Sandy Bilus counts 130 separate “Best of” lists for 2009 to come up with the Best Comics of 2009 Meta-List. Bilus uses the weighted scale devised by Chad Nevett and a system pioneered by dear departed Dick Hyacinth.
It will come as no surprise that Asterios Polyp crushes here. It was the book of the year before it even came out, and we think it’s here to stay.
2 Parker: The Hunter, by Darwyn Cooke
3 George Sprott: 1894-1975, by Seth
4 Pluto, by Naoki Urasawa
5 A Drifting Life, by Yoshihiro Tatsumi
6 Monsters, by Ken Dahl
7 Detective Comics, by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III
8 Stitches, by David Small
9 Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe, by Bryan Lee O’Malley
10 The Book of Genesis Illustrated, by Robert Crumb
Bilus notes, as we have, the dearth of superhero material that caught on this year, and, in contrast, the bounty of manga.
Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto (#4) and Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life (#5) are the first manga to crack the top ten of any Meta-List over the past five years (I haven’t created meta-lists for any years prior to 2005) and the only manga to rank in the top twenty other than Tatsumi’s Abandon the Old in Tokyo, which hit #20 on the 2006 list. Further down the 2009 list is Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys (#20), Taiyo Matsumoto’s Gogo Monster (#46), Tetsu Kariya and Akria Hanasaki’s Oishinbo (#52), and the manhwa trilogy The Color of Earth/The Color of Water/The Color of Heaven, by Dong Hwa Kim (#58). This development might be a sign that manga in general is becoming more accepted among critics and reviewers (as opposed to just being popular) or it might just be that certain authors are particularly beloved (Tatsumi, Urasawa, and Matsumoto all have shown up on previous lists).
If the list proves anything besides the fact that Comics Are Really Awesome, it’s that manga for the rest of us has got a toehold here — let’s hope the audience is big enough to keep it coming.