Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hugo Awards 2014/1939: Art and Graphic Novels

This year, instead of writing one massive post about all the 2014 Hugo Award nominees, I'm going to write a few smaller pieces. Partly that's for my convenience, partly it's for the readers' (especially since this year, we're voting not only for works from 2013 but also Retro 1939 Hugos for works from 1938.
Today's chunk is for nominees in Art and Graphic Awards categories. As it's a ranked ballot system, I'll be listing my preferences in order.

1939 Retro-Hugo Professional Artist nominees: Margaret Brundage, Virgil Finlay, Frank R. Paul, Alex Schomburg, and H.W. Wesso. 
Finlay's pieces are fairly classic-style SF pulp covers. 
The Paul cover has more going on in it than Finlay does. 
Wesso has lots going on, good faces, AND interesting effects. 
Schomberg has some fun pieces to look at, very detailed, but they don’t draw me in as much as Wesso. 
The Brundage links provided in the voters packet don’t work for me, but an online search for her Weird Tales covers shows that in tone she's similar to Finlay, but better executed. 
My vote: Wesso, Schomberg, Paul, Brundage, Finlay.

2014 Professional Artist nominees: Galen Dara, Julie Dillon, Daniel Dos Santos, John Harris, John Picacio, and Fiona Staples.
Dara is mildly interesting, but nothing I’d buy for my wall.
Dillon has some really interesting subjects, vivid colors, people working/doing things together in fantasy settings, immersive backgrounds; quite engaging.
Dos Santos has some quite well done pieces but they’re basically all Women in Dramatic Poses. More realistic than Dillon but less engaging.
Harris has some nice impressionistic spaceships and moonscapes.
Picacio got my vote last year, but suffers by comparison this year — great execution but somehow not nearly as interesting.
The voters' packet doesn’t include Staples, but she is the artist for Saga. I loved her work in Saga Vol. 1, with its great imagination, dynamic action scenes, interesting background details, and expressive portraits of characters. That's from 2012, but I've seen some of the 2013 covers, and they're powerful.
My vote: Staples, Dillon, Harris, Dos Santos, Picacio.

2014 Fan Artist: Brad W. Foster, Mandie Manzano, Spring Schoenhuth, Steve Stiles, Sarah Webb.
Manzano isn't in the voters' packet, but has a website; the pieces are pretty stained-glass style (or maybe actual stained glass). I can't tell what's from this year, though. 
Schoenhuth is also not included in the packet. An online search shows that she's primarily a sculptor/jeweler, with some really neat pieces.
Foster’s work is rather charming. 
Stiles has some neat looks, interesting expressions, and a varied palette. 
But Webb: Oooh! Here are a lot of different, rich, fascinating worlds that I want to see! I’m surprised she’s not a professional. Maybe she's a pro in the non-SFF arena? Here’s a look at some of her work: http://hugoeligibleart.tumblr.com/post/73896750534/sarah-webb-2013-best-fan-artist-eligible-work Actually I think she could be a serious contender in the Pro Artist category; I'd certainly vote for her over some of this year's pro crop.
My vote: Webb, Stiles, Foster, Schoenhuth, Manzano. 

2014 Graphic Story: Girl Genius Vol. 13, The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who, The Meathouse Man, Saga Vol. 2, and Time (XKCD).
Girl Genius (Sleeping City) is one that I’ve read before. It has an awesome opening, and keeps up the excitement and cool revelations. I think it provides enough exposition for newbies to jump in, maybe.
“The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who” struck me as fan service. Meh.
“Meathouse Man” is based on an old story by George R.R. Martin. The first 9 out of 35 pages are the story as I remember it, and then it continues through a couple of dreary stages. The original idea is interesting, but I don’t think the graphic novel adds to it, other than illustrating the worldbuilding.
The packet didn’t include Saga Vol. 2 (Saga Vol. 1 won last year) or Time (Randall Munroe). However, here is a link to a compilation of Time that also discusses it. 
Time is amazing. It starts out as stick figures building a sand castle, and then they go on a quest. I remember when it started, and there was some buzz, but I was busy and lost track. I am now sorry that I did that and missed out on participating in it as it happened. It turns out that Munroe posted 3,099 panels over a period of months, releasing clues about when and where the protagonists were, and there were massive online discussions.
Saga (Vol. 1) got my vote last year, IIRC, and I did listen to a very engaging discussion of Saga Vol 1-2 on Galactic Suburbia, one of the nominees for Best Fancast this year (I’ll write more about fancasts in a later post). It sounded great, but I haven’t read Vol. 2, so I won’t vote for it.
My vote: Time, Girl Genius

Next up: Audio and Dramatic Presentations.

1 comment:

  1. I like Webb's worlds and variety, yes, and Dillon's. I want to know more of the story for http://www.juliedillonart.com/project-view/last-chance/ !
    Thanks for the links.


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