A post from my old Marvel blog about the Harvey Awards and the reaction to a particular win one year.
While I was down at the Baltimore Convention a week or so back, I attended the Harvey Awards, and was even one of the presenters. Marvel walked away with four awards in total, Danny Miki for Best Inker, DAREDEVIL as Best Continuing Series, Ed Brubaker as Best Writer, and CIVIL WAR #1 as Best Single Issue or Story. This last one seems to have some people’s panties in a bunch.
Now, understand, the Harvey Awards (like their estranged cousins the Eisner Awards) really don’t signify anything tangible. Winning an award won’t sell a measurable amount of additional copies of your book, nor will having one make you more likely to get an assignment if you’re a creator. They’re really just a nice pat on the back from your peers in the industry.
The couple of complaints I’ve seen (one person called it a travesty) seem to revolve around the notion that, as a major commercial crossover from one of the Big Two, a book like CIVIL WAR isn’t “aesthetically sound” enough to be deserving of such an honor. That giving the award to such a project taints the award, the awards process, and possibly even the industry in general.
Whether or not CIVIL WAR #1 deserved to win isn’t for me to say. But it was said by the majority of the people who voted on the awards. And if you agree with their judgment in most of the other categories, more or less, then it’s difficult to complain about this one area with any sort of a response other than an emotional one. How dare a commercial, best-selling mainstream comic book win such an award–that kind of thing. But this is the difficulty in any such award process, which amounts in one way or another to a popularity contest–sometimes, things that you don’t like are going to be popular with the constituency that are granting the award.
I know it’s not popular to believe, especially online, but plenty of people really did like CIVIL WAR–both readers and retailers. And while it certainly had no pretensions towards being “art”, it was very much dedicated to being a crackling good super hero story. And people responded to it, in a way they haven’t to anything else the majors have produced in the past few years. That’s the reality–get over it.
And thanks for the award.