The Beat’s Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2

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More from various comics-type personalities on the year that was and the year that will be. Thanks to all who participated. And if we had to make a rough guess, the biggest story of ’07, as evidenced by these responses, was definitely the online world.

Our guess for the big story of Aught Eight? The effects of the economic downturn on the comics industry.

1598167057.01.LZZZZZZZ The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Stuart Moore:
Writing:
– Two new projects with Marvel
– THE 99, monthly from Teshkeel
– SHADRACH STONE, an original comics series with artist Jon Proctor
– EARTHLIGHT volume 3, with Tokyopop
– a novel that will probably kill me

Editing:
– THE STRANDED, the first book in the new Virgin/SciFi imprint

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
Everybody will say the shift to online content delivery, as manifested in very different ways by DC’s Zuda imprint and Marvel’s Digital Comics initiative. And everybody’s right. But that’s boring, so I’ll go with the wholly predictable collapse of the national housing bubble. This will mean lots of depressed people living on the streets and in crowded relatives’ homes, thanks to the corrupt, short-term profit mentality of the Republican governing bodies of this country. Those poor people will need cheap, graphic story entertainment to keep their minds off what the Republican leadership has done to them, and continues to do, with the tacit support of the national news media. So it’s a giant-scale human tragedy that should never have happened, and that a very few super-rich (Republican) criminals continue to profit from even as the middle class of this country slowly spirals down into poverty and despair. But it’s good for comics.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
More of the above. Plus: FINAL CRISIS!

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s FANTASTIC FOUR.

Honorable mention: ALL-STAR BATMAN AND F**ING ROBIN. All the online hatred just seems to fuel this thing. And there’s not a book on the stands with more energy spurting out of every single panel.

PICT0743 The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Kuo-Yu Liang Selling stuff into bookstores worldwide

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007? Oh boy there were so many. Frank Miller’s 300 being a runaway blockbuster. Civil War’s success in bookstores showing cross-over events are no longer confined to the direct market. Stephen King Dark Tower getting blockbuster distribution. The rising popularity of Watchmen and the high-end collections (Absolute Sandman, Batman Long Halloween). Naruto Nation. James Patterson signing to do manga. Kurt Hassler leaving Borders to go to Hachette. The collapse of Geneon. IDW getting sold. Sixth consecutive year of ridiculous growth.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008? Kids comics. Toon Books from Francoise Moulay. A major expansion of bookstore sales in US & Canada. New manga franchises launching – Code Geass, Gantz, Blood+. More dominance at the movies (Dark Knight, Hellboy II, Ironman)

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008? Wanted (the movie). The return of ROBOT manga from Udon. Perry Bible Fellowship.

Wish list – will somebody please make a Queen & Country movie. I want to see Tara Chase kick ass on a big screen.

selfportrait brownjeff The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Jeffrey Brown: “Funny Misshapen Body”, my 400 page memoir of how I ended up being a cartoonist after high school, college and art school. Plus I’m working on stories for my comic book series for Top Shelf called ‘Sulk’. And of course a hundred other small projects I can barely keeptrack of.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
If 2005 was the rise of manga and 2006 was the rise of the Graphic Novel then maybe 2007 was the rise of the webcomic? Although, if I’m not mistaken, even the most popular webcomics like Achewood and Perry Bible Fellowship and American Elf have book collections and print versions. So maybe 2007 should be known for Marvel and DC consolidating their entire universes in crossovers – 52! Countdown! Ra Al Gul! Messiah Complex! Civil War! World War Hulk! The big story is the death of the stand alone issue.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
Chris Ware, Dan Clowes and Chester Brown will each launch manga style webcomics that they promote with a huge crossover storyline cowritten by Grant Morrison.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
Watching the Red Wings make another run at Lord Stanley’s Cup.

browncovsmall The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Neil Kleid: I’m currently shepherding my second NBM graphic novel, THE BIG KAHN with artist Nicolas Cinquegrani (due Summer ’08), I’m co-writing two projects about the seamy side of the entertainment biz: a five-issue murder mystery for IDW with Dan Taylor and Chris Moreno set in the gutters of celebutante Hollywood; and STARSTRUCK, a webOGN with Marc Bernardin and a secret artist for a major online entertainment destination. Aside from that, I’m still drawing MIGDAL DAVID, a cartoon memoir about my brother for Judaic publisher Seraphic Press while busting out story capsules for anthologies including Devil’s Due’s WORLDS OF DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS, NBM/Papercutz’s TALES FROM THE CRYPT and a hefty yet-to-be-named book for Image Comics. I’m also shopping my first big boy novel, COFFIN, while working on the next and pitching, pitching, pitching.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
For me, it was the last call of the independent self-publisher with the grand wrap up of Terry Moore’s STRANGERS IN PARADISE. As has been said by folks better equipped than I, with the end of SIP you saw a whole ‘generation’ or self publishers wrap up long, serialized projects that have engaged readers for years like BONE and CEREBUS and a movement by those remaining to different avenues of publishing – FINDER moving to the web and TRUE STORY, SWEAR TO GOD moving to Image. Almost no one out there is making it on their own these days, aligning themselves with publishers and larger houses to help make the process easier. That being said, with Smith and Moore starting up new creator owned series and the easier distribution of online webcomix, methinks it may not have been the end of an era but the beginning of a whole new thing.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
Obviously, the greater expansion of the internet frontier. Webcomix are here to stay and at the end of ’07, the big boys are finally understanding that digital is dandy. You can see that an entire industry has been brought to its knees by the power of the internet, shutting down Hollywood for months now, and its a matter of time before these sort of morays are navigated by mainstream comics. With the web being mined for print — not only by comics and graphic novel publishers but by strip syndicates and non-comics publishers, and eBook readers hitting the shelves, it’s about to get to where an entirely new experiment has to come in and open the doors for the next big thing. Start strong, rise stronger.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
Starting in January, I’m finally taking up boxing at my gym. I’ve had it with getting sand kicked in my face when I go to Jones Beach. And if you’ve seen the sand on Jones Beach, you’ll understand why.

 The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Anne Ishii: Writing/Translating various fictions and comics.

The biggest story in 2007 was unquestionably, Jason Shiga’s “Shigacorn EP” with the B-side “2Pac Lives.” Here’s one of the better known social misfits being an amazing comcis artist, who writes and raps the hands down funniest ballsiest (literally) two songs ever.

The biggest story in 2008 will be BatManga: The Secret History of Japanese Batman, in conjuction with Dark Knight’s film release, if I do say so myself. I always thought the theme song from the Batman TV Show sounded a lot like a riff on “oriental music” so it only seems appropriate to get this reissue of vintage monographs out from the closet in the East…as for Ledger in lipstick? If he can do gay in Brokeback, he can most definitely do lipstick in Batman.

Guilty pleasure: I think I just outed myself already as a tranny-gay- Barbara-beard-hag. Mmmm

mock.cover The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Dean Haspiel: I’m currently illustrating Jonathan Ames’ THE ALCOHOLIC, an original graphic novel for Vertigo [due Fall 2008] and finishing the art on MO AND JO: Fighting Together Forever, written by Jay Lynch for Francoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman’s new TOON BOOKS line for kids. Other than that, I’m editing an as-of-yet-unannounced series for Smith Magazine slated to launch next Spring, and I’ve fully plotted the second half of my Billy Dogma webcomic, FEAR, MY DEAR for ACT-I-VATE [which I will return to early next year].

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
DC Comics launching Zuda, their webcomix imprint. Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman’s SHOOTING WAR going from online to offset and making a media punch. Look out for the next big webcomix break-out, Josh Neufeld’s A.D. – NEW ORLEANS AFTER THE DELUGE. The Digital Comix Age is on!

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
No more CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE CROSSOVERS. Instead? Heavy-hitters like Frank Miller or Brian K. Vaughan launch their first exclusive weekly webcomic cum graphic novel, extinguishing the serialized pamphlet. Also, a plethora of iPhone-type comix content from a wide-range of talent.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
More of Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely’s ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera’s SCALPED, Jeff Smith’s RASL, Paul Pope’s BATTLING BOY, more Jack Kirby collections [OMAC, CAPTAIN VICTORY], and new, free ACT-I-VATE webcomix like Simon Fraser’s LILLY MACKENZIE.

Crim2coverpainting The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Ed Brubaker: Just about to launch the new volume of Criminal in February, with the brilliant Sean Phillips on art. We won a few Eisner awards for it last year, and the first two trades are currently available at all the best comics stores. I also write Captain America, Daredevil, and the Uncanny X-Men, and am a sort of consultant/co-writer to Matt Fraction on Immortal Iron Fist, all for Marvel.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
Was it the Death of Captain America? I’m not trying to toot my own horn, honestly, but did anything get more public notice than that?

Maybe it was Marjane Satrapi not only working on her own movie of Persepolis, but winning a bunch of awards for it.

Or maybe it was the announcement that Millar and Hitch would be doing Fantastic Four.

Or maybe it was Jeff Smith announcing a new project.

Or maybe it was Marvel unveiling their online comics.

It really depends on who you are and what your definition of big is.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
Love and Rockets as an annual GN instead of a comic?

Or Marvel’s Secret Invasion?

I don’t know. Maybe Barack Obama will turn out to be a big fan of Warren Ellis, and that will make news.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
The Iron Man movie. I shouldn’t feel guilty about it, because it actually looks great, but to say I’m excited about an “Iron Man” movie makes me feel 12 years old.

logo The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Charles Brownstein: Executive Director, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
The continued assimilation of comics into the mainstream entertainment economy. I see three stories as emblematic of this trend: 1) The direct hit zeitgeist shot of 300; 2) The complete sell-out of Comic-Con International: San Diego; and 3) DC’s change to Random House. All three stories indicate that the general public is displaying such a large interest in comics and comics related intellectual property that titanic entertainment companies this industry would not have been associated with ten years ago are now looking to our field as a part of their financial destinies.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
The dollar. Specifically, the costs of doing business in an environment where the dollar is weaker. I think that this could affect printing costs outside the US in a way that could drive up costs in a fashion similar to the big paper crunch of the 1990s. On the flip side, it could be a boon to international licensing and export retailing, if a compelling pitch for our properties is made to publishing houses and consumers overseas in countries where their currency is stronger.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
Iron Maiden’s Somewhere Back In Time Tour hitting town. Check out the Maiden jet — it’s so cool!

elephantmen008cover The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Richard Starkings: Writing ELEPHANTMEN, monthly from Image Comics. Just finished putting together THE ELEPHANTMEN ART OF LADRÖNN, a beautiful oversized hardcover album. Also just finished lettering David Hine’s remastered magnum opus STRANGE EMBRACE, featuring the fabulous colour work of Rob Steen.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
Aside from the publication of the brilliant and beautiful TAMARA DREW graphic novel by Posy Simmonds, I’d say the success, creatively and financially, of 300. Good for Frank Miller, good for independent comic creators, good for Zach Snyder and ultimately good for WATCHMEN. Great for Dave Gibbons.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
The success or failure of WATCHMEN. Maybe, just maybe, mainstream comics publishers will figure out that letting creators create new creations mightn’t be a bad thing after all. However, I’m betting they’ll just shrug their shoulders and spend the next couple of months working on new franchise crossover events. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… or is there?

The Bad News: More movies and TV shows launched at SDCC, less focus on comics, their creators and new comic book creations. More chasing after the Hollywood dollar. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… or is there?

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
Season Four of DOCTOR WHO. The most fun show on TV for a long, long time, and one that just keeps getting better and better. Pure entertainment, I love it!

39 The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Jackie Estrada: As editor and co-publisher at Exhibit A Press, I’m currently working on the next print comic book issue, which will be Mavis #5, coming out in late January, as well as the online version of Supernatural Law (www.supernaturallaw.com). As Eisner Awards administrator, I’m currently being inundated with submissions.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
I would say the coverage of comics, graphic novels, and comics events by mainstream media. Not only were there tons of newspaper articles about creators and books as well as mainstream reviews of works, but Comic-Con International alone got more media coverage than ever before. Entertainment Weekly devoted four pages to Comic-Con, there was a special about CCI on IFC, the G4 network had live coverage, and even TV Guide made a big deal about it. I think it’s also significant that a number of libraries around the country sponsored conferences on graphic novels.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
The continuing disconnect between the comics direct market and the culture at large. Despite the big superhero movies coming out next year that will all do gangbusters, the Diamond/Marvel/DC/majority of comics retailers axis will fail to grow their audience.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
Watching reality TV shows–more Survivor, Amazing Race, Top Chef, and other sociological experiments (but NO Big Brother!).

resizer The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Abby Denson: I’m continuing work on Dolltopia, my comic about dolls that are tired of being controlled by humans so they start their own society. The long awaited minicomic Dolltopia part 2 (and possibly Dolltopia 3) will be debuting in 2008. I also have a secret sci-fi short story in the works. The 2nd Book of Boy Trouble will have a fun story by me. I’ve also started doing some paintings and exhibiting at galleries, examples can be seen here

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
The writer’s strike has really been echoing around the comics blogosphere. I think it makes us consider more how all forms of entertainment media are interconnected and becoming more so.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
Web comics and digital distribution for comics will advance further. Comics on itunes! Also, it would be great if the Persepolis movie wins an Oscar.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
Rock of Love 2!

200801031342 The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Nicole Boose: I’m part of the editorial team that produces the Marvel Illustrated adaptations of literary classics, Stephen King’s Dark Tower comic series, the ongoing Iron Man comic; and Marvel’s custom publishing program, which does comic projects with partners outside of Marvel. I’m also the Membership Secretary for Friends of Lulu.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
The launches of the Minx line and Zuda at DC, and Marvel’s digital comics initiative, were big items this year, and they’re examples of the larger, ongoing story of how comic publishers are finding new ways to broaden their readership.

There are all these other signs of comics becoming integrated and acknowledged throughout the culture that we’ve seen more of in 2007, even though they’re not specific to this year: the literary publishers and their interest in the comics format, the comics coverage in the arts and entertainment media, and the increased interest among people in the educational field.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
I suspect it’ll be one more thing that takes comics further in the direction of being a natural and ordinary form of pop culture and artistic expression, rather than a niche market. And as this happens, we at the super hero publishers are going to need to come up with more original ways to reach out to a wider audience in order to stay competitive. I know we have some stuff up our sleeves at Marvel that tries to do that.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
I’m going to enjoy reading Francoise Mouly’s Toon Books, even though I am well above the target age.

200801031347 The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Jeremy Atkins: Ensuring Hellboy doesn’t get lost in Pan’s Labyrinth.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
The continuation of the cult TV show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the sequential world.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
Some things are best kept secret…;)

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
The release of the Nike SB 720 Dunk Low. Dress up, look sharp!

shanemccarthy The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Shane McCarthy:Writer, Transformers for IDW.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
Gauging from the ‘word on the street’ I’ve gathered it’s either A) After a kajillion years the Green Lanterns have just discovered they’re not unique and are, like a green Starburst jelly bean, the annoying colour everyone else has been hiding from. B) Spider-Man isn’t divorced…he’s just magically forgotten he was ever married and is free to ‘see other people’. Or C) There was a new Scott Pilgrim.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
Hmm. A) The Green Lanterns kill all the other multi-coloured ‘ring bearers’ and merge to become ‘The Colour That Comes Out Of You After Some Really, REALLY Heavy Drinking And A Bad Kebab At Three In The Morning Lanterns’. B) Mary-Jane doesn’t accept the ‘magical’ excuse as to why Peter’s sleeping around and seems less interested in the ‘we were on a break’ defense. C) There’s a new Scott Pilgrim.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
Finally figuring out how to use that damn orange button in Guitar Hero without wanting to smash small animals over the head with my shiny wireless controller.

tcampbell%20divalicious The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2T Campbell: I’m a scriptwriter. The teen comedy Penny and Aggie continues through 2008. The two-volume pop-music satire Divalicious, published by Tokyopop, ends this spring. Cool Cat Studio, a relationship dramedy with a touch of SF, will wrap up in summer. My old science-fiction action-adventure series Fans will return in early 2008. And my collaborators and I will be introducing two new webcomics that same year: Sketchies, a black comedy about cartoonists-in-training, and The Versus Verses, a series of poetic, pop-culture-powered prizefights. Also working to transform Webcomics.com from a solo-act blog to a group-written resource, with articles that matter. Finally, I’ve got a piece in Giant-Size Avengers Special #1 after only ten years of trying to break into DC and Marvel! Look for my second piece in December 2017.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
“Biggest” as in “most important,” not “most reported,” right?

The announcement that the bookstore market for comics had exceeded the profits of the direct market for comics.

Other strong contenders: comic-book giants getting much more Webbish, the Hollywood writer’s strike and the release of the iPhone. I know those last two haven’t really changed comics yet, but I think they’ll be really important to our field in the years ahead.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
The recession. This will be a rough year for the economy, and all comics markets will feel the heat. Some are better insulated than others. I have my theories about which ones those are, but 2008 will be the test.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
Reading comics that make me feel superior instead of the ones that make me smarter. Also, torturing my readers. And Zombie Lanterns.

alexcoxsm The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Alex Cox: Continuing to sell comics at ROCKETSHIP, right here in Brooklyn, the Borough of Kings.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
The western worldwide love for Marjane Satrapi and PERSEPOLIS. I think the release of SHORTCOMINGS was pretty huge as well; the first collection of novel-length fiction from one of comics’ most talented short-fiction cartoonists. Also on the list? Johnathan Lethem dipping his toes into the medium, the new explosion of interest in classic newspaper strips, and the return of Jeff Smith to creator-owned work (not to diminish his SHAZAM, which was easily one of the best books of the year, but I want to see what he’s got cooking from Cartoon Books.)

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
Whatever Grant Morrison is up to. I feel like he’s been a little quiet lately. TOO quiet…

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
Remastered Original Trek episodes on Channel 9!

sanderson The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Peter Sanderson: I have two new books out: “The Marvel Vault,” which I co-wrote with Roy Thomas, from Perseus Books, and “The Marvel Travel Guide to New York,” a guide to real, fictional, and fictionalized locations in Marvel stories, from Simon & Schuster. I continue to write my online column “Comics in Context” about all areas of cartoon art for Quick Stop Entertainment and to write regularly for “Publishers Weekly’s” online newsletter “Comics Week.” If enough students sign up for them, I will be teaching two courses about comics at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies: “The Graphic Novel as Literature,” starting in February, and “The Superhero as American Icon,” starting in May. I’m also collaborating on a new book about Marvel for DK Publishing, and will be curating a major exhibition for the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) in New York this fall, but I don’t think I should publicly say more about either project quite yet.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
I will give you three possibilities:

(1) The “300” movie. Like “Sin City,” this wasn’t just an adaptation of the story of a work in comics, but actually translated the visual imagery of the comics onto the screen. “300”s” enormous, unexpected commercial success demonstrated that the “Sin City” movie’s success was no fluke. Moreover, the “300” movie established that using CGI to put comics art up on screen is a trend, not an anomaly. Whereas movie critics tended to give Robert Rodriguez more credit than co-director and “Sin City” cartoonist Frank Miller for the “Sin City” movie, the media coverage of “300” focused more attention on Miller. That’s why the big story in 2009 is going to be the movie of “Will Eisner’s The Spirit,” which Miller is directing solo.

(2) “Spider-Man Week in New York City”: When pop culture historians look back on 2007, this may have more importance than people realized at the time. Yes, it was a big PR event, but it involved important people and institutions from the Mayor to the New York Public Library to the American Museum of Natural History in a citywide celebration of a character who originated in what forty years ago would have been considered a trashy medium for small children. Media coverage and reviews of “Spider-Man 3” seemed to treat Sam Raimi’s trilogy as if it already had achieved classic status. Even the media brouhaha over the sexual subtext of the infamous Mary Jane maquette seemed to demonstrate that MJ, as a prominent member of the Spider-Man cast of characters, had become an American icon.

(3) David Michaelis’s “Schulz and Peanuts”: It is no surprise that there is widespread media interest in “Peanuts” and its late creator Charles M. Schulz. Controversy continues over whether or not Michaelis’s portrait of Schulz as deeply troubled and emotionally inhibited is entirely true. But Michaelis’s book, and the critical reception accorded it by reviewers like John Updike and Michiko Kakutani of “The New York Times” demonstrates that Schulz is now widely considered to be a serious creative artist, and, by extension, that comics are an artistically respectable medium. There is no controversy over that aspect of the book.

As comics gain a higher profile in mainstream culture, we should expect many more biographies of major comics creators, And that brings me to the next question in the poll.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
Another set of three:

(1) Mark Evanier’s book “Kirby: King of Comics,” which I am currently reviewing in “Comics in Context,” and which Abrams will publish in March: Of course it will be a big seller within the comics community. What particularly interests me is seeing what reaction it receives from the mainstream media and how much crossover appeal it may have. When “The New York Times’” senior art critic, Michael Kimmelman, reviewed the museum exhibition “Masters of American Comics” in 2006, he ecstatically praised Kirby’s work; is this a sign of things to come? Could “Kirby: King of Comics” become another milestone in the history of the increasing acceptance of comics as an artform?

Also, if “Kirby: King of Comics” is a hit, I expect that the major comics companies will try to create their own coffee table cart books, both about classic comics artists and current flavors of the month. How good these might be remains to be seen.

(2) The “Iron Man” and new “Hulk” movies: Now that Marvel is directly producing its own live action movies, how commercially successful will they be? Will Marvel’s own movies be more faithful to the comics than typical Hollywood adaptations? Will Marvel’s movies capture the spirit of its classic comics series in the 1960s, as Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy did, or will they reflect the dark and depressing mood of contemporary superhero comics? Is Marvel overreaching by moving into moviemaking? If Marvel’s movies are successes, how will that change Marvel as a company, and perhaps the whole comics industry?

(3) Comic-Con 2008: What if the Writers Guild of America strike goes on and on, into June, when the directors and actors unions’ contracts expire? What if the actors then go on strike, too? What if the directors, who have only gone on strike for literally five minutes in the past, join them? What effect does that have on the San Diego Con, which has increasingly become a showcase for movies and TV shows? Sure, producers and PR people will still hold panels in Hall H to preview new product. But don’t the fans go to these panels to see the actors and the “star” directors and writers? Will it become easier to get into Hall H? In other words, just how many of the 100,000 plus attendees at Comic-Con come for the media other than comics? We may find out this year.

And what if the striking unions decide to picket the presentations in Hall H? Maybe we still won’t be able to get into Hall H, after all.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
“Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy,” opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7. A exhibit about superhero costumes and real-life fashions they inspired–at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, of all places? Will this be an insightful study or a showcase of kitsch or both? In any case, now that the Met has taken the plunge, maybe we can start hoping that the nation’s leading art museum will eventually again turn its attention to actual comics art (as R. C. Harvey’s Milton Caniff biography reveals that it did half a century ago).

200801031353 The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2John Shableski, Diamond: Getting greater recognition of the graphic novel format in the traditional publishing, retail, library and educational markets. I’d tell you that I am working on my abs but that would be ummmmmm…not true.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
Has to be the release of Dark Tower: A Gunslinger Born in the graphic novel format. I know, I know, some of the traditional fans will probably pish and pooh about that but I think that Stephen King’s effort (along with a rather inspired Marvel team) helped(and will continue)to draw a new general awareness to the format. I think the story looks great and reads like a traditional King book. Now that the bar has been raised we will see even better efforts….or at least one could hope so.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
Someone will have talked JK Rowling into doing Harry Potter as a graphic novel. Could it be Quesada or Levitz? Maybe Michael Martens at Dark Horse pulls it off? Who ever lands that deal would really bring a big change to the publishing industry. The big box retailers would pounce all over that and the independent bookstore owners would now take a much more serious look at bringing graphic novels into their stores. Teachers who wouldn’t have taken a second look at a graphic novel could very well be finally drinking the Kool-Aid. I think, that all Rowling needs to see, is a serious effort to do the stories justice and not just a rip-off attempt. You have to believe that out there, in comic book land or manga world, there are some artists who are just dying to work on this project.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
Maybe sneaking in a few early morning surf sessions during ALA or BEA out in Los Angeles this year. Cant wait for the writer’s strike to end-bring on HEROES!!! Oh, and the first few rounds of American Idol. God bless everyone of those nut bags!

spandex The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Chris Knowles, When not doing my usual freelance work, I’ll be continuing to plug my book Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes and will be doing appearances at WonderCon and the NYCC. I’m hoping that Comic Book Artist will be back on a normal schedule this year as well. I’ll also continue to peek behind the curtain of consensus reality onmy blog.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
Without a doubt, Marvel and DC’s online programs. Mainstream American comics desperately need new readers and anyone under the age of 30 is looking online for entertainment. There are all sorts of storytelling possibilities that the Web offers, and I’m looking forward to see the major publishers take advantage of the technology.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
I’m hoping and praying that it won’t be a recession and a fresh wave of store closings, but the world economy is very wobbly at the moment, and comics may get hit hard. Yet another reason why getting this material online is crucial. A market based on three or four dollar 32-page comics cannot sustain itself, particularly as fuel and cost of living costs continue to skyrocket. I’d like to see one of the major indies replace pamphlets with online subscriptions.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
I’m looking forward to Image’s Captain Victory omnibus, currently delayed because of sourcing issues. But I hope people get a chance to look at that completely whacked-out material again!

beau The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Beau Smith, Writer: Wynonna Earp: The Yeti Wars (IDW Publishing), 24: Cold Warriror (IDW Publishing), Lost & Found (IDW Publishing, Parts Unknown-The Movie Screenplay. No Guts, No Glory: How To Market Yourself In Comics. (Blue Line Pro)

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
I’ve gotta be honest with you, I don’t really think there was a truly “Big” story for 2007. There was a lot of big hype for a lot of “business as usual” books, stories and promotions, but without the sugar coating, there wasn’t really anything that broke new ground or ignited anything innovative in sales or marketing of comic books. I’m not just talking about Marvel and DC Comics super hero books, I’m talking about comic books as a whole. The biggest story of the year was merely hype. It’s all icing and no cake.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
Unless the blind pig finds the occasional acorn, I think 2008 will be a mirror image of 2007. I hope I’m wrong. I really do, but I think we’re going to see the same lack of risk taking that we did in 2007. The cowboys in comics seem to be all hat and not much else. I sure hope that somebody proves my prediction very wrong. I’ll be the first to shake their collective hand.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
I’m looking forward to everybody with the writer’s strike to walk away from the table happy and with a good deal for all parties. I want to see a new season of the USA Network’s BURN NOTICE. I want to see a new season of NBC’s LIFE. I want to be able to make a couple of announcements that I was moments from making right before the strike hit. My biggest guilty pleasure will be finding more movies like this summer’s SKINWALKERS that have that great Drive-In movie feel. I don’t ask for much, but I’ll take it every time.

JimShelleyAndHaigen The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Jim Shelley: Adding more creators to the Flashback Universe. Last year was a great one in that we added several new artists and writers to the team, and I’m hoping to do the same this year. This will allow us to increase the number of comics we release next year. In addition to keeping Flashback running, I’m also working with several other creators of pitches for Zuda.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
Hands down, the move by DC and Marvel to shut down Zcult (and other torrent sites) with cease and desist letters. While some other stories may have gotten more digital ink, the crackdown on illegal comic downloading definitely got more people talking.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
DC launches its own Digital Comic site. Hopefully with downloadable versions of its comics.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
The Omac Omnibus. Never has an alliterated title been so perfect! :D

2moccad107 2 1 The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Martha Thomases, ComicMix.com, bigger and better for 2008. And the third/fourth draft of SECRET IDENTITIES: A NOVEL WITH SUPERPOWERS

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
Crossovers. God, I’m sick of them. Also, death.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
Serious competition from bookstores and the Internet, meaning more kinds of stories will do well.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
Grant Morrison’s Final Countdown.

11%20Gage The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Christos Gage, writer: For Marvel, Avengers: The Initiative (co-written with Dan Slott); the House of M: Avengers miniseries, a second Thunderbolts special; and a Savage Land serial for Marvel Comics Presents #5-7. For WildStorm, The Authority: Prime and Revelations (co-written with Scott Beatty) miniseries; an original graphic novel for Oni, The Lion of Rora, co-written with my wife Ruth; and for Dynamite, The Man With No Name ongoing and Red Sonja #32. Plus a bunch of other still-secret stuff.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
Publishers figuring out how they are going to address the internet as a delivery system for comics.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
Probably the same thing, as it progresses.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
MORE chocolate pecan pie and even LONGER afternoon naps with my cats!

B. Clay Moore, writer: Hawaiian Dick, ’76 (Image), Superman Confidential, JSA Classified (DC), a new Wildstorm book, a new creator-owned book with Tony Harris, and some of this and a little of that.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
The first serious steps taken toward digital comics by Marvel and DC.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
The continued probing of alternative markets for comics.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
Writing more superhero comics.

Peter Bagge: Projects:
An APOCALYPSE NERD book collection
HATE ANNUAL # 7 (out now)
More features for REASON
A likely “graphic novel” for DC

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
I only know of little stories. VERY little.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
People will start buying comics in their traditional “floppy” format again (I wish)

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
I have no guilty pleasures. I wallow in all my pleasures without shame.

Sven Larson, Teshkeel Media: Projects: THE 99 ongoing series and the first THE 99 trade paperback “THE SEEKERS AND THE STONES”. More and more these days, the performance of trade paperbacks and the opportunity for real mass-market distribution are becoming the ultimate “proof of concept”. After a strong showing in the “singles” market, we’re excited to see how are characters are received by a larger audience.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
After the recent buzz about Zuda and Marvel’s online efforts it would be easy to say the movement of mainstream comics to the Internet. But I think that’s just one symptom of a larger movement by the comics’ culture to embrace “The Long Tail”. Marvel and DC’s SHOWCASE and ESSENTIAL volumes, Checker’s continued success, Alex Ross’ public domain series SUPERPOWERS are all testaments to the enduring power of intellectual property in general and visual storytelling in particular.

At some point Marvel and DC will fully embrace the fact that they have created over a quarter million pages of editorial material and will realize that there is an audience for almost all of that material. The logical evolution of this is being able to download MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS #27 or a Basil Wolverton PLOP issue in some sort of iTunes like interface. It’s the modern equivalent of the back issue markets that started the whole direct market, except this time without speculation or the social issues associated with the elitism of the traditional comic book store. How many new fans can be created if they don’t have to seek out a comic book store or get mocked for buying ARCHIE or STUCK RUBBER BABY?

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
It sounds terribly mainstream but I think the success or failure of the IRON MAN and HULK movies will have a huge impact on the industry. If they succeed, then the current model of developing series, getting them in to trade paperback and hoping that Hollywood comes calling will continue. This scenario, which in a lot of cases is as likely as winning the lottery, seems to be fueling the birth of more and more new series and publishers. It’s also driven a lot of the mainstream coverage of the medium.

If the public tires of relatively simplistic stories about 40 year old characters then it could have a chilling effect on a lot of the more interesting comics films and other projects in production and also put an end to Marvel’s incredible success of the last few years. Will that knock on effect sour mass-market retailers (including bookstores) on this type of product? Comics are seen as very hip right now but some high profile failures could easily end that and then we may have to worry about how weak the base is for the core product (the monthly single issue).

Hopefully, the influx of talent caused by the current trendiness of the comics’ scene will create more breakout hits like BONE or the ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY. But I do worry that as far as the mainstream goes, people are content to do their take on SUPERMAN rather than creating something new. If the public decides they’re tired of X-MEN or BATMAN what will they buy from the mainstream publishers (who are still accounting for at least 60% of industry sales)? And how long can the big two sustain their movie franchises?

Despite the emergence of a thriving independent scene and mainstream book publishers embrace of those creators, the industry still is over dependent on the health of Marvel and DC, and the reliance on Hollywood to fuel mainstream interest in their product is just as dangerous as the speculator dependence of the mid-90’s. Independents’ like Teshkeel can create new characters but the big two really need to find a way to capture the same creativity that videogame companies are tapping in to with games like BIOSHOCK or PRINCE OF PERSIA instead of reviving METAMORPHO for the umpteenth time. Until then, the health of the comics-Hollywood relationship will remain the number one story and concern for the medium.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
Watching Don Cherry on HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA on the NHL Center Ice package. He’s loud, opinionated, and totally in love with industry he’s a part of. And he’s become an icon as a result of it.

200801031404 The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Kevin Colden, artist: In 2008, I’ll be finishing up Fishtown on ACT-I-VATE by mid-year. There’s big news coming for ACT-I-VATE that everyone will hear about in a week or two, and a new, shiny project that I’ll be officially announcing very soon. I also have the remote hope that one day, out of the blue, my phone will ring and Marvel will tap me to draw a Werewolf By Night/Howard the Duck crossover.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
It’s a tie: either the story of Nate Fisher, the teacher who gave an Eightball issue to his student and was forced to resign, or the idiot prosecutors delaying the Gordon Lee trial. The Gordon ee trial is probably bigger because it lays bare the flaws in our justice system and shows how it can be manipulated. Hell, even the citizens of Rome, GA don’t want the trial to go on. Donate to the CBLDF. Please.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
I know I’m invested in this, but honestly: Webcomics. Diary of a Wimpy Kid is proof that the online serialization system works. Zuda will be a huge success. The next generation of creators will emerge from the circuits of the intertubes and the talent will rise up simply by way of distributing the work to a wide audience. The companies with capital will ask “Where has all this talent been hiding?” and the talent will answer, “We’ve been here waiting for you. Come take a look.”

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
Spiderman: The Musical, baby. All the way. I’m a hardcore musical theater geek anyway. In fact, I don’t want to watch it – I want to put on sexy red-and-blue tights and BE IN IT. Hells yeah. But only if they have a few of those awesome songs from Spider-man: Rock Reflections of a Superhero.

Justin Gray, writer: Jonah Hex, which is a western published monthly by DC Comics in single issue stories featuring some of the best artists in the industry that aren’t afraid of drawing horses. Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, which is a superhero funny book that draws loving inspiration from the works of Bill Mantlo and Chris Claremont.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
I had a daughter. Nothing else seems as memorable. The good news is that I’ll make sure she develops an appreciation for graphic novels.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
Hopefully the star-studded funeral and after party that celebrates the death of crossover event books.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
I have a handful of rules that I live by and one of them is to never feel guilty about anything. You’re talking to a guy that watched Sars Wars on DVD…I have zero guilt and tons of pleasure.

 The Beats Annual Survey 2008 Edition Part 2Glenn Haumann: Projects ComicMix phases 3 and 4; coloring Mike Grell’s Jon Sable Freelance and the upcoming Mark Ryan/Mike Grell project The Pilgrim, paper editions of the new GrimJack series, warping space and time for that all important 25th hour in the day.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
This was the year that people finally began to get the point that the Internet wasn’t going away and was changing the comics industry as completely as Napster and later iTunes changed the music industry, and the creeping realization among publishers, creators, distributors, and retailers as they worked out the implications of that shift. Even amongst those who were following this stuff back when your only online choices were CompuServe, GEnie, Prodigy, and rec.arts.comics, this surprised a lot of folks, even though it’s been obviously on the way for a long time coming. This will be as big as the introduction of the direct market, and for many of the same reasons.

Connected but mostly unnoticed: the entrance of a sizable percentage of comics creators who didn’t come into the industry through the Big Two, or even the Big Six from the 80’s, or from strip syndication, but have started making comics without any sense of comics as they was made and have no sense of “we do it this way because we’ve always done it this way”. Which makes some of the established guard very nervous, because they don’t do business the same way and expect many different things.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
In no particular order:

* Wizard closes down at least one of their big shows, possibly two or more.

* Vertigo and Zuda merge.

* A number of notable webcomics “go pro” by hooking up with a bigger player; the newsy part is that they don’t go with the traditional comics publishers and their online initiatives.

* At least one big online comics venture announced in 2007 to great fanfare fizzles out. (I have my guesses as to whom.)

* One print publisher is going to hit the skids and have serious cash-flow problems; this will ripple into the retail channel in unexpected and explosive ways.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
* Watching big corporations belly-flop into the online comics space and get it wrong, wrong, wrong.

* Seeing the pencils come in from Trevor Von Eeden on his new Jack Johnson project. Best stuff I’ve ever seen from him.

* Capricious usage of my expense account to buy people dri– did I say capricious? I meant judicious. I always get those two mixed up. Stop auditing already.

Russell Lissau, writer: I’ll be writing more issues of THE BATMAN STRIKES for DC Comics, plus fine-tuning my original graphic novel, THE JOB. Not to mention my story for the Tori Amos anthology (due in summer 2008!) and a few things that aren’t ready to go public just yet.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2007?
The hubbub over the launch of Zuda ranks up there, I think. The tremendous — and mostly uninformed — Internet chatter over whether the contracts were fair or not amused the heck out of me.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2008?
The incredible success of the IRON MAN and DARK KNIGHT movies. The buzz on Iron Man has been huge, obviously, which bodes well for Marvel’s first in-house produced film.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2008?
I got a waffle maker for Christmas, so I’m looking forward to making a lot of waffles. With syrup. Or maybe peanut butter. Mmmmmm, peanut butter and waffles…..

Comments

  1. Charles, the Watchmen movie doesn’t come out until 2009.

  2. That Stuart Moore is hilarious.

  3. All of these insights are great, but I particularly liked Peter Sanderson’s. All stuff I hadn’t thought of. And I’ve totally put the Met on my calendar for May.

  4. Oh, AWESOME. Survey respondents categorized as provincial idiots AND self-absorbed.

  5. I don’t think anyone should feel guilty for liking Perry Bible Fellowship. I finally started reading it, and it actually has me laughing out loud! Thumbs up to something that can get me cracking up.

  6. Chuck says:

    I think Beau Smith has it right – any success was more a result of luck than planning. Like I always say, hope for the best (Scott Pilgrim), expect the worst (One More Day).

  7. I agree with the topic here, you convinced me of a few things I was on the fence about.

  8. they are nuthin to great but ill get a pair or 2 outta the bunch to keep my collection beefing up

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