The Hugo Awards, a fan-run award with a sterling reputation, have announced the finalists for the 2020 Hugo Awards, as well as a retrospective ballot for 1945! The Hugos have included a category for Best Graphic Story since 2009 (Monstress has won it three years in a row), and Best Dramatic Presentation since 1958, split in 2003 for short- and long-form productions.

Why Hugo Awards for 1945? The Hugo Awards originated in 1953, and the bylaws allow for retrospective ballots for any years 50 or 75 years prior. This means that although comics weren’t included in the Hugos until 2009, comics published way back in 1945 qualify for recognition now!

Here are the six finalists for Best Graphic Story or Comic:

  • Die, Volume 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker, by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, letters by Clayton Cowles (Image)
  • LaGuardia, written by Nnedi Okorafor, art by Tana Ford, colours by James Devlin (Berger Books; Dark Horse)
  • Monstress, Volume 4: The Chosen, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image)
  • Mooncakes, by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker, letters by Joamette Gil (Oni Press; Lion Forge)
  • Paper Girls, Volume 6, written by Brian K. Vaughan, drawn by Cliff Chiang, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Jared K. Fletcher (Image)
  • The Wicked + The Divine, Volume 9: Okay, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Clayton Cowles (Image)

As mentioned previously, Monstress is once again on the list. Also not a surprise is that Image has four nominees, given the strong science fiction and fantasy titles in their catalog. Overlooked Berger Books scores a nom with noted SF author Nnedi Okorafor writing LaGuardia, a science fiction tale about undocumented aliens of many species; while Oni/Forge place with Mooncakes, a diverse story of the supernatural, magic, and love. Also of note is that writer Kieron Gillen is nominated twice, for both the recently-wrapped The Wicked + The Divine with artist Jamie McKelvie, and the newer series Die with Stephanie Hans.

The Hugo Awards for 1945? Well, new Hugo winners become classics. Retro Hugos…they are classics, and this makes for an even more interesting ballot!

Best Graphic Story or Comic

  • Buck Rogers: “Hollow Planetoid”, by Dick Calkins (National Newspaper Service)
  • Donald Duck: “The Mad Chemist”, by Carl Barks (Dell Comics)
  • Flash Gordon: “Battle for Tropica”, by Alex Raymond (King Features Syndicate)
  • Flash Gordon: “Triumph in Tropica”, by Alex Raymond (King Features Syndicate)
  • The Spirit: “For the Love of Clara Defoe”, by Manly Wade Wellman, Lou Fine and Don Komisarow (Register and Tribune Syndicate)
  • Superman: “The Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk”, by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (Detective Comics, Inc.)

WOW! Donald Duck?! Buck Rogers takes on his copycat nemesis Flash Gordon! The Spirit gets a nom, but it’s not by Will Eisner (who was serving in World War II)! Who is Manly Wade Wellman? (WoW! Just click the link!) Siegel and Shuster get some recognition for the creation of Mr. Mxalwy Mzyszk Mxyzptlk Myxystplk! Four comicstrip nominees and two comical stories make for an interesting field.

Last year, the winner was Wonder Woman #5: Battle for Womanhood, written by William Moulton Marsden, art by Harry G. Peter (DC Comics).

What else is on the list of nominees that might appeal to comics fans?

Best Related Work: Becoming Superman: My Journey from Poverty to Hollywood, by J. Michael Straczynski (Harper Voyager US)

Short and long form dramatic presentations:

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • Avengers: Endgame, screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Studios)
  • Captain Marvel, screenplay by Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck and Geneva Robertson-Dworet, directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Walt Disney Pictures/Marvel Studios/Animal Logic (Australia))
  • Good Omens, written by Neil Gaiman, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (Amazon Studios/BBC Studios/Narrativia/The Blank Corporation)
  • Russian Doll (Season One), created by Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler, directed by Leslye Headland, Jamie Babbit and Natasha Lyonne (3 Arts Entertainment/Jax Media/Netflix/Paper Kite Productions/Universal Television)
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, screenplay by Chris Terrio and J.J. Abrams, directed by J.J. Abrams (Walt Disney Pictures/Lucasfilm/Bad Robot)
  • Us, written and directed by Jordan Peele (Monkeypaw Productions/Universal Pictures)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • The Good Place: “The Answer”, written by Daniel Schofield, directed by Valeria Migliassi Collins (Fremulon/3 Arts Entertainment/Universal Television)
  • The Expanse: “Cibola Burn”, written by Daniel Abraham & Ty Franck and Naren Shankar, directed by Breck Eisner (Amazon Prime Video)
  • Watchmen: “A God Walks into Abar”, written by Jeff Jensen and Damon Lindelof, directed by Nicole Kassell (HBO)
  • The Mandalorian: “Redemption”, written by Jon Favreau, directed by Taika Waititi (Disney+)
  • Doctor Who: “Resolution”, written by Chris Chibnall, directed by Wayne Yip (BBC)
  • Watchmen: “This Extraordinary Being”, written by Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson, directed by Stephen Williams (HBO)

(Consider this a recommendation for binge viewing during the pandemic.)

Back in 1945, there are some interesting entries… the short story which was adapted into the Kirk/Gorn fightfest on Star Trek years later, as well as H.G. Wells‘s non-fiction work ’42 To ’44: A Contemporary Memoir Upon Human Behavior During the Crisis of the World Revolution. (Which includes his 1942 doctoral thesis shortly before his death!)

The Hugos are selected by fans of fantasy and science fiction, many of whom are well-read power readers. To make the final lists is an honor in itself, serving as an unofficial reading list of the best in the field for any year. (And voting members receive a free packet of finalists to peruse before final voting! File 770 has a list-of-links for free viewing online!)

Run by the World Science Fiction Convention (which changes staff and location every year around the globe), the Hugo Awards are nominated and chosen by members of each Worldcon. Any attending and non-attending individual who pay the membership fee are allowed to vote. While the system was gamed a few years ago to stage a protest against diverse voices in science fiction, the rules provided for numerous suggestions and discussion on how to maintain the integrity of the awards. (It’s complicated, but it’s a variation of instant-runoff voting which allows voters to rank their favorites.) Unlike most other awards, the Hugo Awards release the voting data later, allowing geeks of all sorts to analyze the horserace, which I’ll do sometime in August, if everything works out.

Due to the pandemic, host CoNZealand has announced that this Worldcon will be a virtual convention, available only online. No announcement has been made about the awards ceremony, to be hosted by George R.R. Martin.

You can watch the Hugo Award finalist announcement here:

The official PR:

The finalists for the 2020 Hugo Awards, Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book, and Astounding Award for Best New Writer and for the 1945 Retrospective Hugo Awards were announced online today by CoNZealand, the 78th World Science Fiction Convention.

Nominations for the 2020 and 1945 Hugo Awards were submitted by the members of CoNZealand, the 78th Worldcon, and Dublin 2019: An Irish Worldcon, the 77th Worldcon. 1,584 people submitted 27,033 nominations for the 2020 Hugo Awards, while 120 people submitted 1,677 nominations for the 1945 Retrospective Hugo Awards.

The full list of finalists are listed on the individual pages for the 2020 Hugo Awards and 1945 Retrospective Hugo Awards.

Voting for the Hugo Awards is open to all supporting or attending/online members of CoNZealand. Voting is scheduled open later in April 2020. Information on how to submit a voting ballot is available on the CoNZealand web site Hugo Awards page. Voting ends before the convention to allow sufficient time to count votes and prepare trophies. Anyone who joins by the end of voting is eligible to vote. CoNZealand previously announced that due to travel restrictions as a result of the worldwide COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic that their Worldcon will be online only, running from July 29-August 2, 2020. They will announce details of how the Hugo Awards Ceremony will be presented at a later date.

Please direct all questions about the administration of the 2020 Hugo Awards/Lodestar Award/Astounding Award and 1945 Retro-Hugo Awards to the 2020/1945 Hugo Award Administrators, not to the Hugo Awards web site. The Hugo Awards web site does not administer the Hugo Awards. All questions about the administration of the current Awards should go to the administrators.