Hugo Awards: Best Graphic Story   2 comments

Well, I just learned that a few of the webcomics I read qualify for a new Hugo category! That’s right, the humble world of webcomics qualifies for the most prestigious award that sci-fi has to offer! And I’d like to give special attention to two of them.

First of all, Phil and Kaja Foglio have an elligible story. Their 8th volume of the Girl Genius comic, “Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones” is beautifully drawn and magnificently written (which isn’t really a surprise as it is, after all, a Girl Genius comic). The story is a fun and slightly creepy adventure.

The other story I’d like to point out is Howard Taylor’s “Schlock Mercenary: The Body Politic.” Now, while Howard’s artistry isn’t quite as breathtaking as what you see in Girl Genius (by his own admission), and while his stories have comedic elements highly infused throughout all the serialized drama, I think that it actually surpasses Girl Genius in a few ways.

To begin with, while both stories are fun and adventurous romps through science fiction, I think that Howard Taylor’s work meets more of the qualification for the “science” half of the science fiction combo. Girl Genius is a gaslight fantasy, a sort of wild extrapolation of what Jules Verne might have given us. A lot of the sci-fi elements within are actually well-disguised elements of fantasy that hide behind the “Heisenburg Compensator Gambit.” (Star Trek fans and physics students probably know what I’m talking about when I mention Heisenburg Compensators, and the physics students could probably tell you why the name sounds sciencey but is in fact fantasyey.)

Now, that isn’t to say that Schlock Mercenary is completely devoid of Fantasy elements, especially not considering the story that The Body Politic presents. Though in general, Taylor’s military space opera has a firmer rooting in science than the sparks and mad scientist who play in Studio Foglio’s gaslight world.

Still, that’s the rub isn’t it? It’s very tempting for me to judge the Entire story of Schlock Mercenary against the Entire story of Girl Genius, but that’s not what’s elligible. The elligibility falls to fairly well defined aspects of those two stories, chapters within the larger framework.

Regardless, I would love it if either of these webcomics won a Hugo. That would rock so many kinds of world. Seriously, M Class on down.

For those who might be interested in reading these two stories that I mention (though there are, of course, other options. I should look into it and see if the Zap! webcomic would qualify in any way…), here’s a couple links. Knock yerself out. And if you’ve never read Schlock Mercenary or Girl Genius (or Zap!) before? Then you’re in for a major treat.

Here be the stories themselves…

And here be the websites proper.

And for the record, Howard Taylor has started offering this particular story for a free download to anyone who doesn’t want to go through the hassle of clicking through his archives. Excellent move, if you ask me (I initially said, “Dude, doesn’t a large part of your income depend on people buying your books?” Then I said, “Hey, self, the books are already available easily anyway, this won’t hurt the dead tree sales.”)

So, I hope you enjoy the worlds of Schlock Mercenary and Girl Genius! Congrats to both. Here’s hoping that a webcomic takes home a Hugo! Seriously, even if it’s a webcomic that I never read I’ll probably cheer for joy. Though yeah, it’d be more awesome if it was one that I did.


2 responses to “Hugo Awards: Best Graphic Story

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  1. Interesting… I never knew that. I’d personally go for Nawlz (at, which is a highly interactive cyberpunk tale.

  2. Interesting, I’ll have to check out Nawlz.

    Is there a certain segment of the story that you think would best meet the criteria for the Hugo?

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