Hugo Category Highlight: Best Graphic Story


Best Graphic Story A science fiction or fantasy story told in graphic form, such as a comic book, graphic novel, or webcomic.

This one is nice and simple as a category. The problem here is the spoiled for choice issue. There are so many good options. This is one of the reasons I’ve largely not added much to the list in any categories.

Seriously, how do you pick the best from this lot? There’s the consistently brilliant:

  • Schlock Mercenary
  • Girl Genius (I gather the creators have more or less permanently withdrawn themselves from consideration so someone else can win it, they’re that good)
  • Freefall

The intermittently wonderful:

  • Sluggy Freelance (Sluggy depends a lot on which plot arc you’re dealing with – and honestly, I don’t think any of the 2015 arcs were particularly outstanding. I still haven’t recovered from the magnificence that was the Dimension of Pain invasion of the Dimension of Lame.)
  • Evil Inc (although I’m not a fan of any of the 2015 arcs)

The moments of genius:

  • Doc Rat (often descends into really bad puns but then there are arcs that are just… brilliant)
  • Earthsong (which has a unique concept and has so far pulled out several twists I didn’t see coming)
  • The Zombie Hunters (again, has had a number of very good arcs including at least one in 2015)

And that’s just a short list from some of the webcomics I follow. It doesn’t touch manga or comic books or graphic novels or… Yeah. There’s a ton of it out there, a huge collection of it independent or non-traditional. I also didn’t mention the utterly weird but often brilliant webcomics I follow because most of those are the kind of thing you either fall for or loathe on sight.

I’m sure for the Retros there are some classic DC, Marvel, Disney and other comics that would hit the eligibility period (and probably even more that are pure unadulterated crappy propaganda. I have standards damn it. If I’m going to be fed propaganda, I want good propaganda. Well-written, with messages that don’t smack me around the head but creep in under the skin. How hard is… Oh, nevermind.)

If you haven’t already, or if you have and have more to add, drop your recommendations in here

Obligatory warning message: I will be closing the site to recommendations at the end of February. Don’t be left out!

Obligatory warning message 2: It might be too late to sign up to nominate, but you can still sign up to vote!

Obligatory warning message 3: kjmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmjhuuuuuuuuuuu (Beware the kitten-berserker whowq2 mmmmmmmmmm walks on keyboards)


  1. I didn’t know that web comics were covered under Graphic Stories.

    What bout ones that are set up as Issues – with the intent to be printed some day?

    I’d like to nominate Code Name: Hunter. Issue 22 was done in 2015

    CNH has some great characters, good use of magic and some fantastic art. The only draw back I can see is that #22 drops into the middle of a story arc that has been running since 2012.

    1. for some reason it was not letting me post a comment. 😦

      I was asking about a web comic that is set up as issues called Code Name Hunter by Darc Sowers (going to leave off the link this time)

      CNH has some great characters, good use of magic and fantastic art. The only draw back is that issue #22 (the issue from 2015) drops into the middle of an arc that started in 2012.

  2. Naruto. This ended its run in 2014, but the final arc was published in English in 2015. This was a well executed ninja story published by Shonen Jump. ‘What price being trustworthy?’

    Completeness requires me to mention the webcomic Stand Still, Stay Silent, and Jim Zub’s Wayward comic book.

    If you want to go SJW, Howard Taylor has said that Italian Americans, Irish Americans, and Cuban Americans are not fully human.

      1. Sorry, I misspelled the last name.

        It only simplifies that way if you use some of the SJW rules for interpreting speech. Remember the paper that ran that strip of Cruz’s kids as organ grinder monkeys*?

        That was the context of a twitter exchange. I saw Tayler make three statements. These were an endorsement of the cartoonist, a condemnation of the cartoonist, and a stronger condemnation of Ted Cruz.

        Probably the worst way one could interpret it under sensible rules is that Taylor uses a litmus test when he evaluates how offensive political speech is.

        *This apparently was a racist way of depicting Italians, and the kids have Italian ancestry through Cruz.

  3. To be eligible in any given year, a webcomic must have completed a distinct chapter (or however the comic divides). Girl Genius completed a book this year (Act 2, Volume 2); so did Schlock (Book 15: Delegates and Delegation); but Freefall has never yet given us anything like a chapter break and is therefore not eligible.

    1. Freefall has headings in the index. The current one starts in 2014, and so wouldn’t be eligible.

  4. Phil and Kaja apparently did not intend to withdraw Girl Genius for all time and would likely welcome a nomination this year if I read his blog correctly.

    Bill Holbrook’s Kevin and Kell uses SF tropes at its core and deserves some love, although I’d have to check to see if there was a suitable arc in 2015.

  5. Can I put in a good word for ‘Skin Horse?’ It’s a wonderful webcomic about black ops social services, mostly dealing with the creations of mad scientists.

  6. Can I put in a good word for ‘Skin Horse?’ It’s a wonderful webcomic about black ops social services, mostly dealing with the creations of mad scientists.

    (Unsure if this went through the first time)

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