Must read: Publish or perish

Last year Dean Haspiel kick-started the creative juices of the new year with an essay called “Dear Content Maker” that confronted some of the excitement and uncertainties of the new horizons. Since then he’s launched a new website — Trip City — and kept juggling all the balls a creator needs to.

This year, he has a similar call to arms that surveys the current landscape called “Publish or Perish”, named after a tweet by Jimmy Palmiotti:

Go to DANCE CLASS with Papercutz

With all the popularity of High School Musical/Glee/American Idol and other performance-based media these days, comics have been tiptoeing around this genre. There was Siena and Mark Siegel’s To Dance; and Raina Telgemeier’s upcoming DRAMA!, due this fall. And here’s a new one from Papercutz, Dance Class: So You Think You Can Hip-Hop by Béka, aka Bertrand Escaich and Caroline Rogue. Aimed squarely at tween girls, it’s another French pick up for the publisher, and it looks pretty charming.

Must Reading: Warren Ellis on 2012

Warren Ellis takes a stab at Five Predictions About The Immediate Future Of Comics. It’s brief — just go read. A couple of main ideas:

* Roll-your-own digital available to creators creates distribution opportunities and chaos

* Creators will continue to explore Kickstarter and other methods to get paid for their work

* DC and Marvel in diminishing returns.

And this classic Ellis observation:

Who Killed the Newsstand Comics Market?

Today, we keep seeing attempts to bring back limited versions of the newsstand comics rack.  2011’s Barnes & Noble program being the most prominent to get a little press.  Interestingly, in recent weeks, both Jim Shooter and Chris Clarement have made comments about the demise of the newsstand system.  Coming from these two, the opinions are a bit more interesting as both were on the top of industry when things shifted over from the newsstand to Direct Market in the early-to-mid-80s.

Bechdel’s ARE YOU MY MOTHER? gets 100K first printing

As we’ve mentioned here several times, there have been no more important graphic novels published in this century than PERSEPOLIS by Marjane Satrapi and FUN HOME by Alison Bechdel. Both found large audiences well beyond the traditional ones for comics, and both have become oft-imitated — but never duplicated — by book publishers trying to cash in on the “graphic novel” trend. (The number of graphic autobiographies exploring ethnic roots alone is staggering.)