Let’s take a look at whether The Harveys are webcomic-friendly or not.
The Harveys don’t have a separate category for online comics and I can’t find anything else about them that would preclude online comics from eligibility. All I can find on eligibility is the following: To be eligible for this yearâ€™s awards, a title or work must have been published between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2004. Perhaps they would not consider publication on the Internet to be publication, but there really is no language I can find that says “publication in print of a minimum press run” or any other sort of limitation on “publication.” So until I discover otherwise I’m assuming there is no bar on nominating a work published online between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2004 for any or all of the awards.
Next is the question of just who can download the ballot and nominate. Clearly the Harveys ballots (both nomination and award ballots) are meant for comic “professionals.” They say as much:
Ballots are made available to all qualifying comics professionals, either directly from the Harvey Awards Executive Committee, or from publishers who receive bundles of ballots and disseminate them to professionals in their employ.
EXTRA COPIES OF BALLOT: If you or a colleague needs an extra copy of this ballot, please contact the HARVEY AWARDS administrator, comics publishers (no ballots are being mailed), or download it, or make a copy of any blank ballot. Publishers are encouraged to provide their artists, writers, editors and freelancers with copies of this ballot.
Obviously the question is “who is a professional?” I can’t find anything online that defines it as working for a specific list of companies or belonging to a trade group or even making a certain level of money from “comics.” Nothing I see would necessarily preclude Modern Tales, Keenspot, Wirepop or any other publisher of webcomics from stepping up and actively getting involved in The Harveys. There are numberous publishers of webcomics who pay the creators involved actual money so it also seems that those creators should be considered professionals. It’s also hard to argue that creators who publish their own work and make their living from revenues generated from that work are not professionals. Even if Scott Kurtz didn’t have his Image comic book, he would hardly be an amateur – he makes his living from the PVP webcomic.
Again – until someone points me to something that limits the word professional, I think anyone making a substantial percentage of their livelihood from comics, including webcomics, would be a professional.
Given all of this and my sincere belief that the best webcomic work is deserving of serious consideration alongside its print cousins, if you’re a webcomic publisher or professional, I would urge you to participate in the Harveys this year.
And let’s see if we can get a dialogue going on this. Joey Manley, Chris Crosby, George Panella, Logan DeAngelis, Barry Gregory (and a lot of other names I could list); will we see more active participation in The Harveys from your companies and their creators this year?