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Manga Shut Out at Harvey Awards

posted on by Mikhail Koulikov
Witchblade passed over; manga-influenced Scott Pilgrim wins Best Graphic Novel

The 2008 Harvey Awards were announced this past weekend at Baltimore Comic-Con, but Japanese comics failed to secure any wins. The only Japanese manga nominated, Yasuko Kobayashi and Kazasa Sumita's Witchblade (Top Cow/Image), lost out for Best American Edition of Foreign Material to Eduardo Risso's Tales of Terror (Dynamite Entertainment). In that category, the two titles were also competing against British publisher Self Made Hero's manga-inspired adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

Nonetheless, one book whose author acknowledges being heavily influenced by Japanese popular culture did pick up an award. Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together took home the Best Graphic Album - Original honors. Published by Oni Press in the same format as most manga collections in North America, Scott Pilgrim is a story about the daily life and misadventures of a Toronto slacker and his friends. It is currently being adapted into a major motion picture with Superbad star Michael Cera. Earlier this year, O'Malley's art was featured on the cover of Viz's Shojo Beat manga anthology (pictured at right).

At last year's ceremony, the Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material award was split by Yoshihiro Tatsumi's Abandon the Old in Tokyo and Tove Jansson's Moomin, which is itself an inspiration for four anime series and an anime movie in Japan. Vertical Inc.'s editions of Osamu Tezuka's Buddha won the category in 2004 and 2005, and Dark Horse took the award with Lone Wolf and Cub in 2003. Winners of the Harveys are selected by a vote open to comics industry professionals. Nominees for the other major awards in the American comics industry, the Eisners, are selected by a panel of five judges. Comics creators, publishers, editors, retailers, and distributors then vote on the winner in each category. Since 2007, they have included a Best U.S. Edition for Foreign Material - Japan category, thus ensuring at least one award for a manga title each year.

Source: Publishers Weekly

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