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The Anticipation convention, this year's World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), has announced on Tuesday that nominations have begun for the first ever Best Graphic Story category in the prestigious Hugo Awards. At the Denvention 3 event in Colorado last July, the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) moved to add a Hugo Award category just for manga and other forms of graphic novels at its annual business meeting. Although the category will not be made permanent until 2010, the Anticipation convention exercised its power to add the category ahead of schedule. The convention will be held in Montréal from August 6 to August 10. People who purchase a standard or supporting membership in the convention become members of the World Science Fiction Society — and thus are eligible to nominate candidates for the Hugo Awards.
Although there were no graphic story categories in previous Worldcons, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' acclaimed Watchmen graphic novel won a Hugo Award in the "Other Forms" category in 1988. Watchmen, which is being made into a movie, is the only graphic novel to have won the award. Antcipation Guest of Honor Neil Gaiman and Yoshitaka Amano's The Sandman: The Dream Hunters novella was nominated for a Hugo Award in 2000. Anime titles, such as Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away film, have already been eligible for Hugo Awards in the Best Dramatic Presentation categories. Pictured above is the award design — complete with the Japanese hero Ultraman — for 2007's 65th World Science Fiction Convention. That year was the first time that a Worldcon was held in Japan.
Update: Forum member DavidShallCross, notes that the new category includes not just graphic novels, but "any science fiction or fantasy narrative in graphic form." Petrea Mitchell notes (as the ANN's original article did) that for the category to be made permanent, it must be ratified at the WFS business meeting at this year's convention.
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history