Forward to next post: Your shiny new surveillance dystopia, freshly unpacked
(Sorry. I should’ve finished this up weeks ago. I’m sure lots of people have already submitted their nominations.)
Each year that the Best Graphic Story Hugo award category has existed, I’ve complained about all the great work that doesn’t even get nominated. I won’t be able to afford a Worldcon membership this year, so I can’t cast a vote or submit a nomination myself, but I figure I can yell “Hey, Worldcon members! Comics!” in the vicinity of some deserving stuff.
Written and drawn by Carla Speed McNeil
Latest volume of the amazing science-fiction series Finder. This is also the first volume to be published by Dark Horse Press, instead of McNeil’s own Lightspeed Press. You can find it in comic stores, or get it from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or Powell’s. Don’t worry if you haven’t read the earlier books — this one was written to be new-reader friendly.
The story? Rachel Grosvenor is competing to join the social aristocracy of the arcology-state of Anvard, which in her case (as one of the Llaverac clan) means passing a sort of combination beauty pageant and dog show. But then the centuries-old heirloom ring she needs to qualify is stolen. Fortunately Jaeger Ayers, a professional “finder” with an aptitude for locating lost things, is a family friend. Unfortunately, Jaeger’s nowhere to be found. Trying to find the finder takes Rachel into the (both figuratively and literally) dark parts of Anvard, the crime-ridden levels where poor people live, the parts of the city that she’s never really even had to think about before.
McNeil has not just the science fiction writer’s knack for thinking about how cultures work, but also a strong sense for how people work, how they interact and think. And she’s got the artistic chops to convey thought and emotion through facial expression and body language. I cannot think of a comic published in 2011 that is more deserving of the attention of science fiction fans.
Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life
Written and drawn by Kit Roebuck
I can’t summarize this better than the author did: “A philosophical road comic about two unemployed robots on an improvised interplanetary voyage of self discovery.” One hundred strips, forming a continuous story. Started several years back, but finished in August 2011. There’s also a book planned.
Written and drawn by Christopher Baldwin
Comedic space opera. A group of contemporary Earth people are scooped up by an alien and drawn into the politics surrounding an attempt to free an enslaved alien species. Full of space battles, inter-species sex, and parliamentary maneuvering.
The Abominable Charles Christopher
Written and drawn by Karl Kerschl
A beautifully-drawn story about a forest full of talking animals, and a childlike yeti who I think might turn out to be Enkidu.
Written and drawn by Trudy Cooper
Hilarious fantasy porn webcomic (don’t click that link at work unless your boss is relaxed about that kind of thing) that just published its first collection in book form in November 2011. Well-drawn, and one of the funniest humor comics on the net. OK, here are some clean ones: one, two, three. While many of the strips stand on their own, there are also some recurring characters and multi-strip plots, so you’re best off scrolling to the bottom of the Archive page and starting from the beginning.
Dicebox (written and drawn by Jenn Manley Lee) would also be a strong contender, but I think it’s ineligible. Even though the print collection just came out last year, it collects material that appeared online up through 2010, I think. A similar problem keeps me from suggesting Starstruck (written by Elaine Lee, art by Micharl Kaluta and Lee Moyer), which just had a great big deluxe print edition come out last year, collecting comics printed over the previous couple of years, themselves reprinting material going all the way back to the ’80s. If not for the wording of the Hugo rules, I’d have a really hard time figuring out which of these two or Finder to recommend for the award.
I’ve also heard really good things about The Meek (by Der-shing Helmer) and Gunnerkrigg Court (by Tom Siddell), but haven’t gotten around to reading either of ‘em yet. (I’m actually way behind on Dicebox as well. And only got around to Starstruck last week.)