2013 Hugo Awards announced, no webcomic wins

The 2013 Hugo Awards — the Oscars for the science fiction community — were announced two days ago at LoneStarCon 3 in the lovely city of San Antonio, Texas. Among the winners were The Avengers (for “Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form” … what?!?!? This qualifies as sci-fi now? WHAT?!?!?!?!) and the Game of Thrones TV show. Something called Redshirts won the Best Novel award. Also, for the first time ever the “Best Graphic Story” award did NOT go to a webcomic.  This time around, it went to Brian K. Vaughn’s Saga.

The Best Graphic Story award was introduced in 2009, and Girl Genius its inaugural winner.  The comic went on to win the next two awards (2010, 2011). 

The Foglios then recused themselves, hoping to spread the joy to other nominees. The next year, Ursula Vernon’s Digger was up for nomination right as the saga was coming to a close. It won in 2012.

This somewhat momentous streak of webcomics being recognized in a field that’s not primarily about sequential art comes to an end, though. Saga, that comic with the demon lady breast-feeding her baby on the cover of Issue One, puts the ball back into the court of the print-media types (though with same-day-digital being such a big thing these days, even that distinction is incredibly blurry). Always-the-bridesmaid-never-the-bride Schlock Mercenary was on the list of nominees, but missed out on the big award again this year.

Let’s take this meaningless award and extremely phallic trophy back in 2014, webcomics!


About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on September 3, 2013, in comics, The Webcomic Overlook and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Forget The Avengers – how the heck does Game of Thrones qualify as sci-fi?!

    And I’m surprised to hear that Schlock Mercenary has never taken home the trophy; as one of the most well-known sci-fi comics on the web, I think it certainly deserves the award. (And I’m saying this as someone who’s not really much of a Schlock Mercenary fan.)

    • I think at some point the Hugos expanded their offering to fantasy as well, so Game of Thrones qualifies. (I don’t know when this happened. I’m not about to look into the titles to see if “Swords” and “Dragons” refers to the fantasy kind or the light-sabery/”Dragonriders of Pern” kind.) I personally don’t think the Avengers do at all, though. That’s a superhero movie through and through. Sure, there were aliens and sci-fi inventions and stuff, but I like to imagine that the Hugos took their sci-fi more seriously than that.

      It’s hardly the first time there’s been a dust-up, though. I remember there being a controversy when J.K. Rowling won the Best Novel award. Out of all the awards in the Hugos, the Best Novel is the most sacrosanct, and for a kids/young adults book to take home the prize was seen by a lot of people as being blatantly opportunistic.

      But, you know, maybe that’s a commentary on the evolution of science fiction and fantasy genres in general.

      • Whether or not “the Avengers” deserves the award for quality reasons, its a movie with a radiation created monster, an alien invasion, a genius in power armor and a genetically enhanced super-soldier. How is that NOT scifi?

        • It’s a matter of degrees, basically.

          Or, let’s put it this way. If comic book sci-fi is going to be OK to win the award… then how come comic book sci fi isn’t up for every Hugo Award? Like, why is Saga up for an award and not The Avengers comic itself? After all, it’s technically sci-fi, right?

          And then we get to the point of … why does the Hugo Award even exist at all if everything operates of comic book logic anyway?

          The again, that’s been the case for the Hugos for a long, long time. Check out the 2011 Hugo Awards for Best Dramatic Presentation some time. Inception was the winner, which for me, makes sense. Very sci-fi.

          But then the other nominees were: How to Train Your Dragon (fantasy fiction, so OK), Harry Potter (eh, JK Rowling already set a precedent), Scott Pilgrim (kiiinnda stretching it), and… Toy Story 3. Which is where I start scratching my head and start going, “That’s sci-fi/fantasy now?”

          So basically my point is that for an award that his a nifty rocket-shaped trophy and can claim to have Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Heinlein, and Frank Herbert as past winners, the meaning of the award itself has gotten really, really muddy.

          Does The Avengers and Toy Story 3 really represent sci-fi/fantasy at its pinnacle? Would you hold either as a masterpiece of sci-fi/fantasy in the same vein as even Ursula K. Le Guin or Larry Niven?

          If the answer is “no”, then what the heck does the award stand for anymore?

  2. Woo! Saga!!

    Probably one of my most favorite printed comics in recent years. And I really hate myself for catching up on the issues so quickly, the wait is killing me!

  3. Quality of web comics is improving. Soon, they will win awards big time.

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