The Harvey Awards are voted on entirely by comics professionals, right down the line. The nominations are submitted by ballot from comics pros, and then the voting starts. Winning a Harvey, or even being nominated, is an extremely prestigious award, an honor from fellow comics pros to one of their own. So the fact that a small publisher has more nominations than the entire rest of the field put together is attention-getting, especially when it dominates the field so completely.
Valiant, if you’re unfamiliar, is the revival of a publisher from the ’90s that tends to hire popular talents like Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth) and Matt Kindt (MIND MGMT) and let them take their characters in unique directions. It was met with skepticism when they first launched, but books like the paranoid thriller Bloodshot Reborn, about a gritty ’90s antihero possibly losing his mind, from Lemire and the highly witty Archer & Armstrong from Fred Van Lente have earned Valiant a strong reputation.
As Bleeding Cool points out, though, this year is unique as Valiant has dominated the field with 50 nominations. The next closest a publisher gets is 15, to BOOM! Studios. Valiant has more nominations than almost every other major and minor publisher put together. Granted, Valiant does well in terms of nominations at the Harveys every year, but this is unprecedented, and to some, suspicious.
It’s undeniably unusual, but Valiant has been consistently delivering critically popular work. And it’s worth noting the company isn’t guaranteed to sweep the Harveys, as while it dominates quite a few categories, it’s up against some stiff competition. For example, Image’s Saga has won the Best Series award three times in a row and may take a fourth this year. Still, it says something that a small publisher can do so well among the people who make comics. And if fans haven’t been reading, it might be worth starting.