio personality ROBIN FISHER

– writer, actor and director DUANE MURRAY

– teacher and artist DAVID OKUM

Full biographies follow:

Blake Bell
Blake Bell lives in Toronto with his son, Luke, and is the pre-eminent scholar on Steve Ditko, the co-creator and original artist of The Amazing Spider-Man. Bell has written two introductions to Ditko reprint volumes from DC and Marvel Comics, and two essays featured in Marvel’s Omnibus line of books on Ditko’s pre-superhero work. Until recently, his website — Ditko Looked Up — was the main source of Ditko research since April 1998. Bell was also employed by Ditko to run his official website back in the summer of 2001. His books include “I Have to Live with this Guy” (TwoMorrows), “Strange and Stranger: The Worlds of Steve Ditko” (Fantagraphics), “Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1” (Fantagraphics). His next book, a biography of Golden Age comics artist Bill Everett entitled “Bill Everett: Fire and Water” is set to debut this year from Fantagraphics, 10% of the royalties from the sale of the book will be going to the Hero Initiative, a charity for assisting comics creators in need of financial and/or medical aid.

Amy Chop
Amy Chop is the manager of Guelph, ON comic shop The Dragon. She works Monday through Friday and some Saturdays. She’s a comic collector, an avid fan of anime and manga, and a player of various RPGs, as well as Warhammer Fantasy with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of Guelph.

Robin Fisher
Robin’s mission in life is to brainwash every man, woman and child into realizing that comics are more than just juvenile pabulum. When done right they can be an amazing amalgam of art and literature. Comics can make you laugh, cry, think and feel just as much as your favorite movie or book.. While looking visually stunning at the same time. It’s my favourite medium. Robin knows there are comics out there for everyone, but they are hard to find. Let her be your guide, your cartoon gal. For the past 10 years she’s been living, eating, sleeping and breathing comics. From writing comic stories, to editing fund-raising anthologies. she’s worked in comic book stores, she’s written for The Comics Journal, she’s attended comic conventions all along the West Coast and interviewed many. She is also the host of The Onamatopoeia Show which runs every Sunday afternoon from 3-4 from Montreal on 1690AM CJLO. This is Robin’s second time serving on the Joe Shuster Awards jury.

Duane Murray
Duane is a Toronto-based writer, director and actor. As a writer and director Duane has consulted on wide-release feature film and feature documentary scripts. He has also co-written and co-directed music videos and short films with Shane Belcourt, two of which, Pookums and The Squeeze Box, have shown at the imaginative Film Festival as well as Moviola. Duane is currently developing a television series with Shane Belcourt as well as other future feature film projects. This is Duane’s second time serving on the Joe Shuster Awards jury.

David Okum
David Okum is an artist and teacher from Waterloo, Ontario. He has been exhibiting and publishing artwork since 1984. David was born in 1967 and grew up in Kitchener, Ontario. He attended St. Jerome’s High School and the University of Waterloo. In 1990 he earned his Bachelor of Education at the University of Windsor. In 1991, he returned to Kitchener and began his teaching career. David continues to produce, publish and exhibit his work regularly. In addition, he creates commissioned artwork as well as graphic design work for individuals and organizations.

Coordinators: Kevin Boyd, Robert Haines

Thanks to the following publishers, companies and individuals for their assistance in obtaining review copies for these jury members:
The Dragon
Image Comics
La Pastèque

Special thanks to our publisher liaison Allison Covey.