Friday, January 4, 2008

Update on the best of 2007 list database

-As I've computed these lists, I've narrowed down my criteria for what to include and what not to include. Here is what I'm not including (and please note that this list might grow):

  1. Lists with over 50 entries (at this point, your support for any given title is essentially meaningless, especially given what a pain it is to enter all that data)
  2. NEW: I'm not including any lists of less than 5 total items, because it throws the thing so severely out of whack.
  3. Lists which are framed as gift giving ideas, unless it's clearly stated that this essentially the author's best of 2007 list as well
  4. Lists which specifically limit themselves to a particular quality other than best-ness--like new comics or "fun" comics (though I'd be happy to include Mr. Walsh's list if he wants me to)
  5. Anything billed as "best things I read last year, regardless of when they were published"

-I am including lists with categories (like "best manga" or "best new series"), and I've got a system for adding additional weight to the winners of these categories. I'm also including lists where the author expresses grave doubts about the list's un-definitiveness. That's just the nature of the beast, folks.

-I'm going to put anything which is obviously all-superheroes, all the time in a separate category. Ditto for manga. I haven't decided whether or not to integrate them with the regular lists or not. I can see a case for either side, but I'm leaning towards not including them. A "snob" who doesn't read superhero comics but does read manga, webcomics, and comic strips has a much better handle on the medium as a whole than a dude who only reads superhero comics and maybe Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'll try to err on the side of inclusiveness here--I'd include this with the regular lists, but this I wouldn't. (EDIT: I've reconsidered. Both those lists are going in the "overwhelmingly mainstream" section. Any list that is (a) 90% superheroes and licensed IPs and/or (b) all Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and Image doesn't really count as a real survey of the medium, IMO. I am, however, compiling these lists, and I'll definitely publish the results cause they're pretty interesting in and of themselves. And, as always, I reserve the right to grant the benefit of the doubt in any given situation. And besides, I'll probably compile a list with the "overwhelmingly mainstream" lists factored in. Should be interesting.)

-I'm separating these out into separate categories for sources devoted to comics (mostly blogs) and sources for which comics is but one of many topics of coverage (mostly newspapers).

-Preliminary notes based on my findings:

  1. I vastly underestimated the popularity of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I mean VASTLY underestimated.
  2. Shortcomings might beat out Exit Wounds. There are still a few key precincts which haven't reported, though. Either way, I grossly underestimated the support for that book. This has been a big year for Drawn & Quarterly.
  3. I'm happy to say that I'm right about Powr Mastrs and The Blot being big successes in these kinds of polls. I don't know that either one is going to end up in the top 20 (I had no idea Captain America, Fables, or Y the Last Man would pull down such huge numbers), but they're both on a lot of lists.
  4. This is much less work than I would have guessed, thanks to the immense help of Chad Nevett. Thanks a lot, man.
  5. This is going to sound snobby, but what the hell: the worst lists I've seen so far have come from superhero-exclusive blogs and general pop culture magazines/web sites. And by "worst" I don't mean "don't share my peculiar tastes" so much as "would consider Popeye too deep" or "expresses a profound dislike for anything in black and white."
  6. There's a big gap between what what made the lists of comics-oriented sites and what made the lists of the more more mainstream-ish papers. There might be a story here.
  7. There are 266 titles on the list so far.

-Once again, if you have a best of 2007 list that you want to make sure is included, please make sure to contact me. If it's on the Blogorama wrap up posts, I've got it already. I'll be collecting these at least until the Best of 2007 issue of The Comics Journal comes out.

12 comments:

Katherine said...

I hope Shortcomings does beat out Exit Wounds; I thought Shortcomings was superb, but the praise Exit Wounds has received mystifies me. The book's okay, you know? I'd even go so far as to call it "good, although not altogether to my taste". But I didn't think it had anything like the depth or complexity the critics seemed to be attributing to it. It's a pretty straightforward story told in a pretty straightforward way, and it left me cold.

Leigh Walton said...

Funny, Katherine, I felt the same way about Shortcomings.

David said...

Don't worry about it, Dick. My "best comics" list would look somewhat different from my "fun comics" list, though there'd be some overlap. And I'm pretty sure most of the books I'd list would look like many of the ones you're surveying already.

And I kind of agree with Katherine on Exit Wounds. It reminds me of a really solid debut indie film, though I don't think I'd give it a best picture statuette based on its merits.

David W.

Timothy Callahan said...

I don't know if you've been checking my blog, ever, but you should do so now, because I have my Top 20 posted:

geniusboyfiremelon.blogspot.com

Chris said...

Make sure you check out the Onion's list. It's south of terrible.

http://www.avclub.com/content/feature/the_best_comics_of_2007

Dick Hyacinth said...

Just entered your, Timothy. And thanks for the links to other lists in your post.

Chris, I've already entered the Onion list; I think it might have been the first one I did. I'm not sure I'd call their list terrible, though it's certainly a little befuddling (Girls?). But there are a few really solid choices there--the Fourth World Omnibus, Chance in Hell, ASM Omnibus, Gasoline Alley Sundays.... My main criticism would probably be that there are a whole lot of reprint collections on that list, which might give the false impression that there isn't any new good stuff coming out.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see Buffy the Vampire Slayer do well. It's an incredibly popular fanbase, and the comic itself is excellent.

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