LIVE! The Harvey Awards 2014 - Sex Criminals Shines, Adventure Time Twinkles, Comix Book Trumps, The Fifth Beatle Sings, Saga Soars, And Pizza Is Still Our Business(UPDATE)

LIVE! The Harvey Awards 2014 – Sex Criminals Shines, Adventure Time Twinkles, Comix Book Trumps, The Fifth Beatle Sings, Saga Soars, And Pizza Is Still Our Business(UPDATE)

Posted by September 6, 2014 Comment

Welcome to the Harvey Awards 2014, presented at Baltimore Comic Con. As each award is announced, Bleeding Cool will highlight the winner in bold and try to capture some of the dialogue and speeches along the way.

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Volunteers and organizers of the dinner as well as the AV work for the awards were honored as the awards ceremony began by Paul McSpadden in opening remarks.

A new feature of this ceremony this year is the induction into the Harvey Kurtzman Hall of Fame, McSpadden reminded, which would be held later in the ceremony by Denis Kitchen.

Introducing Michael Uslan, McSpadden reminded us that Uslan was the first to create and hold a college credited course in comics studies, and also the first person in the USA to be awarded a higher degree in comics at a university. He is the “professional embodiment of every fanboy’s dream come true”, McSpadden said, introducing Doctor Michael Uslan.

Uslan spoke about our development of “reverence” for the creators of comics we gain as readers, and the people who have “built the industry and have brought us back weekly to our comics stores”, corner shops and the like. He posed the question, “How do you find a path to become a pro in this industry?” He learned to read via comic books at the age of 4 years old, and the first time he was exposed to comics was in a barber shop, like many others. There he encountered Harvey Comics, and graduated to Archie Comics later on. All his suppositions about dating came from Archie, and his “greatest disappointment” is that there were no malt shops near his high school. He found solace in Superman comics. By the time he was a “mature” 8 year old, he identified with Batman because he had no super powers. He felt that if he worked really hard and his dad bought him a car, “I could be this guy”. Once in high school, he began to feel that comics were getting a little “young” for him, but then he discovered Stan Lee and comics grew up with him.

Discovering fanzines and attending the first comic cons in the US was the next turning point for Uslan. Through his congoing at the age of 13, he was introduced to the “creator of Batman”, Bill Finger (the delivery of the name garnered a round of applause). Visiting on tours to DC Comics, he received cut strips of original artwork until he was such a “pain in the ass” that they gave him full pages. Marvel Comics had no tours, so they waited outside Marvel Comics, and since he and his friend didn’t know what any of the comic creators looked like, they’d simply asking everyone entering the premises to sign their comics, which resulted in a massive and impressive signed collection.

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But the social stigma made him “date challenged” and by the time he graduated high school, he had over 30,000 comics in his collection, Uslan said. Now, he said, we see the massive blockbuster superhero films and and the work of these early creators is found in galleries and libraries. Now, he said, comics are being recognized “as important to American culture and jazz music. Take that Doctor Wertham!”. And added “Thank God, thank God, we are cool at last”. Uslan concluded with a reminder of the tremendous power “geeks” now hold to influence the world, bringing a gift of comic books.

Uslan introduced a “very special lady, Gail Simone“, describing her stories as having an “emotional core” and listing her many credits as a writer. Most importantly, she’s a “wonderful human being”, he said, as Simone took to the dais amidst great applause.

She opened by saying that she did have a wonderful speech prepared, but decided not to use it about how everyone and everything is “wonderful”. Because of recent events in the comics and gaming industries, she said, she’d like to talk about women in comics (“I know you didn’t see that coming”, she joked). She’s often found herself in strange situations meeting many of her heroes, like film stars lately. But growing up, she’s not kidding, she said, when she explains that her first pet was a cow. Bowling was “excruciatingly boring” as a constant pastime. She read voraciously, and hit a turning point when she found old, tattered comics at a garage sale with her mom. These were “lurid” and “unseemly” and she “loved them immediately”. She looked for the “buried treasure”, and became a “culture snob at 8 years old”.

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Watching a classic Bugs Bunny cartoon, someone told her mother to “switch that rubbish off”, and she realized that some people didn’t “get it”. How can an 8 year old understand quality when an adult can’t, she wondered. There was some “junk” in the comics she discovered, but she “lucked out” because she also found Bernie Wrightson’s Swamp Thing and many other greats. By the time she started shopping for comics, though, she discovered comics had “given up on girls” and she was finally told point blank that “comics are for boys”. At age 12 she finally went to a real comic shop in a big city and was allowed to buy books often the “mature readers” shelf and finally found women in comics, from Elfquest to Moebius, Tales from the Crypt, and most importantly, Love and Rockets. She felt that these creators went “all in” and those people became her heroes. And that’s why she’d rather be “an inker than a Stormtrooper”. Much later on, Mark Waid’s Kingdom Come brought her back to mainstream comics. But there was a “weird cost” for female readers that developed.

She referred to death threats and mistreatment women are receiving online at the moment, and pointed out that women didn’t use to mix with men so fully in comics in the way that they do now. She can relate, she said, by narrating the founding of her website Women in Refrigerators, and the fact that it made comics look “bad”, spoiling things “for everyone” with questions about girls in comics. Her e-mail box looked like “the ebola virus hit Kcrakatoa”, she said. She never wanted to bring comics down, but “build them taller”. Famously, when she brought these issues up with her editor once working in comics, she was told “I don’t know and I don’t care” regarding a lack of female readers.

She feels “honored and humbled” to get to witness the changes in comics, with Ms. Marvel selling out, Pretty Deadly outselling mainstream comics, seeing Lumberjanes on re-order in this “shifting landscape” and now people are asking, “Where did all these women come from?” And with the criticism of women in comics, she really appreciates male colleagues who step in and say when things are not acceptable. She reached out to a female retailers group known as the Valkyries who told her a story about a little girl who insisted on a Wonder Woman comic, the recent Sensation Comics.

P.S., she added, to all the people who wrote “angry e-mails to Women in Refrigerators, I say”.[…rasberries effect]. Wild applause naturally followed.

Uslan returned to the stage to talk about the Harvey Kurtzman Hall of Fame Induction later during the event. Denis Kitchen was introduced and his long career and responsibilities including bringing the Harvey Awards to Baltimore. Kitchen said the induction is for “significant historical and cultural impact on the industry”, and the first inductee is a “no-brainer”, he said because the impact of Charles Schulz is “obvious”. Receiving the award on behalf of Schultz was a woman who was a “fangirl” who clipped out Peanuts strips as a girl. She began working with Jean Schulz later.

Karen Johnson later became the director of the Charles Schultz Museum. She said the best part of Charles’ day was sitting down with his tools to “create”, and so he would value this award from cartoonists. Johnson and Jean Schulz tried to find a quote from Charles that fitted the event. He had said that he’d like to be remembered how E.B. White spoke about James Thurber, “During his happiest years, Thurber did not write the way a surgeon operates, he wrote the way a child skips rope, the way a mouse waltzes.”

The Hero Initiative Dick Giordano Humanitarian of the Year Award was introduced by Michael Uslan, and presenting the award was Tom Brevoort. Brevoort described the man who did teen humor scripts, worked at Archie Comics pre-eminently and passed away a few days ago, Stan Goldberg. The award was presented posthumously to Stan Goldberg. Dan Parent accepted the award on behalf of Stan Goldberg’s family. Parent spoke of “what an awesome human being” Goldberg was. He recalled Goldberg going through his portfolio instructively and in kind detail. And he was similarly helpful with other young artists. Parent last saw him at New York Comic Con last year, before Stan Goldberg was in a car accident. His “kindness touched and a lot of artists”, Parent said, and addressing Goldberg said that he built something “amazing” at Archie and for him it’s the “definition of a well-spent career”.

The Hero Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award was introduced by Tom Brevoort and presented to Herb Trimpe. Trimpe said he was “shocked” and didn’t know what to say. He said he might have to direct a lot of his “appreciation and thankfulness” not only to the comics community but to his wife Patricia, for convincing him to get back into the field of “fantasy and make-believe and fun”. He also thanked the audience and said that receiving the award was a “privilege”. Uslan also thanked Trimpe for all his years of “amazing years of Hulk work”.

Uslan left the comics community with a reminder to remember when things in life are difficult that “love” and sense of “wonder” for comics in childhood and answer regarding their life and work that “Every day I return to my sandbox and I play with my favorite toys” when asked what they do.

1. Best Writer

Pete Tomasi presented this award.

James Asmus, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment
Matt Fraction, HAWKEYE, Marvel Comics
Matt Kindt, MIND MGMT, Dark Horse Comics
Brian K. Vaughn, SAGA, Image Comics
Mark Waid, DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics

Tomasi accepted the award on Vaughan’s behalf.

2. Best Artist

Steve Geppi presented this award, declaring Baltimore to still be his favorite comic con, to applause. He commented that Nick Barucci ought to get a “quantitative” award for the most number of covers produced, and Barucci played along, pretending to accept an award for all his cover artists, planning to “list each of them one at a time”.

David Aja, HAWKEYE, Marvel Comics
Dan Parent, KEVIN KELLER, Archie Comics
Nate Powell, MARCH: BOOK ONE, Top Shelf Production
Chris Samnee, DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics
Fiona Staples, SAGA, Image Comics
Jeff Stokely, SIX GUN GORILLA, BOOM! Studios

Geppi accepted the award on Fiona Staples’ behalf.

3. Best Cartoonist

Louise Simonson presented this award.

Matt Kindt, MIND MGMT, Dark Horse Comics
Comfort Love and Adam Withers, RAINBOW IN THE DARK, uniquescomic.com
Terry Moore, RACHEL RISING, Abstract Studios
Dan Parent, KEVIN KELLER, Archie Comics
David Petersen, MOUSE GUARD: THE BLACK AXE, BOOM! Studios/Archaia
Paul Pope, BATTLING BOY, First Second

Vito Delsante accepted the award on Paul Pope’s behalf.

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4. Best Letterer

Deron Bennett, CYBORG 009, Archaia
Dave Lanphear, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment
Terry Moore, RACHEL RISING, Abstract Studio
Steve Wands, ADVENTURE TIME, kaBOOM!
Britt Wilson, ADVENTURE TIME WITH FIONNA AND CAKE, kaBOOM!

Bob Chapman accepted the award for Terry Moore and asking Moore what he’d like to say if he won, and a few minutes ago said “You know I never win these things. I’m pretty certain it’s not going to happen. Enjoy your evening”. This caused a fair amount of hilarity.

5. Best Inker

Gerhard presented this award.

Vanesa R. Del Rey, HIT, BOOM! Studios
Stefano Gaudiano, THE WALKING DEAD, Image Comics
Danny Miki, BATMAN, DC Comics
Brian Stelfreeze, DAY MEN, BOOM! Studios
Wade Von Grawbadger, ALL NEW X-MEN, Marvel Comics

Tom Brevoort accepted the award, reading Von Grawbadger’s statement, citing many others who would be as worthy of praise. Brevoort apologized for the length of the statement, and Von Grawbadger singled out Brian Stelfreeze for praise, through whom he met many artists and received instruction and advice. Brevoort did a stellar job of rendering the statement comical by clarifying “Wade, not me” after or before each statement.

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6. Best Colourist

Jordan Bellaire, PRETTY DEADLY, Image Comics
Marte Gracia, ALL NEW X-MEN, Marvel Comics
Matt Hollingsworth, HAWKEYE, Marvel Comics
Brian Reber, UNITY, Valiant Entertainment
Dave Stewart, HELLBOY: THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS, Dark Horse Comics

Denis Kitchen accepted the award for Dave Stewart because of being “loosely affiliated with Dark Horse Comics”, he joked.

7. Best Cover Artist

Nick Barucci of Dynamite Entertainment presented this award and commented that Dynamite does 150 covers a month and the Harveys “might want to consider them next year”, to applause.

Goni Montes, CLIVE BARKER’S NEXT TESTAMENT
Andrew Robinson, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment
Chris Samnee, DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics
Fiona Staples, SAGA, Image Comics
Brian Stelfreeze, DAY MEN, BOOM! Studios

Fiona Staples wasn’t present so Nick Barucci accepted the award on her behalf.

8. Most Promising New Talent

James Asmus, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment
Pere Perez, ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG, HARBINGER WARS, Valiant Entertainment
Victor Santos, POLAR: CAME FROM THE COLD, DARK HORSE PRESENTS, Dark Horse Comics
Jeff Stokely, SIX GUN GORILLA, BOOM! Studios
Chip Zdarsky, SEX CRIMINALS, Image Comics

Zdarsky thanked the judges via comments for the award and said he’s a 38 year old who struggles with intimacy, so this is just great.

9. Best New Series

AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE, Archie Comics
QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment
SEX CRIMINALS, Image
SIX GUN GORILLA, BOOM! Studios
SUICIDE RISK, BOOM! Studios

Acceptance comments from Chip Zdarsky included thanking Image Comics for believing in this comic by Matt Fraction and not noticing he was on the book until it was too late.

10. Best Continuing or Limited Series

Laura Martin presented this award.

ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG, Valiant Entertainment
DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics
HAWKEYE, Marvel Comics
HIT, BOOM! Studios
MOUSE GUARD: LEGENDS OF THE GUARD VOL. 2, Archaia
SAGA, Image Comics

Martin accepted the award on behalf of the Saga team.

11. Best Syndicated Strip or Panel

Matt Gagnon of Boom! Studios presented this award. “In lieu of witty comments”, he asked for another round of applause for Gail Simone. The audience heartily obliged.

DICK TRACY, Joe Staton and Mike Curtis, Tribune Media Services
FOX TROT, Bill Amend, Universal Uclick
GET FUZZY, Darby Conley, Universal Uclick
MUTTS, Patrick McDonnell, King Features
THE PHANTOM, Tony DePaul and Paul Ryan, King Features Syndicate

The announcement for this award received a particularly big reaction of enthusiasm. The entire team took the dais to accept the award. Joe Staton was urged to speak. The entire team, sans colorist, made it to the awards, including the writer, letterer and inker, police consultant (the only newspaper strip with a police consultant). They thanked the spirit of Chester Gould, which they try to “keep alive”.

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12. Best Anthology

DARK HORSE PRESENTS, Dark Horse Comics
MOUSE GUARD: LEGENDS OF THE GUARD VOLUME 2, BOOM! Studios/Archaia
OUTLAW TERRITORY 3, Image Comics
SPERA, VOLUME 3, BOOM! Studios/Archaia
THRILLING ADVENTURE HOUR, BOOM! Studios/Archaia

Denis Kitchen accepted the award on behalf of Dark Horse.

13. Best Graphic Album – Original

BATTLING BOY, First Second
CYBORG 009, Archaia
MARCH: BOOK ONE, Top Shelf Productions
THE FIFTH BEATLE: THE BRIAN EPSTEIN STORY, Dark Horse Comics
THE REASON FOR DRAGONS, BOOM! Studios/Archaia

Tiwary, who had previously been praised by Uslan for giving the “best acceptance speech ever” for his other award, told the story instead of Abe Lincoln’s running for four terms in office before winning, and recently took his kids to see the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate Lincoln, especially as a “person of color”. Walking from there after being reduced to tears, he was aware of the power of history and the power of story. In The Fifth Beatle he tries to capture history in a way that inspired people because the “medium of comics can capture emotion in the way that prose cannot”, he said. He hopes The Fifth Beatle will continue to inspire.

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14. Best Graphic Album – Previously Published

Cully Hamner presented this award.

HARBINGER VOLUME 1: OMEGA RISING, Valiant Entertainment
THE KILLER OMNIBUS VOLUME 1, Archaia
MOUSE GUARD VOL. 3: THE BLACK AXE, BOOM! Studios/Archaia
POLARITY, BOOM! Studios
RAINBOW IN THE DARK: THE COMPLETE SAGA, Comfort Love and Adam Withers

Chris Petersen said that cartoonists are always most pleased with their most recent work, and he feels that way about The Black Axe, and thanked the audience.

15. Best Single Issue or Story

Dave Bullock presented this award.

ADVENTURE TIME ANNUAL #1, kaBOOM!
DEMETER, self-published, Becky Cloonan
A Kiss ISN’T Just A Kiss!, KEVIN KELLER #10, Archie Comics
Now and Then, DARK HORSE PRESENTS #30, Dark Horse Comics
Pizza is My Business, HAWKEYE #11, Marvel Comics
SUICIDE RISK #5, BOOM! Studios
UNITY #1, Valiant Entertainment

Tom Breevort accepted the award on behalf of Marvel Comics.

16. Best Domestic Reprint Project

Nick Barucci of Dynamite Entertainment presented this award.

BARNABY VOLUME 1, Fantagraphics
BEST OF COMIX BOOK: WHEN MARVEL COMICS WENT UNDERGROUND, Kitchen Sink Books/Dark Horse
FRAGGLE ROCK CLASSICS VOLUME 2, BOOM! Studios/Archaia
VALIANT MASTERS: NINJAK VOLUME 1 – BLACK WATER, Valiant Entertainment
VALIANT MASTERS: SHADOWMAN VOLUME 1 SPIRITS WITHIN, Valiant Entertainment

Denis Kitchen accepted the award.

17. Best American Edition of Foreign Material

Michael Uslan introduced Gerhard, who has worked for 20 years drawing backgrounds for Cerebus, to present the award.

ATTACK ON TITAN, Kodansha
THE KILLER, VOLUME 4, BOOM! Studios/Archaia
SHOWA: A HISTORY OF JAPAN 1926-1939, Drawn and Quarterly
SUNNY, Viz Signature
TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, Fantagraphics

Gerhard presented the award to designer Phil Balsman. He thanked the audience, saying he valued the opinion of this group, and accepted it on behalf of the team.

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18. Best Online Comics Work

Matt Gagnon of Boom! Studios presented this award.

BATTLEPUG, Mike Norton, battlepug.com
THE DREAMER, Lora Innes, thedreamercomic.com
GUNNERKRIGG COURT, Tom Siddell, gunnerkrigg.com
JL8, Yale Stewart, jl8comic.tumblr.com
TABLE TITANS, Mary Cagle, Steve Hamaker, Brian Hurtt and Scott Kurtz, tabletitans.com

The crowd more or less went wild when Mike Norton’s win was announced, and Matt Gagnon accepted it on his behalf.

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19. Special Award for Humor in Comics

Fred Hembeck presented this award.

James Asmus, QUANTUM AND WOODY, Valiant Entertainment
Ryan North, ADVENTURE TIME, KaBOOM!
Dan Parent, KEVIN KELLER, Archie Comics
Fred Van Lente, ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG, Valiant Entertainment
Jim Zub, SKULLKICKERS, Image Comics

Matt Gagnon accepted the award on behalf of Ryan North, and described him as a “rare talent” and acknowledged the artists on the book Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline.

20. Special Award for Excellence in Presentation

BEST OF COMIX BOOK: WHEN MARVEL COMICS WENT UNDERGROUND, John Lind, Kitchen Sink Books/Dark Horse Comics
CYBORG 009, Jon Adams and Stephen Christy, Archaia
HARBINGER WARS, Josh Johns and Warren Simons, Valiant Entertainment
THRILLING ADVENTURE HOUR, Joe LeFavi, BOOM! Studios/Archaia
UNITY, Alejandro Arbona, Josh Johns, and Warren Simons, Valiant Entertainment

John Lind, editor, accepted the award, thanking Gail Simone and Stan Lee for their help on the book, as well, of course, Denis Kitchen.

21. Best Biographical, Historical, or Journalistic Presentation

AL CAPP: A LIFE TO THE CONTRARY, Denis Kitchen & Michael Schumacher, Bloomsbury
AMERICAN COMIC BOOK CHRONICLES: THE 1950S, Bill Schelly, TwoMorrows Publishing
ART OF RUBE GOLDBERG, Jennifer George, Abrams ComicArts
CO-MIX: A RETROSPECTIVE OF COMICS, GRAPHICS, AND SCRAPS, Art Spiegelman, Drawn and Quarterly
THE FIFTH BEATLE: THE BRIAN EPSTEIN STORY, by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, and Kyle Baker, Dark Horse
MARCH: BOOK ONE, John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, Top Shelf Productions

Vivek Tiwary accepted the award, citing the ten years the book took to make, and he hoped to thank the fellow nominees, creators also. He grew up “obsessed with comics” and went to conventions, wanting nothing mor than the be a “creator of comics”. He learned about life through distinctive comics experiences, which he listed, his heroes. It has been his biggest dream come true to create comics, and seeing himself as a fellow creator of comics is “surreal” and “humbling”. He hopes to use this award as a daily encouragement to keep writing and work with others in the industry. Thanks to these creators, he feels he’s “just getting warmed up”, he said to enthusiastic applause.

22. Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers

ADVENTURE TIME, KaBOOM! Studios
BATTLING BOY, First Second
G-MAN: COMING HOME, Image Comics
MONSTER ON THE HILL, Top Shelf Productions
ONLY LIVING BOY, Bottled Lightning

Matt Gagnon accepted this award for the Adventure Time team.

(Last Updated May 5, 2015 9:20 am )

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About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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