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There’s a bit of chatter about this year’s Harvey Awards out there, including this from PvP’s Scott Kurtz (No permalinks so you’ll have to scroll down to the 9/10 entry):

Marc Nathan, The family of Harvey Kurtzman, the staff of the Baltimore Comicon, Steve, Brad, John, and countless others who aren’t famous comic book creators all worked their asses off to make the Harvey’s a big deal this year. I mean, they busted their humps making it a really special event.

The ballroom in the Marriot was beautiful. The cocktail hour ahead of the show was enjoyable. There was a three course meal served to us….a really classy event. All of the Baltimore and Harvey Awards staff got dressed up. It was very nicely done.

Out of all the people who won awards Saturday night, only 2 were in attendance to accept them and one of those was the master of ceremonies. So he kind of had to be there, I guess.

Nobody else bothered to show up to accept their award. Presenter after presenter handed Harvey Awards to either a collegue, business associate or sometimes even a staffer of the Baltimore Comicon. By the 10th award, it was a running gag. Nobody who won actually showed up to get their award. At one point, Howard Chaykin accepted for someone by sarcastically quipping “I’m sure he’s thrilled.”

After the show I found out that DC had a dinner for all of their staff and freelancers in attendance at the exact same time the awards were going on. DC Scheduled a dinner opposite the Harvey’s. And they had books nominated.

Vertical’s Anne Ishii, who was on hand to accept Vertical’s award for BUDDHA had her own cheeky report:

Sweeeet. The awards were something else in and of. Baltimore’s only source of pride was John Waters and a handful of nubile Orioles three years ago, until Saturday past. I think Kyle Baker should be designated permanent MC for all comics awards.

He waltzed on stage wearing a V for Vendetta mask and kicked off the awards ceremony with two immediate jokes planted at DC and Marvel. It was good times. Efficient and fun.

[snip]Also, The Perry Bible Fellowhips dudes were at my table. At first looking like a wholesome gay couple from Portland ME, I found out they were there for something with the word “bibleâ€? in it and suddenly got scared, but fear not. They were super cool. The bible was just a way of saying you know, like “The Draconomiconâ€? is the bible of virgin nerds.

Scott’s point is well taken, but it’s worth pointing out that DC had very few nominations, and their only actual nominee at the show — colorist Patricia Mulvihill — was at the banquet. It wasn’t as if they stole away all the nominees to go out for Chinese food. DC was also the platinum sponsor of the event and sent all their marketing people, so it isn’t as if they weren’t represented.

The general consensus from those who did attend was that this was a pretty good event, as comics awards banquets go, especially considering it was put on by first timers. The food was above average — crab cakes! — and the facility was nice. The awards themselves moved along briskly, and Kyle Baker was an engaging MC — he makes pretty much anything funny.

In particular the crowd as not stingy with standing ovations for Jerry Robinson, John Romita and George Perez, and that was nice. We got to hang out at a table with nominees Mulvihill, Chris Pitzer and Todd Klein, as well as Paul Pope, Comics News Insider co-host Jimmyand Beat pal Henrik from Denmark — all time spent with the great Todd Klein is time well spent.

Still, more participation by nominees and companies would be nice — and yes, it is not cheap to throw a banquet, and yes nominees should not have to buy their own tickets. With an ironic number of mainstream books and creators nominated, both DC and Marvel bought tables. (We don’t have the list of sponsors handy, or we would name more of them, but they included Diamond, and Dynamic Forces as well as a few retailers.)

More than one person noted the fact that the Baltimore Comic-Con is about the size of the San Diego Con 20 or 25 years ago, and the Harvey Awards banquet felt a lot like the old Inkpot Awards banquet, at which publishers of the day bought tables, and fans could buy tickets for the astronomical sum of $10.

We usually err on the side of optimism where awards thingies are concerned, but certainly there were some problems with the Harveys’ move to Baltimore this year. The nominations showed serious signs of ballot stuffing, to name the most obvious. Despite minor logistical problems, the awards and banquet itself went well. More participation would definitely have seemed appropriate, but the Baltimore organizers are still overcoming some of the bad feelings from the Harvey’s brief stay in New York.

The question is really whether it is in the best interests of publishers and other comics companies — who by all accounts are doing well financially right now — to support feelgood back-patting events like the Eisners and Harveys. Given the number who tout “Eisner-Award Winning!” on their PR, there would seem to be a cost-to-benefit ratio at play here.

Of course, we’re always in favor of back-patting events because it means we get to DRESS UP!


  1. hey! i was at your table too! albeit briefly. :) i wish i could have stayed for the whole event, but i had to bust out.

    i think the problem w/ most of the awards shows, ESPECIALLY the Eisners…is that they are slow and boring. for everyone. i’ve heard many a creator/nominee say this. baltimore did a great job of spicing up the Harvey’s w/ the cocktail hour and dinner. plus, i hear kyle was brilliant as MC.

    as for the Eisners, well, they seem to be stuck in their ways. my co-host, who has a background in video presentation and used to produce a huge fashion awards show here in NYC, offered the Eisner people some video packages and ideas to liven up the awards. the person in charge was not interested. they’d rather keep it slow and boring. *sigh*…

    i think if they can get people to make it more fun and shorter…then more will want to show up.

    just sayin..


  2. Gee, I don’t remember telling anyone, “No thanks, we’d rather keep the Eisner Awards slow and boring”! I do know that I looked at the materials sent me and they didn’t really fit into our setup for the show and thanked the person very much for offering his services.

    Have you been to the Eisners? Every year we make changes to liven things up and quicken the pace for an event that has to cover a lot of ground: 28 Eisner categories plus several other awards. This year we made some major changes, including Bill Morrison as MC, presenter couples (including as Paul Dini and Misty, Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett) and a jazz combo playing in the foyer. I’m happy to say that Bill will be back again in 2007, ably assisted by his ginchy wife Kayre, and we’ll have some major celebrity presenters, including Neil Gaiman.

    It sounds like Kyle was a great choice for Harvey MC and that the Harvey dinner was a lovely event. I wish I could have been there. Kudos to the Baltimore organizers for taking it on–I know it’s a lot of hard work.

    Jackie Estrada
    Eisner Awards Administrator

  3. I’m a big geek for awards shows. I attend the Eisners every year. (Hi Jackie!) Haven’t been to the Harveys yet, but I want to. People who get bored at these things are wimps. I have a great time.

  4. my apologies for the “person wanting to keep it slow and boring” statement. clearly, that was me opining and not necessarily putting words in someone’s mouth or attacking. and yes, i’ve been a couple of times. i was just saying how i’ve heard many people, including many creators/nominees, mention their lack of interest in attending. i think it’s great that others, like the above, can have a great time. i suppose i can chalk it down to my attention span or lack thereof. or we’re all just wimps as the person above suggests. :)

    i’d love to see both of these awards become a “must attend” event for the industry. creators wanting to attend and not feeling obligated. i’m sure it’s a huge undertaking and i’m not saying the organizers at the eisner’s dont do a fine job. just giving my 2 cents and all.

  5. Indeed it was a really fun time there and like you, I too enjoyed getting a little better dressed than I was at the con. It made for a nice change of pace. Yummy food also helps, as was the case for the eve as well.

    And well…I had fun monitoring all sorts of goings on at my table and in the room in general.

  6. It would be nice to see the Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards also receive some recognition from publishers.

    DC also unintentionally ran a dinner with creators against the awards in Toronto last April, but thankfully the DC creators in attendance who were nominated were able to stick it out for the ceremony – or at least for the part of the ceremony they were nominated for – before heading out for the dinner. I think we did a pretty decent job of moving the ceremony forward without getting too dull. 12 awards in less than 2 hours with no major hiccups or errors was pretty good and I think our team – including MC’s Rick Green and Rob Salem did a great job. Next year the JSA’s will be presented on June 9, 2007.

  7. PS Due to work obligations I only caught the tail end of the Harvey Award ceremony in Baltimore but what I saw I enjoyed. I came in when George Perez was receiving his Hero Award and stayed until the end. Everyone who was there seemed like they had a great time. I particularly liked the stage setup.