Thursday, January 31, 2008

The preliminary meta-list

Okay, here it is: the top 10 comics/graphic novels, based on every best of 2007 list I could come across. Bear in mind the rules I laid out earlier; also bear in mind that I excluded any list which drew only from a narrow slice of the comics industry (eg, manga, the big four publishers, etc.). Each critic was given 550 points; these points were attributed by weight for lists with rankings (the points were evenly split on unranked lists). These are the raw point totals--it's just a coincidence that Exit Wounds got such a nice, round number.

I'll update these lists once the new issue of the Comics Journal is out. I'll also expand the list to, I don't know, the top 100 or so (there were over 400 titles getting votes, FWIW). I'll also break down the lists a little further as well. But for now, here's the top 10:

1. Exit Wounds (1000)
2. Shortcomings (922)
3. All-Star Superman (802)
4. I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets (668)
5. Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together (659)
6. Criminal (640)
7. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 (541)
8. Perry Bible Fellowship: The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories (426)
9. The Immortal Iron Fist (357)
10. The Arrival (353)

HUGE year for Drawn & Quarterly, eh? Marvel and Dark Horse are the only other publishers with multiple titles in the top 10. I'll leave the analysis for later, but I would like to point out that my predictions weren't totally laughable. At least for the top 10.


Alan David Doane said...

It would be helpful if you posted links to all the best-of lists for comparison, Dick, but this is great, thanks!

Sandy said...

Aha! I knew that Iron Fist and Criminal would be in there....

Katherine said...

Exit Wounds is at #1 and Perry Bible Fellowship makes the top ten? Clearly I am out of synch with the world.

Dick Hyacinth said...

ADD, I didn't really keep track of all the lists I used, unfortunately. The vast majority came from the links provided by Blog@Newsarama here (note the links to previous roundups at the top) and Tom Spurgeon's list here. I think those two lists cover nearly everything.

Matthew J. Brady said...

Wow, I'm surprised PBF made the top ten. And also I Shall Destroy etc., but not too surprised in that case, since everybody has been heaping praise on it for months. So how did you work it for someone like me that did two or three different lists (graphic novels, ongoing series, and manga)? Did you divide the 550 points among the different lists? Just curious.

Dick Hyacinth said...

That's exactly how I did it, Matt. I think in your case I divvied up the 550 points four ways, then weighted each list based on the 137.5 points rather than 550.

Leigh Walton said...

That's quite a drop-off (650 points from #1 to #10)!

I choose to believe that means there's such a huge plethora of good books that there's room for dozens of critics to pick completely different favorites, rather than what it looks like -- a few great books and a lot of mediocre ones.

After all, in a "bad year" for comics, the list would actually look like "1000, 1000, 1000, 1000" because it would be obvious (and unanimous) what the year's best were.

Dick Hyacinth said...

That's an excellent way of looking at it, Leigh. I think it's also worth noting that there's a lot of balance here--it's not all cancer comics or autobiography (or SSS, to use Jones' term--where the hell are you, Jones?) or anything, really. Some might argue that there are too many superhero comics on the list, but I think that's just the reality of North American comics.

There are several other titles bunched together in the 300 point range. Maybe it's best to look at this as a series of tiers, with Exit Wounds, Shortcomings, and All-Star Superman being on the highest one. Not to take anything away from the quality of their books, but Drawn & Quarterly really did a great, great job putting their titles in the hands of mainstream-type critics. That degree of saturation is really impressive.

Dick Hyacinth said..., by "the reality of North American comics," I was referring to the relative importance of superhero comics to the overall industry on this continent, not the quality of the books per se.

Paul Karasik said...

Wow! I never meta list I didn't like... especially this one.

For those readers who remain unfamiliar with the work of Fletcher Hanks (see item #4), may I suggest that you slide over to the BONUS page of my website to check out a Hanks strip that does NOT appear in "I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets".

The Lil'est Naturist said...

I think you're wrong to state that Buffy is lightweight; I don't think that it deserves to be seen as the resurrection of a dead TV show, but as the continuation of a long, intricately woven mythology that many people identify with...very strongly.

I don't know that the book will make Buffy fans out of comic readers, but it certainly made a comic reader out of this Buffy fan.