We took the briefest of breaks from our deadlines last night and dropped by the CBLDF/Strangers in Paradise wrap party. We got there a little late, but word was the place was jammed, and all the VIP tickets had sold out.
It was the perfect pre-BEA party, and the turnout was a schmoozers dream: Jeff Smith and wife Vijaya Iyer, Peter and Kathleen David, Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Connor, Billy Tucci, Chris Staros, Dirk, Michael and Chris from the Dark Horse crew, Milton Griepp, Chris Oarr, Alex Robinson, Mike Dawson, ComicxMix’s Glenn Hauman, Jim Demonakos, Ross Ritchie, Adam Fortier, Marvel’s Jim McCann and Mark Paniccia, Nick Barrucci, Patty Jeres, Denis Kitchen, John Green, Marion Vitus…and probably about 100 other people we’re forgetting.
Terry Moore and wife Robyn were the stars of the show, however, as well they should be. After 13 years and 19 graphic novels, Moore has achieved something unique in comics, and stands as one of the few real success stories of the self publishing movement.
As we remarked to more than one person, it was, in many ways, the end of an era. Moore began the series in 1993, and after a brief 3-issue stint at Antarctic, and a flirtation with Image in the middle, it was Abstract Studio all the way. He was a big part of the post-Dave Sim movement which stated that self-publishing was the only way to break the grip of the superhero on the direct market. Many were called, but few stayed the course…it was a brutal way to make a living, and those who were in it for the long haul have mostly wrapped it up.
Sim is done; Jeff Smith is done; now SiP is done. Colleen Doran’s A Distant Soil is still around, but published at Image, ditto for Eric Shanower and Age of Bronze. Batton Lash soldiers on with Supernatural Law, but he’s one of the few old schoolers left. I’ve written here before that Carla Speed McNeil is now the self-publishing standard bearer, but even she has gone to the web.
With webcomics the new standard, self-publishing a comics series is a dying enterprise. Web to graphic novel is the new paradigm. It was interesting to see people like Tucci and Smith at the party — they had all been part of the movement in its heyday but had gone on to different career paths.
After the crush of fans (and there were many) thinned around Moore, we went to give him our own congratulations. “What’s next?” we asked, ever the news breaker.
“I have a lot of ideas, but I just want to go home and regroup,” he said. “Think about things.”
As he spoke, as if on cue, the lights in the bar were gradually lowered. We looked at each other and laughed. The sun had set on an era of comics. A new day begins in the morning. See you there.