If I Could Nominate for the Harveys…

April 23rd, 2010 by | Tags: ,

Awards exist to make people mad. I mean, honestly, has anyone ever gone “Wow, those Oscars sure were on point this year?” Sandra Bullock won an Oscar and a Razzie in the same weekend, for the same role. She knows what’s up. This goes double for comics awards. Superhero fans speak out against indie bias. Indie fans feel eternally underrepresented. Everyone else is mad that they didn’t get nominated. Fans wage war like their life depended on it.

With that said, hey, Harvey nominations are open for the next twenty-four hours! Last year was interesting. Nascar Heroes #5 was nominated for Best Single Issue or Story, alongside Kyle Baker’s Nat Turner, a Love and Rockets, and The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard. Witchblade Takeru was nominated as one of the best manga of the year. So, you know, these aren’t perfect. I’m sure we’ll see some curveballs this year. But, at Deb Aoki‘s urging, I’m going to put my King of the World hat on and sit in my I Am Always Correct chair and tell you who should be nominated for what, as long as I’m familiar with the category. “Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers?” I dunno, what do kids read these days? Amelia Bedelia? That should win it.

And before you tell me how wrong I am, or that I left off some book… look at this hat. Look at this chair.

C’mon, son.

I know you’re probably expecting Grant Morrison here, but he completely underwhelmed me in 2009. Ed Brubaker, another great writer, wrote Captain America: Reborn, which felt like a stumble in an otherwise great 50-issue run. So, who gets the nominations? Johnathan Hickman has managed to make intrigue and relatively new characters work in Secret Warriors to a fantastic degree. Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto packs all the emotional punches you need, just 500 zeus a body. John Arcudi and Mike Mingola’s BPRD: The Black Goddess is the best comic you didn’t read. Ed Brubaker’s Criminal: The Sinners, unlike his mainstream Marvel work, was good fun. Dark horse candidate: Zeb Wells for Dark Reign Elektra. Considering my apathy toward, or active stance against, the Dark Reign status quo, Dark Reign Elektra told a great tale, and is easily the best Elektra story since Frank Miller killed her.

Amanda Conner is the first name that pops to mind– she’s done some impressive work on Power Girl, particularly in terms of facial expressions and body language. Add in obvious front-runner JH Williams III for Detective Comics (overall page design/versatility), Takehiko Inoue for Vagabond (intense emotional work), Daisuke Igarashi for Children of the Sea (amazing seascapes), and Naoki Urasawa for Pluto (Atom’s hair) and you’ve got a great line-up. Tough to choose.

Last year was a strong year for cartoonists. Simple, off the top of my head, nominations should go to Darwyn Cooke (The Hunter), David Mazzucchelli (Asterios Polyp), and Naoki Urasawa (Pluto, 20th Century Boys) right off the bat. Inio Asano’s What a Wonderful World! was particularly strong, despite being older than 2008’s Solanin, but I don’t know that it’s award-worthy, at least not in this category. Stan Sakai’s Yokai, however, was fantastic, a veteran artist just having fun. Final spot goes to… Takehiko Inoue (Vagabond, Real). No one else flips styles like he does, and the story in both those titles is excellent.

In the end, I’d say that either Inoue or Mazzucchelli should walk away with this one. Both showed an absolutely appalling range of talent in their books. I’d be hard pressed to choose between the two.

I’m having trouble thinking of much lettering that knocked my socks off in 2009. Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp was inventive and enhanced the storytelling in the book, making it the front-runner for this section. 99% of Big Two comics last year had completely generic lettering. Some of the DC stuff used the old default lettering templates that used to be on Blambot. I love Viz’s books, but none of their lettering was anything but functional. Nothing fancy. Paul Pope’s lettering on Wednesday Comics stuck out and was distinctive. John Workman did a fantastic job on The Winter Men Winter Special. Clem Robins turned in quality jobs on 100 Bullets, BPRD, Wednesday Comics, and Unknown Soldier. Final spot goes to Jared K. Fletcher for co-lettering The Winter Men Winter Special (?) with John Workman, doing solid work on Young Liars and the criminally underrated Renee Montoya backup in Detective Comics.

Anybody but Danny Miki, I guess. Art Thibert on Mark Bagley looked okay, Kevin Nowlan inking Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez in Wednesday Comics was a treat.

Just throwing out some names here: Melissa Edwards (The Winter Men Special), Jose Villarubia/Lovern Kindzierski for their work on Paul Pope’s Wednesday Comics story, Paul Mounts for his work on Power Girl, Dave Stewart for BPRD. Laura Martin for her Rocketeer recoloring job.

Dave Johnson wrapped up 100 100 Bullets covers. JH Williams III got me to buy Detective Comics. Sean Phillips is doing amazing work on Criminal. Darwyn Cooke’s The Hunter stands out on the shelves. Inio Asano (and the Viz design team, I assume) had frankly spectacular covers for What A Wonderful World! 1 and 2. Pow. This one was easy.

The problem with this one is how you judge new talent. Does new mean actually new, like began working in the past [period of time]? Or does new mean new to the mainstream, for whatever value of mainstream you subscribe to? Give this one to Kate Beaton or Jay Potts.

Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Amanda Conner’s Power Girl (DC Comics) takes this one in a walk. Or they would, but there is some stiff competition from Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto, Daisuke Igarashi’s Children of the Sea, and Johnathan Hickman’s Secret Warriors. I think Mark Waid and Peter Krause’s Irredeemable just barely missed the cut. The first three or four issues were a little too “Mark Waid vs the Internet” for my taste, though the later issues picked up considerably. Batman & Robin‘s first three issues were fantastic, but the next three were terrible. C’est la vie. Number five is Brandon Graham’s fantastic King City.

Captain America, Spider-Man Noir, Power Girl, Pluto, or Real? Take your pick.

You can probably guess three of the entries here: The Hunter, Asterios Polyp, and Gogo Monster are the obvious picks. Empowered volume 5 was excellent, with a sublime blend of action and character work. The last entry for this category… Marian Churchland’s Beast. I loved it and said so, and I’d even say that Churchland deserves both a nomination and a win for this one.

The Complete Essex County, The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-First Century, Vagabond volume 5 (Vizbig Edition), and I Kill Giants Titan Edition were all spectacular repackaging of previously collected material. The Martha Washington hardcover was beautifully designed, with a great red, white, and blue theme. Vizbig manga is the best kind of manga– three books at a time in a large size. The Titan Edition of I Kill Giants added a ton of pages to an amazing book, with gobs of special features after the story ended. Though I’m not a fan, I have to give it up to Absolute Promethea. The large pages really make JH Williams III’s art pop.

Most of the “foreign material” I read last year was manga. But, Abouet & Oubrerie’s Aya: The Secrets Come Out was great. Taiyo Matsumoto’s Gogo Monster was worth the cash. Urasawa’s Pluto was one of my favorite works. I’m going to point you in David Welsh’s direction for more suggestions. I read a lot of manga, but have very specific tastes. I love One Piece,, but I don’t know if it’s actually award-winning material.

Everything I read has people dying or cursing in it. I’m singularly unqualified for this one. The Muppet Show should definitely be nominated, though. Dinosaur Comics, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, GastroPhobia, and (obviously) Kate Beaton. Webcomics are funny. Comic books generally… aren’t.

4thletter! is the best, death to the rest.

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10 comments to “If I Could Nominate for the Harveys…”

  1. Small correction: Bullock won the Razzie for “All About Steve” and the Oscar for “The Blind Side.”

  2. Tessa Stone should win best letterer for Hanna is not a boy’s name. as the lettering for that is by far the most impressive I know.

  3. Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers

    –Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis
    –Missile Mouse by Jake Parker
    –Calamity Jack by a bunch of people with the last name Hale

    TOON Books has done a ton of books, but I haven’t read them. There’s lots of good stuff out there for kids. Some of it is repackaged stuff, though, so wouldn’t get included here (like The Muppet Show and Mouse Guard). Diary of a Wimpy Kid 4 came out last year. Amulet Book 2: The Stonekeeper’s Curse.

    Speaking as an adult, Secret Science Alliance and Calamity Jack were both great. Missile Mouse was good, but a bit predictable. My 10 year old loves these things, though.

  4. You’re too kind, sir! I think you and the esteemed Mr. Lytle should be responsible for ALL the nominations this year.

    – JEP

  5. Also, I thought the “Winter Men Winter Special” deserved consideration for a few of these, too, but that final issue came out at the very, very end of 2008.

    – JEP

  6. @Jay Potts: Yeah, I realized that ComicBookDB posted the cover dates, not the on-sale dates. Totally my bad.

  7. Serious question: What’s the difference between these and the Eisners?

    Anyway, re:
    The problem with this one is how you judge new talent. Does new mean actually new, like began working in the past [period of time]? Or does new mean new to the mainstream, for whatever value of mainstream you subscribe to?

    These kind of categories are always arbitrary. I remember when Amy Grant won the Best New Artist Grammy, and she had been around for like 15 years as a Christian artist!


    It seems that this should be two different categories. Limited series are fundamentally trying to accomplish different things than continuing series.

  8. Secret Warriors?


    That gets my nod for maybe the worst mainstream launch of the last year or so. I am sincerely baffled to say anyone say anything nice about it.

  9. see anyone say@Tim O’Neil:

  10. see anyone say