The 2016 Harvey Award nominations were released this week and Valiant Entertainment dominated with 50 nominations. The Harvey Awards celebrate outstanding work in comics and other sequential art. Nominations are selected by comics creators, which makes the Harveys unique.
It’s not completely unlikely to see one publisher lead nominations, but in some categories Valiant published five out of six nominees. It’s a little unusual for a publisher with a small market share compared to the big two— I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard about any Valiant comics except for maybe Faith (which was not nominated itself).
Valiant Entertainment began in 1989 with a number of former Marvel staffers, including former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter. They published some licensed comics but the ultimate goal was their own original universe of superhero comics. In 1992, they did just that, publishing the first issues of Harbinger, Rai, Shadowman, and X-O Manowar. In 1994 Valiant was purchased by a video game publisher and produced both comics and video games (including a fave from my youth, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter), but returned to their comics focus in 2005 after new buyers took over and formed Valiant Entertainment as we know it now.
Valiant has received a lot of press in the last few years after giving Faith Herbert, a fat female superhero, her own solo comic. What started as a miniseries was promoted to an ongoing monthly comic after the incredible fan reaction and sales.
Many smaller publishers received more nominations than Marvel and DC, the big two in comics publishing, including BOOM! Studios (18 nominations) and Image Comics (11 nominations).
The Harvey Award for Best New Series highlights excellent new comics series and this year’s nominations do include favorites from across the spectrum: the new Archie, The Vision from Marvel, Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan (a multiple Harvey award winner) and Cliff Chiang, Giant Days from BOOM! Studios, and Valiant’s Bloodshot Reborn. Previous winners include Southern Bastards, Sex Criminals, Saga, Kurt Busiek’s Astro City, Young Avengers, and the Umbrella Academy. Saga has since gone on to win the Best Continuing Series Harvey Award for the past three years.
You can check out the full list of nominations here.