The Harvey Awards 2009! And the Winners Are...

One of the major highlights at this year's Baltimore Comic-Con was the 2009 Harvey Awards, the comic book industry's special event that honors excellence in many aspects of the medium. This year's event ran the gamut of participation, with fans, creators, retailers, press, and industry legends and giants such as Brian Michael Bendis and Neal Adams, who received the HERO Award for his work with the HERO Initiative, present. It was truly a night for the comics industry to come together and celebrate the past year's accomplishments and highlights. After a mixing and mingling hour and a dinner, the show quickly began, with Scott Kurtz, writer of the award-winning Pvp (Player vs. Player), hosting! After a hilarious short film spoofing Alec Baldwin's scene in "Glengarry Glen Ross" featuring Prince Valiant, Charlie Brown, Dagwood and other comic strip characters kicked things off, the first two categories announced were Best Letterer and Best Colorist, won by John Workman for his lettering of Marvel 1985 and Dave Stewart for Umbrella Academy , respectively! Best Syndicated Strip or Panel went to Mutts by Patrick McDonnell, followed by High Moon's win for Best Online Comics Work, which, when announced, received thunderous applause. The entire creative team behind the series rushed the stage to accept the award. "Gus and His Gang" won for Best American Edition of Foreign Material, followed by one of Marvel's big wins of the evening with Mark Morales winning Best Inker for his work on Thor. In the Best New Series category, honors went to Terry Moore's Echo. Some may be surprised to know that this is Moore's first Harvey Award, and he slyly commented during his acceptance that he wouldn't be smuggling one of the statues out that evening. Al Jaffee's Tall Tales won the Special Award for Humor in Comics prize, and in one of the more emotional moments of the evening, Bryan J.L. Glass accepted the award for Best New Talent for his work on Image Comics' The Mice Templar. During his emotional speech, Glass stated that this category be renamed Best Breakthrough Talent, as he said he started his work in comics in 1992. He thanked his wife and all those who had given him chances to really break into the work he has spent so much of his life doing. The work Kirby: King of Comics picked up a couple of Harveys in the categories of Best Biographical, Historical, or Journalisitic Presentation and the Special Award for Excellence in Presentation. The Tori Amos inspired Comic Book Tattoo from Image Comics won for Best Anthology, with The Complete Peanuts winning for Best Domestic Reprint Project. Best Graphic Album, Original honors went to Top Shelf Comic's Too Cool to Be Forgotten. At this point in the evening, the room stood and warmly welcomed comic book legend Neal Adams to the stage to receive his recognition for his work with the HERO Initiative, an organization that supports and assists comic book talent in times of medical and financial need. In his speech to the crowd, Adams talked about his newest upcoming work with DC Comics, which will be a new series of graphic novels focusing on Batman. He also detailed an interesting project that would focus on a woman during the Holocaust, Dina Gottliebova-Babbit, who did drawings and illustrations for Nazi soldiers and Dr. Josef Mengele during her time at a concentration camp in order to keep her mother and her out of the death chambers. After the end of World War II, Babbit became an illustrator, surviving until this past July. The project will be printed by Marvel, with Disney creating a motion comic based on Adams' work. As the awards ceremony began to reach its final few categories, the room began to pick up a buzz, as winners for Best Cover Artist, Best Writer, Best Single Issue or Story and others came up for announcement. In the Best Cover Artist category, James Jean won for his work on Fables, beating out stiff competition from a talented field of nominees that included the likes of Frank Cho and Alex Ross. DC Comics then scored one of its biggest wins of the evening, as All-Star Superman wins the award for Best Continuing or Limited Series. This one would have been tough to call, with other notable nominees such as Captain America, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Mice Templar and Umbrella Academy nominated as well. Grant Morrison was awarded the Harvey for Best Writer, winning for All-Star Superman. He beat out Ed Brubaker (Captain America), Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Kyle Baker (Nat Turner) and John Gallagher (Buzzboy: Sidekicks Rule) for the honor. Living legend George Perez presented the award for Best Artist, which went to Umbrella Academy artist Gabriel Ba, beating out Frank Quitely for All-Star Superman, ending that title's run of the past two awards. For Best Cartoonist, the Harvey went to Al Jaffee, once again for Tall Tales. The final win of the night fittingly went to Y:The Last Man #60, the last issue of that series, for Best Single Issue or Story. With that, and an announcement that the Hero Initiative had raised over $100,000 dollars at the convention, the show came to a close. There were lots of laughs, some great reactions from the winners and fitting tributes to those like Adams who have done so much for the comic book industry. If you want to see more, check out the full list of nominees and learn more about the Harveys here.

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