These Are the Best Comics of the Year: the 2021 Harvey Awards Winners

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The Harvey Awards are named after the creator of MAD, Harvey Kurtzman, and have been around since 1988, making them ones of the oldest existing awards in comics. Each year, they recognize outstanding achievement in the medium, including comics, graphic novels, manga, and digital comic books.

The winners were selected by a committee of industry voices: creators, librarians, publishing professionals, and retailers. This year, the results were announced during New York Comic Con. There are six categories of awards for works, as well as a hall of fame for creators.

Without further adieu, let’s get into the best comics of 2020, according to the Harvey Awards!

Book of the Year

“Best long-form graphic novel or collection that demonstrating excellence in writing, art or cartooning showcasing great representation of the form.”

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

This is a YA graphic novel about a second generation Vietnamese American teen who is struggling to come out as gay to his mom. It was also named one of the best books of the year by New York Public Library, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly — and it’s a favorite at Book Riot, appearing on too many posts to list!

Other nominees:

The Book Tour by Andi WatsonCyclopedia Exotica by Aminder DhaliwalDepartment of Truth, Vol 1: The End Of The World by James Tynion IV and Martin SimmondsHeaven No Hell by Michael DeForgeKent State: Four Dead in Ohio by Derf Backderf Monsters by Barry Windsor-SmithStone Fruit by Lee LaiSuperman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen: Who Killed Jimmy Olsen? by Matt Fraction and Steve LieberSave It For Later: Promises, Protest and Parenthood by Nate Powell

Digital Book of the Year

“Best comic or collection originally presented in a digital format.”

Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe

Originally a webtoon, this is a retelling of the story of Persephone and other Olympus gods. It imagines a world of partying deities and forbidden love. It was also nominated for an Eisner award!

Other nominees:

Adora and The Distance by Marc Bernardin and Ariela Kristantina Crisis Zone by Simon HanselmannCyclopedia Exotica by Aminder DhaliwalFriday by Ed Brubaker and Marcos Martin

Best Children or Young Adult Book

“Best long-form original graphic novel or collection presented for younger audiences.

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

Yes, it’s The Magic Fish again! They liked it so much, it got two awards this year.

Other nominees:

Allergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee NutterClass Act by Jerry CraftNubia: Real One by L.L. McKinney and Robyn SmithTwins by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright

Best Manga

“Best single manga of the year translated in to English.”

Chainsaw Man by Tatsuki Fujimoto

Denji was killed on the job hunting for devils, but when his pet devil dog brought him back to life, he became Chainsaw Man! If you’re looking for a gory, fun read this October, this is the perfect time to get started on this series.

Other nominees:

Asadora! by Naoki UrasawaBoys Run the Riot by Keito GakuRemina by Junji ItoSpy x Family by Tatsuya Endo

Best International Book

“Best international material translated in to English.

Moms by Yeong-shin Ma, translated by Janet Hong

Originally published in Korean, Moms follows three middle aged women unsatisfied with their lives, their jobs, and their marriages. They seek out sexual adventures and are allowed to be messy and realistic.

Other nominees:

The City of Belgium by Brecht Evans, translated by Brecht EvansFactory Summers by Guy Delisle, translated by Helge Dascher and Rob AspinallPaul At Home by Michel Rabagliati, translated by Helge Dascher and Rob AspinallThe Winter of the Cartoonist by Paco Roca, translated by Andrea Rosenberg

Best Adaptation from Comic Book/Graphic Novel

“Best adaptation to another medium of a work originally presented as a graphic novel, trade collection or comic book.”

WandaVision

To no one’s surprise, Wandavision scooped up the pick for best adaptation. This show has been enormously successful, even reaching audiences who aren’t usually interested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you also loved the show, you might be interested in the best comics to read after WandaVision.

Other nominees:

The Boys by Amazon, based on The Boys (DC Comics)Invincible by Amazon, based on Invincible (Image)Loki by Disney+, based on The Avengers (Marvel Comics)Superman & Lois by CW, based on Superman (DC ComicsSweet Tooth by Netflix, based on Sweet Tooth (DC/Vertigo)

Hall of Fame

The Harvey Awards also inducted several creators into their Hall of Fame this year, “Honoring creators who have had a distinguished career or impact on the medium for over two decades.” The new additions to the Hall of Fame are Rumiko Takahashi, Bernie Wrightson, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Barry Windsor-Smith, and Michael Kaluta.

You might also be interested in the winners of the 2021 Eisner Awards!

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