The Beat’s Annual Survey 2015, Part Four: “Grandpa Con versus In-name-only-Con”

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Gary Tyrrell, journalist

2015 Projects: I was invited to write a short piece on webcomics that will be part of an upcoming college text on the history of illustration.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2014?  All-ages graphic novels stomping all over the traditional content of comics. This was the year that Raina Telgemeier and Kazu Kibuishi took half the spots on the NY Times bestseller list between the two of them, and they are between them buiding up an entire future generation of comics readers.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2015? Scott McCloud’s “The Sculptor”, which richly deserves all the praise it will be garnering.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2015? This makes me a terrible fan of paleontology, but I kinda want to see Chris Pratt riding a motorcycle with his loyal pack of hunting raptors running alongside.


@joe

Joe Field, retailer
2015 Projects: My ongoing project, for the last 26 years, is Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff. And the 14th Annual Free Comic Book Day will be here before you know it (First Saturday in May!) There are other projects at various stages not yet ready for airing.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2014? The continued mainstreaming of Comic Book Culture which has been percolating for a dozen years but is now approaching full boil. More than that,  all comics, whether print or digital, are on the continued rise.

I do think this amorphous thing we call “the comics market” is more tribal than ever and more splintered, as well. It’s a thousand specialty mini-markets within the larger specialty super-market. I’m hoping for a 2015 with less friction, less victimization and more peace and acceptance at all levels of the industry.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2015? While 2015 will start with the first million print run comic book in more than 20 years with Star Wars #1 (retailers are hoping it will also be million selling), I’ll bet there will be even bigger stories that will affect the comics market in more long-term ways.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2015? My first trip “across the pond” to visit some family history (and take in some live music) in Ireland and England.


marinaomiMariNaomi, cartoonist
2015 Projects: My book Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories is still relatively new (jointly published by 2D Cloud and Uncivilized Books in September 2014).

I’m coming out with a graphic memoir about working at hostess bars in the U.S. and Tokyo, Turning Japanese, published by 2D Cloud in September 2015. The first half of the book can be read on 2D Cloud’s website:

I’m also curating the Cartoonists of Color and LGBTQ Cartoonists databases

What was the biggest story in comics in 2014? Alison Bechdel winning the MacArthur Genius Grant. I think this gave a lot of hope to cartoonists, especially queer autobio females such as myself.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2015? I’m looking forward to finding out! Hopefully it involves more cartoonists getting the recognition they deserve, plus making tons of money to boot.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2015? I’m too old to bother with guilt in my pleasures. I look forward to relishing it all.


josh_frankelJosh Frankel, publisher Z2 Comics

2015 Projects: There are a ton of projects in the works right now. However the one I really want to talk about is Miss Lask-Gross’s Henni. Our new 2015 graphic novel is amazing a great treatise on women’s rights, religion and being true to yourself. Also the art is amazing! It seems poised to do really well sales wise which is always great! Seriously check it out.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2014? Hmmmm if I had to venture an opinion it would be the continued bleeding of comics into mass media. Not just with movies but also television. Another story I think more in the comic field is how women are getting more represented in the medium not just creator wise but story and protagonist wise, also about time too! Women buy around 50% of graphic novels and it’s an underserved market as women read 70% of books in general. So the main artery for expansion in comics will be women. Oh one more thing the Kirby settlement. Guess that is three stories but all important

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2015? Mass media wise Avenger’s Two I wouldn’t be surprised if it sets box office records. In pure comics form I am interested to see how BOOM does as their market share has increased steadily. Lastly the effects of Star Wars going to Marvel will be very interesting to see vis a vis Dark Horse as that represented 25% of their floppy business.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2015? Comic wise probably Secret War. I dig Hickman’s narrative thrusts. In general this will be the year I get a Piecaken if I can swing it

curtpires2Curt Pires, writer

2015 Projects: Mayday at Black Mask Studios, Chris Peterson’s drawing it and it drops in March. Pop TPB also drops in March over at Dark Horse. Everything else hasn’t been announced yet.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2014? The continued rise of Creator Owned at all companies.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2015?  I don’t believe in the concept of guilty pleasures, to be honest. Excited to see many new creator owned projects, from interesting creators, however!


garrity_photo1_smallShaenon K. Garrity, cartoonist

2015 Projects: Still drawing Skin Horse every day.  I put my other webcomic, Monster on the Week, on hiatus while I had a baby, but I’ll be announcing plans for the next season after the new year.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2014? Me having a baby.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2015? Me never having a baby again.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2015? Bitch Planet.


 

Rob BErry Avatar-webRobert Berry, cartoonist

2015 Projects: creator of a comic adapting James Joyce’s novel ULYSSES into a digital learning platform, comics professor at UPenn

BIGGEST COMICS NEWS STORY OF 2014? Funny, in 2013 I said it DC Comics move to California. In 2014 they’ve completed the transition and I think that’s really disappointing. But for me the most pleasant and wide-reaching news of the year is the settlement reached between Marvel Comics and the Jack Kirby estate. That should have some positive repercussions on creator rights and recognition for many artists who labored in the work-for-hire system and, I hope, give freelancers today a better idea of what to expect.

BIGGEST NEWS STORY OF 2015? Accepting the difference between digital consumers of comics and the regular print comic collector. We have a really good opportunity now to broaden the audience for comics through people newly interested in geek culture. But pricing a digital “hey you might like this” comic the same way you price a print “hey you should polybag this” product is just stupid; its throwing away the new reader for the profit and stability of comicshops. Somebody, some publisher or self-publisher, is going to understand that this year a develop a product for mass consumption online and very, very solid sales in paperback. Comics are quick reads and, as such, really solid selling ephemeral products; that’s their history. But that doesn’t mean people won’t pay very solid dollar amounts for the collected editions, the prestige object. The new product that understands and adapts to that market mathematic is going to win the day.

GUILTY PLEASURE OF 2015? The 50th anniversary of the Reed and Sue’s wedding in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL  #3 (October, 1965). To my mind that’s the first watermark of “the Marvel Age” and its something I’ve personally toyed with in sketchbooks for years and years. I wonder how Marvel will handle it? Like most guilty pleasures, I look forward to the disappointment I know will follow it.


JenSorensen

Jen Sorensen, cartoonist, jensorensen.com and  fusion.net/GraphicCulture

2015 Projects: I’ve recently begun working as Comics Editor for Fusion, a startup media company from ABC and Univision aimed at socially-conscious young adults. I’m curating political cartoons and graphic journalism for a section of the website called “Graphic Culture”. It’s a dream job, and I’m super-excited about building the section further in 2015 — the whole website is still in Beta. We’ve published some great stuff already that I’m very proud of!

What was the biggest story in comics in 2014? The return of Bill Watterson

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2015? I’m a bit biased here, but I would like it to be about the growth in popularity of socially-relevant comics in digital news media.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2015? More Serial. And cheese, of the edible variety.


MK REED g2MK Reed, writer, mkreed.comaboutabull.comcutegirlnetwork.com

2015 Projects: My webcomic, About A Bull; everything else to be revealed in 2015.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2014? How many freaking amazing comics came out this year! The Wrenchies, Seconds, Through The Woods, How To Be Happy, Beautiful Darkness & Beauty- SO MUCH great stuff came out this year. Not even going into all the awesome webcomics & minis coming out.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2015? Raina Telgemeier has the 5 top books on the NY Times Comics Bestsellers list.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2015? Being able to talk about my own projects again. <_<


 

bentowleBen Towle, cartoonist

2015 Projects: I couldn’t me more excited that my webcomic, Oyster War, that I’ve been working on for the last few years will be coming out as a print graphic novel in the second half of 2015. I don’t think the publisher’s going to make an official announcement until the spring, but keep an eye out for it in the coming year!

While that’s moving into production, I’m getting a few proposals together that will hopefully find a home somewhere in 2015.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2014? The Kirby settlement. Obviously this long-running dispute just being finally over with is a big deal in and of itself, but it’s even more notable that it was settled out of court rather than adjudicated. We’ll never know how SCOTUS would have ruled on this one, but clearly Disney/Marvel had some qualms about the possible outcome. Personally, I’d have really liked to have seen it go to the Supreme Court, but just seeing “Created by Jack Kirby” on Marvel properties makes this a huge deal.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2015? Well, maybe not “big,” but important. I’m wondering if 2015 won’t be the beginning of the end for the ever expanding “con-a-weekend” trend. I think we’re soon going to reach a breaking point where the number of comics/pop culture cons each year are just non-sustainable and some are going to have to hang it up.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2015? I’m generally all about those comics, ’bout those comics, no music… but I’m pretty psyched for Mad Max: Fury Road. I’m pretty sure the film will feature some cars that explode.


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Kurt Busiek, writer

2015 Projects: ASTRO CITY, with Brent Anderson, Alex Ross, Alex Sinclair, Wendy Broome and JG Roshell and THE AUTUMNLANDS: TOOTH & CLAW with Benjamin Dewey, Jordie Bellaire and JG Roshell again.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2014? Spider-Woman’s butt!

No, Thor’s a girl!

The Marvel-Kirby settlement?

I dunno. I haven’t had the energy to pay attention. Biggest news for me has been Image’s continued growth and strength with creator-owned books. So I’ll vote for that, but when the results come out I’m sure it’ll be something I haven’t thought of.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2015? Fallout from DC’s West Coast move. But again, I’m sure I’m going to be wrong.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2015? WALT & SKEEZIX Book 6!

Not that I’ll feel guilty about it. But I don’t feel guilty about much, in comics. Pleasure, though? You bet.


Glenn-Hauman-for-HeidiGlenn Hauman, journalist

2015 Projects: All of the stuff from ComicMix Pro Services, doing all the things that comics creators don’t want to deal with or don’t know how to do. http://www.comicmix.com/pro-services/ There are so many neat projects coming up in the next year…

What was the biggest story in comics in 2014? Comics seriously go Hollywood. It’s finally here— DC people are packing up their apartments, selling their houses, and leaving for sunny Burbank. Meanwhile, there are twenty, count them, twenty TV series based on comic books in production right now, never mind all the movies. The infrastructure of Hollywood is relying on comics in a way that they never have before.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2015? Not all of the comics adaptations are going to succeed. Amazingly, this is going to surprise a number of TV and movie executives.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2015? I don’t feel guilty about ANY of my pleasures, beatniks— I just don’t admit them all in public.


mark-siegelMark Siegel, publisher/cartoonist, First Second

2015 Projects: PIGS MIGHT FLY, by Nick Abadzis, with artwork by Jerel Dye. Because every second I spend in their world makes me happy.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2014? THIS ONE SUMMER by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, getting an unprecedented seven starred reviews.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2015? Something nobody saw coming. The death of an iconic creator. The redemption of another.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2015?  Upgrading my Valkyries.


amychu2Amy Chu, writer

2015 Projects: Vertigo Strange Sports Stories, Geek Girl’s Guide to Making Comics, Girls Night Out #4

What was the biggest story in comics in 2014? The rise of female readership in comics and their influence on content– Ms. Marvel, Gotham Academy, Batgirl

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2015? The DC Convergence event

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2015? Binge watching Orphan Black and binge playing Final Fantasy.


 

jimmie robinsonJimmie Robinson, cartoonist

2015 Projects: THE EMPTY, by Image Comics

What was the biggest story in comics in 2014? The changing landscape of comic conventions in North America.  How they have affected professionals, cosplayers, retailers, the industry and how the average Joe on the street might view fandom in today’s world.  The media lens, via TV, Movies, News, the Internet, etc. is like a genie out of the bottle.  It won’t go back in and we all have multiple wishes for what we hope will be the best for everyone.  Nonetheless, some people may not transition well during this time.  That’s a story as old as the invention of the wheel, but I personally don’t mind the change and I welcome the fans, readers and guests on every level.  Conventions have never been about making money for me, but I know it is for some. I’m happy to just break even, if that.  I tend to look at conventions as opportunities for the future, such as making connections in the industry for future work, making connections with fans of my existing work and enjoying the community at large.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2015? I’m predicting more fall out of Grandpa Con versus In-name-only-Con. In fact, I predict the return of the 1990s style comics.  The boom of the 1990s will become the new childhood nostalgia and cool retro style of tomorrow.  Hyper stylized characters, buxom women, giant laser guns, and splash pages will become the rage.  We will experience a backlash of all the deep-meaning and well-thought out comics of today.  Readers will crave something different from the the alternative comics.  In short, the pendulum continues to swing back and forth.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2015? I am very much looking forward to San Diego Comic Con.  2015 marks my official 20th year in comics as a professional and this upcoming year San Diego has invited me as one of their guests — which will personally be a real honor.

 

Tonight to do: Julia Wertz and MariNaomi reading at Bergen Street

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The week between SPX and the Brooklyn Book Festival s usually crowded with events and this is no exception. Tonight, things kick off at Bergen Stree Comics with A Live Reading with Julia Wertz and MariNaomi!:

Two of the the most spectacular people in comics on one night, reading from their fresh-from-the-printer new books? It doesn’t get better than that! Come on out to and let MariNaomi and Julia Wertz remind you that in the contest for funniest comics on the scene, we’re all scrambling around for third place. (Because they have the first two spots, you see.) Besides the new books, the live reading and the general joie de vivre, they’ve even promised a signing to boot. You have to be here. It’s not even a question. YOU HAVE TO BE HERE.

Wertz and MariNaomi do have two of the freshest books out there so stop on by.

MariNaomi begins Cartoonists of Color Databse

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Cartoonist MariNaomi is starting a database of cartoonists of color (COC) and you can upload your details as explained in the link. There’s a FAQ:

What is a Cartoonist of Color?
Cartoonists of Color (COC) is a play off of the acronym “POC.” POC stands for “person of color.” A POC is anyone who identifies as non-Caucasian (non-white). In these forthcoming pages, you’ll find comics creators of various ethnicities: African American, Korean Canadian, Indian Singaporian, Turkish American, Iranian British, Japanese American and so many more. 

Why a Cartoonists of Color Database?
For visibility. For academia. For inspiration. For community building.

How can I submit my info to this database?
To submit a creator (yourself or anyone), please fill out this form.

2D Cloud offers subs; teams with Uncivilized for MariNaomi’s Dragon’s Breath

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A little indie news here — 2D Cloud a micro publisher which has put out some outstanding books like Anna Bongiovanni’s Out of Hollow Water, various books by Noah van Sciver, etc. —has announced some plans.

Along with Uncivilized, they’ll co-publish MariNaomi’s epic Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories, a 400-page compendium of her non-fiction comics from The Rumpus and elsewhere. Naomi’s work uses a deceptively simple art style to tell revealing true life stories—this should be some collection. The book comes out in the fall but early copies will be available at selected shows.

2d Cloud also just announced a subscription plan for its 2014 books. The books include Dragon’s Breath as well as Julie Doucet, Blaise Larmee, Anna Bongiovanni, Mark Connery (via a book edited and designed by Marc Bell), Andy Burkholder, Lauren Monger — and MORE. They have a variety of plans available—it’s like getting season tickets for the Mets only you get comics instead of Dillon Gee.

I should also point out that the 2D Cloud website has a pretty amazing webcomics section. I think I’ll be spotlighting more of these over the next few days.