As reported earlier, Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda once again won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story, for Monstress, Volume 2: The Blood. The creative team won it last year for the inaugural volume, and the analysis and voting data can be found in my report from last year.
The Hugo Awards are a fan award, voted on by anyone purchasing a membership to that year’s Worldcon. The 76th Worldcon, which rotates geographically each year, was hosted last weekend by San Francisco Science Fiction Conventions, Inc. in San Jose, California.
After two years of slate voting by disgruntled fans who loaded the ballot, the voting system was changed to offer a more fair system of voting. (If you’re really curious or bored, it’s detailed in my 2017 post.)
What makes the Hugo Awards so interesting is not just that it is a respected and long-running award honoring the best in Science Fiction, judged by some of the most well-read fans, but that the voting results are posted publicly after the awards are announced. This data includes the long list of the top fifteen nominees, which also serves as a recommended reading list from science fiction fans. (Check out 17776! Sportsball meets sci-fi fandom!)
Again, science fiction fans are wonky, and the voting system is different from others… Voting is preferential, in that all nominees are ranked by the voters, including “No Award”. As you’ll see below in the matrices, votes are counted, and the least-popular nominee is eliminated, and those ballots are then recounted, with emphasis placed on the second-place titles. (“Hey, our choice didn’t win, but here’s who we would have picked for runner-up.”) This continues until a winner is determined, and the cross-checked against “No Award”.
Then, it starts all over, with the winner being ignored, the votes tallied to determine with winners for the remaining places. You might think that the initial tally would predict the final order, but as seen below, Black Bolt, Volume 1: Hard Time placed third in the first round of voting, but ended up as fourth overall.
Another interesting bit of data: Monstress, Volume 2 was not as popular as Volume 1.
Or 2018 had a stronger field than 2017. (I tend to the former… Ms. Marvel, Vision, Paper Girls, Saga…)
2018: 1,393 valid ballots cast in category. Final tally: 687 / 919 runoff
2017: 1,496 valid ballots cast in category. Final tally: 864 /1272 runoff
Here’s the vote breakdown for Best Graphic Story:
Result for Best Graphic Story
|Finalist||Pass 1||Pass 2||Pass 3||Pass 4||Pass 5||Pass 6||Runoff|
|Saga, Volume 7||246||246||282||318||378||438|
|Black Bolt, Volume 1: Hard Time||213||214||223||262||303|
|My Favorite Thing is Monsters||215||218||228||246|
|Bitch Planet, Volume 2: President Bitch||180||181||197|
|Paper Girls, Volume 3||101||101|
|Finalist||Pass 1||Pass 2||Pass 3||Pass 4||Pass 5|
|Saga, Volume 7||333||333||392||447||576|
|Bitch Planet, Volume 2: President Bitch||255||256||283||363||493|
|My Favorite Thing is Monsters||264||267||285||327|
|Black Bolt, Volume 1: Hard Time||258||259||272|
|Paper Girls, Volume 3||144||144|
|Finalist||Pass 1||Pass 2||Pass 3||Pass 4|
|Bitch Planet, Volume 2: President Bitch||322||323||396||558|
|Black Bolt, Volume 1: Hard Time||304||306||352||446|
|My Favorite Thing is Monsters||290||297||349|
|Paper Girls, Volume 3||233||234|
|Finalist||Pass 1||Pass 2||Pass 3|
|Black Bolt, Volume 1: Hard Time||410||413||512|
|My Favorite Thing is Monsters||326||333||436|
|Paper Girls, Volume 3||325||326|
|Finalist||Pass 1||Pass 2|
|Paper Girls, Volume 3||446||450|
|My Favorite Thing is Monsters||478||439|
|My Favorite Thing is Monsters||681|
Is this because Hugo voters (WorldCon attendees) are older, and not as cognizant of the diversity of graphic storytelling?
Is this because many comics publishers aren’t campaigning for votes via the reader packet? (This is a digital download available to all Worldcon attendees, containing excerpts and full texts of nominees, offered by the publishers.) Large publishers do not exhibit at Worldcon; it’s unknown if it’s worth the trouble, given a general attendance of 10,000. Granted, those attendees include industry professionals and ardent fans who read a lot of fiction. Well read and educated, the quality of fan is higher than most shows.
|Best Graphic Story (572 ballots)|
|1||Monstress, Vol.2: The Blood||159||27.80%||95.98||96.57||97.32||98.75||100.85||101.1||105.2||109.03||111.95|
|2||Saga, Volume 7||84||14.69%||40.12||40.2||40.87||42.67||47.1||47.18||48.12||50.78||51.7|
|3||Black Bolt, Vol. 1: Hard TIme||67||11.71%||40.18||40.18||40.35||41.23||41.4||41.98||43.37||44.78||47.37|
|4||Bitch Planet, Vol. 2: President Bitch||64||11.19%||30||30.5||31.33||31.6||31.93||32.6||33.7||35.95||36.28|
|5||Paper Girls, Vol. 3||55||9.62%||26.57||26.73||26.9||27.15||28.7||28.7||30.25||31.75||32.25|
|6||My Favorite Thing is Monsters||40||6.99%||28.03||28.03||28.03||29.62||29.67||29.83||29.83||30.5||30.5|
|7||Ms. Marvel, Vol 7: Damage Per Second||39||6.82%||16.77||16.77||17.02||17.73||17.87||18.03||19.2||20.12||21.95|
|9||The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 5: Imperial Phase I||38||6.64%||17.75||17.75||18.67||18.67||18.83||18.83||19|
|10||Ms. Marvel, Vol. 8: Mecca||37||6.47%||14.95||15.2||15.87||16.18||16.32||16.82|
|12||Saga, Vol. 8||29||5.07%||13.48||13.48||13.48||14.07|
|13||Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation||28||4.90%||14.1||14.1||14.6|
|14||Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 6: Who Run The World? Squirrels||22||3.85%||11.83||11.83|
|15||Above the Timberline||14||2.45%||11.58|
Note that Image had four of the six finalists, and six of the fifteen longlist.
In 1988, when Watchmen won the Hugo Award for Best Other Forms, there were 418 nominating ballots. Voting data isn’t readily available (was it published in Locus?), so it is not known how many nominations were received for the somewhat obscure “other forms” category, or how works were defined or categorized by the Awards committee.
Still, it doesn’t take much to get on the final ballot, or to win.