2009 Harvey Award nominations announced

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Update: We’ll have more commentary when off deadline but Kevin Melrose and Tom Spurgeon will do for now.

Via PR:

The 2009 Harvey Awards Nominees have been announced with the release of the final ballot, presented by the Executive Committees of the Harvey Awards and the Baltimore Comic-Con. Named in honor of the late Harvey Kurtzman, one of the industry’s most innovative talents, the Harvey Awards recognize outstanding work in comics and sequential art. They will be presented October 10, 2009 in Baltimore, MD, in conjunction with the Baltimore Comic-Con.

Nominations for the Harvey Awards are selected exclusively by creators – those who write, draw, ink, letter, color, design, edit or are otherwise involved in a creative capacity in the comics field. They are the only industry awards both nominated and selected by the full body of comic book professionals. Professionals who participate will be joining nearly 2,000 other comics professionals in honoring the outstanding comics achievements of 2008. Thank you to all that have already participated by submitting a nomination ballot.

Final ballots are due to the Harvey Awards by Friday, August 28, 2009. Full details for submission of completed ballots can be found on the final ballot. Voting is open to anyone professionally involved in a creative capacity within the comics field. Final ballots are available for download at www.harveyawards.org. Those without Internet access may request that paper ballots be sent to them via mail or fax by calling the Baltimore Comic-Con (410-526-7410) or e-mailing baltimorecomicccon@yahoo.com.

This will be the fourth year for the Harvey Awards in Baltimore, MD. Our Master of Ceremonies this year will be Scott Kurtz (www.pvponline.com). Look for more details soon on how you can attend the Harvey Awards dinner.

This year’s Baltimore Comic-Con will be held October 10-11, 2009. The ceremony and banquet for the 2008 Harvey Awards will be held Saturday night, October 10.

BEST WRITER

Kyle Baker, NAT TURNER, Abrams books
Ed Brubaker, CAPTAIN AMERICA, Marvel Comics
John Gallagher, BUZZBOY, Sky Dog Comics
Jeff Kinney, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, Amulet Books
Grant Morrison, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, DC Comics

BEST ARTIST

Gabriel Ba, UMBRELLA ACADEMY, Dark Horse Comics
Kyle Baker, NAT TURNER, Abrams Books
Jimmy Gownley, AMELIA RULES, Renaissance Press
Jason Kruse, WORLD OF QUEST, Yen Press
Frank Quitely, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, DC Comics

BEST CARTOONIST

Lar deSouza, LEAST I COULD DO, www.leasticoulddo.com
John Gallagher, BUZZBOY, Sky Dog Comics
Al Jaffee, TALL TALES, Abrams Books
Jeff Kinney, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, Amulet Books
Thom Zahler, LOVE & CAPES, Maerkle Press

BEST LETTERER

Jimmy Gownley, AMELIA RULES, Renaissance Press
Rob Leigh, THE SPIRIT, DC Comics
Doug Sherwood, LOCAL, Oni Press
John Workman, MARVEL 1985, Marvel Comics
Thom Zahler, BUZZBOY, Sky Dog Comics

BEST INKER

Rich Faber, BUZZBOY, Sky Dog Comics
Jamie Grant, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, DC Comics
Jeff Kinney, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, Amulet Books
Mark Morales, THOR, Marvel Comics
Ryan Winn, THE DARKNESS, Image Comics

BEST COLORIST

Frank Cammuso, OTTO’S ORANGE DAY, Raw Junior, LLC
Jamie Grant, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, DC Comics
Laura Martin, THOR, Marvel Comics
Wil Quintana, THE MICE TEMPLAR, Image Comics
Dave Stewart, UMBRELLA ACADEMY, Dark Horse Comics

BEST COVER ARTIST

Frank Cho, BUZZBOY: SIDEKICKS RULE!#3, Sky Dog Press
James Jean, FABLES, Vertigo Comics
Jay Lynch, MINDSHAFT #23, Mindshaft Publishing
Ken Rocafort, PILOT SEASON: CORE #1, Top Cow
Alex Ross, JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA, DC Comics

BEST NEW SERIES

THE DREAMER, IDW
ECHO, Abstract Studios
HIGH MOON, www.zudacomics.com
NIGHT OWLS, www.zudacomics.com
SUPERTRON, www.zudacomics.com

BEST CONTINUING OR LIMITED SERIES

ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, DC Comics
CAPTAIN AMERICA, Marvel Comics
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, Amulet Books
MICE TEMPLAR, Image Comics
UMBRELLA ACADEMY, Dark Horse Comics

BEST BIOGRAPHICAL, HISTORICAL OR JOURNALISTIC PRESENTATION

DRAW!, edited by Mike Manley, Twomorrows Publishing
HOW TO MAKE WEBCOMICS, Brad Guigar, Dave Kellett,
Scott Kurtz, and Kris Straub, Image Comics
KIRBY: KING OF COMICS, Mark Evanier, Abrams Books
SCORCHY SMITH AND THE ART OF NOEL SICKLES,
edited by Dean Mullaney, IDW
WORDLESS BOOKS: THE ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVELS,
edited by David A. Berona, Abrams Books

BEST SYNDICATED STRIP OR PANEL

BREWSTER ROCKIT: SPACE GUY!, Tim Rickard, Tribune Media Services
GET FUZZY, Darby Conley, United Features Syndicate
MUTTS, Patrick McDonnell, King Features Syndicate
THE NORM, Michael Jantze, Uclick Gocomics
PEARLS BEFORE SWINE, Stephan Pastis, United Features Syndicate

BEST ANTHOLOGY

COMIC BOOK TATTOO, edited by Rantz Hoseley, Image Comics
FLIGHT VOLUME 5, edited by Kazu Kibuishi, Villard
MOME VOLUME 10, edited by Eric Reynolds, Fantagraphics Books
PIXU #1, edited by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, Self-Published
POPGUN VOLUME 2, edited by Joe Keatinge and Mark Andrew Smith,
Image Comics

BEST GRAPHIC ALBUM – ORIGINAL

BOTTOMLESS BELLY BUTTON, Fantagraphics Books
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: RODRICK RULES, Amulet Books
ESSEX COUNTY: THE COUNTRY NURSE, Top Shelf
SKIM, Groundwood Books
TOO COOL TO BE FORGOTTEN, Top Shelf
WORLD OF QUEST: VOL. 2, Yen Press

BEST GRAPHIC ALBUM – PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED

AMELIA RULES!: FUNNY STORIES, Renaissance Press
M, Abrams Books
NAT TURNER, Abrams Books
THE MICE TEMPLAR: VOL. 1, Image Comics
QUEEN AND COUNTRY: VOLUME 3, Oni Press
SKYSCRAPERS OF THE MIDWEST (HARDCOVER), Adhouse Books

BEST SINGLE ISSUE OR STORY

ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY #19, Self-Published
FIRST BORN: AFTERMATH #1, Top Cow
LOVE AND ROCKETS, VOL. 3 #1, Fantagraphics Books
M, Abrams Books
NASCAR HEROES #5, NASCAR Comics
NAT TURNER, Abrams Books
THE AMAZING REMARKABLE MONSIEUR LEOTARD, First Second
Y: THE LAST MAN #60, Vertigo Comics

BEST DOMESTIC REPRINT PROJECT

ASTOUNDING SPACE THRILLS, IDW
COMPLETE PEANUTS, Fantagraphics Books
COMPLETE TERRY AND THE PIRATES, IDW
SCORCHY SMITH AND THE ART OF NOEL SICKLES, IDW
WACKY PACKAGES, Abrams Books

BEST AMERICAN EDITION OF FOREIGN MATERIAL

GUS AND HIS GANG, First Second
POCKET FULL OF RAIN, Fantagraphics Books
RED COLORED ELEGY, Drawn and Quarterly
SOLANIN, Viz
WITCHBLADE TAKERU MANGA #’s 11 & 12, Top Cow

BEST ON-LINE COMICS WORK

BLACK CHERRY BOMBSHELLS, Tony Trovarello and
John Zito, www.zudacomics.com
HIGH MOON, Scott O. Brown, www.zudacomics.com
LEAST I COULD DO, Lar deSouza and Ryan Sohmer, www.leasticoulddo.com
NIGHT OWLS, Bobby & Peter Timony, www.zudacomics.com
PVP, Scott Kurtz, www.pvponline.com

SPECIAL AWARD FOR HUMOR IN COMICS

Lar deSouza, LEAST I COULD DO, www.leasticoulddo.com
John Gallagher, BUZZBOY, Sky Dog Comics
Al Jaffee, TALL TALES, Abrams Books
Jeff Kinney, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, Amulet Books
David Malki, WONDERMARK, www.wondermark.com

SPECIAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN PRESENTATION

COMPLETE LOCAL: HARDCOVER EDITION, Ryan Kelly and
Brian Wood, Oni Press
KIRBY: KING OF COMICS, Mark Evanier, Abrams Books
QUEEN AND COUNTRY: VOLUME 3, Greg Rucka, Mike Norton,
Steve Rolston, and Chris Samnee, Oni Press
TALL TALES, Al Jaffee, Abrams Books
WONDERMARK, VOL. 1: BEARDS OF OUR FOREFATHERS,
David Malki, Dark Horse Comics

BEST NEW TALENT

Matt Cassan, NASCAR: HEROES, Nascar Comics
Bryan J.L. Glass, THE MICE TEMPLAR, Image Books
Laura Innes, THE DREAMER, IDW
Tim Sievert, THAT SALTY AIR, Top Shelf
Bobby Timony, NIGHT OWLS, www.zudacomics.com

Comments

  1. Speaking personally and NOT with my day-job hat on, these are the worst, most ridiculous, most laughable Harvey nominations ever. There needs to be an Eisner-style small body of nominators for this award if it is to retain ANY SEMBLANCE of viability. They’re so obviously slanted toward the efforts of a few active editors and/or creators hunting PR that they’re little better than a press release that comes with a plaque. Poor Harvey Kurtzman.

  2. What…huh…wow. There are some real headscratchers here. Something’s wrong. The Harvey committee should really look into their nomination process.

    (Only plus I can see- the IDW newspaper reprints, which are some of the best reprint projects I’ve ever read, were nominated. But no Little Orphan Annie??)

  3. Synsidar says:

    In what respects is NASCAR HEROES #5 a terrific issue? A Google Web search turned up nothing about the content.

    SRS

  4. No offense to the folks at Sky Dog press. They put out some nice books, especially for kids. Buzzboy is nice. The Nascar books is also part of Sky Dog, I believe.

    But their blatant overrepresentation in the nominees raises some real questions about the validity of the nomination process. Some obvious ballot stuffing here.

    Embarrassing for the Harveys, I’d say.
    ken

  5. Actually I would be very interested in seeing an argument in the defense of NASCAR HEROES #5 (“NASCAR Villains!”) by somebody who a) has read it, b) liked it a lot, even if perhaps not enough to think it belongs in the same category as e.g. ACME #19, and c) is not either directly involved in its creation, production and promotion or sleeping with someone who is.

  6. Congratulations to all the nominees.

    For what it’s worth: I think it’s hard to rally industry peers to nominate their favorite comix and craftsman. Who can remember what came out any given year? Besides certain stand-outs [e.g. ALL-STAR SUPERMAN], I often scratch my head in how to fill out the nomination ballot and default to nominating my industry friends.

    SUGGESTION: were I to run the Harvey Awards nomination process, I would make available an online [downloadable] list of every comic and candidate. Also, it would be extremely helpful for all publishers and self-publishers to make the Harvey Award admins hip to their annual output to help manifest said list.

  7. SUGGESTION: How about not filling out a ballot if you can’t be bothered to do a bit of research/Googling? Does someone have a gun to your head?!

    Then again- ‘Best New Series’ has THREE Zuda Comics? Seriously?! Maybe these awards don’t deserve people treating them with any more respect than voting for their friends in the high school yearbook contest for “best dressed” or “class flirt.”

  8. Joe, I’m just being honest and I don’t think my suggestion should solicit such a negative reaction.

    Sans gun to head, here is my Google search for:

    comic books published in 2008:
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&rls=com.microsoft%3Aen-us&q=comic+books+published+in+2008&aq=f&oq=&aqi=

    graphic novels published in 2008:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=graphic+novels+published+in+2008&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1

    webcomics published in 2008:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=webcomics+published+in+2008&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1

  9. Doesn’t this happen every year? No, seriously, every time the Harvey Award nominations are announced, there’s a lot of head-scratching and, “What the…?” comments. The only difference is which group of cartoonists all sat down and filled out ballots; in past years there were ballots dominated by the Disney Ducks, the Mad Magazine guys, and (most infamously) CrossGen.

    By having a completely open ballot for anyone and everyone to submit, it’s going to happen every year. It’s a lot of work to think back through the last year’s worth of comics (and I say this as someone who was a former Eisner Judge and is the current Ignatz Award chair), and when it’s a complete blank slate waiting to be filled in, it’s daunting. The end result is a remarkably low number of people who are filling out ballots, and then even less in the way of overlap from one person’s ballot to the next save for the most obvious (All-Star Superman).

    Years ago I remember when Kim Thompson would put together — with help — a list of all the indy publications of the year on TCJ’s message board, to at least serve as a form of guidance. That’s a LOT of work, though. Maybe if there was some sort of central database so that interested creators and/or publishers could submit it?

    Personally, I’m just sad that a dozen or so creators didn’t all decide to submit the “haunted vagina” issue of Tarot. Because really, a dozen creators is probably all it would take to put it onto the ballot. Less than a dozen, most likely. It’s really not that hard.

  10. Goddammit, we were THIS close to having an all-male line-up of art nominations and there goes Laura Martin, fucking it up. Next year!

  11. I think a lot of the mystery about why the Harvey noms are often so bizarre would be solved if the number of submitted ballots were made public. I suspect that it’s a surprisingly-small number and is thus likely very susceptible to problems related to small sample size.

    A small number of submissions along with the amount of vote splitting that naturally occurs would lead to a situation where very, very few votes for a particular book would be enough to get it a nomination.

  12. Andrew Farago says:

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid for best inking? Really? It’s a fun book series, and the art’s charming and all, but it doesn’t jump immediately to mind when I’m thinking of the “craft” categories.

  13. Rich Johnson says:

    I am so proud to have been a part of The World of Quest when I was at Yen Press. The book is funny, charming and Jason Kruse is a great guy and his art is amazing. I hope this will get him noticed and he will have a great career in front of him.

  14. evan dorkin says:

    Ben — It’s not much of a mystery, you’ve pretty much nailed it. The Harveys get relatively few votes, and a lot of head-scratcher and shrug nominees make it in as a result of any sort of concentrated effort. Go back a few years and look up the semi-infamous Crossgen nomination skew when Chris Oarr got the ball rolling, the Mad push one year, the Gemstone/Disney “year”, etc. Nothing wrong with this, I mean, some folks push for the nominations. It takes relatively few votes to get on the ballot, especially now, when Kim Thompson stopped doing the Harvey round-ups, and the award program has bounced around several times and, I believe, lost more steam. This is old news, this year just happens to be the most egregious, in many cases. The best cartoonist category is a specific shame, the nominations of reprinted work in “new” categories is awkward. A work done years ago shouldn’t, imho, garner a creator a “best artist” or “best writer” nod.

    Basically, every year you can see what companies or creators lobbied. This year it seems it didn’t take much more than an e-mail amongst friends. And apparently FBI, D&Q et al barely put the word out. Or cared. it’s a shame, the Harveys used to be an alternative, no pun intended, to the Eisners, which were often populist and erratic, imho. These days the Eisners seem more balanced, and the lack of support for the Harveys has left the award open for whoever cares the most and has a professional book and a group of friends in the business. Nothing against anyone personally, but it’s a weal list, and imbalanced, and not a stellar declaration of the best the medium offered in the previous year. Awards are crazy and often messy. They’re “human”.

  15. This drives me crazy every year, although last year I was convinced that the Gemstone predominance pointed to a Geppi-plot. I don’t begrudge anyone a nomination for anything, and like the idea of letting the chips fall where they may once the voting starts. But for the nominations to be so open, especially–as Evan and Ben pointed out–if there is a low incidence of creators submitting those nominations, basically makes the Harvey’s the Wild West of awards, filled with claim-jumping and other unsupervised frontier hijinks. End of wild-west metaphor.

    I may be extra grumpy because I’m beset each day by plaintive e-mails from creators soliciting votes for their various enterprises online, and it’s always such a turnoff. I get it that small press guys want PR, and I respect it, support it even–after work, I myself am a small press guy who would like some free PR. But this isn’t that hard an issue to fix, and the people who throw up their hands and say “these awards don’t mean anything anyway,” even as they ask their friends again to “please vote omg I’m #2 so close!!!” have just given their nascent comics careers over to cynicism and malaise. Two things we frankly have plenty of already.

    I feel passionately that the nominating process is the meat of any award’s veracity. I like the idea of the Harvey Awards and especially like Marc Nathan and the Baltimore Comicon, which hosts the awards, and would like to see some of the respectability return to the only “mainstream” comics award ceremony that occurs within driving distance of my home (with kind “indie” regards to the Ignatz Awards).

  16. Synsidar says:

    One way to address the eccentricities in the nomination process would be to establish a threshold, based on the total number of submissions in a given category. So, if CAPTAIN AMERICA was submitted five times among 100 different titles and WOLVERINE was submitted only four times, only CAPTAIN AMERICA would qualify. If there were fewer than three qualifying nominations in any category, there would be no award given in that category.

    SRS

  17. Not having been around for what was evidently the heyday of the Harvey Awards, I’m curious about the way this process is supposed to work, or at least, how it USED to work. Did small-press and independent publishers -not- solicit votes from readers in the past?

    Quality issues aside, I’m learning firsthand that it can be quite difficult to get your independent comic (web or print) noticed above the din of established publishers and the 10-year-old giants of the web. Maybe it seems desperate to established pros, but the newbies who made the list of nominees have now had their comic mentioned in The Beat, Journalista, Newsarama… pretty much everywhere. Which ain’t easy.

    Outside of having Neil Gaiman give your comic a shout-out on his blog, can there be a better way to get your work noticed? And what is actually wrong with this approach?

    I don’t ask out of spite or snark, but genuine curiosity. I’d like to know what should be the accepted protocol for this sort of thing. Had I been aware of the Harvey nominations, I might well have tried to solicit my own votes. Is it better to not mention the awards and let the chips fall where they may?

  18. I think the best way to win an industry-wide “best-of” award is to do work that is truly worthy of industry-wide accolades. I would hazard that being considered for such an award would probably be one of numerous such accolades, not the only or first one.

    But also, I check out your comic and it’s really well-drawn.

  19. Gosh so stupid. I meant, CHRIS, I checked out your comic and it’s really well drawn.

  20. Hopefully the best “on-line comic” will be a genuine “on-line comic” and not some advert for a commercial venture. The “on-line” cartoonists who have worked hard to pull in a readership based solely on the strength of their work, and not as part of someone’s else’s business model, should surely be the only people in that category.

    And what the hell is the “BEST AMERICAN EDITION OF FOREIGN MATERIAL”, is that a sort of “it can’t be a good book unless it’s in English” category? Why not just grow a pair and actually set up a category that recognises the “foreign material” when it is contemporary?

    I mean, wouldn’t it have been more credible to nominate something like Solanin when the first two tankōbon were actually released some years ago? Nominating it now just looks crass. Can you imagine the Oscars ignoring the Swedish movie Let the Right One In, and not listing it in the “Best Foreign Movie” category, because it intends to nominate the US remake 4 years later?

  21. CBrown says:

    Do people in the industry even care about the Harvey Awards? I ask because I was at the awards ceremony when it was held at Mocca a few years ago, and was really surprised at how few of the nominees were there. The majority of the nominees and winners were not there. This included many creators and publishers who were in attendance at the festival, but didn’t bother to show up to the awards ceremony.

  22. Thanks, Dustin! I think we all hope to do work that is “worthy” of industry-wide accolades. Of course, if nobody ever sees your work, it’s tough to get those accolades… but I guess that’s what marketing/PR is for, rather than awards.

    My off-hand impression of the Harveys is that they’re intended to be the People’s Choice Awards to the Eisners’ Oscars (with the Ignatz filling in the Independent Spirit Award space). Which, I suppose, could explain the spotty attendance CBrown mentions, and the head-scratching “Best American Edition of Foreign Material.”

  23. Rod, when non-English comics are available in the US with English subtitles, then your comparison will make a little more sense.

  24. “And what the hell is the ‘BEST AMERICAN EDITION OF FOREIGN MATERIAL’, is that a sort of ‘it can’t be a good book unless it’s in English’ category?”

    It’s sort of a “we can’t all tell whether or not it’s a good book unless it’s in English, because comics aren’t just pictures, they’ve got words in ‘em and those words make a difference” category.

    “Why not just grow a pair and actually set up a category that recognises the ‘foreign material’ when it is contemporary?”

    They wouldn’t need to grow a pair to have a category like that. *Each* of them, and this includes all the nominators and judges, would need to learn to read Japanese *and* Korean *and* Chinese *and* French *and* Spanish *and* Italian *and* Dutch *and* Polish *and* Hindi *and* Bengali *and* Swedish *and* each and every other language not listed above in which comics came out for the year in question.

    “I mean, wouldn’t it have been more credible to nominate something like Solanin when the first two tankōbon were actually released some years ago?”

    How many of the people eligible to nominate, and how many of the judges, can read Japanese? How many more of them can read French but not Japanese, and how much of a fair chance would Solanin have had against its French-language contemporaries in that situation?

    “Can you imagine the Oscars ignoring the Swedish movie Let the Right One In, and not listing it in the ‘Best Foreign Movie’ category, because it intends to nominate the US remake 4 years later?”

    I could imagine the Oscars ignoring it if it hadn’t already been released with English subtitles.

  25. evan dorkin says:

    Here’s the thing — few people do care about the Harveys anymore. There used to be more voters, and the results would have the usual groaners for various folks, but there was some consistency, to the point where people used to call it the “Alternative” comic awards, or even the “Fantagraphics awards”. You have to go back and see the past results, and while doing so, read up on where the Harveys came from, if I recall correctly, from the ashes of the Kirby Awards, which collapsed in some sort of controversy and suffered some in-fighting or what have you. The companies seem to have embraced the Eisners, or just stopped caring about the Harveys, as it went from venue to venue and did nothing to bring in voters since a push at the Pittsburgh show earlier in the decade. They brought in some big guns like Frank Miller and Jeff Smith, and people talked about them, and it seemed to gain some traction. I dunno if the voting increased, though. I can’t say why the Harveys have faltered, but my guess is a longtime lack of funds, some seeming disorganization, the fact that early yrs winners and noms being “indy” and “alt” turned off the mainstream companies, and that, just perhaps, the time has passed for the actual award. As Tom Spurgeon wrote at CBR, it’s hard to tell what niche or purpose they fill anymore, with the nominee field matching the Eisners more often, and the low voting leading to “clinkers” (I leave it to you as to what those books are, to each his own). Anyway, the program is a mess. PR for it is a pittance. It seems to exist out of tenacity, stubbornness and momentum. Nominees rarely attend the ceremony, folks don’t talk about the award much besides the yearly drubbing of the nominees that seem “odd” and the process.

    I’m fond of the Harveys because I’ve won a few, emceed the show several times, have been treated very nicely by some of the people involved with the Harveys, and thought the award was a much-needed antidote against the sometimes tunnel-visioned judges system and a tendency to reward best-sellers in the Eisners. But the award has — imo — been cheapened over the past few years (if not earlier, when I won mine), the skew towards promoted titles rather than the cream of the crop has gotten worse (imo, yadda yadda), and the results are often laughable, with this year being notably screwy (IMO). I dunno if there’s a way to “fix” the Harveys, as Johanna Draper has put it. Folks like FBI and D&Q seem to have given up on them, it’s apparently open season for whover really wants those nominations, few people participate, and the show is underfunded and overshadowed by the Eisners. Maybe it’s time to pull the plug. Easy enough for me to say, I’m no longer involved, and it’s not “my” program.

    Here’s the funny thing, though — look at the older, prior nominees, the weird years where Crossgen or Disney or Mad or whoever worked their people and sent out ballots to creators and friends and drummed up the vote. Most of them won jack-all-nothing in the end. I always found that interesting.

  26. evan dorkin says:

    Hey, that’s what you get working on a laptop you’re awful with. Sorry for the dble-post, and one is, I think, an edited version of the other. And it’s all blather, I know. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Heidi, feel free to kill off the first post. Or both. Then put a fucking bullet in my head as well. Why do I even write about this stuff? Frickin’ comics…

  27. Now that I don’t work for Geppi anymore, I’ll go ahead and out him on this one.

    For both 2007 and 2008, everyone at Gemstone Publishing was given pre-filled ballots (typically leaving one or two blank spaces for our own personal choices) to sign and send in. Nobody was required to submit the ballots (I didn’t either year; mostly because I was disgusted by the scheme), but I’m sure we still had two- or three-dozen nearly identical ballots sent for both of those years.

    The worst part is that they were so pathetically obvious about it. In 2007, completely blank ballots were e-mailed to Gemstone employees… and then we were told to not touch those, but to instead wait for the “J.C. Vaughn-approved” (pre-filled) versions to be passed around.

    In ’08, after the pre-filled ballots were given to us, Vaughn had a member of the Scoop! editorial staff e-mail everyone in the company and compose a list of who was going to submit ballots. (Now maybe I’m just clueless, but why would he even want to know… unless they were planning on submitting forged ballots “on our behalf”?)

    One of the many reasons why I got off *that* sinking ship. Sigh.

    I really don’t know what to suggest in the way of fixing the Harveys. Maybe a ballot system where you aren’t allowed to nominate any project you were involved with? You’d still get backscratching, but it wouldn’t be as much of a “biggest publisher who cares, wins” nomination process.

  28. Synsidar says:

    Why do I even write about this stuff? Frickin’ comics…

    No need to apologize, Mr. Dorkin. Your comments are always welcome.

    SRS

  29. OMG my head just exploded.

  30. The Beat says:

    Wow, Travis, I’m gonna have to rewrite that post I just spent an hour working on.

  31. Rod,

    I wanted to stay out of this, because I hate arguing, especially on the internet where things can so easily be misinterpreted, but I have to take issue with a comment of yours.

    I understand that this comment wasn’t directed at me, personally, and I hope you won’t take my counterpoint personally either.

    You said: “Hopefully the best “on-line comic” will be a genuine “on-line comic” and not some advert for a commercial venture. The “on-line” cartoonists who have worked hard to pull in a readership based solely on the strength of their work, and not as part of someone’s else’s business model, should surely be the only people in that category.”

    If you feel my work doesn’t deserve to be nominated based on it’s strength and weaknesses, that’s fine. I can respect that. I feel this statement, however, questions the legitimacy of my even being eligible for a nomination in this category and I can’t let that stand.

    So what is it that makes “The Night Owls” not a genuine webcomic? The business model?
    Scott Kurtz has a business model for his comic. He even co-authored a book about it called “How To Make Webcomics” and it’s also up for a Harvey.
    I attended a panel at Webcomics Weekend where Ryan Sohmer went on in detail describing his business model, insisting to those in attendance that their webcomics should be treated like a job instead of a hobby. Would you consider their webcomics to be genuine?
    Or maybe you have an issue with the fact that Zuda isn’t my own business model? In that case, what would you say to all the people out there that bought “How To Make Webcomics” and are following the advise therein? Are their efforts not genuine?
    Maybe you just don’t like or agree with Zuda’s business model. That’s fine, but I don’t see why you would discount a comic out-of-hand for that reason alone.
    The business aspect of things doesn’t and shouldn’t have any bearing on the award process. None of the other comics on this list are being questioned based on their sales rank.
    PVP and LICD are both free, like the Night Owls. That makes them just as much an “advert for a commercial venture” as my comic.

    Let’s look at your other claim. That the other cartoonists “pull in a readership based solely on the strength of their work”.
    False. While quality work does lead to positive word-of-mouth, (and I do get positive word-of-mouth, by the way) that alone is not enough. I know for a fact that LICD advertises and promotes their comic. I have their tote bag and took a picture of their awesome car with the cool LICD decals all over it.

    It wasn’t the strength of their work that brought me there. It was the promoting. The strength of the work is what kept me there.

    I won’t deny that being on Zuda has brought a lot of eyeballs to my comic, but so what? I’m really glad they do! I also do alot of my own promoting, but if the quality isn’t there, people won’t come back.
    What keeps readers coming back to the Night Owls is the same thing that keeps them coming back to PVP and LICD. I give them the best quality comic storytelling, compelling characters and consistent artwork that is within my ability to deliver.
    I draw three pages of online comics per week, on top of my day job. My twin brother and I write every episode, and I draw them with pencils, ink and digital color.
    There’s no boardroom of corporate stuffed shirts dictating to me what to write and draw. It’s all me and my brother, and we are real human beings made out of bone and blood and we work hard on our genuine online webcomics.

    I never handed out Harvey Ballots, and I never harangued my friends into nominating me. I’m as surprised as anyone that I got nominated.
    I’m really proud of the work I’ve done, and I’m honored to be recognized by the industry professionals who decided to nominate me.

  32. Alan Coil says:

    What about those quality books that DIDN’T get nominated? Perhaps the only way to do this correctly is to open up the nominations to 10 like the Oscar’s just did. And we could have a fan-voted Wild Card. And then we could have a 1-900 number to call to place the vote. And then…and then…we could have the Ayatollah count the votes.

  33. “I’d like to know what should be the accepted protocol for this sort of thing.”

    The subtle difference is between asking people to vote for your book if they like it (i.e., encouraging people who actually LIKE the thing to vote for it), and encouraging your employees to vote for the book whether they like it or not.

    The problem with the latter is that the underlying objective is to get an award nomination which you can then represent to the wider world as some sort of genuine independent endorsement from your peers. In other words, it’s an attempt at deceit.

  34. (Or to clarify: that was the problem initially. The problem doesn’t really arise now because nobody takes the Harveys seriously – virtually ANY award nomination is assumed to be presumptively tainted by corruption, unless the book is so widely known and well regarded that it didn’t need the help anyway. And that, of course, is why an award ceremony that wants to be taken seriously needs to stamp this stuff out. Not only does it make the individual awards meaningless, but it cuts the legs out from genuinely deserving nominees and winners, who simply end up being associated with a farce.)

  35. The problem is… The Eisner’s call themselves the “Oscars of Comics” when they are actually referring to the glamor and prestige. However, they do not follow the nomination process of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Academy has committees which determine eligibility and which recommend rule changes to the general board. Certain categories are only open to specific members of the Academy, so that only people with expertise in a certain category can nominate films.

    The Harveys are more similar to the Oscars in that regard: they only let the “creatives” vote.

    There is no “Academy” for comic books. Probably never will be. The closest we will come is the eligible voter files kept by the Eisner and Harvey administrators.

    Eligibility? Either one is hired to determine who is eligible, or you define a source (Diamond Previews?), post it online with periodical updates, with a contact for anyone wishing to be added to the list.

    I keep asking every time I see nominations, and I’ll ask again:

    Can each awards program PLEASE post your rules and regulations? List your judges and administrators and board of directors?

    Otherwise, you all look like a bunch of amateurs, open to criticism like we’ve seen above.

  36. Rod said: “Hopefully the best “on-line comic” will be a genuine “on-line comic” and not some advert for a commercial venture. The “on-line” cartoonists who have worked hard to pull in a readership based solely on the strength of their work, and not as part of someone’s else’s business model, should surely be the only people in that category.”

    Bobby, I took offense at this too, for a lot of the same reasons you mentioned. (Hi, folks, I’m Caanan. I create Celadore at Zuda comics. That’s why you don’t know me, cheers! ;o) But you forgot to pick up on the “advert for a commercial venture” part of that paragraph.

    Right now, nothing is happening for any Zuda comic, (as far as I know) in terms of TV deals, movies, tshirts, or even a branded hanky. There’s just a bunch of free comics there to be read. Other webcomics, though? Even Pvp? They have books for sale. Tshirts. Mugs. Buttons. Tote bags. Whatever else. If that’s not using your comic strip as an “advert for a commercial venture”, I don’t know what is. Plain and simple.

    Hell, at TCAF a couple of years ago, I asked one webcomic guy in particular (I won’t name names) what his motivation was behind his comic. Why he worked so hard at it. And he said (paraphrasing) “it took me three years of drawing this comic before I realised it was a great way to sell tshirts” then he proceeded to be swamped with people buying his shirts, and I left, angry, unable to tell this guy he sold his soul somewhere along with his merchandise.

    (Don’t get me wrong. You gotta make money, but as a BY-PRODUCT. You shouldn’t be making comics just to sell merch. You should be making comics and realising there are merch opportunities to be had!)

    The reason I love doing a Zuda comic is because I don’t have to worry about all that other stuff. I never wanted to. I don’t want tshirts. I don’t want mugs. Mousepads. Whatever else. I just want to get paid to make comics. And I do. So, am I still one of those people with an “advert for a commercial venture”? No, I’m not, but because you come out with these blanket statements about Zuda, I may as well be. Can you see the forest? Hi. We’re the trees.

    Bobby, I voted for you in the best new talent category. I love Night Owls. Not just because I’ve met you and I’m also a Zuda guy, but because I absolutely love Night Owls. If I saw it on the shelves, I would have bought it no question. Even if it ate into my lunch money, fer cryin’ out loud.

    I also sat down and filled out the rest of the form as best I can. It took me three hours! I put stuff in there like Bendis, Kirkman, Stuart Immonwn, Cul De Sac, Faith Erin Hicks, Mutts, Doug TenNapel, Flight. LOTS of stuff. Because this was the first year I could nominate, and I took it seriously. Did anyone else? Am I alone in the room?

    Hello?

  37. Torsten:

    All information about how the Eisner Awards are conducted can easily be found on the Comic-Con International website. There is full information on how material should be submitted and what qualifies for each category (the Call for Entries), as well as information on the judging panel, with bios of each judge posted each year. During the voting period, the online voting site spells out who is eligible to vote.

    Jackie Estrada
    Eisner Awards Administrator

  38. Don Rosa says:

    I wish these editors (or whoever is doing this manipulation) get the permission of their nominees before they seek this type of PR by “stuffing the nominations box”. It can be profoundly embarrassing! When I was surprised to see my name all over the Harvey nominations last year, I knew there was something afoot… I mean, in Finland or Norway or Italy, etc. maybe… but not in America. Not to mention the lasting shame of that year in the CBG awards where there *was* organized ballot-box-stuffing. No creator wants to look like maybe he was involved in such a scheme by his publisher/editor or anyone else. I actively tried to persuade Paul to remove all my nominations from the Harvey ballots, but he politely declined. And for fear of some other unknowable plan, I was at an Orioles game on the night of the Harvey Awards.
    When there is some sort of manipulation of awards going on, please don’t assume the nominees have any involvenment!
    (And hey, I shouldn’t have ever gotten ANY Eisner or Harvey nominations or awards anyhow — my work is all reprints from Europe! I should only have been eligible in the “Best Edition of International Material” categories.)

  39. I was a bit concerned/curious when I saw that 3 of the 5 comics nominated for ‘BEST ON-LINE COMICS’ came from the same company, I was suspicious of ballot-stuffing, honestly. Especially when the internet represents the largest and most varied venue for comics work that we’ve ever seen in our history, capable of presenting more work by more creators in more genres and formats than any print publisher could even imaging presenting. Basically, I found it hard to believe that Zuda comics represented the best 60% of comics to be found on the web.

    I’m glad the discussion has come up, because now that I understand the submission process, I can see how a company, ANY company, with a large enough reader base (or employee pool, as has been evidenced by Travis’s account) and a little bit of time to direct the effort, can influence the final ballot. I’m not going to say that Zuda stuffed the ballot for the online category, I think it more likely that most other online comics just weren’t aware of the process and so didn’t even attempt to make an impact.

    I do congratulate everyone who got nominated – there isn’t a single work up on that list that doesn’t deserve SOME sort of recognition – and I’m inspired to try next year to actually get involved in the process. I’ll start by actually filling out a ballot, and encouraging everyone I know to do the same when it’s time.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I just heard this morning that Tori Amos: Comic Book Tattoo was nominated for Best Anthology in the Harvey Awards. To go along with that Best Anthology Eisner nomination. Go us! And congrats to all the nominees. [...]

  2. [...] Alright, you can check out the full list of the nominees at The Beat. Personally, I’m pulling for “Y: The Last Man” #60 to win Best Single Issue, Alex Robinson’s “Too Cool to Be Forgotten” and the Timonys for “The Night Owls“. [...]

  3. [...] (Update: A commenter at The Beat notes that NASCAR Heroes was produced by Gallagher’s Sky-Dog Comics for NASCAR and Starbridge Media Group. It appears that Gallagher wrote and edited at least some issues of the series.) [...]

  4. [...] Another announcement of the Harvey Award nominees, another round of complaining about how poor the results are. I can’t say I disagree, but it’s terribly easy to say “it should have been better”. What is the award organizer supposed to do, give up his objectivity by making judgment calls and ruling out certain titles? Force people to fill out nominating ballots? [...]

  5. [...] (This post originally appeared as a comment at Heidi MacDonald’s THE BEAT.) [...]

  6. [...] Awards | Discussion continues about the 2009 Harvey Award nominations, which contained more than a few surprises. Xaviar Xerexes looks at the positive — webcomics and works that began online are well-represented — as Johanna Draper Carlson considers how to fix a nomination process that many agree is broken. She also labels accusations of ballot-stuffing as “misguided”: “It’s not about stuffing — which generally implies a surfeit of questionable votes — it’s about a lack of participation giving those few professionals who do bother to submit nomination lists disproportionate power to affect the results.” [...]

  7. [...] Now, the Harveys have come in for some criticism. This is a natural and expected result of awards nominations, but this year’s Harvey noms seem especially capricious. The problem seems to be that not enough people are voting, so the results are easily skewed by a small group. Adding webcomics to the mix increases the number of potential voters but also the number of potential winners; ultimately, I think, the nominators need to have some sort of list, at least as a starting point. On the bright side, though, they seem to have followed the philosophy I espoused regarding the Eisners and are nominating webcomics in all categories, not just online comics. You can leave a response [...]

  8. [...] Tori Amos: Comic Book Tattoo took home the Harvey Award for Best Anthology. I just found out. No one tells me these things. I have a short story in that, too. [...]

  9. [...] 47 2009 Harvey Award nominations announced [...]

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