And let’s wrap things up! This may not have been the biggest survey ever, but it had perhaps the widest participation ever, and I’m very proud to showcase so many people from so many levels of the comcis industry from creators to retailers to journalists to publishers. 2018 has already been wild but it’s going to be another banner year for comics.
To read the first four parts of this survey go here.
Greg Pak, writer/publisher
2018 Projects: I’m writing MECH CADET YU, INCREDIBLE HULK, WEAPON X (with Fred Van Lente), the upcoming WEAPON H, the upcoming DUO book from Milestone, and the JOHN WICK comic book. I’ve also just relaunched my email newsletter, because email newsletters are the new email newsletters! You can subscribe here: http://gregpak.com/sign-
What was the biggest story in comics in 2017? The death of net neutrality and the near-collapose of Patreon this year are massive, underreported stories with the potential to affect everyone in comics in the fulness of time. Comics publishers and creators rely on the internet to publicize and distribute their wares. The death of net neutrality means that internet service providers can throttle bandwidth or block access to websites. So if your ISP gets in a fight with Amazon, maybe your Comixology books will take ten times as long to download. Or maybe your personal website gets throttled. Or maybe Kickstarter gets throttled. Any of those things could result in fewer people getting access to your work and money never reaching your pockets. Similarly, services like Patreon, which thousands of indie creators have come to rely on, can change their terms overnight to the detriment of those creators. Thankfully, Patreon rolled back their proposed fee changes in the face of tremendous backlash. But the potential is very real for the collapse of the internet infrastructure that indie and freelance creators have come to rely on.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2018? Email newsletters, yo! I’m gonna keep saying this out loud in order to make it real. ;-) More and more comics people are going to launch email newsletters, and they will be great and funny and informative and will contribute toward an indie, freelance culture that will thrive regardless of what happens with Twitter and all the rest.
J.T. Yost, publisher Birdcage Bottom Books
2018 Projects: We’re gearing up for a Kickstarter campaign in January to fund all of the stupendous comics we’ve got planned through 2018. We’re focusing on artists flying under the radar that we feel are deserving of a wider audience.
We will be publishing:
- “In The Future, We Are Dead”, a graphic novel by Eva Müllerthat focuses on her obsession with death
- “The Complete Matinee Junkie”by Jordan Jeffries, a book collecting his previous four years of matinee attending comics diaries along with the current year (in progress) along with lots of bonus material
- “Goat Song”, a bizarre piece of fiction about an unexpected infection by Larkin Ford
- “Thonger Dongers” by T. Yost, a third collection of short comics drawn for various anthologies
- “Nate The Nonconformist Has A Rival!” details high school rivalry at its worst and most immature by Stephanie Mannheim
- “A Lone Dear At The End Of The World” by Bradford Gambles alternates between the hush of an abandoned mall reclaimed by nature and loud, crass consumerism
- “Pictures of Bananas and Funny Bugs”collects more truly unique work by New Yorker cartoonist Sara Lautman
What was the biggest story in comics in 2017? For me, the biggest story was the depressing realization that the #metoo movement extended to what I’d previously considered a welcoming and non-threatening comics community.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2018? In an echo of editorial cartoonist Thomas Nast’s takedown of Boss Tweed, comics will be the undoing of Trump and his entire administration (a man can dream).
Guilty Pleasure: I don’t feel guilty about my pleasures (I’ll readily admit to my love of Degrassi Jr. High), so I’ll just say the comics related project I’m most looking forward to is the collection of Laura Park’s work.
Who or what inspires you? Josh Bayer is an inspiration in that his need to draw seems compulsory, his knowledge of comics history is extensive, and his ability to share through teaching is admirable.
Sue, journalist, DC Women Kicking Ass
2018 Projects: 2018 mid-terms
What was the biggest story in comics in 2017? A tie! The meltdown of Marvel – sales wise, creative wise (bye Bendis), executive-wise ( Bye Axel, hello Akira Yoshida (oh sorry CB Cebulski) and the #metwo movement hitting comics and Eddie Berganza finally getting what he deserved 5 years ago.
Guilty Pleasure: Infinity War – how can Marvel get their movies (mostly) so good and their comics struggle.
Who or what inspires you? Wonder Woman! The comic is suffering from a writer who shouldn’t be writing it, but it was great under Rucka/Scott/Sharpe (also the movie was great).
Martha Thomases, writer
2018 Projects: Second Hand Rose, with Richard Case.
What was the biggest story of 2017? #MeToo, Eddie Berganza
What will be the biggest story of 2018? #MeToo spreads to include the people who covered for Eddie and others.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: Black Panther! Also, being seen as a writer more than a journalist.
Who or what inspires you? Irmina, by Barbara Yelin. I’m not prepared to see it’s the best book, but it provoked me to think of history in new ways.
Charles Vess, cartoonist
2018 Projects: For the past four years I’ve been illustrating the first ever collected edition of Ursula K. Le Guin’s six multiple award winning Earthsea novels with direct consultation from the writer. ‘The Books of Earthsea’ from Saga Press (a division of Simon & Schuster) will be published in October of 2018, the 50th anniversary of the publication of ‘A Wizard of Earthsea’, the first book in the series. The collection will feature some 60 color and black and white illustrations that will depict her world, its characters and her dragons as close to the way Ursula has always seen them as possible. What a journey it’s been!
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: Reading as much of Luke Pearson’s Hildafolk and Anti Watson’ Glister as they’ll give me.
Who or what inspires you? Mike Mignola, Michael Wm. Kaluta and Jill Thompson
Mairghread Scott, writer
2018 Projects: I have two new graphic novels coming out from First Second in March and April. City on the Other Side with artist Robin Robinson, a YA fantasy adventure that follows a young girl trying to stop a war between the after, and Science Comics: Robots and Drones with Jacob Chabot, a look at the history of robots and Drones and how they work. I also have written an animated feature called Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors featuring, Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Patriot, America Chavez, Inferno and Captain Marvel that I am really excited to share with everyone.
What was the biggest story of 2017? The women who came forward about Eddie Berganza and that DC finally did something about it.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? Probably all the other companies being forced to clean house of their Berganza and the female talent that will finally start feeling safe to pitch at those comic companies.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: Watching Great British BakeOff and eating cake.
Who or what inspires you? Alex De Campi, that woman is just so damn fearless.
Larry Marder, cartoonist
2018 Projects: Beanworld Omnibus :summer 2018. Beanworld Book Five: 2019.
What was the biggest story of 2017? Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? Some sort of inevitable crash.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: B-movies on TCM.
Who or what inspires you? Jack Kirby. It’s always Kirby.
Henry Barajas, writer
2018 Projects: I’m working LA VOZ DE MAYO with Jason Gonzalez and contributing to JH Williams’ III anthology WHERE WE LIVE.
What was the biggest story of 2017? Men harassing women in comics. The comic book industry has had to deal with some persons that overstayed his welcome after numerous allegations. It’s interesting how the events and victims became whispers and shy “con-versations” until Buzzfeed took it public. It doesn’t stop with that one. When you find one roach, you probably haven’t seen them all. Thankfully, women have been speaking out and exposing the bad eggs.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? Betty and Veronica will get married.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: Line Webtoons. I love their drive. They’re hungry and taking chances.
Who or what inspires you? David and Maria Lapham. They’re making the best noir comic that everyone should be talking about.
Christian Beranek, writer
2018 Projects: Kelci Crawford and I will be launching the Tiny Unicorn ongoing webcomic and prepping a YA GN series. In addition, Tony DiGerolamo and I have some new stuff in the works at The Webcomic Factory.
What was the biggest story of 2017? The #MeToo movement and the diversity in comics debate leading to editorial shake-ups at the highest levels.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? Re-invention.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: It’s been 15 years since I’ve played a video game. Maybe I should give one a go!
Who or what inspires you? Kelci Crawford, my partner on Validation, continues to get better and better with her work, which in turns makes me better.
Kat Kan, librarian
2018 Projects: In addition to my work as a school librarian and as the Graphic Novel Specialist for Brodart Books & Library Services, I write the Graphically Speaking column for Voice of Youth Advocates. The February 2018 column will mark my 24th anniversary of writing about graphic novels and comicbooks for libraries serving teens.
What was the biggest story of 2017? The failure of the Big 2 to truly invest in diverse characters and comics; many series were cancelled in late 2017, usually citing low sales. The publishers have ignored the fact that the target audience tends to buy trades, and that libraries constitute one of the important markets for such books.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? The Excellence in Graphic Literature Award is a new initiative of the Pop Culture Classroom – the awards for various age levels and an overall award will be given at the Denver Comic Con. Among the awards is the Mosaic Award, which will celebrate diversity in comics. I’m on the Advisory Board; the EGLs are juried awards. Also, indie publishers such as Lion Forge will continue to grow. Lion Forge has learned lots of lessons from the past, mostly due to its staff – most of whom have worked in the comics industry for years.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: Possible travel to professional conferences, particularly the American Library Association Annual Conference in New Orleans. Also, helping my middle school Library Book Club students create their own STEAM-based comics characters and stories during the second semester.
Who or what inspires you? Jim McClain – I mentioned him last year as well, I think. Despite many personal and professional challenges, he continues to hone his craft in his “spare” time. He ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for SOLUTION SQUAD – a superhero comicbook that makes learning math FUN! Jim continues to work on creating marvelous lesson plans – including the STEAM-based comics characters project I plan to use with my students. He does all this while teaching math full-time and being one of the best people I know.
Peter Kuper, cartoonist
2018 Projects: Kafkaesque a collection of 14 adaptations of Franz Kafka short stories, including ‘In The Penal Colony’, ‘The Burrow’ and ‘Before The Law’ to be published by W.W. Norton , Fall 2018
What was the biggest story of 2017? English edition of Alack Sinner: the Age of Innocence by José Antonio Muñoz and Carlos Sampayo
What will be the biggest story of 2018? Emil Ferris My Favorite Thing Is Monsters 2 (Vol. 2)
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: Binge watching
Who or what inspires you? Jose Muñoz
Kyle Pinion, journalist
What was the biggest story of 2017? Marvel’s no good, horrible, very bad year. It’s been a long time since I can remember a comics publisher flailing this badly over the course of 12 months – be it creatively, in terms of overall leadership, the PR gaffes, you name it, Marvel somehow found a way to screw it up. Their ongoing rudderless nature is something everyone in the industry should probably be worried about. The original Marvel Now!, with all its energy and critical acclaim, feels like it was a decade ago.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? To be honest, see above. Can the Cebulski era of Marvel right the ship? What can be done differently? Unlike DC, Marvel still hasn’t bothered to make amends with the retailers, whose trust they’re blowing to smithereens, and if they were to relaunch/reboot, what shape will that take exactly? The Legacy launch was a complete bust; so what’s the next step? Do they have the talent in place to get readers excited for whatever it is? Will the long dormant Fantastic Four finally re-emerge thanks the Disney-Fox deal?
A second story worth keeping an eye on is just how big Brian Michael Bendis’ presence will be at DC. I’m sure he’ll wind up with a number of big name titles, but what of Jinxworld? Could that potentially be another pop-up imprint at the publisher? And perhaps even more pressingly, will he join Geoff Johns on the movie/tv side of things in some advisory capacity?
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: The return of the Legion of Super-Heroes. In whatever form it takes. It HAS. TO. HAPPEN….(I hope). It’s not even a guilty pleasure, I just wanted to mention it somewhere in here.
Todd Allen, analyst
What was the biggest story of 2017? What did Marvel go and do this time? (Seems like every other week there was a problem.)
What will be the biggest story of 2018? Depends on whether the whispers of mass shop closing are well founded or not. If so, that could be it. Other obvious possibility is whatever Marvel does for a relaunch/reboot.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: Akira Yoshida returning to write Milli Vanilli comics.
Lara Antal, cartoonist
2018 Projects: Two graphic novels – Adult Memoir about Parenting and Loss, written by Rick Louis (see except below)
Middle Grade about an all-girl punk band and their ghost guitarist
What was the biggest story of 2017? Middle Grade graphic novel market is booming.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? Graphic novels are up – mini comics are down.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: More magical middle grade graphic novels! These are the comics I dreamed of as a kid and I’m glad they finally exist.
Who or what inspires you? Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier — I’m sure I’m not the only one going to mention Telgemeier but I really appreciated the simplicity and solid storytelling. It’s not going to change your life, but it’s very GOOD, and that’s a feat in itself. I find in comics especially the basics of good story telling can easily be obscured by artwork, and popular characters/properties, and popular creators.
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.