Earlier this week I was working on a post that summarized a few less-than-enthusiastic reactions to the Harvey Award nominations. One nomination in particular kind of stuck out at me — the nomination for the blog Meanwhile…Comics! in the “Best Biographical, Historical or Journalistic Presentation” category.
Please don’t get me wrong here — John, Jason and Scott, the contributors to the blog, are doing some fun stuff over there. My question had nothing to do with whether their content was worthy or not to be nominated. No, the question I had was how a site that launched in April made the list when nominations for the Harveys were due in March.
Back on Jan. 24, the Harvey Awards put out a call for nominations. You can find the press release on their news page. Here’s the first paragraph:
The Executive Committees of the Harvey Awards and the Baltimore Comic-Con are proud to present the official Nomination Ballot for this year’s Harvey Awards . Named in honor of the late Harvey Kurtzman, one of the industry’s most innovative talents, the Harvey Awards recognize outstanding work in comics and sequential art. Ballots are due for submission by March 21st.
I thought maybe I was missing something, that perhaps the site had existed at another URL or in another form, so I emailed Jason, one of the three bloggers who contributes to the site. He confirmed Meanwhile … Comics didn’t launch until April 7. (Here’s their first post). Jason said he was stunned by the nomination, too, especially as his site has had less than 1,000 page views since its inception.
I figured maybe there was an unannounced deadline extension … or even an announced one that I just couldn’t find anywhere on their website. So I emailed Johanna Draper Carlson, who helps out the Harvey Award folks with proofreading and fact checking … which eventually led me to Paul McSpadden, administrator of the Harvey Awards. He confirmed on Wednesday that there was no extension of last year’s Harvey eligibility period.
So, last night I received an email from Jason. He said Paul informed him their nomination has been officially withdrawn due to a clerical error, and the Harveys would issue a press release about it in a day or two.
Jason gave some more details on what exactly happened:
Well, Paul actually explained it pretty well over the phone. When they received some ballots by email, the formatting caused some of the lines to carry over to the next line, which made it hard to decipher some of the nominations. Add to that the fact that there was a Milton Caniff biography released last year titled “Meanwhile…” by RC Harvey, which was listed on a chunk of ballots from the same company (I’m assuming Fantagraphics who produced it, but I didn’t ask). And, not only were ballots due by March 21…but books and sites were only eligible if they appeared from Jan 1-Dec 31, 2007, so we were definitely out of that range!
Meanwhile … by R.C. Harvey was, indeed, published by Fantagraphics. So will Harvey be nominated for a Harvey now? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
I’ll end with three points:
– Meanwhile … Comics is a great blog and you should check it out. And I’m not just saying that because I feel shitty about my inquiry leading to their nomination being withdrawn. Seriously, go check it out.
– While there was obviously no malicious intent by the Harvey Awards folks here and it sounds like it was a pretty easy error to make, I think the statement that Meanwhile … was “listed on a chunk of ballots from the same company” really underscores the need for a better nomination process. One that doesn’t fall prey to comic companies who want to stuff the ballot box.
– In his email to me, Jason also suggested that maybe the Harveys could expand their categories: “And perhaps they should invent a category for blogs or commentary sites. As far as I know, the categories haven’t been updated since their inception in 1988. The times they are a changin’…”