The new new Beat is one year old this week! And we’re celebrating with a steaming hot cup of Vietnamese instant coffee, made direct from the tap as we wait for the storm of the decade to blow in. As soon as we finish posting, we’re going to patch up our snow boots with some epoxy and pray.
Although we’ve been at the Beat blogging game since 2004, this is the first time we’ve had our own “creator-owned” website at our very own not-gonna-change URL. Making it a year has had a few roller coaster moments, but it’s been a year of vast learning and satisfaction. Oh, there have been a few pesky problems along the way, and the front page looks wack (because Team Beat hasn’t been able to fix the image resizing script yet) but overall we’re just happy to be here and incredibly grateful for all the support we’ve had from creators, publishers, advertisers and of course, readers.
To celebrate our birthday, we’ll be running a few exclusive previews, new interviews, and other cool stuff for the rest of the week. We’ll also take this occasion to introduce our New Beat Intern, Maggie Siegel-Berele, who has taken over updating the events page, with the result that many more people have been tipped off to cool things if our email is any indication. The events page is still a work in progress but it’s definitely getting there. And Maggie is an up-and-coming cartoonist who you will be hearing from in the years to come.
The rest of our birthday week also has a theme, but one we’ve touched on often here: the business of making comics and how it’s changing. The current discussion of how best to promote creator-owned comics is part of it, but there’s more. The old ways of finding work and building a career don’t apply any more. There are as many methods for success are their are artistic visions. As Mark Millar said on a panel a few months ago – and we’ve seen echoed independently time after time “It’s desperation that creates innovation in any medium.” We may not be desperate, but it isn’t time to stay pat. Let’s throw that shit against the wall.
These questions have no single answer. There’s no one way to be successful. There are hundreds, or thousands. And I’m depending on you to help figure them out.
I will take this opportunity to pass along one piece of advice tat I learned during the whole moving The Beat process a year ago, one that I forgot to put into my previous tell-all:
NO CORPORATION IS EVER GOING TO CARE ABOUT YOUR WORK AS MUCH AS YOU DO.
I’m not saying that because corporations = bad and creators = good; fulfilling partnerships exist all over the place. But that’s the real bottom line for anyone who believes in their own vision. Betting on yourself is a win/win proposition.
I’ll be talking more about this over the next week, month and year. For now I just want to say thank you to my terrific sponsors — Comic-Con, Active Images, Top Shelf, Reed Pop, Soulcraft, Spectrum Co2 and MapHook— for making it possible for me to continue doing this for a whole year. And to my faboo contributors — listed in the sidebar — who have helped inform and entertain. And to my regular readers for sticking around and hopefully having some fun here.
Before I get all sappy, let’s turn this into the good old open thread: what does The Beatneed more of and less of? We’re working on a slight redesign so now’s the time to speak up on that matter as well.
And just to celebrate, an internet tradition:
And now…to the Vietnamese coffee.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.