Best Graphic Story Ballot for the 1941 Retro Hugo Awards
I posted something similar on the Hugo Recommendations LiveJournal. Here it is, updated, with better info and sources on where you can obtain the comics legally.

Captain America Comics #1
Written by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Illustrated by Jack Kirby
Timely Publications (Timely Comics?)

It's the one with Cap punching Hitler on the cover. It says March 1941 but the comic came out in December of 1940. One of the finest of the Golden Age, and quite possibly one of the most important. It publicly denounced the Nazis BEFORE the US entered WWII, and while there was still some strong pro-Nazi sentiment in the states. Simon and Kirby's creation, for all its Golden Age goofiness, still stands out as a work of bravery.

Available on Comixology

The Spectre!/The Spectre Strikes! (More Fun Comics #52/#53)
Written by Jerry Siegel
Illustrated by Bernard Baily
National Allied Publications

A shockingly mature story for the 1940's that holds up pretty damn well. Joe Corrigan being denied heaven after his death and being forced to eradicate all evil is an excellent backstory, and makes all his actions understandable.

The issues are extremely valuable, so if you want to obtain them legally, the only place I could find was the reprints in this absurdly-expensive volume, which is a shame. Just take my word for this one?

Batman #1
Written by Whitney Ellsworth, Bill Finger, Paul Gustavson, Bob Kane, Guy Monroe, and George Shute
Illustrated by Paul Gustavson, Bob Kane, Sheldon Moldoff, George Papp, Raymond Perry, and Jerry Robinson
National Allied Publications

There's a reason historians call this the best single issue of the Golden Age...well, two reasons, actually: the Prince Clown of Darkness and the Princess of Plunder. Not only was this Batman's first solo comic, it also had the first appearances of The Joker and Catwoman, in stories that perfectly demonstrate why they've had lasting appeal. There's also a pretty good Hugo Strange story here.

Available at Comixology

Introducing Captain Marvel! (Whiz Comics #2)
Written by Bill Parker
Illustrated by C.C. Beck
Fawcett Comics

The first appearance of Billy Batson and his older Captain Marvel alter-ego. It's an engaging, simple story executed really well, with underpinnings of mysticism that only reveal themselves upon re-reading. It just works.

In the public domain; download here

The Origin of the Spirit
Written by Will Eisner
Illustrated by Will Eisner and Joe Kubert
Register and Tribune Syndicate

Why would I forget Eisner? This is probably the one that's aged the best, with the art looking strikingly modern, even well into the 21st century. While not at the height of its post-war years, The Spirit still came swinging from day one, with its chronicling of Denny Colt's rebirth as the titular character that gradually became a superhero. Extremely influential to the medium. (Also, Ebony White's only in it for one panel. So there's that.)


The Walking Dead: "JSS"
The Walking Dead's had a polarizing year. Thank god "JSS" came out this season, as it's easily one of the series' best. Here we see the massive rift between Morgan and Carol's ideologies: Morgan's aggressive pacifism vs. Carol's kill-or-be-killed worldview, as well as how the arrival of the Wolves is negatively affecting the group. This episodes had all the action, horror, and character development that TWD had been sorely missing. This episode, by showing the extremes of Morgan and Carol's approaches (both their positives and flaws), asks the viewer, "what's the best thing to do in this situation"? Morgan's behavior admittedly became frustrating in this episode, but I'd argue that was part of the point, especially when taking the episode's final scene into account, when he apparently finally kills someone. The Walking Dead is a hit-or-miss show, so all of the hits it makes are worth honoring. "JSS" is a hit.

Star Wars Rebels: "Fire Across the Galaxy"
Star Wars is a cultural force, once again. On the film front, we had the film successfully re-establish the saga with a new cast of characters. And things are going perfectly fine on the TV front. It's sad what happened to The Clone Wars, but don't mistake Rebels for a slouch, as it's proven itself to be just as compelling as the former series. "Fire Across the Galaxy" could just be labeled "the Ahsoka episode", and while her arrival is a massive moment (as is Darth Vader's), this episode is really focused on Kanan and the mission to rescue him. For one, the episode is a character study of Kanan and his impulse to avoid responsibility. But, more importantly (read: awesomely), it contains one of the finest lightsaber fights in the entire franchise as Kanan and Exra face off against the Inquisitor. This episode set up a cavalcade of possibilities for the show, especially the idea of Ahsoka Tano meeting her former, now-villainous master. Rebels is a worthy holder of the Star Wars title, and this is a particularly noteworthy episode.

Penny Dreadful: "And They Were Enemies"
Penny Dreadful is a compelling Gothic fantasy, anchored by an essential lead performance by Eva Green as the troubled yet ultimately heroic Vanessa Ives. Her season-long arc (and her power) culminates in this Season 2 finale, where Vanessa goes head to head with the dark lord Satan himself, avoiding temptation in the form of a dream life with Ethan, and engaging in a battle with the Devil controlling a doll version of Vanessa (it makes sense in context). Other events include Ethan surrendering and getting captured and sent to the States, John Clare murdering the ever-so-deserving Putneys and heading to the Arctic, and Victor dealing with Lily's betrayal by self-medicating. With Sir Malcolm departing and Vanessa burning her crucifix, the characters have fully diverged their paths by the end of the episode. Penny Dreadful is a show that can be both extremely demented and yet heartrendingly emotional, and this episode showcases the drama at it finest.

Outlander: "The Devil's Mark"
The man who retooled Battlestar Galactica from a cheesy 70's series into a compelling 21-century space saga brings us this adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's books, about a woman from the 40's who gets sent back in time and comes across her husband's villainous ancestor. Despite its seemingly pulpy exterior, Outlander is a show that efforlessly blends genres, from romance to drama to suspense to science fiction. "The Devil's Mark" is a high point of Outlander's method, as well as one of the year's best episodes. This episode sees Claire and Geillis on trial for alleged witchcraft, as well as the revelation that (SPOILER) Geillis is ALSO a time traveler...from 1968. Caitrona Balfe and Lotte Verbeek give some of the finest acting featured in the series up to that point, and the scene where Geillis in executed is particularly tragic. Now we know that there are more time travelers, and Outlander's mythology just got bigger. This is easily one of the show's best.

Orphan Black: "Certain Agony of the Battlefield"
Orphan Black, at least for me, is a show that's less intellectual sci-fi and more compulsive viewing; it probably isn't "smart", but it sure is enjoyable to watch. The episode that put an until-then frustrating third season back on track. The big part of this episode is obviously when (SPOILERS) Paul sacrifices himself to save Sarah from Castor, redeeming him. Besides him, everyone has a major moment here. Mark and Paul had teamed up to investigate Castor, Sarah has a dream conversation with Beth and confronts Castor, Delphine returns, Helena returns to the sestras, Rachel gets verbally torn to shreds by Felix and turns out to be hiding the code to Duncan's journal, and Alison and Duncan perform the single greatest twerking dance in all of television. Once again, Orphan Black excels with it's "big moments", offering plot revelations in a way that emphasizes the character stakes behind them. OB returned to the course with this episode, one of the series' best.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: "4,722 Hours"
This episode is pretty much a flashback showing how Jenna survived her ordeal on the alien planet, as well as showing how she bonded with Will, and astronaut stranded on the planet for 14 years. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., once derivative, has grown into a crucial part of the extended Marvel universe. This episode is easily one of the best of the series, simply because it's so different from what the show usually gives us. This is essentially a character study, and Elizabeth Henstridge, always top-notch, gives us a particularly amazing performance here as Jenna tries to survive. The episode may seem like it's trying to cash in on The Martian's success, but it's a different beast altogether: more intimate and more focused on the two characters stranded on the planet than the planet itself. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. showed that by going in a more experimental direction, it could offer outstanding television.

My Ballot (as of 1/7/15)
So CiaraCat listed me as a recommended blog for Hugo Awards talk....guess that means I should post my ballot here. I'm all for comments on my picks and suggestions for anything missing from my categories!

Best Novel
Words of Radiance, Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books)

The Three Body Problem, Liu Cixin (Tor Books)

City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway Books)

The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Tor Books)

The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell (Sceptre)

Best Novella
“The Last Log of the Lachrimosa”, Alastair Reynolds (Subterranean)

“The Regular”, Ken Liu (Upgraded; Wyrm Publishing)

“Where the Trains Turn”, Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (

"Visitation", John F.D. Taff (The End in All Beginnings; Grey Matter Press)

“Entanglement”, Vandana Singh (Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future; William Morrow)

Best Novelette
“In the Sight of Akresa”, Ray Wood (

"The Litany of Earth", Ruthana Emrys (

"A Long Spoon", Jonathan L. Howard (

"The Magician and Laplace's Demon", Tom Crosshill (Clarkesworld)

Best Short Story
“The Floating Girls: A Documentary”, Damien Angelica Walters (Jamais Vu)

“Passage of Earth”, Michael Swanwick (Clarkesworld Magazine)

“How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps”, A. Merc Rustad (Scientgasy)

“The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family”, Usman T. Malik (Qualia Nous; Written Backwards)

"The Fisher Queen”, Alyssa Wong (Fantasy & Science Fiction)

Best Related Work
Jodorowsky’s Dune, directed by Frank Pavich (City Film, Snowfort Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics)

Myths, Metaphors, and Science Fiction: Ancient Roots of the Literature of the Future, Sheila Finch (Aqueduct Press)

The Art of Space: The History of Space Art, from the Earliest Visions to the Graphics of the Modern Era, Ron Miller (Zenith Press)

Best Graphic Story
Saga, Volume Three, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

Aama Volume 1: The Smell of Warm Dust, written and illustrated by Frederik Peeters (SelfMadeHero)

Sex Criminals, Vol. 1: One Weird Trick, written by Matt Fraction, illustrated by Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)

Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery, written by Kurtis J. Wiebe; illustrated by Roc Upchurch (Image Comics)

Nimona, written and illustrated by Noelle Stevenson (self-published)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
Snowpiercer, screenplay by Bong Joon-ho and Kelly Masterson; directed by Bong Joon-ho (Moho Films; Opus Pictures; The Weinstein Company)

Edge of Tomorrow, screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth; directed by Doug Liman (Village Roadshow; RatPac-Dune Entertainment; 3 Arts Entertainment; Viz Productions)

Guardians of the Galaxy, screenplay by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman; directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Under the Skin, screenplay by Walter Campbell and Jonathan Glazer, directed by Jonathan Glazer (Film4, BFI, A24 Films)

Interstellar, written by Jonathan and Christopher Nolan; directed by Christopher Nolan (Syncopy Films Inc.; Lynda Obst Pictures; Legendary Pictures; Paramount Pictures)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)
Doctor Who: “Listen”, written by Steven Moffat; directed by Douglas Mackinnon (BBC Cymru Wales)

Game of Thrones: “The Children”, written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss; directed by Alex Graves (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)

Black Mirror: “White Christmas”, written by Charlie Brooker, directed by Carl Tibbetts (Zeppotron, Endemol UK, DirecTV)

Wanderers, written by Carl Sagan and Erik Wernquist, directed by Erik Wernquist (self-released)

Rick and Morty: “Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind”, written by Ryan Ridley; directed by Stephen Sandoval (Harmonious Claptrap; Justin Roiland's Solo Vanity Card Productions; Starburns Industries; Williams Street)

Best Semiprozine

Lightspeed Magazine


Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Clarkesworld Magazine

Best Fanzine
A Dribble of Ink

Best Professional Editor (Long Form)

Best Professional Editor (Short Form)

Best Professional Artist
Julie Dillon (

Richard Anderson (

Galen Dara (

Theo Prins (

Cynthia Sheppard (

Best Fan Artist
Simon Goinard (

Finnian MacManus (

Jian Guo (

Sarah Webb (

Cyril Rolando (

Best Fan Writer

Best Fancast

John C. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
Ray Wood (“In the Sight of Akresa”)

Alyssa Wong (“The Fisher Queen”)

Usman T. Malik

JY Yang

Suggested 2015 Hugo Award Nominees (if I was a WSFS member, I'd nominate...): Dramatic Presentation
I'm actually really new to these kinds of things. But, I've been reading up on the Hugo Awards, and I got really interested. So I've decided to compile a list of what I'd nominate in certain categories if I were a voter. Who knows, you guys might see something you missed and be more moved to nominate it.
(Note: This is more of a shortlist of works that could be nominated next year, so it goes over 5 entries for each. The higher ones on the list are the ones I personally want to be nominated more. I've listed the works that aren't out yet at time of writing separately.)

Long Form
Snowpiercer (top pick)

Guardians of the Galaxy

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Over The Garden Wall

Big Hero 6

Edge of Tomorrow


Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Under The Skin

Not out yet: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Short Form
Doctor Who: Listen (top pick)

Doctor Who: Mummy on the Orient Express

Game of Thrones: The Children

Outlander: The Garrison Commander

Space Dandy: A World Without Sadness, Baby

Orphan Black: Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done

Almost Human: Unbound

Annedroids: New Pals

I might edit this if more things come out. I know I want to do more for the other categories.


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