Did you know that Phil Foglio has won more Hugo awards than Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clarke combined? Okay, that’s a lie that I just made up, but if this category keeps going, it has a good shot of coming true. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that something dominate a category if there is annual work that consistently tops the field (Doctor Who has been the best science fiction on tv for most of the past six years, I’d say, and the awards back that up). But “graphic fiction” is so much broader than Hugo nominators seem to recognize, and I don’t think this is the best work done in the field. This is a strong, familiar, and welcoming series, that helped start the whole fad (extremely fun at first, though perhaps a bit tired by now) of the female mad scientist in the steampunk world, and it’s by the Foglios, longtime WorldCon fan favorites and all around super-nice people. That makes it hard to complain about, but, for the third volume in a row, we’re stuck in a castle, and the jokes and plot get increasingly insular. If you haven’t read volumes 1 through 9, don’t bother with this one. I understand why this comic has a rabid fanbase (that happens to have a very strong correlation with Hugo voters), but is it the finest graphic fiction produced last year? No.
I think I need to retire this rant.
Schlock Mercenary is an occasionally funny military sf comic strip that I didn’t like much when it was nominated last go around. More of it was published last year. I didn’t read much of this volume, but I didn’t see anything to sway my opinion from what I did see.