Thursday, January 26, 2006

Comic Bloggers' Poll 2005 - Reactions

The results of the 2005 Comic Bloggers' Poll were announced Tuesday. Below are some of my reactions.

Before I get into the specific categories, I'd like to talk a bit about the methodology of the poll--and how it might result in some odd outcomes.

Fifty bloggers participated in the poll (which is good, because that's a nice round number and makes the math easy!). All of the participants were self-selected; some may have been invited by email, while others may have stumbled across the poll. The only criteria for participating was to be a blogger who blogs about comics. The participants were overwhelmingly male (it's hard to determine gender from names sometimes, but there are only two definite female name there), and I know of many female comics bloggers who, for whatever reason, didn't participate in the poll. So, the upshot is to take the results of the poll with a grain of salt--they represent nothing other than the opinions of those who participated in the poll, and no further claims can be extrapolated.

There were six categories: Best Artist; Best Writer; Best Ongoing Title; Best Original Graphic Novel; Best Mini-Series or One-Shot; Best Collection of Previously Printed Material. Each voter had 10 points to spread amongst each category--e.g. a voter could give 1 point to 10 different selections, or all 10 points to 1 selection, or some other combination (5 points each to 2 selections, 3-3-2-2, 2-2-1-1-1-1-1-1, etc.)

Because of this voting method, the results are different than if each participant were forced to choose just one selection for each category, or use a rank-order voting, or some other method. With 500 points to be awarded in each category, the voting was remarkably spread out. The highest vote getter in any category was Grant Morrison as Best Writer with 97 points--relatively high compared to everyone else in the category, but still only 20% of the total possible points.

With the variable points, it's impossible to extrapolate just how many persons' opinions are represented by a given point total. Infintie Crisis placed 3rd in the Best Mini-Series category with 22 points; but that means that at a minimum only 3 people included it in their voting, and at a maximum 22 people included it. Most likely the number of people voting for IC was somewhere in between, in all likelihood no more than 25% of the voters chose IC as a Best Mini-Series, and 75% of the voters didn't include it in their voting.

Okay, enough preamble. Let's get down to business. I'm going to look at each of the categories. listing the top vote getters, and putting an asterisk next to choices that I voted for (and three asterisks next to my top pick):

Best Writer

1. Grant Morrison (97) ***
2. Warren Ellis (37) *
3. Brian K. Vaughan (34) *
4. Ed Brubaker (25)
5. Geoff Johns (24)
5. Gail Simone (24)
7. David B. (22)
8. Alan Moore (15)
8. Dan Slott (15) *
10. The Luna Brothers (8)

This was the only category in which there was an overwhelming choice for the number one slot, and it's easy to see why. Morrison is a writer who appeals to both super-hero fans and the high-brow crowd.

It's also the category where I agreed the most with the crowd. The top three picks were also picks of mine, and my fourth pick came in eighth.

I'm a bit surprised to see The Luna Brothers come in tenth, although with 8 points that could be just one voter. Not that I think they're bad or anything, it's just that there are tons of names further down on the list that I would place above them. But hey, that's the nature of these voting beasts.

Ordinarily it would seem odd to see Alan Moore so far down on the list, but in 2005 the only thing of consequence he wrote (besides a couple of questionable co-writing credits with his daughter) was Top 10: The 49ers.

Best Artist

1. Frank Quitely (40) ***
2. JH Williams III (29)
3. John Cassaday (22)
4. Tony Harris (21)
5. Gene Ha (14)
6. Chris Ware (13)
7. Kyle Baker (12)
8. Bryan Hitch (11)
8. Rags Morales (11)
10. David B. (10)
10. Frank Espinosa (10)
10. Takeshi Obata (10)
10. Ryan Sook (10) *

53. Fabio Moon (2) *

So I was defintely in the majority when I chose Frank Quitely as my favorite, although I was the only person who voted for Fabio Moon.

It's hard though for me to quibble with most of the top ten choices though.

David B. is the only name to appear in the top ten of both the Writer & Artist lists. Now I have yet to read Epileptic so I can't fairly speak to his writing talents, but I have looked through it and, well, let's just say that his art mostly struck me as servicable to the story--though I guess that's enough to rate it in at least one person's voting.

Best Ongoing Title

1. Fell (30)
2. All Star Superman (25)
3. Desolation Jones (20) *
4. Love and Rockets (18)
4. Or Else (18)
6. Captain America (17)
6. Ex Machina (17)
6. Young Avengers (17)
9. Fables (15)
9. Gotham Central (15) ***

13. Y, the Last Man (13) *

44. Lucifer (3) *

So here's where I had some problems with the voting. I really really like All Star Superman, but only 1 issue came out in 2005. Likewise Or Else with only 2 issues (one of which, #2, had a misprint in the indicia saying that it came out in January 2004). I wasn't able to bring myself to vote for either of those as 'ongoing,' though technically they're eligible.

Not surprising is to see titles worked on by the top vote getters for Writer & Artist.

Best Original Graphic Novel

1. Top 10: The 49ers (82) ***
2. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (74)
3. Capote In Kansas (30)
4. Tricked (29)
5. The Quitter (19)
6. Owly: Flying Lessons (16)
7. Salamander Dream (14)
8. Wimbledon Green (13)
9. Flight 2 (11) *
10. The Fountain (10)
10. Frankenstein Now and Forever (10)

14. Peculia and the Groon Grove Vampires (6) *

31. Steady Beat (1) *

Other commenters have already pointed out a problem with an OGN category: given their nature, they are less likely to have been read by a majority of the people voting. I consider myself rather extensively read in comics, but even I've only gotten around to reading 3 of the top ten so far. I just got a copy of Wimbledon Green today; it may be absolutely fabulous, but not having read it before the votes were due in there's no way I could consider it.

One thing that can be said about this tally is that Top 10: The 49ers and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World were read by a lot of the bloggers who participated in the poll.

Best Mini-Series or One-Shot

1. Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witch Boy (28)
1. Villains United (28)
3. Infinite Crisis (22)
4. Spider-Man/Human Torch (21) *
5. Seven Soldiers: Guardian (20)
5. Seven Soldiers: Zatanna (20)
7. Marvel Monsters (16)
8. Countdown to Infinite Crisis (15)
9. Ultra: Seven Days (14)
10. Concrete: The Human Dillemma (13) *

15. Banana Sunday (10) ***

38. Street Angel (3) *

71. Vimanarama (1) *

Lots of super-hero love in this category, though largely divided between the Grant Morrison camp and the Infinite Crisis Camp.

But despite all the love for Morrison, I'm the only person who voted for Vimanarama?!

And Comics Blogosphere: I am very, very disappointed in you for not voting Banana Sunday higher. You are all officially on notice.

Best Collection of Previously Printed Material

1. Black Hole (57) ***
2. We3 (37) *
3. Showcase Presents Superman (32)
4. Street Angel (27)
5. Showcase Presents Green Lantern (26)
6. Amazing Joy Buzzards (17)
7. Absolute Watchmen (14)
8. Yotsuba&! (13) *
9. Epileptic (12)
9. The Complete Peanuts (12)

35. Sexy Voice & Robo (3) *

At least you all have the good sense to place Black Hole and We3 in the top two spots.

I'm a bit surprised to see the Showcase Presents... titles in the top 10--as fun as it may be to revisit the DC silver age, they are black & white reprints on cheap newsprint.

It's easy to see how the last two categories could have presented some voting dilemas, as many mini series end up in collected editions. If you like Street Angel, for example, do you vote for it as Best Mini or Best Collection (or both)? In my case, I read it as a mini-series and never even saw the collected edition, so I voted for it as a mini.

Final thoughts:

The big winner was Grant Morrison, placing 1st or 2nd in all four categories for which he or his projects were eligible.

Manga made a much weaker showing than I might have expected. This can probably be chalked up to a combination of self-selection in the voting population, and the lack of any single title to rally around.

Only two of the creators of the top ten vote getting OGNs made it into the top ten of the Writer or Artists categories--fitting they were Alan Moore and Gene Ha, creators of Top 10: The 49ers.

Many people obviously have different criteria for 'best' than I do :)

Chris Tamarri put an awful lot of work in putting together the poll, and he deserves our heartfelt thanks for a tremendous effort.

1 comment:

Anna said...

I would have voted, but I didn't want to have my real name associated with my site, so I wasn't eligible to vote. I think that there are quite a few other female comics bloggers who blog under pseudonyms, so that would be one reason for the lack of participation.