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Hugo Thoughts: Graphic Story

Of the five nominees, the collection from The Zombie Nation was recommended by both the Sad and Rabid (SR) puppies. The rest of the category is puppy-free.

  • Ms. Marvel: The first page includes Kamala Khan smelling bacon and saying, “Delicious, delicious infidel meat” and someone responding, “Chow or chow not. There is no smell.” I was officially intrigued. A few pages later, we discover Kamala writes Avengers fanfic. She’s also struggling with her own identity, torn between cultures and dealing with ignorance and prejudice. She dreams about being powerful and blonde and beautiful like Ms. Marvel…and then she gets her wish. Sort of. And discovers it’s not what she imagined. This is a superhero origin story that plays off of our expectations, because Kamala has grown up in a world of superheroes. She’s an Avengers fangirl. She has to unlearn what she has learned, in order to become, in her words, “a shape-changing mask-wearing sixteen-year-old super ‘moozlim’ from Jersey City.” There’s a lot of humor, and some good depth and complexity to Kamala and her family and friends. There’s also a supervillain, of course, but that’s secondary to the story of Kamala coming of age and learning to navigate and incorporate the different parts of her identity.
  • Rat Queens: Smart-ass D&D-style all-female adventuring team with good artwork, humor, attitude, profanity, and a great cast of secondary characters to go with it. Including an orc cleric who gets bluebirds in his beard when he casts healing spells. I bought this volume last year, and I’ve got the next one on my wish list. The Rat Queens are well-written, complex characters who are utterly unapologetic about who and what they are. They’re also fiercely loyal to one another. I liked this even more when I reread it to refresh my memory for the Hugos. With both Rat Queens and Ms. Marvel, I’m sure there will be people complaining that they’re politically correct, feminist, Message Stories. Are they feminist? Sure. They’re also fun as hell. Beyond that, I’ll let Hannah respond to the haters.
    Hannah, from Rat Queens
  • Saga: I’m afraid this one didn’t work for me. Part of the problem is that this is Volume 3, and I was coming into the middle of a pretty complex and ongoing story about an ongoing, interplanetary war. The blending of science fiction and fantasy elements was fascinating, and there’s a lot of good worldbuilding, as well as some great details. I love Lying Cat, a sphynx/lynx-like creature who can sense lies, to great effect. I don’t think it’s bad, and it’s possible I’d be much more invested if I started from the beginning, but as it is, I’m afraid the story just didn’t draw me in. I’ll probably rank it above No Award, but it won’t be one of my top choices.
  • Sex Criminals: So imagine when you orgasmed, time basically just stopped for a while, and the world went all glowy and psychedelic. This isn’t something you’ll want to read at work. (Well, depending on where you work, I guess.) But it’s an interesting premise and a good story. It also addresses and challenges the rather prudish attitudes folks tend to have toward sex, starting with young Suzie’s efforts to understand what’s happening to her, and all the ways those efforts get shut down. Generally amusing and entertaining, though I didn’t feel like I just had to pick up the next volume. A middle-of-the-ballot pick for me.
  • The Zombie Nation (SR): This one wasn’t included in the Hugo Voters Packet, but the nominated work is a collection from an ongoing webcomic, available here. I clicked through some of the recent comics, then went back and read through some from the beginning. I didn’t find the gags particularly funny. The actual art isn’t bad, but I don’t see this one earning a place above No Award for me.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.



( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 24th, 2015 12:59 am (UTC)
I know several people who absolutely love Saga, but I still would have Ms. Marvel and Rat Queens as my two picks. (If I shelled out the bucks to vote, that is.)

Did you get up to the point where Kamala meets Wolverine? I can't recall if that's in the first book or not, as I keep up with it monthly via a pull list.
May. 24th, 2015 04:17 pm (UTC)
It's not in the first book, but I've seen bits of that meeting online, and loved it :-)
May. 26th, 2015 09:38 pm (UTC)
The bit with Wolverine contains possibly my favourite line from Kamala, with regard to him having lost his healing factor. Not repeating it here so as not to spoil it for those who may not have gotten that far yet, but it made me snort tea out my nose.
May. 27th, 2015 06:31 pm (UTC)
Yes! That whole book is amazing, though. :)
May. 24th, 2015 01:06 am (UTC)
I've only read the part of Saga that's in the packet, but I really liked it. Ms. Marvel and Rat Queens were good, too. Haven't gotten to Sex Criminals yet.

I read some of Zombie Nation. Kinda seems like it's trying to be Oglaf, but not nearly as funny (I love Oglaf). And about zombies. Enh.
May. 24th, 2015 02:15 am (UTC)
I don't read graphic novels (I know, gasp from the audience) but I have to admit that the snippet from Red Queens and your description of it was almost enough to make me want to take it up.
May. 24th, 2015 04:16 pm (UTC)
I don't read a lot of graphic novels either, but I'd say that one's worth checking out if you get the chance. Maybe see if the library has it in, if you want to try it out?
May. 24th, 2015 10:58 am (UTC)
Rat Queens has my heart and I am driving my local comic book store crazy asking when volume two will be out.
May. 24th, 2015 11:50 am (UTC)
It's already out!
May. 24th, 2015 12:03 pm (UTC)
Not in Australia, alas.
May. 24th, 2015 05:10 pm (UTC)
And zhat, would be why me missus buys it electronically and loads it on to proprietary, jail broken (and thus surprisingly cheap) tablet like substance.
Because paying import prices for comics in melbourne is only slightly more expensive than paying for a heroin habit. NO fighting with sir rob required either
May. 24th, 2015 02:08 pm (UTC)
I was part of the Kickstarter for Uncanny Magazine and recently read an editorial that explained the Sad Puppies balloting. I'd gotten most of the story, but it was good to get all of it along with a history of the award. The thing that I definitely did not know was that the supporting membership gets you a voting bag that includes ebooks of most of the nominees. That definitely seems worth the price of admission and I'll probably start buying them now.

Who knows, maybe I'll even get to go to a WorldCon! It's been 5ish yeas since I've been to a scifi con, the last one was in Dallas, I recall not the name, but Bujold was the GoH and my wife and I are huge fans of her.
May. 24th, 2015 04:17 pm (UTC)
The Hugo Voters Packet is generally a very nice bonus. It doesn't include everything, and the formatting is better with some items than others, but it's nice to have the extra reading material :-)
May. 29th, 2015 10:26 pm (UTC)
That would be Denvention, in 2008. Her GOH speech at that one is particularly memorable, all about genres and genre.
May. 30th, 2015 12:43 pm (UTC)
Nope, it was Dallas '09, it was right after I was diagnosed with an immune disorder and began treatment. I've only attended SF cons in Phoenix, Tucson, and Dallas. But we're considering BuboniCon in ABQ in August, it's only 4 hours or so away.

Her GoH speech at this one was quite good as I recall, and she later did a reading from Cryoburn and a general Q&A. And she has a new Vorkosigan book due next summer.
Jun. 2nd, 2015 06:15 pm (UTC)
Next year's is in Kansas City, so probably do-able from your region.

The e-books thing started in 2008, but was off for a couple of years (because of varying con-runners) before really clicking into place in 2011. Even though it's so recent, it's entrenched enough that some people were very upset last year when one publisher decided to only provide excerpts of the novels. (I don't think that was a wise move on their part, but since they are providing it gratis, it is their choice.)

The best part, IMO, is getting access to all of the short works that otherwise disappear into the Land of Remaindered Ephemera. I only started voting in 2011 because of the e-packet. (I had the option in 2008 but had also just had my first kid and was distracted.)
May. 26th, 2015 04:46 am (UTC)
I would give Saga 1 and 2 a go, and then come back to 3. It's really quite an amazing story.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )


Jim C. Hines


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