CAN WE NOW most all agree that Saga is the comic of the year? Because if there was any lingering doubt, September seems to have sealed the deal.
Over the weekend at Baltimore Comic-Con, Saga cleaned up at the Harvey Awards with a whopping six statuettes. Saturday night’s ceremony at the Hyatt Regency felt less like a celebration than a coronation.
The Image Comics title won Best New Series and Best Continuing or Limited Series, and its Brian K. Vaughan won for Best Writer — the exact same heady trifecta that Saga pulled off just two months earlier at San Diego Comic-Con’s Eisner Awards.
At the esteemed Harveys, Saga also provided a twin win for Fiona Staples, who was voted both Best Artist and Best Colorist. And Saga #1 garnered Best Single Issue or Story.
Plus, Saga’s six-win haul came just days after its Volume #1 won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story at LoneStarCon3 in San Antonio. (The Hugos honor science fiction and fantasy works, from prose to comics page to film.)
Saga — the lush space opera about two rival soldiers who become parents on the run from their governments — has also succeeded on the rack, cracking the bestseller lists.
Beyond Saga, 2013 might also go down as the breakthrough year for Adventure Time comics (kaBoom!), which have been brilliantly adapted from the hit Cartoon Network show. The title took home two Harveys: Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers, and Special Award for Humor in Comics (to Ryan North) — just weeks after it won an Eisner for Best Publication for Kids (8-12). If any further testament to its popularity were needed, the Adventure Time books were moving fast at kaBoom’s Baltimore booth.
(It’s worth noting: The Adventure Time line has wisely tapped some great indie talent for its books, including area cartoonists Steve Conley and Danielle Corsetto, the latter of whom went to the podium Saturday to accept the awards.)
Judging by convention awards season, Chris Ware’s masterpiece-in-a-box, “Building Stories” (Pantheon), will have a long shelf life as an art object as well as a narrative-delivery system: The Harveys honored it with a Special Award for Excellence in Presentation — weeks after it garnered four Eisner Awards, including Best New Graphic Novel and Best Publication Design.
Also pulling off the Eisner/Harvey sweep this season: Hawkeye’s David Aja, for Best Cover Artist; “David Mazzucchelli‘s Daredevil: Born Again Artists Edition” (IDW), which won a Harvey for Best Domestic Reprint Project; Dark Horse’s “Blacksad: A Silent Hell” (whose Harvey was for American Edition of Foreign Material); “Dark Horse Presents” for Best Anthology; and “Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score,” adapted by Darwyn Cooke (IDW) — whose Harvey was for Best Original Graphic Album.
The Harvey Awards, named for Harvey Kurtzman, honor achievement in comics; they were established in 1988, and the Baltimore convention has been their home since 2006.
Here is the full list of 2013 Harvey Award winners from over the weekend:
Best Color: Fiona Staples, Saga.
Best New Series: Saga.
Best Continuing or Limited Series: Saga.
Best Writer: Brian K. Vaughan, Saga.
Best Artist: Fiona Staples, Saga.
Best Single Issue or Story: Saga #1.
Best Cartoonist: Jaime Hernandez, “Love and Rockets: New Stories” (Fantagraphics).
Best Letterer: Todd Klein, Fables.
Best Syndicated Strip: “Dick Tracy,” by Joe Staton and Mike Curtis, (Tribune Media Services).
Best Online Comics Work: Battle Pug, by Mike Norton.
Best American Edition of Foreign Material: “Blacksad: A Silent Hell” (Dark Horse).
Best Inker: Klaus Janson, Captain America (Marvel).
Most Promising New Talent: Dennis Hopeless, Avengers Arena (Marvel).
Special Award for Humor in Comics: Ryan North, Adventure Time (kaBoom!).
Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers: Adventure Time (kaBoom!).
Best Graphic Album, Previously Published: “Alien: the Illustrated Story” (Titan Books).
Best Anthology: Dark Horse Presents.
Best Domestic Reprint Project: David Mazzucchelli‘s Daredevil: Born Again Artists Edition (IDW).
Best Cover Artist: David Aja, Hawkeye (Marvel).
Best Biographical, Historical, or Journalistic Presentation: Robot 6 blog, by Comic Book Resources.
Special Awards for Excellence in Presentation: “Building Stories,” Chris Ware (Pantheon).
Best Graphic Album, Original: “Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score,” by Darwyn Cooke (IDW).
Dick Giordano Hero Initiative Humanitarian of the Year Award:Paul Levitz.
Hero Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award: Sal Buscema.
Note: For excellent live-blog coverage of the event, check out Heidi MacDonald’s The Beat.
(Full disclosure: Comic Riffs was a 2013 Eisners judge whose material was reprinted in the Harvey-nominated Team Cul de Sac book.)