Previously on Hugo Choices:
Best Graphic Story
The choices are:
The Divine: written by Boaz Lavie, art by Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka (First Second)
Erin Dies Alone: written by Grey Carter, art by Cory Rydell (dyingalone.net)
Full Frontal Nerdity: by Aaron Williams (ffn.nodwick.com)
Invisible Republic Vol 1: written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, art by Gabriel Hardman (Image Comics)
The Sandman – Overture: written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)
This category is an oddity. The finalists match the Rabid Puppy slate but none of the works are particularly representative of Rabid goals. The inclusion of Neil Gaiman/J.h.Williams Sandman prequel in the Rabid slate was an obvious attempt at trying to pick what was most likely to be a finalist anyway. The stature of Gaiman’s original Sandman stories is unarguable and Gaiman himself is a favourite with Worldcon voters, so it doesn’t take great prognosticatory skills to pick his return to The Sandman as a probable finalist.
So what’s worth voting for here? A key thing to remember is that this category is best graphic STORY. The medium is different but this is still a story category. On this basis Full Frontal Nerdity, while not unentertaining, really isn’t award worthy. Erin Dies Alone is interesting and has that quality of many webcomics of starting in a way that seems relatively superficial (in this case a parody of video game tropes) but shows more depth and complexity as it goes on – but it still feels like early days for it. I’d like to see where it goes in the future but I don’t think it is an award-worthy story at this point.
1. The Sandman. Gaiman probably doesn’t need any more awards but that isn’t a sound basis for voting. Complex and yet familiar – this a hard entry to beat, building on one of the most notable graphic stories ever (is that hyperbole?)
2. Invisible Republic. I really enjoyed this but as volume 1 of a series, but it isn’t clear where this will go. The story is a tense thriller set on colony moon/planet that has recently had a governmental collapse. An off-world journalist finds a journal which reveals a hitherto unknown history to the early life of a revolutionary leader. Switching between the past of the journal and the present of the journalists investigation, the story manages an interesting take on the politics of revolt. Will it maintain this strength in the future? I don’t know.
3. The Divine. In a fictional country that looks pretty much like Burma/Myanmar, an explosive expert is confronted by a band of children who may be guerrillas or maybe something far stranger. Entertaining and interesting but I feel this self-contained graphic novel rests too much on stock characters (especially the thuggish militaristic American bad guy in a south-east asian country).
4. No Award.
5. Erin Dies Alone. Not cooked yet for an award but worthy enough to still get on the ballot.
6. Full Frontal Nerdity. Sorry – doesn’t get on my ballot. The category is not ‘OK webcomic’ but ‘best graphic story’