Gabriel was told that the Chilean-North American Cultural Institute, which is the “cultural department” of the U.S. Embassy in Chile, is giving him the 2009 Walt Whitman Award, their annual literary award, for his work in the graphic novel field and for helping to create a stronger cultural relationship between Chile and the United States. This is the first time they’ve given this literary award to a comic book artist.
Other than Ashley Wood, Gabriel has been working for IDW longer than any other artist. And he and I have been working together steadily for the past five years. It’s been especially gratifying to see Gabriel go from CSI to a Romero zombie project to the Herculean task of working with me on adapting Clive Barker’s THE GREAT AND SECRET SHOW over 12 issues and then doing the same with BEOWULF, all before his real masterpiece (so far), LOCKE & KEY (and, as you’ll see in a few weeks, CLIVE BARKER’S SEDUTH). Gabriel’s long been one of the most talented artists I’ve ever worked with, but he’s also among the most diligent people I know, and one of the nicest, too. Which is a combination that just doesn’t happen often. So I’m glad to see that his work is gaining this sort of special recognition outside of just the comics field.
I knew the guy was special but I had no idea he was actually helping foster better relations between the U.S. and Chile (take that, all of you who think comics are just a lark). So my congratulations to Gabriel for this unique and special honor. And for those of you who speak better Spanish than me, you can see the letter itself that announced the award:
Also this weekend, the British Fantasy Society awarded the winners for its annual British Fantasy Awards, and LOCKE & KEY won for Best Comic Book/Graphic Novel. So congrats to Joe and Gabriel for that really nice honor as well.
Update: Here’s Joe Hill’s take on the award for Gabe, too.