Sunday, October 18, 2009

Best Comics of 2008 Meta-List

2005 Meta-List | 2006 Meta-List | 2007 Meta-List
2008 Meta-List
| 2009 Meta-List

This meta-list of the top 100 comic books of 2008 is compiled from over a hundred "best comics of 2008" lists from critics across the internet.

This is based on an idea and a lot of work by Dick Hyacinth. Dick published a meta-list of the best comics of 2007 and was working on a 2008 meta-list when he stopped blogging. Fortunately, Dick had published links to the 2008 lists. I went through every list, compiled everything into one spreadsheet, and then quantified the data to produce this meta-list. Thanks to Dick for his part in this project.

Methodology: I gave each critic 550 points. Critics who wrote unnumbered lists distributed their points evenly among the books on their lists, while critics with numbered lists distributed their points according to a formula created by Chad Nevett. I only counted lists that had five or more books; for numbered lists with more than 20 books, I only counted the top 20. I also only counted general "best of" lists, not lists limited to a certain genre or type of comic book.

I'll post more analysis and information about the meta-list in a future post, but for now, here is the Best Comics of 2008 Meta-List:

Rank Points Title
1 2356 Bottomless Belly Button, by Dash Shaw
2 1511 Acme Novelty Library #19, by Chris Ware
3 1266 All Star Superman, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
4 1181 Too Cool To Be Forgotten, by Alex Robinson
5 1112 What It Is, by Lynda Barry
6 1086 Ganges #2, by Kevin Huizenga
7 988 The Alcoholic, by Jonathan Ames and Dean Haspiel
8 981 Skyscrapers of the Midwest, by Joshua Cotter
9 876 Kramers Ergot 7, by various
10 803 Capacity, by Theo Ellsworth
11 769 Swallow Me Whole, by Nate Powell
12 767 Scalped, by Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera


Omega: The Unknown, by Jonathan Lethem,
Karl Rusnak, and Farel Dalrymple
14 730 Skim, by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
15 662 Three Shadows, by Cyril Pedrosa
16 634 Travel, by Yuichi Yokoyama


Love and Rockets: New Stories #1,
by Jaimie Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez
18 573 Gus & His Gang, by Chris Blain
Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!, by Art Spiegelman
20 488 Burma Chronicles, by Guy Delisle
21 474 Criminal, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
22 471 Local, by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly
23 465 Freddie and Me, by Mike Dawson
24 461 Good-Bye, by Yoshihiro Tatsumi
25 453 Essex County Vol. 3: The Country Nurse, by Jeff Lemire
26 422 Jin and Jam #1, by Helen Jo
27 418 Tamara Drewe, by Posy Simmonds
28 412 Achewood, by Chris Onstad
29 397 The Education of Hopey Glass, by Jaime Hernandez
30 381 Echo, by Terry Moore
31 368 The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard, by Eddie Campbell
32 367 Alan's War, by Emmanuel Guibert
33 359 The Lagoon, by Lilli Carre
34 354 Casanova, by Matt Fraction and Fabio Moon
35 339 Joker, by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo
36 338 Berlin: City of Smoke, by Jason Lutes
37 317 Willie and Joe: The WWII Years, by Bill Mauldin
38 308 Powr Mastrs vol. 2, by C.F.
39 304 The Umbrella Academy vol. 1, by Gerard Way and Gabiel Ba
40 303 Slow Storm, by Danica Novgorodoff
41 297 BodyWorld, by Dash Shaw
42 275 Fluffy, by Simone Lia
43 273 RASL, by Jeff Smith
44 270 MOME, various
45 267 Black Jack, by Osamu Tezuka
46 264 Complete Little Orphan Annie vol. 1, by Harold Gray
47 257 Sammy the Mouse #2, by Zak Sally
48 255 Fight or Run, by Kevin Huizenga
49 (tie) 243 Blue Pills, by Fredrik Peeters
49 (tie) 243 Abandoned Cars, by Tim Lane
51 242 Little Nothings, by Lewis Trondheim
52 (tie) 238 Ochre Ellipse #2, by Jonas Madden-Conner
52 (tie) 238 Madman Atomic Comics, by Mike Allred
52 (tie) 238 Monster Men Bureiko Lullaby, by Takashi Nemoto
55 234 Paul Goes Fishing, by Michel Rabagliati
56 232 Goddess of War, by Lauren R. Weinstein
57 229 Bat-Manga!, by Jiro Kuwata
58 226 Nat Turner, by Kyle Baker
59 225 Inkweed, by Chris Wright
60 223 Monster, by Naoki Urasawa
61 221 Boy's Club #2, by Matt Furie
62 (tie) 220 Army @ Love, by Rick Veitch
62 (tie) 220 Curio Cabinet, by John Brodowski
62 (tie) 220 Empire Park, by Jason Shiga
62 (tie) 220 P.S. Comics #4, by Minty Lewis
66 217 Disappearance Diary, by Hideo Azuma
67 213 Popeye vol. 3: Let's You and Him Fight!, by E.C. Segar
68 212 American Flagg!, by Howard Chaykin
69 211 Captain America, by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, and Luke Ross
70 210 Jamilti and Other Stories, by Rutu Modan
71 205 The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard
72 (tie) 202 B.P.R.D., by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, and Guy Davis
72 (tie) 202 Lucky vol. 2 #2, by Gabrielle Bell
74 197 My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down, by David Heatley
An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories vol. 2, by various
76 195 Wormdye, by Eamon Espey
77 191 Glamourpuss, by Dave Sim
78 188 Fables, by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham
79 185 Gary Panter, by Gary Panter
80 (tie) 183 Blue Beetle #25, by John Rogers and Raphael Albuquerque
80 (tie) 183 Far Arden, by Kevin Cannon
80 (tie) 183 Fishtown, by Kevin Colden
80 (tie) 183 Interiorae #3, by Gabriella Giandelli
80 (tie) 183 Petey and Pussy, by John Kerschbaum
80 (tie) 183 Welcome to the Dahl House, by Ken Dahl
86 180 Tokyo Zombie, by Yusaku Hanakuma
87 165 How to Be Everywhere, by Warren Craghead
88 162 Solanin, by Inio Asano
89 157 Angry Youth Comix #14, by Johnny Ryan
90 156 Northlanders, by Brian Wood and Davide Gianfelice
91 155 Mesmo Delivery, by Rafael Grampa
92 152 Speak of the Devil, by Gilbert Hernandez
93 (tie) 147 Cat Eyed Boy, by Kazuo Umezu
93 (tie) 147 Don't Cry for Me, I'm Already Dead, by Rebecca Sugar
93 (tie) 147 Dungeon, by Lewis Trondheim and Joann Sfar
93 (tie) 147 Judenhaas, by Dave Sim
93 (tie) 147 Only Skin #3, by Sean Ford
93 (tie)


Deitch's Pictorama, by Kim Deitch,
Seth Deitch, and Simon Deitch
93 (tie) 147 Heavy Liquid, by Paul Pope
93 (tie) 147 Y: The Last Man, by Bryan K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra

Other "Best Comics of the Year" Meta-Lists:
2005 Meta-List | 2006 Meta-List | 2007 Meta-List
2008 Meta-List
| 2009 Meta-List


  1. Glad to see the list pop up somewhere. Interesting stuff.

  2. Nice! Thanks for doing this! I'll try'n do a wrap-up review post on CSBG like I did last year, unless I'm lazy.

    Although I'm still boycotting Omega the Unknown on principle, Gary Panter or no.

  3. Ganges # 2 was the one with Video games and shit, right?

  4. That would be great to see a wrap-up post. But you have to give Omega the Unknown a try -- it really is fantastic. Totally deserves its ranking. And you are correct about Ganges #2. The first half was basically a weird fighting video game, and the second half was about the main character playing in a Doom-style game with his co-workers. It's excellent. (Both Omega and Ganges are in my personal top 10 for 2008.

  5. Okay, cool. I bought that. I might even still have it somewhere... maybe? I'm pretty sure I liked it.

    Also Omega wasn't in your top ten! I find this strangely validating.

  6. Ahhh! You're right! I must have been thinking of my alternate-reality top 10. (Where Xavier died years ago and Magneto heads up the X-Men.)

    Now I remember: I read Omega this year, after I had written my list. But I did love it, and it would have been on my list if I had read it in time.

  7. Glad this is finally up. I love lists like this; it's fascinating to see how things stack up. Now I've gotta revisit my list and see how my tastes compare. I do know that I would have had Swallow Me Whole in the top one or two if I had read it before I completed the list, so that affected things. I'm also surprised to see Solanin so low; I think my ranking of it was what got it on the list at all. Maybe that came out too late for a lot of people to notice? The same goes for Three Shadows, maybe. I'm also impressed that Jin and Jam was so high; that's basically a minicomic. And how did Far Arden get on there? It didn't come out until 2009. I guess that's the webcomic version?

    Okay, looking at my list, it looks like I didn't contribute to the ranking of Skim, Blue Pills, Speak of the Devil, or Jamilti, since you only counted the top 20. And Magic Trixie didn't rank; boo! Neither did Pocket Full of Rain, which is interesting. And other than Monster (which is another one that I didn't read enough of until 2009 to put on the list, otherwise it would have been high), Black Jack (but not the Eisner-winning Dororo!), and various artsy stuff like Travel, Tatsumi, and Monster Men Bureiko Lullaby, there wasn't much manga. I wonder if that's because a lot of manga was limited to manga-only lists which weren't considered for being too limited. I would think Nana might have made an appearance, and maybe Real? I dunno.

    Overall, an interesting list. I can't complain too much, although Terry Moore's Echo seems strangely popular, and I would be happier if Joker wasn't on the list at all. But I do know that one was popular with a lot of people, even if I hated it.

    Okay, enough blather. Lists! They're bizarrely fascinating!

  8. I'm planning on posting another list that shows the number of lists that each book appeared on. For instance, five different people had Echo on their list, while only you (52 points) and one other person (110 points) had Solanin.

    It's also important to remember that everyone only had 550 points to dole out, which means that a person who listed 20 books gave fewer points to his or her top book than a person who only listed 5 books. Far Arden (I'm assuming it is the web version) was only selected by one person, but she ranked it as her top book out of five, which gave it 183 points. That's one reason why the bottom end of the list might not reflect a critical consensus as much as the top half, since a single entry like that can give a ton of points to a book.

  9. Man, this sort of thing must be heaven for math geeks and statisticians. That's pretty crazy how one or two people can affect the bottom of the list. Which makes me wonder about something like Y: The Last Man, which one would think would make it onto several lists. But maybe it was low, and on lists that had lots of entries. Wild and crazy stuff, man.

  10. Well, Y only showed up on two lists: the Washington Post had it on an unnumbered list of six books (92 points) and the Graphic Novel Reporter had it on an unnumbered list of ten books (55 points). I'm actually surprised that it didn't show up on more lists.

  11. Interesting. If I remember correctly, the only issue of Y that came out in 08 was the final one, so maybe that's why it got less attention. Or maybe it just got lost in the shuffle; there were a hell of a lot of good comics last year. I think I had it listed as an Honorable Mention or something.

  12. I'm a little surprised by Y not showing up more also, but I guess only issue #60 came out. Seriously though, what an issue.

    Scalped finishing up at #12 on the year is wonderful. What an incredible title that is, and Aaron and Guera are one of the best teams in mainstream comics today.

    Nice to see some Blue Beetle love on there - John Rogers and Rafael Albequerque's run on that title was an incredibly underrated one.

    I must admit, I'm perplexed by Omega the Unknown. I read the entire series but I found it incomprehensible. It was a difficult read that worked really poorly as a month to month read...perhaps it'd be better in trade, but it was not an enjoyable read for me.

    Thanks for compiling this list. It's an excellent look at the year and gives me a ton to add to my reading list.

  13. Scalped is terrific. I hope it maintains its high ranking in 2009, but I'm worried that people will forget about it now that it's been ongoing for a couple of years.

    I read Omega in trade, and I can imagine it being tough to understand in single issues with a month break in between each issue.

  14. having thought about this very little, I still have to say I am a little confused by the statistical choices for this list. why would a book ranked number one by a reviewer who ranked 20 titles have less weight than a title listed at the same spot by a reviewer who only had a list of ten? Wouldn't you have been better served by simply assigning a value to each rank and doing the calculations from there? I would think that would reflect a more valid reality as well as making your job a hell of a lot easier. Just curious, I suppose, nothing that matters much I suppose, and quite likely a choice that has some pretty solid reasoning behind it...