Tuesday, January 26, 2016

2016 Hugo Award Longlist, Part 2: Visual Work Categories

Welcome to our continuing presentation of the Nerds of a Feather 2016 Hugo Award Longlist (see part 1 here). Today will look at Graphic Story and the two Dramatic Presentation categories. 

As before, we here at 'nerds of a feather, flock together' are presenting a collective longlist of potential Hugo nominees that we think are worthy of your consideration. These selections represent the spectrum of tastes, tendencies, and predilections found among our group of 13 writers.

As a reminder, this list should not at all be considered comprehensive. Some outstanding works will not make our longlist for the simple reason that we have not seen or read it. We encourage you to think of this as a list of candidates to consider alongside works which you are already familiar, nothing more and nothing less. 

Graphic Story

Aaron, Jason. Art by John Cassaday. Star Wars: Skywalker Strikes (Vol 1) [Marvel, 2015]

Marvel had some big shoes to fill after getting the rights back to Star Wars from Dark Horse.  Fortunately Jason Aaron penned the main title and delivered a classic tale that really demonstrated how powerful and vengeful Darth Vader really was.

DeConnick, Kelly Sue, Art by Valentine DeLandro. Bitch Planet: Extraordinary Machine (Vol 1). [Image Comics, 2015]

An astoundingly good and intensely in your face comic riffing off of the various exploitation genres set in a world where "noncompliant" women are sent to a prison planet.

McCloud, Scott. The Sculptor. [First Second Books, 2015]

A stunning look at art and artistry, but really about life and love and consequence (all with a mostly unlikeable protagonist). I did not want to put this down.

Rucka, Greg, Art by Michael Lark. Lazarus: Conclave (Vol 3) [Image Comics, 2015]

The latest collection of an excellent series presents a top notch story of dividing loyalties.

Stevenson, Noelle. Grace Ellis, and Shannon Waters, Art by Brook Allen. Lumberjanes: Friendship to the Max (Vol 2) [Boom Studios, 2015]

A charming story of friends at the Lumberjanes summer camp (for Hardcore Lady Types) have adventures and arm wrestle statues! Not to be missed.

Sundberg, Minna. Stand Still. Stay Silent: Book One [2015]

The story arc for Book One ended on page 276, published in February 2015. This is a big, ambitious post apocalyptic story set some 90 years in the future in the Nordic countries. From the art to the writing, this is wonderful.

Vaughan, Brian. Art by Fiona Staples. Saga: Volume 5 [Image Comics, 2015]

Briak K. Vaughan continues to push the envelope and Fiona Staples delivers some of the most stunning visuals in the industry in the latest trade of this Eisner winning series.  Marko really shines in this arc as Vaughan really focuses on character development as the main characters quest to reconnect. 

Williamson, Joshua. Art by Mike Henderson. Nailbiter: Bloody Hands (Vol 2) [Image Comics, 2015]

The best current horror title on the market, Joshua Williamson begins to pull the curtain back on the mystery surrounding the town of Buckaroo, Oregon. 

Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Ant-Man, directed by Peyton Reed [Marvel Studios, 2015]

Ant-Man did more than deliver a good comic book movie; it made me care about Ant-Man.

Ex Machina, directed by Alex Garland [A24 (US Distributor), 2015]

The writer that gave us fast zombies in 28 Days Later made his directorial debut and gave us a robot that achieved some of the good, but also some of the bad of what it means to be "human."

Fear Itself, directed by Charlie Lynn [BBC Films, 2015] 

One of the most bleakly disturbing pieces of TV I have seen in a long time... I found myself lost in its web

Inside Out, directed by Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen [Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios, 2015]

Inside Out hits the coming of age tale with Pixar's signature touching storytelling.

Mad Max: Fury Road, directed by George Miller [Village Road Show, 2015]

Delightfully intense over the top action coupled with a new bad ass heroine in Imperator Furiosa makes Mad Max: Fury Road a can't miss movie with something to say hidden within its high octane engine.

The Martian, directed by Ridley Scott [Twentieth Century Fox, 2015]

The Martian is near future science fiction for everyone and with any luck, helps reinvigorate the public's desire and excitement for space travel. Oh, and it's an awesome movie.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, directed by J.J. Abrams [Disney, 2015]

Finally, a Star Wars movie that *felt* like Star Wars: with all the joy and adventure and heroics that entails. Now, with Rey.

Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Ash vs. Evil Dead (Season 1), created by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Tom Spezialy [Starz, 2015]
Pulling off a show that came right out of the gate feeling like it was of-a-piece with horror/comedy high-water marks EVIL DEAD 2 and ARMY OF DARKNESS was quite an accomplishment, and the show built up a great cast of characters that it wasn't afraid to...well, let's say the audience never knew who was safe.

Recommended Episodes: "El Jefe" (Ep 1), "Ashes to Ashe" (Ep 8)

Daredevil (Season 1), created by Drew Goddard [Netflix, 2015]

"Nelson V. Murdoch" lays the relationship between a secret vigilante and his best friend on a table and dissects it in the show's best episode. 

Recommended Episode: "Nelson V. Murdock" (Ep 10)

Doctor Who (Series 9), head writer Stephen Moffat [BBC, 2015]

Capaldi and Moffat just needed some time to get on form together, and when they did, in this daring episode, and in the transcendent finale, magic happened.

Recommended Episode: "Heaven Sent" (Ep 11)

Game of Thrones (Season 5), created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss [HBO, 2015]

Season 5 began to slow the show down with Danaerys stuck in Mereen and the various other characters spreading farther apart, but nevertheless delivered some big character moments and a climactic battle north of the wall.

Recommended Episodes: "Hardhome" (Ep 8), "Mother's Mercy" (Ep 10)

iZombie, created by Diane Ruggiero and Rob Thomas [The CW, 2015]

In a show with a premise that got seemingly more ridiculous as the season went on, iZombie tied it all together with an amazing season finale.

Recommended Episode: "Blaine's World" (Ep 13)

Jessica Jones (Season 1), created by Melissa Rosenberg [Netflix, 2015]

This feels like the moment where superhero stories took a huge leap in foregrounding the humanity of people with extraordinary powers; whereas some of the better Marvel movies were credited with having that humanity there at all, now it's up front.

Recommended Episodes: "Aka Ladies Night" (Ep 1), "Aka Sin Bin" (Ep 9)

Kung Fury, directed by David Sandberg [Laser Unicorns, 2015]

With a 31 minute running time, Kung Fury is technically only eligible for the short-form category, but it is so big and awesome that it could and should stand against feature length movies. And magenta. 

The Librarians (Season 2), developed by John Rogers [TNT 2015].

A bright and fun presentation with powerful undertones that constantly challenges gender norms, highlights the importance of and struggles surround women in STEM, and explored the ideas self image and perception.

Recommended Episodes: "And the Cost of Education" (Ep 4), "And the Image of Image" (Ep 7)

Mr Robot (Season 1), created by Sam Esmail [USA, 2015]

An overall stunning new show, with a heady brew of genres and emotional gear shifts, and this mid-season tension-cranked episode was my highlight, ending on perhaps the greatest tv moment of the year 

Recommended Episodes: "br4ve_traveler" (Ep 5), "eps1.8m1rr0r1ng.qt" (Ep 9)

Orphan Black (Season 3), created by Graeme Manson and John Fawcett [BBC, 2015]

Orphan Black (season 3) continued the propulsive pacing of the first two seasons, while focusing even more closely in on character dynamics and relationships. Plus, Tatiana forever.

Recommended Episode: "Insolvent Phantasm of Tomorrow" (Ep 9)

COMPILED BY: Joe Sherry - Writer / Editor at Adventures in Reading since 2004, Nerds of a Feather contributor since 2015. Minnesotan.