At a ceremony held in hermetically sealed and COVID-safe conditions (over YouTube), the British Fantasy Society decorated Image Comics series Die in its “Best Comic/Graphic Novel” category of their British Fantasy Awards on Monday night.

On the Twitters Kieron Gillen said on the win, “This is an amazing honour. Stephanie and I are totally humbled.”

Artist Stephanie Hans echoed this sentiment with: “Victory!” (adding “I am so happy and humbled. This is a great way to start the year.”)

die gillen hansLaunched in December 2018, Die sees a bunch of forty-somethings confront a horror once unleashed in their teenage role-playing days. It is Stephanie Hans’ first ongoing comic and Kieron Gillen’s umpteenth (but whose counting?). May’s #16 starts the final arc.

The tabletop RPG fantasy horror series beat out perennial British anthology 2000AD (Rebellion); the final arc of BPRD: The Devil You Know (Dark Horse); the debut issue of new Joe Hill series Basketful of Heads (DC); superhero catastrophe event DCeased (also DC); and day-in-the-life-of-a-climate-scientist graphic novel Ozone Diary (Luna Press).

Die was a recent finalist in the 2020 Hugo Awards but lost out to Nnedi Okorafor and Tana Ford’s LaGuardia (Berger Books/Dark Horse).

Image Comics has enjoyed much success at the British Fantasy Awards, with four wins amounted in the last decade. Previous Image successes have been Monstress (Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, 2017 and 2018), Bitch Planet (Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro, 2016), and Saga (Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples, 2013).

Last year’s winner was the self-published seventh collected volume in Kate Ashwin’s ongoing Widdershins webcomic series, “Curtain Call”.

The British Fantasy Awards have been running since 1972, where they formerly held the tongue-teasing title of the ‘August Derleth Fantasy Award’ and the awards were handed out as scrolls (how awesome is that?). The majority of the Awards cover prose but film, tv and audio also get a nod.

Awards are decided by a mix of juries and public vote. The selecting jury for this year’s comics category was Hannah Barton, Jay Faulkner, Sarah Hale, Christopher Napier, and Jessica Steiner.

Comics have been given gongs intermittently throughout the BFA’s history. The ‘Best Comic/Graphic Novel’ category has been continuing since 2009. Prior to that, the last comic winner was 1980’s champion: Heavy Metal.