PW’s annual Graphic Novel critics poll, which I oversee, is out. This One Summer was the winner, which is hard to argue with. There’s also a list of books of the year selected by the graphic novel reviewers. It’s a small group, but they usually get it right. I thought it would be fun to look up past winners. The very first one isn’t online, but it’s a pretty strong list overall, and clicking the links will immediately take you back to whatever people were talking about in comics that year:
2006: Fun Home (poll not online)
Chris Ware won twice; women cartoonists have won or tied four times (out of nine) a pretty good percentage. This One Summer is the first book by a team and not a sole cartoonist, but as I was rereading it putting together the poll I was amazed at how seamless the Mariko/Jillian Tamaki collaboration is. They’re the Morrison/Quitely of YA. Random House and D&Q have won three times, First Second twice, Oni, Houghton Mifflin and Fantagraphics once each.
Taken as a whole, it’s a fairly representative comics shelf. You could give one of those books to pretty much anyone, depending on their tastes. (Asterios Polyp and Bottomless Belly Button would be for the most adventurous.)