It’s December and everywhere you turn there’s a “Best Of 2011” list. Since we’re talking comics here at Comic Book Daily I’ve been looking at best comics lists from the usual suspects like comic blogs, including this one, but also from major newspapers and media outlets. Wonderful exposure for the medium, at least for the same ten books that seem to make every list.

Two issues really, and one comes straight out of comic snobbery. We’re seeing the same books make every list, with the occasional “left field” entry. Second problem is that everything is getting categorized as “graphic novels”.

Great work should be celebrated, and as in all things the cream rises to the top, but are there really only ten or so books from 2011 that were great? With so many varied tastes and genres surely lists should be all over the place. I’ve always enjoyed best of lists because inevitably I’ll come across something I hadn’t read or known about and seek it out. What other purpose does the best of list serve? Pushing sales obviously, celebrating works of excellence to be sure, but most importantly getting the word out there! Perhaps we need to narrow our lists down more?

Which leads me to my second issue: classification. While every comic in a bound format could be called a graphic novel, it pays to break them into relevant categories. Here at CBD I’ve tried to give our Pick Five lists this month some differentiation: graphic novels, collected editions, comic strip reprints and translated material (next Monday for those following along).  Broaden the parameters and expose people to the widest variety of comics available.