We’re here at the Baltimore Hyatt for the 2013 Harvey Award ceremony! Sponsored by Guinness Beer! Despite that dangerous sounding circumstance, things are this far under control. Bill Willingham is tonight’s MC and keynote speaker. To start out he notes that he’ll only be telling embarrassing anecdotes about people he knows; people he only knows a bit will have an embarrassing anecdote from his own past.
Willingham: We were looked on as the realm of idiots and imbeciles, but it’s changed and now we’re in libraries. and our circulation figures have made us the darlings of libraries. It’s been a long road to acceptance. Willingham’s speech covered the istory of the world and the history of comics, via such things as the Altamira and Lascaux cave paintings. “They were and are the first writings of man, dating back 40,000 years.” He noted that the cave paintings may be religious in nature but perhaps were stories. Another theory is that they were calendars. “I suspect that something this widepsread and popualr that covered the entire globe and civilization had to have a single father. No matter why and what they are they are graphic images placed in a sequence to convey a story. What are they? Comic books. the first recorded language of man was comic books. Comic books started everything and led to all civilizations.”
He welcomed novelists the newcomer medium “to the table of writers,” Willingham went on. “You’ve written some ripping yarns in your time, You show promise and deserve many accolades, but comic books were the language of humans for 40,000 years.”
AFter a round of heart applause, for the pep talk. Joe Staton is the first presenter for best coloring and lettering. Best letterer is …in a huge upset…TODD KLEIN! “When I saw the proposal for Fables i knew we had a winner and I’m so grateful to have been a part of it.”
Best Colorist: Fiona Staples! Upset! Fiona is not present so Image’s Ron Richards accepts.
Up next: Roger Langridge to present. Best Comic strip: DICK TRACY! by Joe Staton and Mick Curtis! Seriously a bit of a Surprise, he brought up his police consultant for Dick Tracy. Very special to see an industry veteran and all-star nice guy Staton win an award. Curtis thanks the brilliant creator of the strip Chester Gould, and the keepers of hte flame Al Collins, Dick Locher, Mike Killian. “This is the first time a HArvey has been awarded to an adventure strip and one of this venerableness,” he noted.
Best Webcomic: Battlepug by Mike Norton, Carolyn Belefski gets up to accept. Wilingham calls out Fables editor Shelly Bond in the house—it’s definitely a Fable kinda night.
Next up, Fables collaborator Mark Buckingham who was expecting Willingham to jibe him but instead he was praised. Best American edition of foriegn material winner is…BLACKSAD: A SILENT HELL. Another win for this international treat. Diana Schutz is up to present in a stunning tunic ensemble. “Muchas Gracias,” she starts. “Please continue to support international comics, there’s a lot more out there and with your support we can bring you more.”
Buckingham tributes Fables, noting it’s always a thrill to get a script even after a decade.
Best Inker is up next: Klaus Janson wins for Captain America. Mark Waid is Marvel’s designated acceptor tonight.
Ron Frenz is up for the first special award of the night, the Hero Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award. “What is a Sal Buscema?” he begins. Yay!. “he is an incredible talent, part of the foundation of what became the Marvel Style and universe and built on what Stan and Jack built.” he runs down Buscema’s life starting in Booklyn and learning paste-up and interning in general. He volunteered to get drafted early because he wanted to get it out of the way. ONCe in the army be came an illustrator.” After leaving the army got work in many commercial arts studios in the 50s. He also once punched a bear in the throat. Maybe. Buscema and his wife have been married sicne the 60s. He once told Stan Lee to turn it down a little. He regrets to this day he did pencilling samples because he had wanted to be an inker, a dream job he finally got upon his retirement, saving pencils everywhere,
including me,” Frenz joked. “I can’t think of anybody who deserves a lifetime achievemnt awards as much as this gentleman who has done this body of work. he believes in comics as a craft, as many of us do. If the audience sees art, that’s great, but I think he looks back on it as a wonderful way of feeding his family for all these years and is very grateful for that opportunity.”
I’m pretty thrilled by this, always having loved Buscema’s gorgeous craftsmanship. Buscema comes up and is genuinely moved. “He forgot to mention I did those cave paintings. I’m overwhelmed by this, I really am. I never expected anything as wonderful as this. It was Mark Twain who said do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. I haven’t done damn thing for 45 years.”
Buscema recalled his first meeting with Stan Lee, who jumped around the room showing how the comics should be made, jumping on is desk. “I was absolutely terrified I was in the rom with a madman, but he got his point across.” He mentions the simplicity of Herb Trimpe, and thanks Stan for giving him his career, and the dozen of talented people he’s worked with. “It’s been mind boggling to me.” He became very choked up remembering the time that he told his wife he wanted to change careers and get into comics and she said “Go for it.” A very touching moment. Anyway a great salute to a wonderful artist.
Valiants Dinesh Shamdasani is up next for best new series. “It’s hard to believe these great books didn’t exist a year ago,” he notes. True! Saga is the Winner! I predict many appearances for Ron Richards.
Most Promising New Talent: Shamdasani notes they play money ball at Valiant by picking under recognized talent. The winner is…Dennis Ho[eless for Avengers Arena. Mark Waid is back!
Bob Chapman is up and gives the rub to books for younger readers and humor, which expand the sustainability of the industry. Funny winner is Ryan North for Adventure Time. Danielle Corsetto is up to accept.
Best comic for kids: Adventure Time! Shocker there. Corsetto comes up and talks about how much she loves the show and her own work on the OGN.
Tonights new line is punching a bear in the throat and whether you have done it or not. Adams claims to have punched a bear in the FACE.
Best Previously published Grahpic Album: is ALIEN by Walt Simonson and Archie Goodwin. SImonson is on hand and gets a tremendous reception. HE thanks John Workman for getting him the gig and Archie Goodwin.
Best Anthology : Dark Horse Presents
Ramona Fradon is the best presenter! I was just wondering if any women were going to present! Best Domestic Reprint Project is David Mazzuchelli’s Daredevil Born Again. Scott Dunbier built an awards mint the day he came up with this idea. The dulcet tone of Dirk Wood is here to accept and he notes the efforts of people to put together Ikea shelves to fit these editions.
Best Cover Artist is David Aja in a tough category, but a well deserved win.
Bill Willingham come back with a pint of sponsor Guinness and praises presentation.
Mark Waid is up to present — people urge him to frink the GUinness but he resists somehow. Best Journalistic presnetation is…Robot 6! COngrats to my Robot 6 buddies…a very well deserved for a hardworking and insightful crew.
Best Presentation winner is of course Building Stories. Denis Kitchen takes his chance to get up and accept graciously.
The Harveys are moving along briskly save for the bear throating punching and some hooting and hollering from what sounds like a wedding in the next room and occasional ominous thunder-like rumblings from an unknown source. And now…Diamond owner Steve Geppi is up to present the Hero Initiative Dick Giordano Humanitarian Award to …Paul Levitz!
Willingham recalls calling Levitz over the years just to see if he’d take his call. WIllingham also recalls a long ago SPX softball game where the creators beat the Diamond team.
Geppi is up. “I met this young fella in 1973ish at a NY Comic Art show where I was on the second floor. A young Paul Levitz came up to my table_and keep in mind I was clueless—Paul was 17 or so. I had just bought a bunch of Spirit setions, and Paul had his checklist and went through the box and found the ones he needed. He pulled out a checkbook and I said “I don’t take checks.” And he siad but I’m Paul Levitz. I said I don’t care, I don’t take checks!”
Ah the golden days.
Geppi goes on to remember Dick Giordano for whom this award is named. HE would be proud to know that Paul would be getting this award.” Geppi praises his work on Earth 2, but his humanitarian efforts as well. “Paul in his executive position, worked on a lot of things that were outside the industry that were beneficial to a great many people in need. PAul, as a friend, friend, there has never been a better friend to the direct market than Paul Levitz. This industry went through a lot, and in the mid 90s when there was crack, there was this guy who had so much love for the industry. He took the time to analyze everything and study it—course I’m prejudiced I think he made a wise choice — but it became very clear to me, this guy who cerated HUntress was every bit as passionate about the industry as any one I had ever met. I had no clue I would get into distribution. Paul showed me there was business here and showed me there was a futrue. And this year we’ve been blessed. everyone shoudl be very proud they’ve stayed the course. Chapman, Buscema, KItchen. This man stood up for what was right and stood up for the retailer.”
A nice standing ovation for Paul, who says it is an honor to get an award named for Giordano. “He was a dear friend. HE was abig kid who jsut loved comics. He would talk about life and taught me important things like how to lie to my mother. Dick has in his humanitarian way had decided to tell his mother that her investments were doing better than she thought and put more money in her account. More important he taught me in the halls of DC the debt we had to the people before us. ANd that the artists in this business live much more precarious lives than the execs in this business.
“Everything Steve mentioned in terms of my love for comics is true. i was a fan and am thrilled to see what has happened. But it has all happened because of the creative people.not just today’s winners but the ones who cerated thigns that the winners read as kids that made them wnat to be in this business.”
Levitz points out what a good thing the Hero Initiative is to help out creators in their moment of need and “Thanks you for your roles in this crazy business of ours. This exists because we’re all lunatics.” He goes on to talk about the history and people coming into the industry. “We have had a great year and I see the books coming out and so many wonderful things we couldn’t’ do 20 years ago. I thank you all for creating the future but remembering the past. I’m glad you’re all crazy enough to be here rowing in the boat with me.”
Very true. The Hero Initiative is doing vita work and deserves all of our support.
Joe Hill is up and does some giggle inducing schtik about not wanting to present “Most graphic” album. INnformed it’s Best he presents it to Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score. Scott Dunbier and Darwyn Cooke win again!
Dean Haspiel is our next presenter. He threatens shirt removal, but so far its on! Haspiel recalls buying a copy of Shazam as a lad, and remembers buying Manhunter, and later helping Walt Simonson. Best continuing series is Saga. A big night for the crew. Ron Richards is up and also acknowledges the strong year.
Terry Moore is up to present Best Writer, This is a tough category! But of course it’s BKV — Ron Richards is getting a workout tonight.
Neal Adams, father of an earlier presenter comes up to present Best Artist. Willingham recalls sitting for two hours with Adams telling him the secrets of the industry and not remembering anything he said because the whole time he was thinking “I’m sitting here with Neal Adams.” And the best artist….will it be Staples or Aja? Adams wonders why he is being asked to present best artist, “Biggest Pain in the Ass.” The lesson he learned today “If you dont’ charge for you autograph you will never be the next Stan Lee.”
The wedding next door has moved into the Latin music portion of the dance.
FIONA STAPLES WON. If I had seen Neal Adams give the best artist award to Fiona Staples it would have been my childhood dream come true. Alas she is not here, but Ron Richard gets his last workout.
Best Cartoonist is…Jaime Hernandez, who else. Frank Stack accepts and is a little bemused.
The final award is presented by Stan Sakai who gets a very warm standing o. Stan is one of the great people in the industry and has had a hard year. Best Single Issue or Story….is SAGA #1! Wow a clean sweep that’s five awards for Saga. A nice evening with classy hosting by Willingham.
And I got to sit next to my writing comrade and better Michael Cavna.