It’s difficult to contain the excitement over hearing the news announced yesterday at the 2011 Will Eisner Awards ceremony during the San Diego Comic-Con International convention, now in progress.

Comics N’ Vegetables, the Tel-Aviv based comics retailer chain, also known for founding Comics For All that I’ve participated in over the last year, HAS WON THE 2011 EISNER SPIRIT OF COMICS RETAILER AWARD, after a third consecutive nomination, which roughly makes it the best spirited comic book store in the world this year, at least by Will Eisner Awards standards, which are as credible as they come in the comics industry.

The name is derived from an Israeli slang where the addition of “vegetables” to a subject, means the addition of anything else imaginable to it. It’s perhaps this winning spirit of CNV, striving to make comics as popular and loved as anything else in our culture, that helped compel the Eisner Award judges to choose Comics N’ Vegetables for the prestigious award.

To better understand what the award is given for, here are the judging criteria from the Comic_Con International Spirit of Comics Retailer Award web page.

Honoring the Best Comics Shops in the World

The Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award, presented under the auspices of Comic-Con International: San Diego, is given to an individual retailer who has done an outstanding job of supporting the comics art medium both in the community and within the industry at large.

The criteria for judging include:

  • Support of a wide variety of innovative material. Providing opportunities for creators’ material to reach buyers; stocking a diverse inventory.
  • Knowledge. Working to stay informed on retailing as well as on the comics field.
  • Community activity. Promoting comics to the community; maintaining relationships with schools and libraries; keeping active in social, business, and arts community organizations.
  • Quality of store image. Innovative display approaches; using store design creatively.
  • Adherence to standard ethical business practices.

Comics N’ Vegetables was founded in 2001 by Yuval Sharon and Danny Amitai. After 3 years of working by Internet subscriptions and mobile stands across Israel, Yuval and Danny opened their first retailer store in Tel-Aviv. In 2006 they moved to their present location at 40 King George St., across from the Dizingoff Center. In 2009 they opened their second store in Ra’nanna, maintaining their growth, driven by a dream of spreading the comics culture throughout Israel.

In 2010, Comics N’ Vegetables founded Comics for All, an association of Israeli comics creators, volunteering to inspire creativity in disadvantaged children. Its activities are organized by Yuval’s wife, herself a talented illustrator, Elite-Avni Sharon. The growing list of volunteers includes comics creators Eran Aviani, Ehud Bar-El, Dorit Maya-Gur, Uri Fink and Avi Blyer. Through a few encounters with Elite, I joined Comics For All last summer and began participating in its activities. Comics For All has thus become the engine through which Comics N’ Vegetables realizes its aspiration for contributing to a better social environment through the comics medium.

A big congratulations to Yuval, Danny, Elite and to the Israeli comics scene for the well deserved recognition!  May it be a sign of bigger and better things to come.

Next up for Comics N’ Vegetables is the historic visit to Israel by Joe Kubert and his son Andy in mid-August, as part of an Israel Cartooning Musuem exhibit, curated by Dorit Maya-Gur and Yuval Sharon. More news on that coming soon!