7/27/06 ~ Cover story for the Dallas Quick

Award turn local men into heroes (CLICK HERE)

The Eisner Awards, the comic book industry's answer to the Oscars, gave some love to the Dallas area over the weekend. PVP, written by Scott Kurtz of Little Elm, won the Eisner for best digital comic. And Zeus Toys and Comics in Turtle Creek Village won the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailing Award. Zeus is the first Texas store to win the retail award in its 14-year history.

Richard Neal, Zeus' owner and one half of its full-time staff, said he was so shocked by his store's win that he forgot his acceptance speech. "Everything I was supposed to say went right out the window," Neal said yesterday. "I said, 'I sell your comic books, I love what I do,' then I squealed and ran off the stage."

Scott Hinze, host of Fort Worth's Fanboy Radio, said the retail prize is the Eisner with the most heated competition: "People will walk out if they don't win."

Stores are nominated by their customers. Neal credited Zeus' nomination to David Hopkins, the Arlington-based writer of Emily Edison, a graphic novel published this month by Irving's Viper Comics. "That was an honor in itself, that some of the small-press people in town nominated us," Neal said.

Hopkins said Neal, 36, has always supported local creators. Last year, Zeus bought 200 copies of his Karma Incorporated and gave them away. "It's just the sort of things that Richard does that are beyond the call of duty and rationale that make [Zeus] one of those stores you want to stand behind," Hopkins said.