Monday, August 22, 2011

The International Best Comics Poll

I've been absent from the site for a good little while now. The reason has been The International Best Comics Poll at The Hooded Utilitarian. I was responsible for organizing and supervising the project from beginning to end. This included individually inviting approximately a thousand people to participate, tallying the 211 top-ten lists we received, and being the managing editor of the three-week presentation of the poll results that ran from August 1 through August 19.

The first week was a countdown of the top ten vote getters with a series of appreciation essays. Each essay was accompanied by a postscript by me that detailed the voting for that work as well as the work's publication history. I also contributed the appreciation essay for Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen, which came in fourth place in the polling. The week culminated with the publication of the Top 115 extended list of works that received the most votes. The list was ranked by number of votes, and each entry included a notation of the number of votes received.

The second week featured a series of essays that discussed various aspects of the poll results. These pieces dealt with sub-groups of works in the Top 115, such as non-English European comics, Japanese manga, and efforts by women cartoonists. A fourth essay was devoted to the subject of the extended field of comics, specifically efforts that are generally considered fine art but can be viewed as comics as well. The Hooded Utilitarian's publisher Noah Berlatsky also contributed an essay about the subject of favorites versus best.

The second week also saw the beginning of a daily series of ten posts that published the individual top ten lists of the 211 people who submitted them. The published lists included relevant links to all of the works named by the submitter. The individual entries also included notes explaining how the votes were applied to works in the Top 115 if it wasn't immediately apparent. The last of the list posts was published on Friday, August 19.

On Monday, August 15, the first day of the third week of the presentation, I posted an essay that discussed some of my thoughts about the poll results.

I maintained a master "Index and Introduction" post to the poll on the site throughout. It is the best guide to the presentation, with links to the appreciation essays of the top ten, the Top 115 list, the site essays responding to the poll, and the individual-list posts. It is now completely updated and revised to reflect the poll's completion. Those interested in more about the poll should click here to go to the post.

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