The 2008 Harvey Awards saw a wide variety of publishers and creators winning awards at this year’s Baltimore Comic Con presentation, with DC sweeping the top five categories of Best Continuing or Limited Series, Best Writer, Best Artist, Best Cartoonist and Best Single Issue or Story.
The evening was kicked off by Paul McSpadden, spokesman for the Harvey Awards Committee who gave opening remarks and introduced the keynote speaker, Brian Michael Bendis.
Bendis recalled the last time he attended the Harvey Awards – the 2001 ceremony at the Pittsburgh Comicon where Frank Miller famously railed against Wizard magazine and the evils of Hollywood, his speech culminating with Miller tearing apart an issue of the magazine in front of the crowd. Bendis reflected upon how much the times have changed since Miller’s speech, something that was driven home for him when he saw the new trailer for Will Eisner’s The Spirit film (directed by Miller) when he was preparing his speech.
Noting this, Bendis stressed to the audience that it is past time that the comics community start acting the part, and recognize that Hollywood needs “us” more than we need “them.”
“They can’t do what we do,” Bendis said. “They will try to steal it from us if they can, because they’re angry that they can’t do it” – the latter being used in reference to creating stories and properties from nothing.
“What I’m trying to say to all of you is: lawyer up,” Bendis said, adding that Hollywood with all of its dealmakers and offers are scared of creators that say “no,” and aren’t afraid to turn down money and opportunity if it’s not the deal that they want and the deal that they know they should have.
Bendis went on in the second part of his speech to point out that it’s time to stop debating about the digital revolution and how it may affect comics because, “it’s already here.”
“We need to start thinking about a new language of comics,” Bendis said, noting that he’s not convinced that taking an existing comic book and “wiggling” it is what audiences who want comics on their digital devices, from computers to phones, want to see. Bendis said that, as he sees it, this new language of comics will hearken back to Scott McCloud’s vision of an “endless cave wall” to continue drawing on, and using to tell a story – a fluid meshing of words and pictures in a manner that we’ve never seen and have only just begun to imagine.
After the speech, the host of the ceremony, Kyle Baker was introduced who began the presentations by introducing the various presenters. The winners of the 2008 Harvey Awards are:
Best Letterer – Chris Eliopoulos, Daredevil
Best Colorist – Laura Martin, Thor
Best Syndicated Strip or Panel – Doonsbury, by Garry Trudeau
Best Online Comics Work – Perry Bible Fellowship by Nicholas Gurewitch
Best Inker – Kevin Nowlan - Witchblade
Best American Edition of Foreign Material - Eduardo Risso’s Tales of Terror by Dynamite Entertainment
Best New Series - The umbrella Academy, Dark Horse Comics
Best Graphic Album, Previously Published - Captain America Omnibus, Marvel Comics
Special Award for Humor in Comics - Perry Bible Fellowship by Nicholas Gurewitch
Best New Talent – Vasilis Lolos, Last Call, Oni Press
Best Biographical, Historical or Journalistic Presentation - Reading Comics: How Graphic Albums Work and What They Mean by Douglas Wolk
Best Anthology - Popgun Volume 1, Edited by Joe Keatinge, Image Comics
Best Domestic Reprint Project - The Complete Peanuts, Fantagraphics Books
Best Cover Artist – Mike Mignola, Hellboy
Special Award for Excellence in Presentation - EC Archives, edited by Russ Cochran, Gemstone
Best Graphic Album, Original - Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together, Oni Press
The Hero Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award – Nick Cardy, presented by Todd Dezago
Best Continuing or Limited Series - All Star Superman, DC Comics
Best Writer – Brian K. Vaughan, Y: The Last Man, DC Comics
Best Artist – Frank Quitely, All Star Superman, DC Comics
Best Cartoonist – Darwyn Cooke, The Spirit, DC Comics
Best Single Issue or Story - All Star Superman #8, DC Comics.