Two very different books about young men at a changing point in their lives topped the Second Annual PWCW Critics' Poll for 2007. Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan and Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together by Bryan Lee O'Malley each received five votes in the poll. Canadian O'Malley used a manga and video game-influenced style to show how one hilarious young slacker learned how to get a job and keep a girlfriend; Israeli Modan used a style with ancestral echoes of Tintin to show the rootlessness of a society often torn apart by the most senseless kind of violence. Together they top a list that's a vivid demonstration of how the mix of "world comics" is coalescing into an artform that has something for almost everyone.

Critics participating in this year's poll include Chris Barsanti, Ian Brill, Johanna Draper Carlson, Kai-Ming Cha, Erin Finnegan, Laura Hudson, Heidi MacDonald, Laurel Maury, Calvin Reid, Andrew Trask, and Douglas Wolk.

A complete list with selected comments from voters follows:

Five Votes

Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan (D&Q)
Beautifully written, distinctively drawn, and very smart about the way it gets at the large via the small and vice versa. (DW)

Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together
by Bryan Lee O'Malley (Oni Press)
Growing up isn't always fun, but it sure is funny, at least the way O'Malley tells it. Both Pilgrim's survival chops and O'Malley's storytelling hit new heights here. (HM)

Four Votes

All-Star Superman Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (DC)
Grant Morrison is one of the only comics writers out there who can combine breathless ideas and masterful craft in 22-page bursts.(AT)

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill (America's Best Comics)
Moore wants to be very, very sure that absolutely everybody knows how staggeringly clever he is. Fortunately, he is. (DW)

I Killed Adolf Hitler by Jason (Fantagraphics)
Time travel paradoxes, doomed love, the end of the world; hilarious and touching. (CB)

Shooting War by Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman (Grand Central)
By turns prescient and bleakly hilarious, this powerful satirical response to the bloody geopolitical mess of the Iraq War recreates the conflict, and the media response to it, with chilling verisimilitude. (CR)

Tekkon Kinkreet: Black and White by Taiyo Matsumoto (Viz Media)
Matsumoto has drawn a noir film in an underground comic style. I'm overjoyed at this re-release of something I wouldn't have read otherwise. Tekkon is infinitely re-readable. (EF)

Three Votes

Alice In Sunderland by Brian Talbot (DH)
Not as much a graphic novel as a happening, made up of bits and pieces of every kind of image and graphic design. An unusual blend of pictures and text that eschews the usual panel borders or page grids to immerse the reader in a phantasmagoric trip through Talbot's mind and the history of this particular area of Northeast England. Nearly impossible to describe accurately, it must be experienced.(JDC)

Laika by Nick Abadzis (First Second)
A lovable dog on a doomed yet engrossing mission is the subject of this unsentimental, well-researched tale. Laika's gaze echoes through the ages. (HM)

The Salon by Nick Bertozzi (St. Martin's
Pablo Picasso and friends discover a magical blue absinthe that allows them to enter paintings in turn-of-the-century Paris—murder mystery ensues. (LH)

Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine (D&Q)
Tomine's relationship drama is so nakedly honest as to be cringe-worthy, but that doesn't mean it's not still one of the most minutely-observed and impressive graphic novels of the year. (CB)

Two Votes

Cairo by G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker (Vertigo)
This book tackles a Middle Eastern adventure in a modern, exciting way with distinctive, emotional characters and a thought-provoking take on a significant part of the world. (JDC)

Casanova Vol. 1: Luxuria by Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba (Image)
To tell the story of hedonism and family drama, by way of the super-spy genre, Fraction and Ba manipulate every aspect of pop culture and the comic book medium to their own ends. (IB)

Super Spy by Matt Kindt (Top Shelf)
A kaleidoscope of different tales from Matt Kindt's superlative espionage webcomic slowly merge into one vast and deeply affecting story about the secret lives of spies. (LH)

With The Light by Keiko Tobe (Yen)
An unusual and affecting manga in the shojo style that uses a emotionally engaging fictional narrative as a poignant reference work on the tensions, challenges and triumphs of raising an autistic child. (CR)

Honorable Mention

A great many books were listed a single time, but they also deserve recognition:

1 World Manga: Passages by Annette Roman, Leandro Ng and Walden Wong (Viz)
A Treasury of Victorian Murder: The Saga of the Bloody Benders by Rick Geary (NBM)
Age of Bronze: Betrayal Part One by Eric Shanower (Image)
American Elf, Vol. 2 by James Kochalka (Top Shelf)
Aya by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie (D&Q)
Batman Year 100 by Paul Pope (DC)
Beasts! by Jacob Covey,
Bookhunters by Jason Shiga (Sparkplug Comic Books)
Crecy by Warren Ellis and Raulo Caceres (Avatar)
Criminal Vol. 1: Coward by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Icon)
Death Note Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata (Viz)
Doctor 13: Architecture & Mortality by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang (DC)
Elk’s Run by Joshua Hale Fialkov, Noel Tuazon, and Scott A. Keating (Villard)
Essex County Vol. 1: Tales from the Farm by Jeff Lemire (TopShelf)
Fell, Vol 1: Feral City by Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith (Image)
First in Space by James Vining (Oni Press)
Flight Vol. 4 by Various (Random House)
Flower of Life by Fumi Yoshinaga Vol 1-3 (DMP)
Fox Bunny Funny by Andy Hartzell (Top Shelf)
Genshiken Vol. 8-9 by Kio Shimoku (Del Rey)
Homeless Channel by Matt Silady (AIT/PlanetLer)
I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets! by Fletcher Hanks (Fantagraphics)
Incredible Change-bots by Jeffrey Brown (Top Shelf)
Iron Wok Jan Vol. 23-27 by Shinji Saijyo (DrMaster)
Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus Vol. 1-3 by Jack Kirby (DC)
Korgi by Christian Slade (Top Shelf)
Love Roma by Volume 5, Minoru Toyoda (Del Rey)
Monster Vol. 7-12 by Naoki Urasawa (Viz)
MPD Psycho by Eiji Otsuka and Sho-u Tajima (Dark Horse)
MW by Osamu Tezuka (Vertical)
My Heavenly Hockey Club Vol. 1-3 by Ai Morinaga (Del Rey)
Northwest Passage: The Annotated Edition by Scott Chantler (Oni)
Nothing Better by Tyler Page (Dementian)
Palette of 12 Secret Colors by Nari Kusakawa (CMX)
Percy Gloom by Cathy Malkasian (Fantagraphics)
Perry Bible Fellowship: The Trial of Colonel Sweeto by Nick Gurewitch (Dark Horse)
Peter Panda by Ya-Ne Ri (DramaQueen)
Re-Gifters by Mike Carey, Sonny Liew, and Marc Hempel (Minx/DC)
Sentences by Percy Carey and Ronald Wimberly (Vertigo)
Star by Keiko Konno (DMP)
Strangers in Paradise Vol. 6 by Terry Moore (Abstract Studio)
Suppli by Mari Okazaki (TokyoPop)
Swan Vol. 9-11 by Kyoko Ariyochi, (CMX)
Tanpenshu Vol. 1 by Hiroki Endo (Dark Horse)
The Arrival by Shaun Tan (Scholastic)
The Blot by Tom Neely (I Will Destroy You)
The Goon: Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker by Eric Powell (Dark Horse)
The Other Side by Jason Aaron and Cameron Stewart (Vertigo)
The Spirit by Darwyn Cooke (DC)
Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms by Fum (Last Gasp)
TwoWill Come by Kyungok Kang (NetComics)
Yotsuba&! Vol 4-5 by Kiyohiko Azuma (ADV)

And finally a few comments from the panel:

Douglas Wolk: The question I got asked most often this year: "What's the difference between 'comics' and 'graphic novels'?" My answer: "The binding."

Andrew Trask: In general, this felt like the Year of the Retread. Much of what was out there was either the umpteenth revamp of licensed characters, or the umpteenth recombination of standard genre elements. I found myself gravitating toward "old reliable" subjects and creators, not so much because I didn't want the new, as because I got sick of the same old stuff packages as something new and different. The first four entries on my list were the works that excited me the most, because they seemed to be creators genuinely trying something different. After that, what I mostly saw were creators applying new coats of polish to the same old stuff.