25 January 2006

COMMENT: Comics Bloggers' Poll 2005 Results


The results are in from the inaugural Comics Bloggers' Poll 2005, and like so many voting experiences of mine over the past six years or so, I find myself once again disappointed in my fellow Americans bloggers.

James Meeley notes the skewed turnout, with only 2 of the 50 bloggers voting being women, while Ragnell comments that it was "mostly superhero fans who voted." I'm only familiar with exactly half of the voters' blogs, but of those, there's a pretty good mix of tastes, so I'm not sure how much weight to give that particular observation.

Anyway, the results (top five for each category) and my thoughts...

Best Artist
1. Frank Quitely (40)
2. JH Williams III (29)
3. John Cassaday (22)
4. Tony Harris (21)
5. Gene Ha (14)

Meh. I like Quitely, but considering his rather limited output last year, he feels like more of a popularity pick, riding the coattails of the blogiverse's overwhelming adoration of All-Star Superman (ALL ONE ISSUE OF IT!!!) and We3, the latter of which was an artistic tour de force, if overrated as a whole. Same with Cassaday, whom I'm not a particularly big fan of as his style is too stiff for my tastes, only a step or two away from Greg Land's photo-tracing. I'm not terribly familiar with Williams, but did he do anything besides Seven Soldiers #0 and a few issues of Desolation Jones? Not saying it's a quantity thing, necessarily, but considering the interesting exclusion of covers from this category, these results are about as valid as Wizard's Top 10. Pretty much why I didn't bother voting in this category.

Best Writer
1. Grant Morrison (97)
2. Warren Ellis (37)
3. Brian K. Vaughan (34)
4. Ed Brubaker (25)
5. Geoff Johns, Gail Simone (24)

Again, I didn't vote in this category either as it felt too much like a popularity contest, even moreso than the artist category as there's no way I could properly judge, say, Gail Simone, since I hadn't read any of her work. These two categories might have been better served by a preliminary step to develop a list of 5-10 nominees before opening voting to everyone. Morrison's landslide victory isn't the least bit surprising, of course, but I have to wonder if, looking back to 2005 ten years from now, whether or not Ellis or Vaughan's work will be seen as being stronger and more influential than anything he did last year. Johns started 2005 as one of my favorite superhero writers, and ended it a step above Judd Winick and Jeph Loeb, two writers I wish would leave comics altogether. (Interestingly, neither of these hacks got a single vote, so the comics blogiverse has some sense!) My money is on Brubaker for snagging the top spot for 2006 when all is said and done.

Best Ongoing Title
1. Fell (30)
2. All Star Superman (25)
3. Desolation Jones (20)
4. Love and Rockets, Or Else (18)
5. Captain America, Ex Machina, Young Avengers (17)

This list was a bit of a surprise, but because I didn't keep a copy of my own votes, I'm not sure exactly how big of a surprise it actually is. All Star Superman being on the list is simply ridiculous since, as I noted above, there was only one issue released in 2005, and I could have sworn there was a rule specifying a minimum number of issues being released to qualify. (If not, there should have been.) I didn't read any L&R or Or Else with a 2005 publication date, so I can't speak to whether their appearances are deserved or not, but I can agree with Fell, Captain America, Ex Machina and Young Avengers being there. Desolation Jones #1 didn't work for me, but I'm at the point where I think I'll give it another look. A glance at my Top 10 list shows I was alone with most of my picks, with only Gotham Central (6th) and The Losers (11th) getting noticeable support.

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)

This was a tough category for me as I rarely read OGNs when they first come out. In fact, I've only read five of the titles that made the entire list, though I own another five or so which I haven't gotten around to reading yet. I'm not even sure what I voted for (Why Are You Doing This? might have been one of mine, assuming I remembered it at the time), though I'd probably throw Scott Pilgrim vs. the World a point or two now that I've read it. This category, more than any other, needs to be tweaked for next year as it's not clear whether anthologies of original material really belong here - I missed out on voting for Project: Superior because of that - and Manga was left completely up in the air, apparently resulting in my vote for Dead End being dropped while internet darling Steady Beat made the list. Nevertheless, I'll be using it as a list of recommendations for future purchases on those light weeks.

Best Mini-Series or One-Shot
1. Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witch Boy, Villains United (28)
2. Infinite Crisis (22)
3. Spider-Man/Human Torch (21)
4. Seven Soldiers: Guardian, Seven Soldiers: Zatanna (20)
5. Marvel Monsters (16)

This was very surprising, if for no other reason than that it's all Marvel/DC. So much for the blogiverse's diverse tastes! Of course, Grant Morrison is well represented, though I have to admit to Klarion and Zatanna being the only two of his Seven Soldiers minis to strike a chord with me. I'd actually rate the whole of House of M as being better than the three convoluted issues of Infinite Crisis released last year, if for no other reason than Bendis actually managed to nail a handful of really strong character moments while Johns has wielded his plot hammer like a three-fingered amputee. (No, it's not supposed to make sense.) Adam Strange, Elk's Run, Fade From Grace, Madrox and Nat Turner would be my ideal Top 5, though I have no memory of what my actual ballot looked like.

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)

Having finally read it, I'm comfortable with Black Hole taking the top spot. Not so thrilled with the next four, though, as the Showcase votes seem to be more about presentation than actual content; We3 is way overrated, amazing art carrying a derivative and unsatisfying story; and Street Angel, the first two issues of which were silly fun, but not enough to get me to read the final three which are now long-forgotten, buried deep under my to-read pile. There's some irony in the mis-titled Bumperboy tying with DEMO for 15th place, as I think all five of its points might have come from me. Overall, there's a lot of good TPBs represented and I'll be using this list like the OGN list, cherry-picking it on light shopping weeks.

Kudos to Chris Tamarri for conceiving and spearheading the vote. I'm looking forward to next year's edition, hopefully fleshed out a bit and with more participation from you people. If you were eligible and didn't vote, shut up!

PS: Be sure to check out Tamarri's dissection of the results, along with The Low Road's Ed Cunard, for some interesting background and DVD commentary. Chris is also tracking other commentary on the Poll. Does Zogby offer that kind of service?

In the interests of full disclosure, and my own curiousity, here's my official ballot. (Thanks, Chris!)

Field              Entry                                 Points
BestArtist1 No Vote 10
BestCollection1 Bumperboy Loses His Marbles TPB 3
BestCollection2 Runners: Bad Goods TPB 2
BestCollection3 Madrox TPB 2
BestCollection4 100 Girls: The First Girl, Vol. 1 TPB 1
BestCollection5 Fade From Grace TPB 2
BestMiniseries1 Elk's Run 3
BestMiniseries2 NYC Mech: Beta Love 3
BestMiniseries3 Superior Showcase #0 2
BestMiniseries4 Something So Familiar 1
BestMiniseries5 Son of Vulcan 1
BestOriginalNovel1 Why Are You Doing This? 5
BestOriginalNovel2 Dead End, Vol. 2 5
BestTitle1 100 Girls 2
BestTitle2 Amelia Rules! 3
BestTitle3 Conan 1
BestTitle4 The Losers 1
BestTitle5 The Expatriate 1
BestTitle6 Young Avengers 2
BestWriter1 No Vote 10

Looking back, I realize I submitted my votes way too quickly, missing several no-brainers that I'd have if I had voted from home, including my forgetting to include Gotham Central in the Best Ongoing Title category!!!! Me am idiot! Grrrr...

My mini-series votes were a bit off, too, leaving out Adam Strange and Nat Turner, though I'm pretty sure I didn't include the latter because of the apparently imagined rule that at least 2-3 issues had to have been released in 2005. (I might have mixed it up with my own rule for Buzzscope's Best of 2005 list.)


Erech said...

I'm surprised Tricked got so few votes. What's wrong the comic inturnutz, damnit??

Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said...

Tricked is one of the many OGNs on the list that I've neither read nor own. What's it about? (Your pimp skills are slipping!)

Chris said...

Can I just stand up and ask what the hell does Frank Quitely have on the comicsblogoweb that gets him so much love? I'm sorry, I just don't see it. He's OK, but not overwhelmingly great from what I've seen. And for what it's worth, I think his covers are awful.

I think Ellis had a strong enough year to justify his spot, and I agree with you on your Brubaker prediction (particularly if he handles the X-Men as well as he's doing in Deadly Genesis.

I had my own head slapping moment when I saw the results and realized I had left my favorite collection this year, the Madrox TPB, completely off my vote. I am a total schmuck.

Kurt said...

Guy - I actually liked WE3 pretty well and not really for Quitely's work - although it was the best I've seen from him. His AS Superman work is just not grabbing me like it seems to some other people. So I guess I'm with Chris on the Quitely front, since I hate his covers too. (I was going to work in an All Quiet on the Western Front riff but it was just too much work.)

I also don't understand why AS Superman was included. Maybe there were so many votes Chris felt he couldn't disallow it?

Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said...

While he doesn't top my Favorite Artist list - that'd be Bill Sienkiewicz - Quitely does stylized realism rather well, I think, without resorting to the photo-tracing lameness of a Greg Land. He understands body language and knows how to frame a scene for maximum effect. That said, I do sometimes wonder how much the internet's love for him has to do with his ties to Morrison.

As for his covers, they do vary in their appeal for me, but I particularly liked his work on Bite Club, and his Jonah Hex is way better than the one inside the book.