Awards | The debate over the 2009 Harvey Awards nominations marches on, with spirited discussion at The Beat (now drifting toward Best Single Issue or Story nominee NASCAR Heroes #5), and an open letter from Joe Keatinge pointing to industry apathy, not ballot-stuffing, as the problem with the process.
Tom Spurgeon, meanwhile, argues it’s time to let the Harveys fade away: “At this point, the Harveys neither provide a strong contrast with the Eisners nor do they do anything uniquely their own the way that the Ignatzes (a small press festival award), the Maisie Kukoc (a cash award for a mini-comics maker), even the Reubens (cartooning in all its aspects, newspaper-focused) do. You could probably save the Harvey Awards with an administrative overhaul and a lot of attention and time and maybe even money, but why? What are you saving exactly?” [The Harvey Awards]
Sales charts | The 27th volume of Tite Kubo’s Bleach in June ended Watchmen‘s 11-month reign atop the Nielsen BookScan graphic novels chart, which tracks bookstore sales. The Alan Moore-Dave Gibbons collection slipped to No. 2, joining the Final Crisis hardcover (No. 6) and the fourth volume of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (No. 18) as the only non-manga in the Top 20. [ICv2.com]
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.”
That brings us to events referred to online yesterday, most notably by cartoonist Evan Dorkin: Gemstone Publishing’s domination of the ballot in 2007 and 2008 when, by my quick count, the company’s books received 19 and 15 nominations, respectively. Travis Seitler, former art director for Gemstone’s Disney comics, popped up at The Beat to solve the mystery, such that it is: “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 Harvey Awards]
Publishing | Ada Price looks at what effect Diamond Comic Distributors’ new order minimums have had on direct-market publishers and retailers. [PW Comics Week]
Within moments of the announcement this morning of the nominees for the 2009 Harvey Awards, Twitter was abuzz with congratulatory notes. Minutes after that, the criticisms began.
“Have 15 friends? You, too, can get a Harvey Award nomination,” wrote frequently outspoken cartoonist Evan Dorkin. “This year’s list is worse than ever, makes the Eisners look like the Nobels. … I mean, nothing personal to the nominees that don’t suck or didn’t get in their [sic] by ballot stuffing. But, come on — three Zuda comics noms? … Okay, let’s rephrase: Nothing against anyone. But imo the Harvey Awards are so obviously broken it’s not funny.”
Dorkin wasn’t alone in his questions and complaints. (Cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks summed up this morning’s Twitter traffic as “Equal number of tweets offering congrats to Harvey noms & discussion about the ballot stuffing.”)
Some of the questions center on the five nods for John Gallagher’s Buzzboy, whose presence in 2008 was a story in a Free Comic Book Day all-ages anthology and an issue of Buzzboy: Sidekicks Rules! sold at conventions and select stores.
“I am positive that many across the internet will offer up a collective ‘What Th–?’ about us getting the recognition we are getting,” Gallagher writes on his website, “and I join them in that — but i really do appreciate those that may have thrown their support our way.”
All-Star Superman, Buzzboy, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Nat Turner and DC’s Zuda Comics imprint made strong showings in the nominations for the 2009 Harvey Awards, announced this morning.
Named in honor of the late cartoonist and Mad magazine editor Harvey Kurtzman, the awards recognize outstanding work in comics. They will be presented Oct. 10 in Baltimore during Baltimore Comic-Con.
Jeff Kinney’s best-selling children’s series Diary of a Wimpy Kid led with six nominations: Best Writer, Best Cartoonist, Best Inker, Best Continuing or Limited Series, Best Graphic Album-Original and the Special Award for Humor in Comics.
DC’s All-Star Superman, which ended in October 2008, received five nominations, for Best Continuing Series, Best Writer (Grant Morrison), Best Artist (Frank Quitely), Best Inker (Jamie Grant) and Best Colorist (Jamie Grant). Sky Dog Comics’ all-ages Buzzboy earned five nods, for Best Writer (John Gallagher), Best Cartoonist (John Gallagher), Best Letterer (Thom Zahler), Best Inker (Rich Faber), Best Cover Artist (Frank Cho for Buzzboy: Sidekicks Rule! #3) and the Special Award for Humor in Comics (John Gallagher).
Comics and creators from Zuda online initiative, which debuted in 2007, garnered a combined seven nominations, including nods for Best New Series for High Moon, Night Owls and Supertron.
Kyler Baker’s historical graphic novel Nat Turner earned four nominations for Best Graphic Album-Previously Published, Best Single Issue or Story, Best Writer and Best Artist.
The full list of nominees for the 2009 Harvey Awards can be found after the break: