It’s the biggest year-end survey ever! We’re going to keep going until it’s all done though. People from EVERY walk of the comics industry sounds off on what they hope for in the new year, and along the way there’s lots of news, and a few previews, too. Previous installments: one, two and three.
Kurt Busiek, writer
2010 projects: Astro City (Variant cover above), Marvels: Eye of the Camera
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? Paul Levitz stepping down as DC’s President and Publisher. The last guy in charge to have roots going back before the rise of the Direct Market. Paul’s always been a careful, deliberate manager of DC’s fortunes, and whoever winds up at his desk, it’ll mean big changes, one way or the other, for DC and for the comics industry.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? Comics and the recession. Do they continue to skate above it, or do they stumble?
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? Can’t wait for the THIRTEEN (GOING ON 18) collection from Drawn & Quarterly. John Stanley teen goodness! And Im’ hoping for another WALT & SKEEZIX volume. But I don’t feel guilty about either one…
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: The rise of the ongoing company-wide storyline. Not just a crossover, but a years-long narrative that surges through the major companies’ shared universe lines, exciting a lot of readers and chasing others away. There’s a lot of talk of “event fatigue” these days, but it still seems to be working…for now.
Tommy Lee Edwards, artist
2010 projects: TURF, my creator-owned Image comics series with Jonathan Ross.
THE BOOK OF ELI, the Hughes Brothers film I designed
PRINCE OF PERSIA, graphic novel from Disney Press
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? The amount of talented comics people shifting their priorities to creator-owned material.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? Iron Man 2
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? Riding my motorcycle on the twisty roads of the Smokey Mountains.
Erica Friedman, Yuricon & ALC Publishing (headshot attached)
2010 projects: We’re working on a 10th anniversary event for Yuricon and some stuff at ALC. :-)
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? For me, the three news items in manga that really stood out were the Christopher Handley case, the fact that Stan Lee is working on a manga, Ultimo, and closer to my field, there was a small explosion in Yuri manga anthologies.
Handley’s case is going to have repercussions in the future. Not good ones, I’m afraid.
The fact that Lee himself, master of Marvel sees that manga is the next Big Thing is significant.
And for Yuri, which has been laboring under all kinds of limitations and misunderstandings, 2009 was not just good – it was miraculous. In both Japan and the West.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? The New York Times will hire someone who gives a hoot about manga to cover it, instead of letting the current person keep damning it with faint praise. :-)
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? I don’t have guilty pleasure. ;-)
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: The great manga bubble exploding, contracting, and exploding again.
Chandra Free, artist/writer
2010 projects: I’m currently working on my baby and constant tormentor, The God Machine graphic novel, published by Archaia. Coming out this summer.
Beyond that I’ll continue working on The God Machine graphic novel series, while I’m also co-creating another comic project that’s in early development with a very talented artist. BUT- that’s still too early to let out the details just yet!
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? I know everybody will say the same thing, but it would have to be the Disney/Marvel merger. The biggest controversy was that the Marvel properties would become “Disneyfied. It also brought up concerns that Marvel would be run differently, perhaps on a Disney model bringing down the content to fit the “Disney image.” Additionally it raised very legitimate fears of people losing their jobs. I’m simplifying the situation just a bit, but it was no wonder the whole comics community was in such a tizzy.
As a side note: Wow! The day after the merger was announced, everybody and their little brother did a Disney/Marvel inspired piece. Spider-Mouse anybody?
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? Convention wars! The battle between New York Comic-Con and Big Apple Comic-con. I expect there to be profanity such as “Excelsior” spewed from the lips of convention-goers as they rush the convention doors. Blood will be shed by comic paper cuts, and cat clawing from opposing teams. Screams will be heard when priceless mint-in-box toys are opened in retaliation. Nasty blog entries about how so-and-so from “fill in convention name here,” is a poopy head. Cats and dogs living together… Complete chaos!
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? Iron Man 2. Robert Downy Jr. is totally dreamy! Seriously though, I really enjoyed the first movie, and I’m really hoping the second movie has as much personality as the first…I’m also looking forward to reading more of the new Doctor Strange series… I probably lost all my indy-comic-street cred right there. But it’s so much fun, and really nicely done!
How did all my answers turn Marvel-centric? When you think 2010, think Archaia! They’re going to be the company to watch for this coming year.
Josh Bernstein, editor & publisher of Royal Flush
2010 projects: Just finished our most successful issue of Royal Flush yet, and we¹re getting to work on Book 7 right away with all new exciting talents. Also look for a newly relaunched RFMAG.com in spring of 2010.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? Diamond Comics changing their minimums and dropping so many independent comics from their catalog.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? The bankruptcy of Diamond Comics Distributors.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? Any and all Superhero movies.
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: The successful switch of comic fans following writers instead of artists.
Arie Kaplan, writer
2010 projects: I wrote the story and dialogue for the upcoming House M.D. licensed videogame (based on the popular TV drama) for Legacy Interactive. The House game will be available in January. I’m also the script consultant for the Devils Due/Fantasy Prone comic book series United Free Worlds, created & written by Blake Leibel, and illustrated by Patrick Blaine. And I wrote a story for Archie Comics called “MoCCA Madness,” which will appear in Archie Digest #260, on sale in January. The story was illustrated by Fernando Ruiz, and it ties in to the “Art of Archie” exhibit at MoCCA (New York City’s Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art) that I co-curated. Plus, I’m working on a few other projects that I can’t talk about just yet. Stay tuned to www.ariekaplan.com for more details!
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? Disney buying Marvel. Also: me buying a Blu-Ray player (well, it was a big story to me).
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? The comics industry will end its love affair with Obama, and will start a NEW love affair with Glenn Beck. The issue of Ultimate Glenn Beck where we discover the origin of Glenn’s adamantium skeleton will be the most prized collector’s item since Action Comics #1.
* What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? Probably the A-Team movie, although it’s kind of upsetting that Mr. T won’t be reprising his role as B.A. Baracus. Oh well.
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: Zombies (and I likes me some zombies).
Shannon O’Leary, Sparkplug
2010 projects: I’m currently co-editing a comics anthology called The Big BUT with Joan Reilly and Suzanne Kleid. It’s a collection of comics about the empowering but confusing state of 21st Century womanhood from the likes of Gabrielle Bell, Dean Haspiel, Jeffrey Brown, Josh Neufeld, Julia Wertz, Lisa Hanawalt and many more awesome cartoonists and writers: http://bigfeministbut.blogspot.com/
I’m also working on a shorter comic about reality television related deaths and a young adult graphic novel entitled Elevator Music Apocalypse with Andy Ristaino.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? Without question, the biggest story in comics in 2009 was the implementation of Diamond’s Mandatory Minimum Ordering Policy which reverberated all over the comics space time continuum in expected and unexpected ways:
1) Expected: The market has fractured. Diamond broke the direct market pipeline for indies big and small and in the process created a direct market to comic book stores that’s pretty fucking boring. As such, a lot of good work is going under the radar right after it’s released because comic book publishers that do smaller runs are rarely featured in Diamond Previews and have, in many cases, been cut entirely out of Diamond’s distribution. A lot of comic book stores are searching for more varied material but no longer know how to find it. I’ve heard/read a lot of store managers say they’d love to stock an obscure manga for a valued customer, or to sell a sweet, quirky book like Secret Acres’ “PS Comics” by Minty Lewis or get some good minis by an original up and comer like Nate Doyle but now they need to search harder than ever for that kind of material – not to mention know what they’re looking for in the first place.
2) Unexpected: A revitalization of the “art” of printing. This would include everything from the beautiful but oddly sized, much revered and well reviewed edition of last year’s Kramer’s Ergot by Buenaventura and every hipster kid with screen printing equipment. One need look no further than the off the hook attendance at this year’s 1st ever Brooklyn Graphic Arts Festival for confirmation that there are tons of PEOPLE (not just comics nerds) out there who are dying to get a hold of hand made books and books with more innovative and distinctive aesthetics that are unavailable at comic stores that only purchase from the Borg.
3) Expected but railed against by many: Cartoonists who wouldn’t have done so before are now releasing their work as web comics first. Busy bee mini comics creators like Liz Baille and Gabby Schulz, while not moving away from making minis all together, are both considering serializing longer projects on the web this year at www.lizbaille.com and www.gabbysplayhouse.com
4) Scarily rumored: I’ve heard rumblings that Diamond (along with the two majors) are attempting to phase pamphlet comics out of the DM entirely. Could be a conspiracy theory! But it makes sense. Also, as Graeme McMillan points out over at io9.com in a post that I will just barely excuse for its blasphemous utterances about the last season of Battlestar Galatica, Warners/DC might exercise their long-held option to buy Diamond which (no offense to DC who, IMHO, has some interesting editors and current and future titles) will only further narrow the monopolization of the direct market thereby making the options for comics retailers even more fucking boring than they’ve become in the last year. Here’s McMillan’s post if you really want to get your distribution woe freak on: http://io9.com/5439068/10-things-were-worried-about-in-2010
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? The monetizing of web comics. So far popular web comics sites for collectives like Act-i-vate (www.act-i-vate.com) or single creators like Kate Beaton (http://www.harkavagrant.com/) have been able to gain readership for their work and sell it to publishers or directly to their fans through the internets. But with the release of the Kindle and the ubiquity of the iphone, big and small publishers are now looking for comics that can be reproduced well digitally. Making money off of web comics is coming. Maybe via advertising, maybe via subscription but it’s coming. It’s just that no one’s quite sure how it’s all going to land yet. Maybe it’s going to turn out like the music industry and creators and publishers will need to become increasingly more nimble as musicians have had to. Probably a combo of both but regardless, the big story will be the evolution of comics on the web and the accompanying creator rights issues that will come along with that.
I look forward to seeing how it all shakes out though as it seems like the most interesting and revolutionary way around the increasingly narrowing DM.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? King of RPGs by Jason Thompson and Victor Hao. But I don’t feel that guilty about it.
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: The dawn of a new era in comics. Comics are now recognized as an artistic medium with several different genres as opposed to a single genre unto itself. And even my mom knows it.
Jeff Newelt AKA Jahfurry, comics editor HEEB, SMITH & Royal Flush Magazine
2010 projects: As editor of The Pekar Project on SMITH Magazine, I’m working on new webcomics with the great Harvey Pekar + 4 artists, Tara Seibel, Sean Pryor, Joseph Remnant & Rick Parker. We’ve published some killer stories so far, but real exciting, longer stories are in the works to be unleashed soon. I’m going to be writing more comics reviews and interviews for HEEB Magazine. Working with Royal Flush Magazine, to promote their latest fulla-comics doozie, and also assemble some serious comics concoctions for the next. Working with the ACT-I-VATE.com crew, touting their sublime ongoing assortment of free webcomix. Honored to be working with Brian Heater on the programming (and party of course) for the next MOCCA fest, this coming April.
Working on projects with Paul Pope, including SHAKEDOWN a series of rock n’roll burlesque shows produced by his gal Harvest Moon, and Paul as DJ.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? The biggest story in comics was, this REALLY WAS the year comics got over the hump, a tectonic shift in terms of “mainstream” acceptance. The same folks who are not theater buffs but go to 2 plays a year, are not huge readers but buy 3 novels a year, not big jazz heads but go to 5 jazz shows a year. these same people may now buy one to 5 graphic novels a year. thats millions of new potential readers people. Now’s our chance to irrevocably wow, lets not blow it. First big misstep is DC’s titling a major relaunch of key characters under the umbrella of “Earth One” Why in Zod’s name use insider terminology to title outreach books that could bring new fans to the medium? A ghetto-mentality colossal mistake in IMHO. All-star Superman had it right.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? Not allowed to mention anything I’m involved with, so I’ll say it will be Alan Moore & Grant Morrison. Don’t know exactly what they each have up their sleeves, but have a feeling they’ll each drop some serious brainbombs this year, at the top of their respective games, if not at all appeasing fan expectations of what they should be doing. Alan’s Dodgem Logic zine is a mindtickling leap backwards to go forwards. Oh and digital comics will come into their own.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? Frank Miller and Neal Adams on Batman if that winds up happening.
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: The AMERICAN SPLENDOR movie. Alan Moore’s egregiously underappreciated ABC Books. Paul Pope and his becoming a genre/style like only Kirby, Adams and a few others have. Warren Ellis showing everyone else the power of the interwubbage. Grant Morrison’s superb (best version of the characters ever) New X-Men, Seven Soldiers, and (best version of the character ever) All-star Superman. Original excellent webcomix bringing new audience to the medium itself. Veteran creators like Rick Veitch, Bryan Talbot, Robert Crumb, Frank Stack, David Lloyd, Larry Marder, all at the top of their games and producing work as innovative and exciting as any of those who just came of age in this decade.
Jimmy Palmiotti, cartoonist/screenwriter
2010 projects: POWERGIRL and JONAH HEX for DC, SPLATTERMAN for Image, TIMEBOMB for Radical and WOLVERINE /BLACK WIDOW for Marvel Comics.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? Marvel comics being bought by Disney.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? A new publishing company coming out of Hollywood, a long time publisher going out of business and the amount of creator owned titles coming.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? My guilty pleasure will be watching Amanda Conner finally get the attention she deserves and getting to go to the premiere of the JONAH HEX movie. I hope!
Shaenon Garrity, cartoonist
2010 projects: Still working on Skin Horse (skin-horse.com), my daily strip with my cowriter Jeffrey Wells. Next year: more robots and girls. My book *CLAMP in America* comes out this spring.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? All the biggest stories in comics are too depressing. Instead I’m going to tell the best story in comics in 2009: at the Couscous Collective annual retreat, one of us got drunk, passed out, wandered back out into the kitchen, opened the refrigerator, and tried to pee into it. When we stopped him, he silently walked out the door and peed on the porch. The next day he did not remember any of this.
Elsewhere, Robert Crumb drew a Bible comic or something.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? I assume this is the year we finally descend into the long-prophesied Mad Max future and barter minicomics off the backs of camels. I’m looking forward to it.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? Hershey’s Syrup, straight.
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: Webcomics, mostly. Is anything not a webcomic now?
Ian Boothby, writer Bongo Comics’ The Simpsons and Futurama
2010 projects: I’m killing off a popular character in Bongo’s Simpsons comic book next year.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? Comics finally took a chance and gave zombies some well deserved attention. Also bonus points for looking an artist’s color wheel and saying, “Can we get a year’s worth of stories out of that?”
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? Seeing if there are any mainstream comics that are not zombie related or telling Superman’s origin again.
Marvel’s crossover series Battle to See Who Will Wear The Hulk’s Pants!
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? Seeing how Lost will wrap up, hopefully in a crossover with Glee.
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: The Devil and Mr. Parker. What does Marvel’s most down to earth character need to make him more relatable to today’s readers? Did someone say a Satanic divorce?
Phil Yeh, cartoonist
2010 projects: The Winged Tiger in China – first chapter as a full color comic book, January 2010 – final bigger hardcover 200+ pages Summer 2010 in time for the World Expo in Shanghai, China, where people actually still read books! Real books! We will also have the long awaited children’s hardcover: Steve the Dog & The Winged Tiger by Phil Yeh & Geoff Bevington colored by Lieve Jerger and our in March 2010 for our tour of Chicago. This book is set in Chicago and is the best case I can make for balancing people’s live with more than just electronics—interesting to see if we can do as well in the USA or is this only something for nations that still value reading? And Lieve Jerger and I will release The Winged Tiger & The Lace Princess in May in time for the BEA. It’s a new edition of 64 pages and perfect for our year long celebration of the 30th anniversary of The Winged Tiger in 2010…. which by the way happens to be the actual Year of the Tiger.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? It has to be that I finally won an Inkpot at the San Diego Comic-Con —- since we have been used to being ignored by the comic book world in the United States ever since we started trying to expand the market with our 25 year world tour for literacy, the arts and creativity using COMICS in 1985. Cartoonists Across America & The World has painted more than 1800 murals and done more than 87 books in the last 24 years and in our 25th and final years, we feel that perhaps more people in our industry are finally recognizing that for there to be a future for comic books in the USA, we actually need legions of new readers under the age of 10. But I have been saying that for the last 40 years! Change always comes slow to the American publishing industry, they seem to take their cues from the United States Congress in how “quickly” they do things.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? We hope that it will be real national exposure for our core mission of Cartoonists Across America which is that comic books are the best way to get kids into READING. Real actual books on paper. I know that I sound like a madman from the 17th century but I am used to bucking the powers that be and conventional wisdom.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010?
Ending our world tour in December and then finally spending more time painting.
Jeff Parker, cartoonist
2010 projects: I’m part of the FALL OF THE HULKS event writing half of those books, the upcoming AVENGERS VS. ATLAS miniseries with artist Gabe Hardman, THUNDERBOLTS, and wrapping up UNDERGROUND with co-creator Steve Lieber. Also: MarvelBoy: The Uranian (above)
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? The Disney acquisition of Marvel Comics.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? Either Marvel or DC’s offices will be moving to California. As a West Coat freelancer who is always three hours behind the people I work with, I applaud this, even if it seems like heresy.
Actually, that probably won’t be the biggest news, it will probably be about comics on the Apple Tablet or something.
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: That strange time period in the first part of the decade when I didn’t write most things. What scary dark days those were!
Josh Elder/Executive Director/Reading With Pictures
2010 projects: Reading With Pictures (www.readingwithpictures.org) will be doing all sorts of exciting things in 2010 to revolutionize the way that comics are used in the classroom, but the MOST exciting is our benefit anthology featuring original stories by some of the greatest talents in all-ages comics: Jill Thompson, Jim Gownley, Fred Van Lente, Raina Telgemeier, Ryan Dunlavey, Chris Giarrusso, Jeff Brown and many more! I’ll even be bringing back my own “Mail Order Ninja” series after a three-year hiatus. So all fans of awesome comics that also raise money for awesome causes should be on the lookout next summer…
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? Comics continuing to go mainstream. From The Dark Knight’s record-breaking opening weekend to the New York Times adding a Graphic Novel Bestsellers List, I feel that 2009 will be known as the year comics finally became an official part of the pop culture establishment. We’ve reached the point where any best-of-the-year literary round-up that DOESN’T include at least one graphic novel is automatically suspect, where describing a film as “like a graphic novel” has become a compliment instead of an insult and where a group of kid-friendly cartoonists had the longest lines of any author at the American Association of School Librarians annual conference. We really have reached a tipping point, and things are only going to accelerate as comics continue their takeover of the Internet.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? The digital revolution. This year proved that publishers CAN make money online . We saw it in the continued success of entrepreneurial webcomicistas like the crew at Penny Arcade and in the rise of iTunes (think IDW’s “Star Trek” and “Transformers” offerings) as a viable distribution channel for comics. But that was just the warm-up for the feature presentation in 2010. Companies like Comixology, Longbox and iVerse will continue to break new ground in terms of technology and market penetration/expansion. The Marvel/Disney axis will enter the digital market in earnest. DC’s new management will undoubtedly be making some very interesting moves as well. Devices like the various e-readers currently on the market and Apple’s (still rumored) tablet have the potential to be gamechangers on as great a scale as the iPhone. Finally, as the entry costs continue to fall and the market continues to grow, more and more auteur cartoonists will be able to find a paying audience for their work. In 2010, comics will become cheaper, more accessible AND more profitable than ever before. Viva la digital revolucion!
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? Jason Aaron’s “Ghost Rider.” That books makes me feel like a headbanging 13 year-old again. I just hope it doesn’t inspire me to grow back my Johnny Blaze-inspired early 90s mullet…
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: The decade that comics became an artform for everybody again.
Greg Pak, writer
2010 projects: Just directed a new short film called “Mister Green,” starring Tim Kang and Betty Gilpin, which will premiere in March. Got some big crazy Hulk, Herc, and Amadeus Cho stuff coming down the pike. And one of my creator-owned comics projects should finally see the light of day in 2010.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? Paul Jenkins’ already legendary “Have a great day!” email of December 8.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? Apple will release the iSlate, a beautiful tablet device that will finally make it a pleasure to read comics on a computer. We will all become insanely wealthy. (That second part’s kinda up in the air.) [Ed. Note: Pak expands on these thoughts here.]
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? Buying an iSlate. And maybe getting a 802.11n USB adapter stick for my old G4 iBook? ‘Cause I’m CRAZY like that!
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: Bendis, Millar, Kirkman, Vaughan, Gene Yang, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Lynda Barry, Sfar & Trondheim, and Jeff Smith absolutely ruling their respective roosts. Bonus points for the release of the entire epic storyline of “Lone Wolf & Cub,” the “Complete Peanuts,” and a gajillion comic book movies climaxing with the total aesthetic and commercial success of the “Iron Man” movie. Nothing will ever be the same.
Chris Roberson, writer
2010 projects: I’ve been putting final touches on the last scripts for Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love, getting new iZombie (above) scripts done for Mike Allred to draw, and working on an as-yet-unannounced “secret project.”
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? Personally, it had to be the news that Marvel has acquired the rights to Marvelman, and that they are busily acquiring all the necessary rights to reprint the original Moore-Davis-etc./Gaiman-Buckingham run from Eclipse. (And is it too much to hope that the series might continue with new material from Gaiman and Buckingham? Maybe, but I’m hoping that anyway.) A landmark text in 20th century comics, criminally out-of-print for far too long. What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? My hope is that Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim flick will drive sales of O’Malley’s original books in the same way that sales of Watchmen skyrocketed last year. Not only would it mean a huge new audience for one of the best comics of recent memory, but when those folks finish reading they’ll be hungry for other good stuff, which would be great news for everybody. What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? It’s not so much “guilty,” but I cannot wait to get my hands on the collection of the original Otto Binder-CC Beck “Monster Society of Evil” that DC is putting out next summer. If there’s anything that comics could use more of these days, it’s more Binder and Beck!
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
Marc Bernardin, writer
2010 projects: The Authority (Wildstorm), Nightcrawler: Origins (Marvel), Genius (Top Cow)
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? Disney buying Marvel, by a long shot. Intellectual property has always been valuable, but it’s never been made more explicit and overt than this. My favorite sad-but-obvious anecdote of this year: a buddy of mine was pitching a big time, big budget movie producer. The producer loved the pitch, but asked “What’s it based on?” Nothing, this buddy replied. It’s an original idea. “Can’t do anything with it. Can’t get any money for it. These days, everything’s gotta be based on something, no matter how small.” In that light, the Disney-Marvel deal is a masterstroke.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? Before Oprah ends her talk show, she’ll feature a graphic novel. Which one is anyone’s guess, but I think whichever one she chooses will break huge.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? The Expendables. An action flick with Stallone, Lundgren, Willis, Statham, Li, Rourke, and a governor? Sign me the hell up. To bad I’ve gotta wait until next August.
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: Two things: the resurgence of the “Event” and Y: The Last Man. Sometimes those events worked incredibly well, creatively — like Blackest Night or Civil War or Secret Invasion — and made you glad for the serial web that only comics can weave. Other times — and you know the ones — they seemed like poorly thought-out and even worsely (is that a word?) executed cash grabs. Sure, events have been around since Secret Wars, but it felt, to me, like the ‘00s took them to a new level. A level where both good and bad could exist simultaneously.
And Y: The Last Man was, for me, the ‘00s’ zenith of long-form storytelling. The characters were phenomenal, the science in the sci-fi was valid (enough), and the cliffhangers were just fantastic. Sure, it had some lulls — what 60-part saga doesn’t? — but when it was firing on even most of its cylinders, it was inspiring work.
Cheese Hasselberger, cartoonist
2010 projects: House of Twelve Monthly – A monthly anthology of original comics available exclusively though Comixology’s Comics iPhone/iPod Touch app. (1Q 2010).
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? While there are bigger stories about Diamond kicking the small press to the curb or any number of great releases, I am biased towards things that effected me personally. So, the biggest story to me was the New York institution MoCCA (Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art). Specifically, how their annual festival/convention fell flat on it’s face and the community’s apparent glee in getting reamed.
The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival is run by children and has had a marked decline in quality for the last 3-4 years. This culminated in June’s convention. MoCCA 2009 was held in the Khmer sweatbox that is the unair-conditioned 69th Regiment Armory and featured a laundry list of Keystone Kop errors that anyone with a sliver of experience would have been able to avoid. Worse yet, the hubris of the museum’s staff and chairs (during and after the show) brushing off any complaints as minor was insulting, not to mention bewildering.
House of Twelve and me have always been a big supporters of the Museum and the festival. We’ve exhibited every year, thrown after parties, I’ve given the festival free ads in the local newspapers I work for and two of our members had their wedding reception in the museum, so we’ve got our bona fides. All that considered, the Festival will continue to suffer unless the museum hires (as in “pays”) a show runner with at least some experience and a modicum of professionalism.
What really burns my britches is that so many exhibitors seemed not to care. A large part of the community seems all too willing to pay more and receive less, year after year. There’s a point when being all “Team Comix, yay!” becomes “Team I-Am-Naive-Steal-From-Me!” Splitting a table at the 2010 show will cost $275 each, that’s a combined price of $550. That’s nearly two tables at SPX, almost three tables at the recent Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest and more then half my rent. If I’m going to pay for the most expensive indie comics show in the country, I also expect it to be the best run — and MoCCA ain’t it.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? Same as it should have been for the ten years, the industry’s continual move to a digital medium. Specifically, will anyone come up with a viable business model? Who will break ground in inventing new ways of storytelling in the new medium? When comics aren’t limited to the space constrictions of the printed page, where can they go? Who will be the internet’s Will Eisner?
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? Going to Kobe, Japan this spring to see the 60ft Gigantor.
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: The entire print run of House of Twelve.
Sorry, as I said, I’m self-centered. Lemme try that again… Ahem…
When I think of comics in the 00′s, I will hark back to tales about the rise of the Webcomic and it’s growth beyond 3-panel gags about video games.
Adi Tantimedh, writer
2010 projects: still working through post-publication progress of LA MUSE, including tracking the fact that it’s now available on amazon.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? Disney acquiring Marvel Entertainment. Basically a consolidation of Hollywood’s co-optation of major comics companies as R&D for comics IPs as movie and media franchises. This is also represented by Warner executive Diane Nelson assuming the President post of DC Comics, which is an indication that parent company Warner Brothers are taking a firmer grip on the way DC Comics is going to be run.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? I hate to predict, but two things seem to be looming on the horizon: the continuing move towards digitally-distributed comics outlets, if the big companies can ever get over their overblown fears of piracy and some kind of consolidation occurs, and the further consolidation of the comics market into graphic novels rather than monthly floppies.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? To me, there are no guilty pleasures (unless laws are broken), but I’ll be reading the Russian post-apocalyptic novel METRO 2033 and then playing the computer game to indulge in some virtual disaster tourism and wander through a bombed-out Moscow.
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: The aftermath of 9/11 prompting a retrenchment and retreat in the superhero genre when it looked like superheroes were going to be slightly less relevant. The shock of 9/11 seemed to cause both creators and readers to rush back into the warm, simpler, manichean escapist power fantasies of the superhero even as everyone felt far less secure and more helpless in the advent of the War in Iraq and the collapsing economy.
Adam Koford, cartoonist
2010 projects: This year Abrams ComicArts released a collection of my webcomics called The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats Sell Out. I also work as a story artist at Disney Interactive, but can’t talk about what I’ve been up to with them just yet. I assure you it’s awesome. I’ve kept a healthy bunch of online projects in the hopper (including a recent series of remixed twitter avatars ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/apelad/sets/72157622662466829/ )) and freelance work (I illustrated the cover for the recent kids issue of Make).
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? It seems like forever ago, but the hype and excitement swirling around the Watchmen film is probably what I will remember the most. It’s also noteworthy that the decade began and ended with Wolverine on the big screen. He’s like the parentheses of the 00s.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? Disney + Marvel = ? No matter what their first move is, the comics blogosphere will be there to analyze, debate, and discuss. It should be very fun.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? The Justice Society on Smallville. I stopped caring about the show a long time ago (somewhere around the time they revealed the Underground Railroad was literally underground in the middle of Kansas), but I’m really looking forward to seeing Dr. Fate on TV.
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: A couple of things: confusing, insufferable, & unreadable multi-title “event” comics from the big 2, and, semi-relatedly, easy access to comics in libraries. If I can’t find something to read at a retail shop, the library usually provides the next best thing, including indie & foreign comics some stores won’t carry. I’ve found this to be the case in the several places I’ve lived over the past decade. 20 years ago it was rare to find a robust comics collection in a local library, and it’s nice to see that has changed.
Neil Kleid, writer
2010 projects: Still basking in the afterglow of THE BIG KAHN, honestly, as I gestate work for the new decade. While much of my 2010 workload is under wraps until… well, until it isn’t under wraps, I can say that I’m writing AMERICAN CAESAR, my third original graphic novel for NBM Publishing which transports Shakespeare’s classic tragedy to present day corporate America (bailouts, failing economy, backstabbing and all) and that COFFIN, the psychological horror novel I serialized on Livejournal, will get a Print on Demand release early-to-mid January. Apart from that, POP: THE DARLINGS OF AMERICA, the mini-series I’ve co-authored with Dan Taylor and Chris Moreno about celebutantes and publicists should see the light of day shortly, and I’ve got several anthology stories and a Big Time original graphic novel in the hopper all which will be announced in due time.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? Oh, lord… should it be the fall of the newspaper cartoonist, rush to digital distribution and all it entails or continued rise of the literary, respected book store graphic novelist? How about the buzz, release and middling reception to the long-awaited WATCHMEN film? We could talk about the fact that despite the glut of Big Two event books, closing retail outlets, and restrictive grip of the Direct Market, the comics industry can still make a book like Layman and Guillory’s CHEW an out-of-nowhere success. Come on — let’s be honest: nothing’s gonna beat the Ten Days that Shook the Industry, the Marvel/Disney deal and DC Comics restructuring/Paul Levitz step down, the ramifications which will be felt in the coming year.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? Humble opinion? The buzz, speculation and investigation into the life and career of whichever lucky soul inherits Paul Levitz’s job. Failing that, the long-awaited launch of the Longbox Project software and both it’s success and failings.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? When’s Darabont’s WALKING DEAD supposed to drop? Until then, I’ll salivate for more episodes of Community and Man V. Food, homemade barbecue sauce, and trips to Toys R Us “for my son.”
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: “The New Mainstream”, “The HBO of Comics”, the indy/alt/minicomics revolution and rise of webcomic culture. Perhaps self-serving, but when I think of comics in the 00s I also think of 4 graphic novels, 1 adaptation, 3 webcomic series, 4 issues of a superhero comic that failed, an X-Men story, a metric ton of copied, folded and stapled minicomic pages, a growing and supportive fanbase and a communtiy I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Josh Neufeld, cartoonist
2010 projects: THE INFLUENCING MACHINE, (right) a collaboration between myself and Brooke Gladstone, the co-host of WNYC/NPR’s “On The Media.” Essentially, the book will be a tour through the past, present, and future of the media — as the media landscape radically changes around us — mostly told in comics form. They’ve been touting it as “Marshall McLuhan meets “Art Spiegelman.” I don’t know about that — I think it’ll be more like the media meets Understanding Comics — but it should be fun. Due out from W.W. Norton in late 2010 or early 2011.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? Probably the continued embracing of graphic novels by mainstream readers. More and more magazines and newspapers are folding comics into their books coverage, and more teachers and librarians than ever are integrating comics into what they do. For the first time, I really think this is a lasting phenomenon and not just another bubble of interest sure to pop in six months’ time.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? Um… the death of some superhero or another?
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: The biggest thing that happened for comics in the 00s was the use of the Internet as a development and marketing tool. From Serializer to Modern Tales to ACT-I-VATE to Zuda.com, alt-comix creators in particular were able to craft long and compelling stories online, build readership, and often garner nice publishing deals due to their exposure on the web. (I should know because I was one of them!) Cartoonists have also been able to exploit blogs and social network sites like Facebook to expand their base and attract new readers.
The downside of the ease, cheapness, and flash of the Internet, however, was the virtual demise of the black-and-white indy-comics “pamphlet” — though it has in many ways been replaced by the beautifully produced graphic novel. The rise of manga, especially among young readers, also cannot be overlooked as a huge development this past decade.
Richard Starkings, writer/lettering maestro
2010 projects: ELEPHANTMEN with Moritat for Image Comics and, finally!, issue #4 of HIP FLASK with Ladrönn.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? Ace Pen Lettering Artist Joe Rosen passed away in 2009. I wasn’t a big fan of either Joe or Sam Rosen until I started working professionally for marvel comics in London in the 80′s. As soon as I discovered for myself how difficult it was to create solid, legible clean lettering with pen and ink OVERNIGHT, I quickly realized that Sam and Joe — and Artie Simek — were the real class acts at Marvel, rather than the slower, showier letterers whose work I had favoured before.
We also lost British cartoonist, John Ryan, who was most famous for creating the CAPTAIN PUGWASH, MARY MUNGO AND MIDGE and SIR PRANCELOT cartoon series for the BBC but was also the writer and artist of HARRIS TWEED, SPECIAL AGENT for THE EAGLE, a strip which in a small way titularly inspired my own HIP FLASK, INFORMATION AGENT. Track down his CAPTAIN PUGWASH comic strip books which are still in print to this day, they’re brilliant.
Both JR’s belong to an era of handcrafting comics with pen and ink, paper and scissors and Dr Martin inks and colours. Just as pen lettering gave way to digital lettering in the 90′s, comic book publishing in the 00′s is slowly moving from paper to pixel. So the biggest story in 2009 is, for me, the uptake of digital comics on platforms like Comixology and Panelfly thanks to the ubiquity of the iPhone. THis year was the year people came up to me at shows and told me they were buying ELEPHANTMEN in trade because they enjoyed it so much on the iPhone.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? Comics on the Apple Tablet. In colour on a bigger screen that doesn’t hurt the eyes.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? Matt Smith in Steven Moffat’s DOCTOR WHO. Can’t wait, but have to.
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: The swelling crowds at San Diego Comic Con.
Hope Larson, cartoonist
2010 projects: My new book, Mercury, will be out on April 6th and premiering at MoCCA. I’m also working on two exciting projects, an adaptation and an original work, neither of which I’m allowed to talk about yet. I’m also planning Drink & Draw Like a Lady events for the Fridays before MoCCA and Stumptown, and they’re coming together nicely. In short, I am a busy lady.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? The debate over the merits of R. Crumb’s Genesis.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? How can we make comics work on e-readers like the kindle? Is it even possible? Is the book dead? Dun dun DUNNNNN.
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: 2004 and 2005, when I was new and green and still discovering this crazy world of comics. I didn’t know how to write, how to design, how to ink, how to letter, and everything was possible. Having no idea what you’re doing is a liberating feeling. I still try as many new approaches as I can, I still take risks, but it does get harder. These days I’m conscious of all the eyes on me: my agent, my editors, my readers, the people in accounting who tally up my sales figures… I can try to ignore them, but I’ll never be completely alone in my work again.
Sam Humphries, writer
2010 projects: A partnership with Pantheon to relaunch Spiegelman and Mouly’s RAW on Tumblr. (Only kidding; just some writing projects I can’t mention yet.)
What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? The pendulum has been swinging this direction for a few years, but after 2009 DC and Marvel no longer require the direct market to survive. Whatever happens next will be on those terms.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? If you were 10 years old the summer Shonen Jump hit the stands and Tokyopop launched their line of Real Authentic Manga, you will be 18 in 2010. The behavior of this generation is the substrate story that will influence every other story for the next year and many years following.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? Is the Pavement reunion tour actually happening?? If not, Dan Goldman’s Miami-Babylon ghost story RED LIGHT PROPERTIES has me drooling in anticipation.
When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: Comics won. Now what?