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Can the Harveys be saved?

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David Welsh wonders if this year’s very very odd Harvey nominations may have been the last straw:

There is the remote possibility that what one might consider counter-intuitive nominees (some listed here by Dirk Deppey) wound up there as the result of an entirely democratic groundswell of support, heretofore unexpected by the casual observer. I’m cynical, so unless I get a bunch of e-mails or comments that support that optimistic possibility, I’m going to suggest that the Harvey Awards nomination process is broken and needs to be fixed if the sponsors want to cultivate a reputation for promoting meritorious work. Because there’s plenty of meritorious work nominated, and it’s not fair that it stands a real chance of losing to something awful because the system can be massaged.

  1. So far the proposed solutions seem to come down to (1) gatekeepers and/or juries, or (2) prohibiting nominators from voting for their own company.

    Another possibility: how about diversifying the awards in terms of genre, so that WITCHBLADE MANGA can be nominated for its putative excellence within its own genre, as opposed to competing with whatever indy it’s up against?

    Yes, that means awarding more Harveys overall, and probably no one involved with the Harveys would want the extra work. And maybe it would entail coming up with artificial genre-tags for TALE OF ONE BAD RAT or the like.

    But it could be done, and the result would be a more diverse sampling of comic-book excellence. And with such a listing maybe we could even find something to better represent the superheroes than WITCHBLADE, which to my mind was a moderately-interesting concept almost always given mediocre treatment.

  2. The toughest time I have with filling out the Harvey nomination ballot is remembering what comix came out the year before. If there was a master list posted on the Harvey website, it would be incredibly helpful.

  3. Shoot, I was nominated in the Colorist category. Does this mean I can’t say it was an honor just to be nominated? Not that I’ll win. But if it makes anybody feel better, I am pretty damn good. Honest.

  4. It’s really too bad that the awards are being as strongly maligned in the blogosphere as they are, because it’s not the Awards’ fault that the ballot looks the way it looks — it’s the creative community’s! I like Dean’s idea of the master list (though that would be challenging, as not all publications eligible for nomination would’ve gone through the Diamond process these days!), and more CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is probably in order… Send suggestions to the e-mail addresses listed on the ballots with yours!

  5. Banning people from voting for their own companies solves one problem by creating another: if you’re a freelancer who regularly works for two or three companies, who CAN you vote for? And you create a situation where, say, a Vertigo book is disadvantaged because a large chunk of the electorate are barred from voting for it.

    Surely all you really need to do is disqualify books which have picked up votes overwhelmingly from their own company, and not from anywhere else.

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