The deadline for nominating works for the Hugo Awards is March 11, 2012. Members (as of January 31, 2012) of Renovation, Chicon 7, or LoneStarCon 3 are eligible to nominate. For the Graphic Story category, I have compiled a list of works that could be considered.
It is clear that Hugo readers are not avid comic book readers. There is little overlap of the Hugo nominees and any of the comics-related best-of lists and awards. The Hugo voters are going for fanish titles such as Girl Genius and Schlock Mercenary, along with obscure titles by fan-favorite writers such as Paul Cornell and Joss Whedon, and ignoring outstanding mainstream titles such as The Walking Dead, Locke & Key, Chew, 20th Century Boys, Return of the Dapper Men, and Irredeemable, to name a few. Yes, Y: The Last Man, Fables, and The Unwritten have been nominated, but there’s so much more good stuff not being recognized.
One of the troubles with this category is that much of what’s published is in a highly serialized form, with storylines sometimes extending over more than a year. Publishers typically gather six to ten issues into trade editions, and these are what get nominated. But in reality, these volumes don’t often represent entire, self-contained stories. How can one justify recognizing an incomplete story?
The comics world is producing more top-notch work than in any other Hugo category, yet only seven works made the 5% cutoff last year. Moreover, the Hugo voters have given the award to Girl Genius three years in a row. To his credit, Phil Foglio announced that he would not accept a nomination this year for Girl Genius. It remains to be seen whether this will be enough to convince this year’s Business Meeting to permanently ratify the Graphic Story category. As much of a comics fan as I am, if there is no greater diversity of nominees, I may have to support ending the category. Although the Hugo Award is a popularity contest, it should ideally represent a broad representation of the best of science fiction and fantasy.
The number of graphic stories that are published is staggering. I’ve tried to narrow down my list to titles that I’ve seen favorably reviewed. Nevertheless, I suspect I’ve missed worthy books. Most of the entries on the list are printed. I’m not a connoisseur of web comics, but I know there are some good ones being published. Even so, for a lot of web comics it’s hard to tell where stories start and stop and therefore what is eligible in a calendar year. Check with a site like Top Web Comics for a list of possibilities.
I’ve highlighted a few titles that have appeared on multiple best-of lists or that I have personal knowledge of being excellent. I challenge the Hugo nominators to think carefully about their choices and to not just fill in their ballots with last year’s nominees because you can’t think of anything else.
For your consideration:
Abominable Charles Christopher, Book One by Karl Kerschl
Amulet #4: The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi
Anita Blake: Circus of the Damned: The Ingenue by Laurell K. Hamilton, Jessica Booth, and Ron Lim
Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
B.P.R.D.: Being Human by Mike Mignola, et al.
Batman & Robin, Vol. 2: Batman vs. Robin by Grant Morrison, et al.
Batman: Eye of the Beholder by Tony Daniel
Batman: Noel by Lee Bermejo
The Bean, Vol. 1: Riddles & Shrooms by Travis Hanson
The Boys, Vol. 9: The Big Ride by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson
Blood Work by Kim Harrison, Pedro Maia and Gemma Magno
Brightest Day by Geoff Johns, et al.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Vol. 8: Last Gleaming by Joss Whedon, Scott Allie, and Georges Jeanty
Captain America: Man Out of Time by Mark Waid and Jorge Molina
Casanova, Vol. 1: Luxuria by Matt Fraction and Gabriel Bá
Chew, Vol. 4: Flambe by John Layman and Rob Guillory
The Clockwork Girl by Sean O’Reilly
Cowboys and Aliens by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg
The Dark-Hunters, Vol. 4 by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Daybreak by Brian Ralph
Deadpool MAX : Involuntary Armageddon by David Lapham, Kyle Baker, and Shawn Crystal
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Vol. 6 by Philip K. Dick and Tony Parker
Echo, Vol. 6: The Last Day by Terry Moore
Fables, Vol. 16: Super Team by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham
Fantastic Four, Vol. 4 by Jonathan Hickman, Steve Epting, Nick Dragotta, and Mark Brooks
5 Ronin by Peter Milligan, et al.
Flashpoint by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert
Flight of Angels by Rebecca Guay
Freeway by Mark Kalesniko
Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 27 by Hiromu Arakawa
George R. R. Martin’s Doorways by Stefano Martino and George R. R. Martin
Green Lantern: War of the Green Lanterns by Geoff Johns, et al.
Green Woman by Peter Straub, Michael Easton, and John Bolton
The Griff: A Graphic Novel by Christopher Moore and Ian Corson
The Gunslinger – The Little Sisters of Eluria by Stephen King, Peter David, Robin Furth, Luke Ross, and Richard Isanove
Habibi by Craig Thompson
Harbor Moon by Ryan Colucci, Dikran Ornekian, and Pawel Sambor
Hellboy: House of the Living Dead by Mike Mignola and Richard Corben
I Will Bite You! by Joseph Lambert
iZombie, Vol. 2: uVampire by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred
Jericho Season 3 by Alejandro F. Giraldo
Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files: Fool Moon by Chase Conley, Jim Butcher, and Mark Powers
Joe the Barbarian, by Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy
Kill Shakespeare, Vol. 2 by Conor McCreery, Anthony Del Col, and Andy Belanger
The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Guay
Mangaman by Barry Lyga and Colleen Doran
Marineman: A Matter of Life & Depth by Ian Churchill
Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, Vol. 18 by Naoki Urasawa
Philip K. Dick’s Electric Ant by Philip K. Dick, David Mack, and Pascal Alixe
Phoenix Without Ashes by Harlan Ellison and Alan Robinson
Pinocchio by Winshluss
Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes adapted by Ron Wimberly
7 Billion Needles, Vol. 4 by Nobuaki Tadano
Super Dinosaur, Vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman
Superboy, Vol. 1: Smallville Attacks by Jeff Lemire, Pier Gallo, and Marco Rudy
Superman: Secret Origin by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank
Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 2 by Stephenie Meyer and Young Kim
Uncanny X-Force: The Dark Angel Saga, Book 1 by Rick Remender, Jerome Opena, Billy Tan, and Mark Brooks
The Unwritten, Vol. 4: Leviathan by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
Vampire Academy by Leigh Dragoon and Emma Vieceli
The Walking Dead, Vol. 14, No Way Out by Robert Kirkman
Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris, Vol. 1: The Colossus of Mars by Arvid Nelson and Carlos Rafael
Wonder Struck by Brian Selznick
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young
Xombi by John Rozum and Fraser Irving