Unlike the Eisner Awards–the comics industry’s version of the Oscars, given out every year at the San Diego Comic-Con–the Harveys get nominated and awarded not by select committee, but by the community of working comics professionals at large. That doesn’t make them more or less legitimate, but it gives them a range and opportunity for dark-horse surprise that you might not find from the more refined Eisners.
Nominations from comics pros for this year’s Harveys were due Friday, and you could actually make up to five nominations per category, but I’ll just focus here on my top picks who I hope will win. They really all deserve it.
WRITER: Joe Hill (Locke & Key)
The first series, by the son of Stephen King, was easily the best thing published during my time at IDW. It’s one of the reasons that my Star Trek: The Last Generation has no chance of winning the Roundtable Award for Best Series that both are nominated for.
ARTIST: Marko Djurdjevic (Thor)
Marko has done some great covers for projects at Radical, but he’s an artist who can also pull off consistently astonishing sequential interiors. His stuff on Thor was majestic and stunning.
CARTOONIST (writer/artist): Chris Ware (Acme Novelty Library)
Longtime friend and BOOM! Studios Publisher Ross Richie turned me onto Chris Ware’s stuff more than 10 years ago–I’m not sure if he knew Chris in college, I don’t recall–but Ross has always had the ability to spot edgy, out-of-the-box talent.
LETTERER: Richard Starkings (various titles)
INKER: Danny Miki (various titles)
COLORIST:Dave Stewart (various titles)
COVER ARTIST: Dave Johnson (100 Bullets)
NEW TALENT: Sam Sarkar (Caliber)
Okay, yes, it’s Radical, but this was published months before I started there. Sam heads up Johnny Depp’s production company, but made the transition from film to comics with extraordinary skill. His first comics work, Caliber, a retelling of the King Arthur legend in the Old West, helped launch Radical’s entire comics line, and the finale (#5) is as good of an issue-long action sequence as I’ve ever read.
NEW SERIES: All-Star Superman (DC Comics)
As if this one’s not going to make the list.
CONTINUING or LIMITED SERIES: Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse)
SINGLE ISSUE or STORY: Y: The Last Man #60 (Vertigo)
COMIC STRIP: Dilbert (Scott Adams)
[OK, I’m a nerd, so sue me.]
Kudos to IDW for resurrecting one of the tragically unsung greats. Noel Sickles played a huge role in the early development of the comic arts, from storytelling style to the incorporation of classic art techniques like chiaroscuro, unprecedented for the form at the time. If you’ve never heard of him or Scorchy Smith, and you’re interested to see how the art form developed, you need to check this out.
ORIGINAL GRAPHIC ALBUM: The Joker (DC Comics)
GRAPHIC ALBUM (previously published material): The Grendel Archives (Dark Horse)
For sentimental reasons. (Sentimental about a masked spirit of vengeance? Um, yeah!)
Another Radical book that predates my time with the company. A truly stunning adaptation of the Mozart opera, by the legendary artist, translated here from its original Japanese.
WEBCOMIC: PVP: Player Vs. Player (Scott Kurtz)
Scott will actually be hosting the Harvey Awards at the Baltimore Comic-Con. And then he will do a PVP strip about announcing his own name as the winner.
BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL/ JOURNALISTIC PUBLICATION: From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books (Arie Kaplan)
This book by my pal Arie actually originated as a series of articles in Reform Judaism magazine–one issue of which featured an interview my wife conducted with presidential candidate John Kerry, long before I met Arie through his work at IDW. His book has garnered all sorts of awards and recognition, all deservedly so. Check it out when you get the chance.
SPECIAL AWARD FOR HUMOR: Brian Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim)
EXCELLENCE IN PRESENTATION/ART DIRECTION
Yeah, I left this one blank, since I subsist largerly on comps and didn’t spend a lot of money this past year on the kind of high-ticket items that earn this nomination. But there are probably a good dozen or so exemplary projects out there that would easily earn this award.