Before I go into this year’s choices, I want to observe that the Best Graphic Story category has really improved. I was dismayed by the dominance of one particular series which won the first three awards made in this category, and which I never really liked; and I was also concerned that this category’s finalists in general in general didn’t seem closely related to the comics that I read and like.
But I didn’t feel this gave me a mandate to try and nuke the awards; instead I just voted for stuff I liked, while whining online about the stuff I didn’t like, and eventually the situation changed. The superb Digger and the first volume of Saga won, and although I didn’t have the patience for last year’s winner, I like the writer’s other work, and can accept that this too was a rewarding experience for those prepared to watch it properly.
I found this year’s finalists pretty easy to rank, as follows (with links to my reviews, none of which are long):
1) Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt
2) Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick, written by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky
As I wrote earlier, this is different and imaginative.
3) Saga Volume 3, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples
4) Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery, written by Kurtis J. Weibe, art by Roc Upchurch
5) No Award.
There is another finalist, but it is only there because a racist misogynist instrumentalised it as part of his plan to destroy the Hugos. So I am therefore not ranking it at all. I suspect that if I was ranking on literary merit, I probably wouldn’t give it an awfully high vote, not being a huge fan of zombie fiction or of this particular style of webcomic (it is similar to Schlock Mercenary, which a lot of people loved but I didn’t); but I’m not, so the question doesn’t arise.
A couple of people who nominated this and other slate works have already had the honesty to admit that they just nominated what they were told to, without having read any of it. I note that not a single person has reviewed this particular work on Amazon or registered their ownership of it on Goodreads or LibraryThing, although between 60 and 201 people nominated it. I find that conclusive evidence, if any more were needed, that its presence on the ballot is the result of a political stunt rather than any genuine literary consideration, and I am treating it accordingly.
No blame, of course, attaches to the writer/artist, whose own views on this sorry situation are not known to me and would make no difference to my vote if I did know them.
2015 Hugos: Initial observations | Voting No Award above the slates | How the slate was(n’t) crowdsourced | Where the new voters are
Best Novel | Short fiction | Best Related Work | Best Graphic Story | Pro and Fan Artist | Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), Best Fan Writer, John W. Campbell Award