The Beat’s Annual Year End Survey, 2014 Edition, Part 3 — more thoughts on DC moving west

Yep it’s more picks and prognostications, with a few tasty previews thrown in.

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Ted McKeever, cartoonist

2014 Projects: THE SUPERANNUATED MAN 
A new Golden Age format, B&W, 6-issue series from Shadowline/Image, coming out around June/July of 2014. The basic premise of The Superannuated Man is a contemplation on growing old in an unspecified future where animals have evolved and become the dominant force in the world, and one man’s existential application for purpose.

I’ve touched on a lot of personal subjects in the past. Delved into some dark places as well. So I felt it was time I lightened up the tone a bit with this “science-fictiony” series. And there’s nothing more funny, in my opinion, than getting old. 

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? That there really wasn’t any. I mean, compared to other years, 2013 was mostly like passing gas. A lot of noise that turned out to be nothing but stink.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? I’ll let you know in December.

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What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? That some channel somewhere in my vicinity will get the broadcast rights to start airing reruns of Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp.


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Lee Nordling, writer, packager

2014 Projects The Bramble received the 2013 Moonbeam Gold Medal for picture books (ages 4 – 8). I wrote it, Bruce Zick was the artist, and it’s the first book of sequential art to win this Moonbeam category award. Also, I just set up a three-book series with Lerner’s Graphic Universe, beginning with “BirdCatDog,” which will be published Fall 2014, with others following Spring and Fall of 2015.

There’s more on the horizon, but we don’t expect it to happen till sometime in January, and stuff is never real until it’s real.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? DC Comics goes to Hollywood, as if it wasn’t already there, at least in spirit.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? I’m sure there will be something involving comics characters on the big screen, but DC Comics adapting to life on the Left Coast will probably be the continuing adventure we all follow.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? Two things, “The Rules of Summer” by Shaun Tan, and the end of “The Hobbit” trilogy, so I can look forward to having extended editions for all of them, except the first, which was extended quite enough in the theatrical version. Then I can watch all of them in order, followed by the extended editions of “The Lord of the Rings.” It won’t be quite 24 hours of viewing, but I’m pretty sure I’ll want a nap after I’m done…or maybe I’ll just start rereading the books.


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Kwanza Johnson, editor

2014 Projects:  Nothing… this year. ;-)

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? That is tough– what is important in comics is so subjective. I suppose it was the inevitable announcement that DCE is moving the entire company to Burbank, CA. It is going to change the lives of a lot of people who have to make a very tough choice that I myself made while working there (Do not go. Find another job. Do not believe the hype.). The move is going to change a 75 year old dynamic.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Hank Kanalz will be named Editor-in-Chief of DC Comics. He’s obviously being groomed for that spot. I can’t imagine that even if Bob Harras did move this won’t still happen.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? More Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That show is so much fun. A few former Zuda folk are animators on that show, and goodness it must be so much more rewarding than working in comics.


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Charles Soule, writer, busy man (photo by Seth Kushner)

2014 Projects: Letter 44 (creator-owned sci-fi ongoing from Oni); Swamp Thing, Superman / Wonder Woman, Red Lanterns (DC); Inhuman, She-Hulk, Thunderbolts (Marvel).

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? I wish it weren’t, but I feel like the one thing that’s gotten everyone talking is the discussion of harassment in comics. The minute stories started to come out, it seemed like everyone weighed in, for better or worse. I’m glad people are talking about it, but I also think it’s an incredibly complex issue that (shockingly), probably can’t be solved via passionate Tweets. Hopefully, though, increased awareness will help, and people won’t have to talk about this stuff at all in 2014. (Well, let’s not be unrealistic – maybe 2015.)

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? I suspect it will be DC Comics’ move to Los Angeles.  It’s going to have a drastic effect on the mainstream comics landscape (at least behind the scenes).  Hopefully everyone involved will find a good solution, but I bet it will be interesting times (in the Chinese parable sense) well into 2015.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? My guilty pleasures these days are mostly dumb movies that I sneak into alone, watch, and sneak out of, no one the wiser. Along those lines, I’d say I’m quite looking forward to the 300 sequel, Expendables 3, and of course, eternally, forever… the next installment of the idiotic but marvelous Resident Evil series.


Curt Pires, writer

8f8fea87d7675eb1b675d47b6f159d18.jpeg2014 Projects: I am doing a creator owned book called POP with Jason Copland over at DH in 2014. Finishing Theremin up with Dalton Rose. That will be collected in print in 2014 as well. Think I’d like to do a book at Image as well — I’ll make that happen.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013?  Devonte Hynes putting out “Cupid Deluxe”. Sky Ferreira releasing “Night Time, My Time” . Image going Drm free. Douglas Ruskoff releasing the stellar “Present Shock”.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Not sure, excited to find out.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures — I like what I like. Really looking forward to Lars Von Trier’s NYMPHOMANIAC , which I suppose would be considered taboo by more conservative crowds.


amychu2.jpgAmy Chu, writer

2014 Projects: The third installment of the Girls Night Out anthology – That’s the Way Love Goes, a top secret project with the amazing Janet K. Lee, and a not all ages Red Riding Hood story with Charles P Wilson III for ComixTribe’s Scamthology.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? I geek out over numbers, so the SAGA story is absolutely fascinating to me. Not only is it BY FAR the best selling title at some stores, the sales number just keep RISING instead of declining. That just flies in the face of retailer wisdom. Issue #16 sold an estimated 50% more than #1, and outsold over 90% of the titles reported by Diamond. Even better, some retailers tell me it’s driven by NEW readers, mostly WOMEN. Editors and publishers, take note!

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? I think we’re going to see a revolution in comics content for 2014. There’s going to be a lot more creative risks taken for several reasons. It’s easier than ever to self publish either through Comixology or crowdfunding platforms, so established talent can take greater risks with their own pet projects. Small publishers have experimented with the $1 pricing with great success so I’m guessing we’re going to see even more titles coming out. And also with the consolidation over at DC, it will be the last hurrah for some in editorial who might want to go out with a bang, not a whimper. The end result should be great for the readers, IMHO.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? Working through my video game Pile of Shame (Arkham Origins, Skyrim), and maxing out my Marvel Unlimited subscription.


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Christian Beranek, writer

2014 Projects: Kelci Crawford and I will be increasing production on Validation and I’ll also be debuting a new webcomic with Tony DiGerolamo and Julia Brito called Millennials, which will run over at The Webcomic Factory. In addition, I’ll be continuing my work with Doug Lefler on promoting his wonderful digital comics app Scrollon.

I’ll be attending C2E2 in April pitching some new comics and also trying to drum up some work. Publishers and editors look out! I’ll also be at Phoenix Comicon in June, my first guest appearance at a convention in well over a year and a half.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? Co-existence. Print comics are thriving and so are digital! 

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Co-existence. 2013 brought to light how far the industry still has to go in welcoming female creators and readers. Hopefully in 2014 we can do better.

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What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? Writing a superhero comic.


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Sue aka DCWKA, pundit

2014 Projects: I want to give a shoutout to my Girls Love Superheroes site – spread the word; send more pictures

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? For me it was the rise of digital (and by that it really means Comixology) and proof that it will shift the demographics of comics. The LCS will continue to thrive but the world of instant gratification via tablet is bringing in new readers. and yes I mean female readers. Now if we can just dump the DRM and have the digital price point differ from the print.

Image as the innovator when it comes to non cape comics was also big – the most interesting and best comics monthlies I read this year were mostly out of Image.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? For me I think it is the energy going at Marvel. The bench is pretty deep over there and they are already picking up some of DC’s talent due to the move to LA. I’m excited to see the new set of female-led books.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? Wonder Woman by Grant Morrison and Yannick Paquette. Will it be pleasure … or pain? Still looking forward to reading it.


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Joe Harris, writer

2014 Projects: Great Pacific from Image Comics and The X-Files: Season 10 for IDW.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? The expanding roster of talent coming to, or back home to, creator-owned comics.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? The triumph of lesser-known comics properties in the realm of film and television.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014?
The absolute thrashing the Republican party is gong to take in the midterm elections. It takes a certain, special kind of arrogance to think government shutdowns, debt ceiling-hostage taking, repeated show votes on defunding or repealing one thing or another which all in congress know is never going to happen, and failure to move on issues important to the American people like reasonable gun safety legislation, immigration reform, etc. won’t cost you. I’ll have the popcorn at the ready.

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Jimmy Broxton, cartoonist

2014 Projects: Hugh Howey’s Wool the Graphic Novel, with Hugh Howey, Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti. Published by Jet City Comics from Amazon.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? DC announcing the closing of the NY offices with a planned relocation to CA.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? DC actually relocating to CA.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014?Nicolas Winding Refn’s Barbarella reboot (if it actually happens)


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Zainab Akhtar, writer

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? Kim Thompson passing away/Fantagraphics Kickstarter

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Hmm. Just a host of very good books from younger cartoonists which will hopefully bring newer audiences to their work; I’ve been compiling a streamlined snapshot for the year’s most anticipated releases for The Beat, and we have books from Emily Carroll, Eleanor Davis, Corrine Mucha, Bastien Vivies, Jamie Coe, Sam Alden, the Tamaki cousins and a whole lot more.


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Matt Pizzolo (writer Godkiller, organizer Occupy Comics, co-founder Black Mask Studios)
 
2014 Projects:   The Liberator/Earth Crisis comic book/album crossover is the comic I’ve wished would exist since 1993, so I’m very excited about it. I will also be laboring on the launch of Black Mask’s first weekly comic series Godkiller by the incredibly talented Anna Muckcracker Wieszczyk and her lackwitted writer me. The rest of my workload is currently hidden away in a crate next to the Ark of the Covenant, to be revealed soon.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013?
“Are Comics Just For Middle-Aged Dudes?” It would appear the tearing up of Kelly Sue DeConnick & Emma Rios’ Pretty Deadly was the rip-heard-’round-the-comicverse, igniting a much-needed critique of dude-bro-dude culture in comics. Tess Fowler, MariNaomi, Mariah Huehner, Anne Scherbina, Brandon Graham, and more deserve a lot of respect for putting themselves at risk to add specificity and force a serious discourse that has broadened since then in a really constructive & important way. It’s a critical conversation for the future of comics, and it’s not just creators, staffers, & cosplayers who are finding a toxic environment but even readers. I was on two different SDCC panels recently where young women in the audience asked questions and were met with condescension in one case and ridicule in another… we on the panel and some in the audience tried to encourage the questioner and shut up the loudmouth, but we were pretty ineffective. It’s far, far from the norm, but it’s pervasive nonetheless and if we’re more aware of it we’ll be more effective at dealing with it when it occurs. 

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Hopefully the emergence of new creative voices who will reset expectations of what comics can be and who th
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ey can be for.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? I’m gonna convince Patrick Meaney to let me watch the raw footage of “The Image Revolution” documentary so I can enjoy all the behind-the-scenes drama that didn’t make it into the final movie.


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Kate Kotler, writer

2014 Projects: Cooking a geek baby. Writing a guest column for GeekMom.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? Ed Kramer pleading guilty to child molestation (brings closure to an awful story, allows one of the bigger and more positive conventions in the country to move forward.)

Brian Wood being named by Tess Fowler as the comics pro who harassed her; the subsequent reporting on the whole topic.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Hopefully something a lot more positive.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? The announcement of a Wonder Woman feature film. (Wishful thinking.) Sherlock Series 3… being able to have a drink at Bar-Con post extraction of alien growing in my womb.


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Jim Starlin, cartoonist

2014 Projects: Thanos:The Infinity Revelation- A 100-page OGN for Marvel. Writer/penciler

Savage Hulk four-issue story arc: Writer/penciler

Thanos Annual: 30-page story. Writer.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? Multiple announcements of comics being made into movies and TV series.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? The success or failure of those movies.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? Time in South Africa and away from the drawing board.


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Steve Niles, writer

2014 Projects: This year will see the conclusion of Frankenstein Alive Alive & Chin Music and I have a new slate of creator-owned projects. At the top of that list is THHE OCTOBER FACTION with Damien Worm. It’s all of my favorite things rolled into one.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? To me the rise of the indies and comic sales going up. Best news I’ve heard. The rise of the indie book has been amazing to watch. Personally, having the entire comic industry pitch in and help me and my family when we were flooded was the biggest story. I may get down on the industry sometimes but when comic people decide to do something they can move mountains. I am forever thankful for the help. 

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Hopefully more comic readers and more indie books. My dream has always been to see comic stores that have genres like bookstores and we are one step closer with great non-superhero sci- books books like Saga and Black Science and crime from Brubaker and Rucka.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? New Planet of the Apes movie. I need my ape movies.


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Rich Johnson, publisher

 2014 Projects: The first two original graphic novels from InkLit are available in stores – Starling by Sage Stossel and Unforgotten by Tohby Riddle. Also look for the first original graphic novel Cemetery Girl by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden with art by Don Kramer to be released in January 2014. 

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? DC Comics moving to the west coast. Some of why I think this was the biggest story is part nostalgia. As a former employee of the company and a fan of the medium the move represents the en of an era, even though the actual end may have already occurred. The business of comics started in New York and has lived there for decades and it’s always sad when someone moves away. I have always felt that comics and DC belonged in the city. When I worked there it seemed somehow right that I am my co-workers slogged through snowy streets of Gotham to bring stories of Batman to the world. It seemed appropriate that the 9/11 anthology came from a company based in New York at a time when we all needed to have super-heroes in our lives. It was a natural that the nation’s biggest humor magazine MAD was New York born and seemed to have the city’s sense of humor. They have deep roots here.
 
But we live in a different world, the concept of transmedia has taken root; storytelling across many platforms is what is driving many businesses. And in some ways DC Comics moving is makes sense on a historical level. From the beginning DC lead the way and even created a template for using their characters across multiple platforms; everything from radio dramas, to film, television, and novels. DC was transmedia before the 1950s and before the term was coined. While the idea of transmedia is not new to them I think the fear is that the publishing arm of what now is a media company will be diminished.  I hope not. The publishing arm should serve as a place where creativity is let loose. It has been place where people like Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Brian K. Vaughn, Alex Ross and countless others were able to play with the toys and create some amazing things. I hope that dedication to publishing and to allowing talent to experiment travels with them.
 
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? I think the expansion of kid’s comics will play an important role for the future of the industry. It’s vital that the industry builds future and life-long readers for the medium. Even in this era if transmedia the source material is still vital. It’s vital as a creative playground for talent to try and test new ideas and stories – a place to take chances. It’s also essential in establishing that vital, visceral connection that happens between reader and book. It is where you build “the fan”.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? I want to finally dive into the series The Wire. I have heard so much about it, but I’ve never seen it. I am also looking forward to the beginning of the end of Mad Men. And as a long time Michael Connelly I am eager to see the just announced series Bosch.
 
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Eric Reynolds, associate publisher, Fantagraphics

2014 Projects: Barnaby by Crockett Johnson, Unlovable by Esther Watson, Megahex by Simon Hanselmann, Arsene Schrawuen by Olivier Schrauwen, Buddy Buys a Dump by Peter Bagge, The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez, The Complete Eightball by Daniel Clowes, Bumf by Joe Sacco, Twelve Gems by Lane Milburn, etc. 

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? The death of my friend and boss, the great Kim Thompson. 

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Probably something demoralizing. 

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014?I’m frankly just happy to move on from 2013. 

Comments

  1. george says:

    Biggest story: The outside world learning about the bizarre attitudes that too many male fans and pros have about women, and the rampant harassment that accompanies that attitude. Too many guys in comics are happy with the status quo of comics as a boys’ club for longtime male fans.

    Unless a substantial number of guys change their thinking, this problem will continue.

  2. Al™ says:

    I am fascinated at the impact of DC’s relocation of their offices from one city to another. As a Canadian, I obviously don’t ‘get it’, just that the history of comics was imbedded in NYC, and LA is a movie town.

    Maybe that’s just it; it’s that simple. The massive shift in context, with the DC comic office being summoned to perform before the Hollywood money group.

  3. george says:

    I assume DC is moving west to be closer to the movie, TV and videogame industries. That’s where the real money is.

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