Thursday, February 28, 2008

The meta-list

At long last, here it is: the final meta-list compiling critical reaction from across the internet and print publications. Once again I'll point out the rules I established for these entries. I'd like to thank Chad Nevett for providing me with a formula for quantifying these lists. Also great thanks to all those who spread the word about this project.

I have a few comments on select titles below. I had commented on several of these in two previous posts analyzing my preliminary meta-list. In the coming days, I'll break down the list by category, but these are probably more than enough numbers to digest for one day. So, with no further ado:


1. Exit Wounds (1085)

2. Shortcomings (941)
3. All Star Superman (908)
The highest-charting superhero book; also DC's highest charting book.
4. I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets (850)
5. Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together (660)
6. Criminal (640)
7. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 (541)
8. Alias the Cat (452)
Really picked up steam with TCJ voting. This is the highest charting title from a traditional book publisher.
9. Perry Bible Fellowship: The Trial of Colonel Sweeto (444)
10. Powr Mastrs (439)
Another one which did really well with TCJ contributors.

11. Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus (409)
12. Chance in Hell (386)
Superspy (386)
14. The Arrival (383)
15. The Blot (361)
16. Immortal Iron Fist (357)
Quite a drop once TCJ was factored in. Still the highest charting book featuring a Marvel-owned intellectual property. By a whole lot, actually.
17. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier (343)
Not what you would expect given online reaction (this will be a recurring theme). Did equally well with sites devoted to comics and general interest sites/publications.
18. The Professor's Daughter (339)
19. Shooting War (323)
20. Essex County series (313)*

21. Apollo's Song (293)
The highest charting manga. Seems to have split the vote with MW; if you combine their points, it would have ended up tied with Buffy the Vampire Slayer for seventh place. Of course, there's an illogical assumption in this speculation. In any event, it bodes well for the upcoming Black Jack volumes, which will probably attract a lot of attention from bloggers and the mainstream media alike.
22. Achewood (290)
Now that it's official that Dark Horse is publishing The Great Outdoor Fight, I expect to see that collection somewhere in the top 20 next year.
23. Y the Last Man on Earth (275)
The top rated Vertigo book; owes its placement mostly to non-comics sites.
24. King City (274)
This might have placed in the top 10 had it been better distributed.
25. Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil (269)
This is way, way lower than I expected. I'm not sure if that's a failure on DC's part to get this in the hands of mainstream reviewers, or if folks were just not as into it as you might have expected given all the internet hype when the first issue came out. Maybe critics were turned off by the later issues, which introduced some poorly-received political commentary.
26. The Complete Terry and the Pirates (267)
The highest charting vintage comic strip collection.
27. Crecy (256)
28. Aya (251)
29. EC Segar's Popeye (248)
MW (248)

31. Maggots (241)
32. The Killer (237)
33. Alice in Sunderland (236)
I'm as surprised as you are. Another case where internet hype at the time of release was not reflected in the final ranking.
34. Tekkon Kinkreet (229)
35. Casanova (228)
36. The Umbrella Academy (227)
I'll be curious if the collection charts well in the 2008 list.
37. Fell (225)
38. Notes For a War Story (224)
39. Dr. 13: Architecture and Morality (219)
Very popular with sites devoted to comics coverage; literally no votes from general interest sites and publications.
40. Complete Persepolis (216)

41. Fluffy (214)
Did very well on lists compiled by Brits. I think an American collection is either out or forthcoming.
42. Captain America (212)
43. Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms (211)
44. Sundays With Walt and Skeezix (209)
Owes most of its support to TCJ. Pretty good showing for such a costly item (though I suspect that Absolute New Frontier would have made the top 20 last year).
45. The Complete Peanuts (208)
Not bad for a series which has been out long enough for people to take it for granted.
46. The Salon (206)
47. Nat Turner volume 2 (204)
48. Bookhunter (193)
49. I Killed Adolf Hitler (190)
50. Love and Rockets digest series (189)**
Micrographica (189)

52. Acme Novelty Library #18 (186)
Probably would be higher if it had come out earlier in the year.
53. Good As Lily (180)
Highest charting Minx book.
54. Empowered (175)
This seemed to have a lot more buzz earlier in the year. I get the idea that a lot of people were disappointed in the second volume.
55. Plain Janes (173)
Similar to LOEG: Black Dossier, except that it got almost all its support from general interest lists.
56. House (169)
57. Laika (167)
58. Silverfish (161)
I swear I never read a single review of this book.
59. Moomin (159)
60. Army@Love (156)
Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice (156)
Elvis Road (156)
Army@Love did very well for a book with an unclear future. Those who are reading it obviously like it a great deal.

63. Spent (149)
64. Three Paradoxes (147)
65. Sentences (144)
66. King Cat Classix (142)
A Treasury of Victorian Murder: The Saga of the Bloody Benders (142)
68. New Engineering (137)
69. The Other Side (135)
Red Eye, Black Eye (135)
71. Rodolphe Topffer: The Complete Comic Strips (133)

70. Mister Wonderful (129)
Uptight (129)
I have to think Mister Wonderful would have done better if its last installment had come out in 2007. I doubt we'll see it on many 2008 lists, since only a handful of strips came out this year. I have a copy of Uptight #2 I still haven't read; obviously I need to do so.
72. White Rapids (128)
73. The End (126)
First of three Anders Nilsen books to make the top 100. His prodigious output in 2007 (including Big Questions, which did not make the top 100) may have split his vote. But that's a pretty impressive accomplishment, surpassed only by Ed Brubaker (whose Captain America, Criminal, and Immortal Iron Fist all made the top 50).
74. The Spirit (124)
This seems like it would have been higher. Maybe Darwyn Cooke's announcement that he was leaving the title sapped list-makers' enthusiasm for this comic.
75. Marvel Zombies 2 (122)
Some people will be irritated to see this so high.
76. Scalped (120)
Drifting Classroom (120)
78. Monster (118)
79. Complete Dick Tracy (116)
I wonder if this series will chart higher once it gets into the strip's classic era.
80. Dogs and Water (114)

81. Phonogram (112)
I'm guessing people might have forgotten about this series by the time they got around to making lists; also might have split votes with Suburban Glamor (which would chart just outside the top 100)
82. Walt and Skeezix (111)
Not to be confused with Sundays with Walt and Skeezix.
85. AD: New Orleans After the Flood (110)
Hack and Slash (110)
How to Be Everywhere (110)
Last Call (110)
Love and Rockets: Maggie the Mechanic (110)
The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam (110)
Somewhere in this bunch is the first WTF book. I'll leave it to the reader to guess which one I'm referring to.
91. The Escapists (109)
92. American Elf volume 2 (106)

93. Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus (105)
94. Storeyville (103)
95. Don't Go Where I Can't Follow (100)
Dragon Head (100)
The Punisher (100)
98. Emma (98)
Nana (98)
I think Nana is the highest charting shojo manga. Emma is published in a shonen magazine in Japan, isn't it?
100. Garage Band (96)

*This encompasses results for both volumes--Tales From the Farm and Ghost Stories.
**This is only for those who specified the digest series, rather than the pamphlet series or any specific volume of the digest series.


Greg said...

I reviewed Silverfish about a month after it came out. It was decent, but not great.

I'm going to say Hack/Slash is the WTF book, and if it is, I agree with you.

I do wish you would show us every place you took lists from. I know it would probably be a mighty list, but I'd be curious.

Very cool idea, by the way.

Justin Fox said...

I'm assuming you've added more than just the Journal listings since the last compilation. According to Dean, nothing there appeared more than four times? Or did 4 listings make that much of a difference?

Also: Yes! Alias the Cat beats Iron Fist. I feel vindicated, somehow.

Dick Hyacinth's Ghost said...

No, it's just Comics Journal lists. I think it just goes to show that the vote is spread so thinly across so many comics that a mere four votes can make that big of a difference. Provided, of course, they're high enough and the total items on the list were low enough--people who make big lists really don't make much of an impact in these rankings, which I think reflects the way people process these lists. It's a tough balancing act--you want to reward as many quality works as possible, but limiting yourself to 10 or fewer makes a bigger impact with the reader. At least that's how I feel when I read these kinds of lists.

Justin Fox said...

I suppose it's the way the math works then.

I imagine both Mr. Wonderful and Umbrella Academy will be on the list next year, when they're collected.

Taking a longer look at the list, I'm finding things I know little or nothing about:

Bow-Wow Bugs a Bug? Beach Paradise? The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam? AD: New Orleans After the Flood? White Rapids? Fluffy?

I'm going to have to look for these.

I vaguely remember a collective "good, but not amazing" for Shazam, and I suspect the people who like Smith's work the most are those that would care about Shazam the least.

I'm happy to see Superspy wasn't completely forgotten. And it's ranked right about where I would put it on a top ten for the year.

And I have to say, for all the things I don't care for or think might be wildly overrated, that's a pretty damn good mix of books.

Anonymous said...

Emma is first published in Comic Beam, which the internet is telling me is a seinen anthology. "Monthly Comic Beam & Magazine for the Comic Freaks", according to it's covers.

Mike Smith said...

The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam is a wonderful book and I would highly recommend it to everybody.

I'm very surprised Alice in Sunderland doesn't show up until #33. I also thought the Complete Persepolis and The Salon would both be higher placed.

Marc Burkhardt said...

I'm glad to see that Apollo's Song was so highly. I didn't find too much written about it last year, but maybe I didn't look in the right place.

Dick Hyacinth's Ghost said...

I really had no idea how much people liked Apollo's Song until I started compiling these lists. I still need to read it.

This brings up the larger issue of manga's relatively poor showing. I'll share some thoughts on this either this weekend or next week.

Anonymous said...

hey dick, should i mail you a few issues of JONAH HEX?

jimmy palmiotti ;]

Dick Hyacinth's Ghost said...

Sure. Send me an email (the address is at the top of the blog).

Unknown said...

Random thoughts:

I'm seeing King City in bookstores now, but I don't think it got that release until January, so it probably wasn't on most people's radar.

Fourth World Omnibus at #11! Super Spy at #12!

By "the online reaction to The Black Dossier", do you mean negative reviews from bloggers? Or that it should have been higher? It seemed like some (like me) loved it, but the more intellectual/smarter people (I'm being sincere there; I mean Jog, Marc Singer, etc.) didn't like it as much.

It's weird that the Love and Rockets digests placed differently than Maggie the Mechanic. Did Heartbreak Soup or any of Gilbert's volumes make an appearance below #100?

Alice in Sunderland might have had more attention on lists if it had been released later in the year. It seemed to get less play in more mainstream places, from what I recall.

I didn't like the second volume of Empowered as much as the first, but I don't know if I would say I was disappointed. Still looking forward to volume 3.

Interesting that The Killer was so high. That's the Archaia-published European import, right?

Marvel Zombies 2 seems about right (in terms of votes received), considering it was on Time's list.

Wow, Jack of Fables made the list and Fables didn't?

I'm gratified to see so many of my picks on there, even if I had a big list and thus didn't affect the totals much.

Good job, Dick! This is fascinating stuff.

Unknown said...

Very interesting. Honestly I'm more irritated that Persepolis won't die than I am with Zombies being on there (escapist pap narrowly defeats pretentious drivel), but the list is mostly unsurprising.

I didn't see anyone review Silverfish either, but I'm happy it charted at all. David Lapham is tops in my book.

Unknown said...

Also, I don't get anyone who says the second Empowered is disappointing. It beats the first volume (in which it takes him half the book to figure out what character he's even writing) hands down.

Paul Karasik said...

Wow! Fletcher Hanks #4??!!

Whoda thunk it! Not me...and it's MY book!

If you still have not partaken of the twisted genius that is Fletcher Hanks, link over to BONUS page of my website and check out a story that does NOT appear in the book.

..and fercrissake puh-lease buy a t-shirt while you're there.

...and thanks for your enthusiasm for this book!

-Paul K.

Leigh Walton said...

Hey Dick,
It's Micrographica with a "c."

Thanks for doing this!

Dick Hyacinth's Ghost said...

Oops. It's fixed now.

K. Thor Jensen said...


I couldn't have hoped for a better result.

Anonymous said...

Okay, serious question: Is Hack and Slash the same book as Hack/Slash? I figure it's gotta be, but you never know. If so, then I know it's the WTF book; my gentler reaction was "...really?" but the principle is the same.

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