12.03.2007

Top 10 of 2007 - Intro

Now that December is already upon us (really, where the hell did 2007 go?), I’m happy to welcome you to the third year of “Top 10” lists here at 13 Minutes. In an effort to focus the lists a little more tightly, there are a couple minor tweaks we’ll be making. First off, there is no “Top 10 Worst” of anything this time out. Though our readers always seemed to find it entertaining and at times it was admittedly fun to write for pure hedonism, I decided to let the bad reviews simply speak for themselves. Why give those books undeserving of a second look, a second mention, even to mock them?

Two, I remembered that one of my original operating principles when I started 13 Minutes was to draw attention to good books that needed readers in order to drive some form of sustainable readership in the industry, not call undue attention to the bad ones. Of course, one can argue that even negative reviews serve their purpose, both steering consumers away from the dreck – hopefully inspiring a (negative) “vote with your wallet” phenomenon, and ideally swaying talent to strive for better in the face of truly constructive criticism, thus proving useful. But, I feel that by framing the influence positively we put readers in a position not to just passively avoid bad books, but where they’re forced to take action and seek out good ones. No, I don’t like passivity with my revolution. It’s what the boys at Savant Magazine used to call “Comics Activism,” it requires up-off-the-ass action. Now, that may all be splitting hairs and overanalyzing a semantical distinction, but it nevertheless felt right. Besides, a few of my gripes will no doubt get incorporated into the “Top 10 Misc. Items” list! There are only four lists this year, The Top 10 Graphic Novels, Mini-Series, Ongoing Titles, and aforementioned Misc. Items that caught my eye or that I wanted to comment on.

Another new feature to the lists is that they will be ranked, the number one spot being the best. Be forewarned that there is no real scientific method to the rankings (is there ever in an inherently opinion based critique, with impossible to agree upon rating criteria and definitions?); they’re my subjective gut reaction, marked only by the byzantine internal measurement of how excited these books made me to be a comic book fan in 2007. These are the books that I personally enjoyed or valued for some specific artistic reason(s). These are the books whose magical pairing of images and text made me satisfied, nay – happy, to spend my money on and support.

Of course, there will inevitably be some debate over category placement, particularly in the Graphic Novel (GN)/Trade Paper Back (TPB) vs. Mini-Series sections. Essentially, I tried to keep things in the GN category that were not previously published in another format, meaning that for the most part they were really Original Graphic Novels (OGN), or the collected format was so different (Finder and Northwest Passage with their slick hardcovers and annotations being prime examples) that it warranted distinction. Some were just coffee-table-style art books. Or some were mini-series that I know will ultimately be collected, but either are still going or have not yet been collected at the time of this writing.

The first “Top 10 of 2007” list goes up later this week. Enjoy!

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