Harvey Awards Criticism

Several bloggers have weighed in with criticism of the Harvey Awards nominees this year.

I’m not going to say too much about this because I have a connection with the folks who run the Awards. They ask me to do their proofreading and fact-checking. I know nothing about how many nominating ballots were received or any specifics about entries.

But I did want to make one point: because there’s nothing scarier than a blank page, filling out the nominating ballot can seem like a lot of work. That may reduce the number of professionals who participate in that round. All of these “why wasn’t (well-respected title) included instead of (book hated by the poster)” posts are 20-20 hindsight. Suggestions have much more beneficial effect if they are made when nominations are still open, instead of afterwards. Some well-considered “books I’d include on the Harvey ballot” posts might have some positive effect, at the right time in the process.

8 Responses to “Harvey Awards Criticism”

  1. Eric Reynolds Says:

    It’s hard not to be ambivalent about the Harvey Awards, and I say that as a nominee! I don’t mean to impugn them for the sake of it, but really, it’s painfully obvious from year to year that the voting gets skewed rather easily by whichever company gets out the vote — whether it be Fantagraphics or Marvel or Disney. If the vast majority of pros can’t be bothered to participate in the nominating process, how can we expect the industry at large to take them seriously? This seems rather obvious to me, if unfortunate. The Harvey Awards have the potential to be the most democratic of all the major comics awards, but over the decade have generally ended up being the most skewed because of a lack of participation. That said, it’s an honor to be nominated or win any award named after Harvey Kurtzman, and the Harveys have some proud history. But they’ve clearly become marginalized over the last decade.

  2. Nat Gertler Says:

    There’s also the basic situation that in this crowded marketplace, many things cannot get nominated because those eligible to nominate things simply haven’t read them. With ever more material coming out, in a broad range, it’s hard to stay well-read on it all. (Lately, I’ve avoided even the final round of voting in most awards, because the effect of that final round is “here’s five things – vote for the one you’ve read.”)

  3. Eric Reynolds Says:

    That’s a pretty good point.

  4. Johanna Says:

    So how do you get more pros to participate? I know effort was made to encourage as many publishers as possible to distribute ballots.

  5. Jason Richards Says:

    Here’s another one for the conspiracy theorists out there…

    We were quite stunned to see our little blog (meanwhilecomics.com) listed as a nominee and wondered who gave us the nod. Today, it was pointed out to me that nominations supposedly closed on March 21. Our blog did not even begin until April 7.

  6. Nat Gertler Says:

    It may just be that “comics” is too broad a swath for awards to be meaningful any more (to the extent that they ever were.) If you think about, say, the Oscars, except for a few special categories, they’re limited to English language theatrical films. There’s what, 300 or so of those released per year? That’s less than a month’s worth of product in the direct market. Comics are ever more about narrowcasting, about finding a niche, and there are too many things, too disparate. Winning an Ignatz, which is based on a more narrow slice of comicsdom, may say more about a comic and how well it hits its intended audience than winning a Harvey or an Eisner would.

    Really, I’m not sure that the criteria exist (or should exist) for comparing an issue of King Cat Comix to the latest Alex Ross in any serious way.

  7. Eric Reynolds Says:

    Kim Thompson used to more aggressively distribute ballots and attempt to ‘get out the vote’ but the result would often be a Fanta-dominated ballot which just resulted in cries of us fixing things or whatever, when really Kim was just doing what he hoped every publisher would do. So he stopped. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  8. Best Song Oscar Nomination Removed Due to “Impropriety” » DVDs Worth Watching Says:

    […] about 70 people also demonstrates how easy it might be to get a nomination, a revelation that most awards don’t like having pointed out. So ironically, if the movie hadn’t been such a small project, making it […]




Most Recent Posts: