A Columbia artist is now a winner of the highest award given by the comic book industry.

Sanford Greene, along with co-creators David Walker and Chuck Brown, was awarded the Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series for “Bitter Root.”

The Eisner Awards, given for creative achievement in American comic books, are considered the comic industry’s equivalent of the Oscars. The awards are usually presented at the annual San Diego Comic-Con, but were given virtually this year, with the convention canceled due to COVID-19.

“Thanks to the whole team,” Greene said, including editor Shelly Bond, publishers Image Comics, and all the others involved in producing the series. “Special thanks to my family as well, to my wife and my two awesome kids that put up with all of the back and forth of me trying to bring this thing to life with my partners, David and Chuck.”

Greene has worked in the comic book industry for more than 15 years, illustrating series like “Power Man and Iron Fist” among many others for Marvel, DC, Image and other companies. He joined forces with writers Walker and Brown in 2016 to create “Bitter Root,” the story of a Black family trying to save the world from supernatural forces during the Harlem Renaissance.

“This book was starting to come together roughly around the time we had the election four years ago. We were feeling somewhat stifled with what's been happening and what was happening at that time in our country, and we felt like we needed to do something different, something unprecedented,” Brown said. “To see what we created during that time was something that not only empowered us, but hopefully it gave some life and vision to those who witnessed and supported us.”

“Bitter Root” is available for purchase online and in comic shops everywhere, and the first issue is available to read free via Image Comics.

University of South Carolina Professor Qiana Whitted also won an Eisner Award this year, for Best Academic/Scholarly Work, for her book, “EC Comics: Race, Shock, and Social Protest.”

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