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SYFY WIRE Harvey Awards

WandaVision, The Magic Fish & Chainsaw Man win big at Harvey Awards at NYCC

By Rich Sands

It was a magical night at the Harvey Awards. The Magic Fish, a YA graphic novel written and illustrated by Trung Le Nguyen, was the big winner, taking both the Book of the Year and Best Children or Young Adult Book awards. The ceremony was streamed Friday in conjunction with New York Comic Con.

The book tells the story of Tiến, a young Vietnamese-American boy learning to communicate with his immigrant parents, who struggle with English. In particular, he isn't sure how to tell them he is gay. They find common ground through reading fairy tales. The Magic Fish was the debut graphic novel for Nguyen, who contributed to DC's Pride and Festival of Heroes anthologies this past year.

"The specific way that I wanted to tell my story was kind of based off of my parents, who really did their best, but we don't have enough of a common language to discuss the nuances of queerness and the language to discuss queerness is evolving every day, all the time," Nguyen told Entertainment Weekly when the book was released last year.

The Magic Fish

He added that he wanted "to tell a coming out story where the queerness is not the source of the conflict. It's more that there is a communication barrier between people who genuinely love and support each other. I want younger readers to understand that it is reasonable for them to expect their parents to protect them no matter who or what they are. If they don't get that from their parents, that it's okay for them to feel bereft, because that's really not fair for them."

Other winners of Friday's awards — which are named for cartoonist Harvey Kurtzman, who founded MAD magazine — include Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe, a Webtoon series about the romance between Persephone and Hades that was named Digital Book of the Year.

Moms by Yeong-shin Ma, translated by Janet Hong and published by Drawn & Quarterly scored the Best International Book trophy. The book tells the story of two fiftysomething Korean women who grow tired with their boring lives and engage in a series of wild affairs and escapades.

VIZ Media's Chainsaw Man by Tatsuki Fujimoto, a wildly popular shonen action/horror series from Japan, took the award for Best Manga. "I consider this crude manga of mine unbefitting of any award, but I plan to continue to packing it full of all the things that I love," Fujimoto said in a statement. "If you ever happen to be handing out awards again, hit me up!"

The Disney+/Marvel series WandaVision was named Best Adaptation from a Comic Book or Graphic Novel, beating out a notable field that included The Boys, Loki, Superman & Lois, Invincible, and Sweet Tooth.

The Harvey Awards also added five members to its Hall of Fame. Legendary manga artist Rumiko Takahashi (Urusei Yatsura, Inuyasha) was inducted, along with four members of The Studio, a famed collective of artists in the 1970s: horror illustrator Bernie Wrightson (Swamp Thing), painter and cover artist Jeffrey Catherine Jones, comic book artist Barry Windsor-Smith (Conan the Barbarian, Weapon X), and Michael Kaluta (The Shadow, Starstruck).