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Girl Genius wins 2010 Hugo Award

Girl Genius, Vol. 9

The ninth volume of Girl Genius, the popular fantasy-adventure series by Kaja and Phil Foglio and Cheyenne Wright, has won the prestigious 2010 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story. This marks the second win for the comic in the two-year-old category.

Presented annually since 1955 by the World Science Fiction Society, the Hugo is among science fiction’s most prestigious awards. This year’s winners were announced today in Melbourne, Australia, at AussieCon 4, the 68th World Science Fiction Convention.

Described as a “gaslamp fantasy,” Girl Genius follows the adventures of Agatha Heterodyne, a student at Transylvania Polygnostic University who inherited the Spark, the element in the comic’s world that makes mad scientists what they are. The series debuted in print in January 2001, and made the move online in April 2005. There Girl Genius has flourished, with storylines appearing in webcomic form before being released in print collections.

The other nominees for Best Graphic Story were: Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?, by Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert and  Scott Williams (DC Comics); Captain Britain and MI13, Vol. 3: Vampire State, by Paul Cornell, Leonard Kirk, Mike Collins, Adrian Alphona and Ardian Syaf (Marvel); Fables, Vol. 12: The Dark Ages, by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Peter Gross, Andrew Pepoy, Michael Allred, David Hahn, Lee Loughridge, Laura Allred and Todd Klein (Vertigo); and Schlock Mercenary: The Longshoreman of the Apocalypse, by Howard Tayler.



Not that Girl Genius isn’t a fantastic comic, but I think this win says more about the limits of the Hugos. As is often the case with the other categories, a known commodity and previous winner won, and the other nominees include the most popular fantasy writer of this age and two other previous nominees. Honestly, as much as I love Fables, it has not been one of the five best comics of any sort in some time. But it’s well known.

I am glad that there is a comics prize from the Hugos. I am thrilled for the Foglios, who are creating something great without any corporate help. But compare this list with those of the Eisners or the Harveys, and it’s hard to think of this as being as important as those.

Girl Genius is not, in fact, a fantastic comic. Or at least the volume that won this award isn’t. But it won anyway, which, yeah is what happens when you award by popular vote.

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