Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fifth roundup of best comics and graphic novels of 2008 lists

I strongly suspect that this is just about it. There are undoubtedly a few lists yet to come--like mine!--and I'll publish a final list of sources when the final meta-list is tallied. But I'm guessing that's fewer than 10 lists we're talking about.

Remember, if you know of a list not included below, please email me or leave a comment pointing me in the right direction. And please, don't rush getting your lists in on my account. I wouldn't want anyone to do this in this in the first place, but it's totally unnecessary besides. The Comics Journal won't publish their best of 2008 issue until February (I think), and I won't be doing one anytime soon either. I've got about 8-10 books I want to consider that haven't come in the mail yet. Among them: Kramers Ergot 7. Anyone know what's going on with Amazon's distribution of this book?

Criteria for inclusion in the Meta-List:

-list must contain no fewer than five items and no more than fifty
-list must be a general best-of list, not a series of categorical awards like "best superhero book," "best children's book," etc.
-list must not be limited to superhero comics, manga, major publishers, etc.
-I don't include votes for things like "everything Warren Ellis wrote in 2008"
-when a list includes a vote for a title which came out in a year prior to 2008, I usually tally everything like I normally would; it's rare that there are enough votes for an out-of-date item for it to crack the top 100
-no overt sleaziness (like voting for your own work; will be determined on a case-by-case basis)

New lists are in green.



Contra Costa Times/Inside Bay Area

Daily Vanguard (Portland State University)

New York Magazine

OC Weekly (OC Weekly is not the periodical for me--anyone other than my brother likely to get that joke?)

Oklahoman: Part 1 (graphic novels); Part 2 (periodicals)


Patriot News/Chris Mautner (As per Chris' request, I'm using this instead of his Robot 6 list.)

Playback STL: Part 1 (graphic novels); Part 2 (periodicals)

Publishers Weekly

USA Today

Village Voice (RC Baker)

Village Voice
(a different list, this one by Richard Gehr; notable for stretching the definition of "comics" to include an animated film)

Washington Post


Bacardi, Johnny

Badman, Derik

Bilus, Sandy

Borden, Carol

Brady, Matthew

Callahan, Timothy: Part one (collected editions); Part two (original material 11-20); Part three (original material 1-10)

Cederlund, Scott

Cass, Evan Harrison

Collins, Sean

Cronin, Brian

Doane, Alan David

Gordon, Joe

Graphic Novel Reporter

Gravett, Paul

Harbin, Dustin

Heer, Jeet

Hickey, Andrew

Horsten, Toon


Largehearted Boy
(not sure if he always goes by Guided By Voices song titles, or if there's a more conventional name I could put in this place)

Lockefeer, Wim

Lorah, Michael

Meehan, Bram

Mozzocco, J. Caleb

Neal, Andrew

Ostrander, Ben

Paggi, David

Robot 6 folks (Not all will count; see criteria above. BTW, since I haven't said it yet, welcome back, dudes.

Sobel, Marc

Steinke, Aron Nels

Stone, Tucker: Part 1; Part 2

Tomio, Jay

Wolk, Douglas (cross-reference with his list of single issues here)


Kaczynski, Tom

Reynolds, Eric

Santoro, Frank

Smith, Jeff

Soto, Zack

Various (not all will be used, as some fail to meet the standards enumerated above; also, this includes what seems like the 217th Dan Goldman list I've seen, and, if my memory is holding up, there's less overlap than you might expect among the lists)

QUESTIONABLE/INCOMPLETE: (The Japanese branch of Amazon's best comics and "light novels." Interesting, but I'm not sure what to do with it since much (most?) of this is not available in English yet, and the light novels are definitely not comics. On the other hand, those aren't necessarily good reasons to exclude this list. Any thoughts?)

Boyd, Robert (Boyd admits this is a "best of things I read this year, but which were not necessarily published in 2008." But most of this list does consist of 2008 releases, so I'll almost certainly count it when the time comes. UPDATED: I've included it.)

Drawn!, part one (Matt Forsythe) (This contains one comic which is definitely not 2008 (Tekkon Kinkreet) and one which is either a 2007 entry if you consider it a book or a 2008 entry if you consider it a webcomic (Fart Party). My Brain is Hanging Upside Down and Cul de Sac are definite 2008 comic releases. I'm not sure what you would consider the Nicholas series. The rest are things which not everyone would agree are comics. My inclination is to count this list anyway, since (a) the non-comics stuff won't accumulate enough other votes to place, and (b) I'll disqualify any non-2008 titles when I finalize the meta-list. Do note that I'm not trying to denigrate the list because it doesn't fit into this project; I like seeing unconventional lists, and it's not like Drawn! is a comics-only blog. UPDATE: I have included this list.)

Drawn, part two (John Martz) (See comments above, except that this list a greater number of 2008 titles that most would classify as unambiguously comics. UPDATE: I have included this list.)

The Independent (Seems to have an awful lot of books from before 2008--Sleepwalk? Embroideries?--which might reflect new British editions, but I'm skeptical. Comics and Sequential Art seriously never came out in the UK before 2008? Just seems like a lazy list.)

Nicholson, Brian (I don't have any problem with it, but Brian suggests he doesn't "read enough to be considered a serious critic." I'm inclined to include it, unless Brian asks me not to.)

St. Louis Today (Includes one from 2007, which reduces the list down to a total of four, below the minimum threshold. I'll probably include it in the final tally, and ignore the votes for Laika. UPDATE: I've included it.)

Douglas Wolk (It's a gift guide, not a best-of list)


Clough, Rob (Too many entries--lumping Huizenga's work together pushes it over 50. Sorry, Rob. Good list, though.)

Comic Book Resources (too many entries; on a qualitative level, I do share Marc-Oliver Frisch's bemusement over the whole thing, but I certainly would have counted it, had it been slightly less gargantuan)

Comics Should Be Good/Danielle Leigh Readers' Choice (too short, categorical, and delimited to manga)

DCBS blog (self-described as "a semi-random list")

Ferraro, Dave (Delimited to superheroes; Ferraro plans to make an overall best-of list which will include some of these titles. Didn't know that Echo was a sci-fi/fantasy comic.)

Kethylia (delimited to manga)

NPR: Part one (graphic novels) and Part two (superhero books) (UPDATED: I decided not to use it after all. It's unclear if the superhero books are equal to the non-superhero books as some kind of separate but equal thing, or if this is just laziness (ie, not taking the time to determine if the best superhero books of 2008 do, in fact, stand up to the best non-superhero books), or pandering. If the graphic novel list was 10 items long, would any of the superhero books appear on it? I don't know, so I'm not counting this.)

Pop Culture Shock (delimited to manga)

Publishers Weekly (Kai Ming Cha) (delimited to manga)

School Library Journal (I think this is limited to comics for kids. If that isn't the case, please let me know and I'll include it in the project.)

Sequential Tart (Two lists, but neither meets the minimum number of entries for inclusion.)

Smith, Shannon (specifically delimited to mini-comics and web comics; well worth your time, though)

Various cartoonists at Forbidden Planet (Forbidden Planet is conducting a series of interviews with cartoonists, asking for a top three list from each. This is below the minimum threshold for this project, but you should check out this link, which should take you to all of the interviews conducted so far. Bryan Talbot is the most prominent interviewee to date.)

Wizard (Not the official list, at least not yet. This is a categorical awards list, and thus ineligible. What a strange list--a bunch of superhero comics, plus Kramers Ergot 7.)


Chad Nevett said...

My top ten:

Dick Hyacinth's Ghost said...

Thanks, Chad.

Sandy said...

The Comic Foundry published a top ten in their final issue. Let me know if you want me to send it along.

Dick Hyacinth's Ghost said...

Yeah, that would be great. Hopefully I'll be getting TCJ's best of 2008 issue here pretty soon, which is basically all I need. Well, that and actually making my own list.

Sandy said...

Here is Comic Foundry's 2008 Top 10 (RIP):

10. Berlin, by Jason Lutes
9. Scalped, by Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera
8. Achewood: The Great Outdoor Fight, by Chris Onstad
7. Capacity, by Theo Ellsworth
6. Local, by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly
5. Omega: The Unknown, by Jonathan Lethem and Farel Dalrymple
4. Skim, by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki
3. Kramers Ergot 7, ed. by Sammy Harkham
2. All-Star Superman, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
1. Too Cool to Be Forgotten, by Alex Robinson

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Are these the best comics? I am just wondering if you can post the rating according to what they came in world

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