Friday, January 4, 2008

Plans, plans, plans

Okay, while we're on the subject of year-end lists: I think I'm going to try to compile and integrate them into one master list this year. I mean, not every one I've run across--none of those lists which rank things like "best slobberknocker" or "favorite new lantern corps" or whatever. It's a little tricky to figure out how to integrate all these various ranking systems, but here's my idea for a system:

-Each critic gets some number of "points," like say 550.
-If the list is ranked, each title will be weighted. So, for a top 10 list, the #1 book gets 100 points, the #2 ranked gets 90, all the way down to 10 points for the tenth ranked. For a top 40 list, #1 gets 25 points, #2 gets 22.5 points, etc. (EDIT: I don't think that math works. HELP.)
-If the the books are unranked, each gets the mean for the total allotted points.
-For jerks who did hybrid ranked/unranked lists (like yours truly), I'll come up with some kind of hybrid system. Or something.
-I'm not doing any lists with more than 50 books. At that point, it's not a list so much as a literary travelogue. Sadly, this means I'll be excluding Tom Spurgeon's list, which is inevitably the best one every year. But that probably won't come out anytime soon anyway, and I doubt he really cares.

And here's another thing: I'm going to take a stab at predicting what the aggregate top 20 will be. Please bear in mind that I made this list without consulting any other list than my own. Here goes nothing:

1. Exit Wounds
I don't think anyone doubts this will be #1.
2. All-Star Superman
It's the token superhero choice, plus it's the only good thing Grant Morrison's written in the recent past.
3. The Salon
A strong middlebrow choice; it's the art comics equivalent of All-Star Superman for some list-makers.
4. Alice in Sunderland
5. Shortcomings
Although I saw this on a lot of lists, I expected to see it on more.
6. Shazam vs. the Monster Society of Evil
Another one I expected to see more often. To be fair, my memory might be faulty. I suppose we shall see.
7. I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets
I think the widespread embrace of this book might be the most positive story coming out of the DM this year.
8. Scott Pilgrim 4
9. Chance In Hell
10. Alias the Cat

11. Achewood
The token webcomic pick of choice; to be fair, I think it's better than well over half the stuff on this list.
12. Aya
13. MW

The token manga pick on a lot of lists, though it seems to have split the vote...
14. Tekkon Kinkreet
...with this book. Also see comments for Achewood above.
15. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Don't laugh--I remember seeing this on a ton of Entertainment Weekly-type lists. Plus there's no accounting for taste.
16. Moomin
17. House

18. Powr Mastrs
19. The Blot

I think this would have been near the top ten had it been distributed by Top Shelf, Fantagraphics, or Drawn & Quarterly. That kind of success will probably come to Tom Neely eventually, regardless of who publishes his work.
20. Superspy

A day after writing this stuff, I read another year-end retrospective and realize that there are two other likely candidates: Re-Gifters and The Umbrella Academy. I would probably have put the former around #10, and the latter around #14.

I'll start compiling this information today, and keep adding to it every day until the end of the month. I'll probably be relying on (a) various "best of" roundups posted on the net and (b) whatever I see on the blogs I regularly read. So if you want to make sure your list is included, please let me know. If anyone else had already announced plans to do the same thing, please let me know. I don't want to step on any toes. One last thing: if anyone has any suggestions about methodology, I'm happy to hear them. I got Cs and Ds in high school calculus, so I'd be happy for any math-related advice in particular.

As far as plans for this blog in the new year, I've got a few things in mind for the coming weeks that I'll mention here just so I don't forget: a review of recently-read superhero comics; an overview of the Ignatz line (I recently acquired a big stack of these comics, so now seems like a good time to do such a thing); and maybe something about All-Star Batman and fanboy self-loathing. I'm not so sure about that last one, mostly because I really don't want to read ASBAR. We'll see.

Beyond that, I'm hoping to start running more interviews and previews and stuff like that this year. I'd especially like to feature any small press creators out there, so let me know if you have any upcoming work you want to publicize on this blog.


Anonymous said...

You're a better/braver/more patient man than I for attempting this.

-- Kevin Melrose (who can't remember his Blogspot password to log in)

Tom Spurgeon said...

Thanks for the kind comment. My list will be 50 works, and will be posted on Valentine's Day.

Anonymous said...

Dick, what happened to the hate/ Now it's all previews and Trader Joes, like all blogs.

I thought you were different.


Anonymous said...

Trader Joe's? He's turned into a grocery store!

-- Kevin

Johnny B said...

I never know who might bother to link to mine, so just in case, here's my remarkably pedestrian list.

Dick Hyacinth said...

I did catch yours already, Johnny. Haven't entered it yet, though.

And geez, Heidi, I thought we went through the whole bait-and-switch thing months ago.

I'll try to update my progress later today or tomorrow. It was rough going at first (a lot of checking the comments in hope of a math whiz providing a spiffy equation to solve all my problems), but I think I've got it down now.

Chad Nevett said...

Okay, in an effort to kill time and avoid doing actual work, I think I figured it out.

First, you take the number of books listed. We'll use 10 here. You then multiple it by half of its value and then add half of its value to determine the sum of the whole numbers contained by it. In this case, that means (10*5)+5=55

You then divide the total points (550) by the above number (55) and get the amount per rank, which is 10 in this case. Then you just multiple that amount per rank by the value of each rank (which would be one more than the total number of books minus its spot on the list). So, the value of book #1 would be 10 (11-1), so it gets 100 points, #2 would be 9 (11-2), so it gets 90 points, etc.

So, in the case of a list of 40, you would multiple 40 by 20 and then add 20 for a total of 820. You would then divide 550 by 820 for an amount per rank of approximately 0.67, which means book #1 would get 26.8 points, while book, let's say 23 (41-23=18) would get 12.06 points.

I'm pretty sure this works as I tried with a list of 40 and got a total of 549.4 (I'm REALLY bored). And I hope that actually makes sense to anyone other than me.

Dick Hyacinth said...

Thanks, Chad. That worked like a charm, which is great for those annoying odd-numbered lists. Hooray for boredom at work!

Greg said...

That's a pretty neat idea. I hope you figure in mine, when I get around to it. Exit Wounds, naturally, will be up there, but Super Spy will be much higher than #20. Like, probably second.

Matthew J. Brady said...

Man, I need to get my list done. I'm with Greg: Super Spy is up near the very top.

Brad Curry said...

You are a blog king for attemping this, thank you.

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