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2014 Hugos: Best Graphic Story - Bela Lugosi's Dead, Jim
June 14th, 2014
05:50 pm
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2014 Hugos: Best Graphic Story

General notes:

  • Major spoilers for everything on the ballot!
  • Reviews in order of reading/watching.

My current ranking is:

  1. Saga, Volume 2
  2. Girl Genius, Volume 13 (but hard to rank this with Saga)
  3. Time
  4. The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who
  5. No award
  6. The Meathouse Man

Girl Genius, Volume 13: Agatha Heterodyne & The Sleeping City (Phil and Kaja Foglio, Cheyenne Wright)

A recent volume of a series I’ve been following for some online, but I re-skimmed the PDF from the packet anyway. Agatha brings her primary weapon/ally back into full operation, making her exceptionally powerful (albeit in a localized way), only to suffer twin misfortunes at the hands of her enemies. By the end of the volume she is back among allies and plotting her next move. A bit more light is shed on some of the other characters and some of their relationships moved forward a bit. Effective and exuberant artwork. A great deal of fun.

Saga, Volume 2 (Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples)

Marko, Alana and their child Hazel continue their flight from their various more or less unpleasant pursuers. The story picks up just after Marko’s parents have found them, initially resulting in a dangerous detour and delay. Their eventual escape has a whiff of destroying the over-powerful tool because its availability would undermine the plot in the future, but on the whole it hangs together. Beautiful and detailed artwork. This would be a deserving winner.

Time (Randall Munroe)

(Reasonably usable viewer at http://geekwagon.net/projects/xkcd1190/).

Unusual technical approach to a story about the refilling of an emptied Mediterranean (an occasionally recurring theme in SF: Dan Simmons and Julian May have both gone there). While the story isn’t uninteresting it’s a bit slow on the slow side (even with the assistance of a viewer that can skip straight to key frames) and (I’m going slightly from memory here) raises more background questions than it answers (for instance: why is the world this shape, and how do the two characters come to be making such elaborate sandcastles).

It’s stick-figure art. It’s not bad stick figure art, but in the context of this Hugo category puts it at a disadvantage to the competition. More seriously, it was also completely impractical to follow in the form in which it was originally published.

The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who (Paul Cornell, Jimmy Broxton)

Doctor Who finds himself in the real world, and runs into Doctor Who fans, Matt Smith, a stray Cyberman, etc. Competent but unexciting art. There are no surprises in here and it’s a bit heavy on the “isn’t Doctor Who culture wonderful. Harmless fun, but best? Seems like a stretch.

The Meathouse Man (George R. R. Martin, Raya Golden)

Turned down by a girl, Trager migrates to another planet in the hope of better luck, because that’s a totally proportionate reaction. As it turns out his luck is only temporarily improved. If that weren’t depressing enough, Trager is a mixture of slave master and party to mass murder (slavery in this story is implemented by swapping out he victim’s brain for a remote control endpoint), something that apparently bothers neither him nor anyone else. The characterful artwork is the only positive element I can find.

Overall, I hated it.

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