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USA Today selects best ‘graphic novels’ of 2011

Infinite Kung Fu

USA Today writers-about-comics David Colton, John Geddes and Brian Truitt have assembled a year-end rundown of graphic novels, webcomics and comic-book collections that’s part best-of list, part holiday gift guide. The books, in no apparent order, are:

Flashpoint, by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert (DC Comics)
Habibi, by Craig Thompson (Pantheon)
Mail-Order Mysteries: Real Stuff from Old Comic Book Ads, by Kirk Demarais (Insight Editions)
Bob Powell’s Terror, by Craig Yoe (IDW Publishing)
The Death-Ray, by Daniel Clowes (Drawn and Quarterly)
xkcd, by Randall Munroe
Infinite Kung Fu, by Kagan McLeod (Top Shelf)
Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor: Artist’s Edition (IDW Publishing)
Who is Jake Ellis? Vol. 1, by Nathan Edmondson and Tonci Zonjic(Image Comics)
The New 52 collection (DC Comics)
An Elegy for Amelia Johnson, by Andrew Rostan, Dave Valeza and Kate Kasenow (Archaia)
Hark! A Vagrant, by Kate Beaton (Drawn and Quarterly)
The Homeland Directive, by Robert Venditti and Mike Huddleston (Top • Shelf)
One Soul, by Ray Fawkes (Oni Press)
Green River Killer: A True Detective Story, by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case (Dark Horse)

Visit the USA Today website to read what they have to say about each entry.



Those two DC titles stick out like sore thumbs.

They stick out like paid content rather than thumbs. Surprised Marvel couldn’t muster up similar marketing love.

No love for Big Questions?

I thought Batman: Noel was far better than Flashpoint.

No Batman: Black Mirror?


What about Daytripper? Hands down the best book of the year!

“Here are 20 graphic novels we found Google-ing ‘comics 2011.’ We don’t really read them, but I guess if you’re into that sort of thing…”

I’m a total DC fanboy, and I have to admit that Flashpoint was just awful, totally doesn’t belong on this list. I guess the art was nice? And that makes up for it being pointless and having no real ending? You know, 4 issues building up to a climax of Wonder Woman against Aquaman (not to mention all the tie-ins supporting this false conflict set to be continued in Flashpoint 5) just for Barry to run fast and reboot continuity rendering the entire thing moot. I really hope nobody sees this list and decides Flashpoint is a good entry point into comics.

Books In Print list 317 titles published by DC Comics in 2011. Ignoring the reprints, let’s see what should have been noticed by USA Today (“The Nation’s Comic Book”).

Joe The Barbarian
Batman: Noel
Cover Story: The DC Comics Art of Brian Bolland
Team-ups of the Brave and the Bold
How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less
Batman: Knight and Squire
Delirium’s Party
Area Ten
IZombie: Dead to the World (V.1)
IZombie: UVampire (V.2)
Aaron and Ahmed

I dont think the DC 52 should be included as it isnt telling a story that connects together.

Flashpoint was ok but not worth this list, there are other titles that are beter.

This list is probably based on review copies.

Marvel does not send out review copies of trade paperbacks or hardcovers.

Thus no Marvel on the list. What would qualify from the 615 titles?
Oz: Ozma of Oz
Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman
S. H. I. E. L. D.: Architects of Forever

How to Understand Israel was definitely 2010.

Seriously though, these are some good suggestions but I just figured Big Questions was going to be a default for the best of lists this year along with Habibi. Maybe the price point threw them off?

I’m not surprised by this list. Marvel and DC are barely present on Amazon’s top 100 best-selling graphic novels list. Also there is no way that a hard cover collection of 52 first issues should count as a graphic novel. It is in no way a novel. At best it’s an anthology of part one of a bunch of stories.

As much as I love xkcd, it isn’t a graphic novel either. The problem is that everyone is too embarrassed to use the word “comics,” so we every comic gets referred to as a graphic novel even if it’s just a collection of 3 panel comic strips that are released 3 times a week with no unifying story progressing from strip to strip.

In my mind a graphic novel is a long (more than 50 pages) comic book that tells a complete story. I would count trade paperbacks as graphic novels as long as they contain a complete story arc.

Also I don’t think a reprint of Thor comics from the 80s should count as a best graphic novel of 2011. Maybe as a best graphic novel of the 80s or best graphic novel ever, but not of this year.

“I dont think the DC 52 should be included as it isnt telling a story that connects together.”

Neither are several of the others on the list – xkcd and Hark a Vagrant, at least. They’re putting less emphasis on “novel” than on “graphic.”

I’m glad to see Homeland Directive on there… I thought that was an extremely excellent read.

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