Harvey Awards find new home at MOCCA

Official Press Release

NEW YORK, June 16, 2003 – The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) is thrilled to announce that the first New York appearance of the legendary Harvey Awards will be at the 2nd Annual MoCCA Art Festival on Sunday, June 22, at Manhattan's historic Puck Building (293 Lafayette Street at Houston).

At 2:00pm that day, MoCCA Chairman Lawrence Klein will join Harvey Awards Executive Committee Chairman Denis Kitchen (who is also a member of MoCCA's Board of Advisors) and Nellie Kurtzman (daughter of the awards' namesake Harvey Kurtzman and a Harvey Awards committee member) in a brief presentation to officially announce MoCCA as the new home of the Harvey Awards. The presentation will be accompanied by a screening of a short film Ms. Kurtzman made about her father.

"Recognizing people who are tops in the comic and cartoon art field is a large part of MoCCA's mission statement," says Klein. "Inviting the Harveys -- a preeminent award named after a preeminent artist and author -- to join MoCCA is a pairing as natural as the combination of words and pictures."

The conjunction was facilitated by Denis Kitchen, who will remain a part of the Harvey Awards Executive Committee but yield his role as chairperson to Nellie Kurtzman. In addition to his leadership on the Harvey Awards Executive Committee and MoCCA's Board of Advisors, Kitchen is noted for serving almost 25 years as publisher for Kitchen Sink Press and for founding and serving as president of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

About the Harveys

The Harvey Awards, one of comics-dom's oldest and most prestigious awards -- and the only awards to bear the distinction of being nominated and awarded entirely by comic book professionals -- will see their 16th dispensation this year as voters select 20 winners out of a field of nominees that includes groundbreaking and trend-setting works published in 2002 such as Black Hole, 100 Bullets, and creators such as Daniel Clowes (20th Century Eightball), Dave Cooper (Weasel), Evan Dorkin (Dork), Phoebe Gloeckner (Diary of a Teenage Girl), Alan Moore (Promethea, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo)

The complete list of categories and nominees can be found on the Harvey Awards web site, http://harveyawards.org. This year's Harvey Awards are sponsored by DC Comics, Diamond Distributors, Dark Horse, Bongo, Slave Labor Graphics, and Cartoon Books.

This year's Harvey Awards winners will join a select group that includes most of comics' recent luminaries, including frequent winners Sergio Aragones (Groo), Robert Crumb, Alex Ross (Kingdom Come), Jeff Smith (Bone), Chris Ware (Acme Novelty Library), Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes), and many inductees into the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame.

In past years, the Harvey Awards have been presented to winners at large comics conventions. This year, winners will be notified by mail and the talented recipients of the 2003 Harvey Awards will be recognized at a special MoCCA reception later this year. The gala banquet that traditionally marks the Harvey Awards will resume in 2004.

The Harvey Awards were created in 1988 to honor Harvey Kurtzman (1924-1993), an artistic genius who founded MAD magazine in 1952 and supplied cartoons for its first 28 issues. After leaving MAD, Kurtzman helmed several magazines including Trump (for Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner), Humbug, and Help! His work went on to inspire many off-kilter cartoonists in the 70's and beyond, leading to The New York Times' claim that "[to] historians of pop culture, Mr. Kurtzman is one of the most important figures in postwar America" and earning him the nickname of "father-in-law of underground comix". Kurtzman's youngest daughter, Nellie, who was inspired by her father's profound influence to join the Harvey Awards Executive Committee, says that she and the committee "are very pleased" that "the Harvey Awards [are] joining MoCCA on a permanent basis."

About the MoCCA Art Festival

The Harvey Awards announcement is just one of many exciting events slated for inclusion in the 2003 MoCCA Art Festival; those attending this year's Art Fest will also have the opportunity to see (and purchase) works by over 200 comic and cartoon creators; attend a tribute to featured guest Art Spiegelman; hear panel discussions on Underground Comix, Newspaper Cartooning, and Comics in the Classroom, and/or watch an Animation session featuring noted animators Bill Plympton, R.O. Blechman, and Mo Willems among others.

Other artists in participating in this year's MoCCA Art Festival include Jessica Abel (La Perdida), Eddie Campbell (From Hell), Phoebe Gloeckner, (Diary of a Teenage Girl), Mike Mignola (Hellboy), Frank Miller (Sin City), Jeff Smith (Bone), Kaz (Underworld), and Craig Thompson (Blankets). For more information about this year's exhibitors and panels – as well as general information about the museum and other upcoming MoCCA events – visit the museum Website.

Last year's MoCCA Art Festival drew over 2,000 visitors to downtown Manhattan and earned raves from media outlets such as Time and the Village Voice (which named the first MoCCA Art Festival "the best small-press nexus (anywhere!)" in its Best of New York 2002 issue. This year's price of admission is the same as last June: a $5 donation to the museum covers access to exhibition halls as well as panels.

About MoCCA

The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts education organization dedicated to the collection, preservation, study and presentation of one of the world's most popular art forms. MoCCA's mission is to promote greater understanding and appreciation of the artistic, cultural and historical significance of comic and cartoon art.

The museum's headquarters – combining both office and exhibition space -- are located in New York City at 32 Union Square East, Suite 600. Exhibition space is generally open on Mondays/Fridays 11am-6pm and select Saturdays 10am-5pm. Schedule is subject to change according to MoCCA's event/exhibit calendar and availability of volunteers, so visitors are advised to call ahead (212-254-3511) before visiting.

Although MoCCA is proud and grateful to have office/exhibition space in Union Square, the organization -- which will celebrate its second anniversary in November 2003 -- is still seeking funding and appropriate facilities for a larger, permanent home for the museum in New York City.

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