This is my category, being a comic book fan. I've even got a graphic novel writing credit to my name (one of the stories in True Cat Toons by Roberta Gregory). I read a lot of comics every month, but none of the nominees are on my pull list. These are all new to me, but I know exactly what I look for in a comic book story. So here goes.
- Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt, (Marvel Comics)
So this is a book I wasn't aware of... from a company I don't usually buy much from. Kamala Khan is an interesting character and the origin story was fine, but not so unique or interesting that I was impresed with it. There are a few minor plot holes and gaps, and the book seems to jump a little in parts instead of flowing from scene to scene. The art is ok, but not fantastic. Overall, it's a fine little book, but I've read better things in the past year. The packet version also had an annoying "Hugo Voters Packet" watermark across every single page that sometimes obscured the text. I didn't mind that it was there, but it needed to be slightly lighter to not interfere with reading the book.
- Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery, written by Kurtis J. Weibe, art by Roc Upchurch (Image Comics)
This reads like a particularly goofy D&D campaign... which it's clearly based on. It's vulgar and funny and disturbing, and there's an actual plotline with twists and turns and romance. The art ranges from merely competent to pretty good, but isn't a style I enjoy much. For that matter, I'm not really all that much into the vulgar side of things. It didn't go too far, although I wouldn't go showing it to some of my friends. There were bits that I really liked, such as the Four Daves, and the bluebirds in the beard. This is a fun book, but not one I'd be inclined to get for myself.
- Saga Volume 3, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
Um, wow. This is a complete package, despite being volume three of a series. The book starts with a kind of framing sequence that gets the reader up to speed very quickly, and that framing sequence even gets a conclusion of sorts before the end of the volume. There are a couple of main plotlines and in each one the characters are introduced carefully and as completely as needed. There's plenty left out, much of which can be deduced from context, the remainder of which makes me want to go read more. The art is good, although I have lots of questions about the people that inhabit this universe. For a bit, I doubted the wings were actually wings. Overall, an excellent book. I've never read Saga before, though I'd heard of it, so it was all new and interesting to me.
- Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick, written by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)
So, I said Rat Queens was a little too vulgar for me... this one is... problematic. I can't even explain the premise without blushing. That said, it's a really interesting premise and one that has a lot of promise for storytelling. Stopping time is an old trope of science fiction, the method is what's unusual. The story hangs together nicely, introducing the characters with only a couple of twitches that made me say, "huh?" For the most part this was a well-plotted storyline with decent artwork. Anyone easily offended would want to avoid it, but it's not bad at all.
- The Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate, Carter Reid (The Zombie Nation)
Because this wasn't in the packet, I looked online and found the webcomic. I attempted to figure out what strips were in the collection, but there doesn't appear to be any handy listing, so I'm not entirely sure. What does seem clear is that the zombies in this aren't mindless, they are basically normal folks with odd quirks. The strips themselves are jumbled into a variety of different types, some of which aren't bad while others are just strange. There appears to be an ongoing plot, constantly interrupted by other stuff. Put up against the competition, this really doesn't stand well.
So, $40 got me all this short fiction, four graphic novels I wouldn't have normally read, three novels, and a reason to seriously review instead of do my short opinionated capsules... In addition, I've been obsessed enough that my husband told everyone on Facebook that I'm dating Hugo. So far I'm really enjoying this, even though some of the work isn't what I'd call award-worthy. I may just have to do this next year. I'm also considering voting in the site selection for 2017, which apparently requires me to buy a supporting membership for that year... which I'm not opposed to doing.
File 770 is continuing both round-ups of the Hugo debates and ongoing ideas for how to prevent slates from dominating in the future as well as a proposal to add "series" to the Hugo award categories. The debates are interesting just to see where everyone stands on the current dust-up, and if there's a current dust-up. The proposal for a new category is... well, I don't see the need for it, personally. As I noted above, a really strong book in a series can often stand on its own. And if it can't, I'm not convinced it deserves an award. But that's just me. I suppose other people will have completely different views.
There's also a proposal, called E Pluribus Hugo, to change the nomination process in order to prevent slates from dominating the nominees. It's an intriguing study in mathematics, with nominations getting point values depending on how many works a person nominates in a category as well as how many people nominate it. Personally, I don't believe the Hugos are broken. I think fandom is a little messed up, and fans need to step up and decide what they want to do. That's the entire reason I bought the supporting membership: so I can nominate works next year and help offset any slates. I am guessing that what happens in this year's final vote tally will have an impact on whether or not rule changes are made.
Well, I think I've gotten through every category I could get through quickly. Unless something strange happens, I'm not sure I can keep up the one-category-a-day pace of reviewing. I may just have to do some regular blogging tomorrow. I will say, it's fun to have my husband on my side, looking for the nominated movies so I can see them all in time to vote. In short, despite how it came about, this has been a fun experience for me.