HARVEY AWARD FINAL BALLOTS ARE OUT
AMBER LOVE 07-JULY-2016 Thoughtful pieces like this are supported by the generous backers at Patreon.com/amberunmasked. To read posts before the general public, become a backer.
The Harvey Awards, I thought, were meaningful awards since a larger base of the comics industry population could vote in them. Then I realized what a debacle the Hugo Awards were because of the “slate” style voting campaigns so I’ve tried to pay closer attention to such things. (Search on the “Sad Puppies” and “Hugos” for background). In a nutshell, groups of people who are bigoted against queer content/creators or POC or basically anyone they dub a SJW doesn’t stand a chance because of swarms stuffing the ballot boxes with their approved choices. I think it’s safe to say, that so far, the Harveys have not become the Hugos, but the ballot stuffing is a sign that it could.
When the Harvey ballot came out, I saw a lot of respectable pros writing off the awards as some kind of bastardization that no one should pay attention to since they aren’t the Eisners. The Harveys are given out at the Baltimore Comic Con – a rather impressive “medium” size regional show, meaning that it’s not a ReedPop show, but it’s crowded. The Eisners, on the other hand, are the “big boy” of comic awards given out at San Diego which for some reason is still considered the pinnacle con even though New York is bigger. Hollywood presence gets you more prestige.
The Harveys then don’t really compare in the same way as the Eisners. I’ve sat through the Harveys multiple times covering Baltimore Comic Con as press. The dinner was in a large ballroom and seemed filled. The comics press had to sit in chairs lining the wall to be out of the way where we live tweeted and people for major sites frantically tried to get their posts updated over wifi. I was surprised at how many people don’t show up though and I think part of that is what’s always a problem for cons — you need to be able to pay people as featured guests. In my opinion, if you host an award show and don’t automatically cover all the nominees, then it’s a bit weird. “Hi, you’ve been nominated and you might win, but you have to fly yourself out and find your own room and get a badge.” I have no idea how the Eisners operates in that regard either, but I don’t think they cover nominees. I’ve known nominees and they still had to get the money for attending. However, that was several years ago, so maybe times have changed.
Still, I thought awards were supposed to be “good” things — recognition for a job well done or at least for being liked. Apparently, I’m wrong.
The ballot stuffing of the sci fi community’s Hugos doesn’t seem to mean that putting “Hugo award winning” on a book makes it less desirable. Therefore, what does one get out of winning a Harvey award in the comic industry? I wish I knew. I’ve never been part of something nominated before.
There will likely be some analysis done by sites like The Mary Sue or Women Write About Comics, but I’m not sure. We’ll wait and see. They crunch the numbers about the Eisners to see if there are any improvements in recognizing women and POC in the industry. If the Harveys don’t matter to people then maybe only certain kinds of sites will cover it like Comic Alliance or CBR.
Maybe a lot of people don’t think someone with the scant resume I have should get to vote, but as long as they let me, I’ll continue to nominate and vote for who I think does a great job (like Oh Joy, Sex Toy). The nomination process is where I think the most input matters. Honestly, if you’re getting work at Marvel and DC, you’ve essentially been “recognized” for your skills. But not everyone will pay attention to the likes of small press. The obvious ballot stuffing by Valiant Comics (quite a decent publisher) is egregious and unnecessary and definitely does not help promote small press or indie comics look any more valid.
Plus, I keep hoping that someday I will be part of projects that get nominated for awards. It shouldn’t matter, but it’s pretty cool.