And here’s the final part of our annual creator survey. It seems people are really looking forward to Rom if you read all of these. Also, thanks to such a wide ranging cross section of this amazing industry we live and work in for taking to time to share their thoughts with us all. Save your pennies because there are a lot of good comics to buy in 2016.
Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. and Part 3 here.
David Brothers, branding manager, Image Comics
2016 Projects: :As Branding Manager for Image Comics, I’m working to make imagecomics.com one of the most readable comics sites online, with interviews, deep dives into art, and a weekly podcast, The i Word. I’m also the guy doing the moderation for Image Comics’s panels at conventions, and I edit Lazarus for Michael Lark & Greg Rucka.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2015? The inability of the direct market comics industry—publishers & major press alike—to engage with the diversity conversation on any real level beyond the surface, or worse, as a victory lap. It’s the story-behind-the story, maybe, but in a year full of great writing on the subject from unaffiliated Twitters/tumblrs and the “non-major” comics press, the state of the conversation on the biggest platforms comics have was noticeably and disappointingly lacking.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2016? The ongoing rise to prominence that creator-owned comics deserve, and with it, the creators, critics, and readers who have been traditionally shut out of our corner of the comics industry for decades being made increasingly welcome. To make sure that happens, we gotta at LEAST engage with diversity outside of controversy or declaring victory. We have to have the difficult, nuanced conversations we’ve been avoiding. Otherwise, why bother?
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2016? I try not to have guilty pleasures, but I am looking forward to a lot. Comics-wise, I’m looking forward to seeing more work by Inio Asano hit stateside and for Emily “Still Doin’ Comics” Carroll to continue killing it. I like this comic Nutmeg, by Jackie Crofts, James F. Wright, and Josh Eckert. It’s about cooking and and crime. It’s charming and returns in March with #7. I’ve sent along a few preview pages they gave me. It’s a good time. Outside of comics, the Warriors might could repeat this year if they get past the Spurs, the Hawks are still fun to watch, Flu Game Jordan 12s are being retroed in May, Lady Snowblood is coming to blu-ray soon, and Curren$y & Wiz Khalifa are gonna drop a collaborative album. It’ll be a nice year, God willing and the creek don’t rise.
Sean E. Williams, writer, publisher, comickerdigital.com
2016 Projects:We have three new series in production that will debut soon after the new year, bringing the total number of original Comicker Digital creator-owned series to ten, and we’ll be rolling out new features for the Comicker Digital iOS app (and Android version as well). We’re also working on some other exciting projects that we will be announcing soon.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2015? comiXology being integrated into the Amazon website. It opens up the comics audience even further than comiXology was by itself, and will bring in tons of new readers without local comic book stores who didn’t even know comiXology existed.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2016? San Diego Comic-Con announcing it’s moving to Las Vegas.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2016? A new non-trilogy STAR WARS movie.
Gary Tyrrell, journalist
What was the biggest story in comics in 2015? More than any time in the past, webcomics have ceased to be a distinct category and have become the talent feeder pool to comics in general. Gene Yang, Ryan North, Erika Henderson, Kate Leth, Christopher Hastings, and many more are writing books for the big two. BOOM! has got Becky Dreistadt & Frank Gibson, Tyson Hesse, and John Allison writing and/or drawing their original properties, and plenty more creators on licensed properties (Munchkin, various Adventure Time series, Bravest Warriors, etc) or new stories (Power Up). Kate Beaton was all over the best-of lists and Noelle Stevenson got nominated for a National Book Award. Raina Telgemeier continues to dominate the bestsellers lists, never having fewer than three books simultaneously on the NYT list, and as many as six! Meredith Gran has a new deal to [re-]print her entire archive with Image; Spike Trotman’s converted her history of Kickstarter success into a full-bore graphic novel publishing house. Danielle Corsetto & Minna Sundberg took the NCS division awards for short-form and long-form online comics, respectively.Over at The AV Club, their comics and graphic novel best-of lists were about 40% webcomics.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2016? Given that the names I mentioned above run about 1.5:1 female:male, I’m going to say Scott McCloud’s prediction that comics will be majority female by 2024 will come true eight years early.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2016? Nothing I can see coming up that I’d feel guilty about enjoying.
Ben Towle, cartoonist, educator
2016 Projects: I wish I knew! I’ve got a couple of potential new projects to work on now that Oyster War is wrapped up. One is an all ages post-apocalyptic fantasy called Chargers and the other is a cooking/music story that takes place in the 1990s. I’ll probably start developing them both in early 2016 and move forward with whichever one starts coming together best.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2015? The all-women sweep of the Ignatz awards (and, to a lesser extent, a really good year for women creators at the Eisners). I think at this point there’s really no denying that comics–both readership and creators–has changed for the better and become much more inclusive. Runner up: Berkeley Breathed relaunches Bloom County.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2016? Dark Horse starts publishing the Moebius Library. Either they republish the work with the original coloring and the big story is that Moebius is *finally* back in print in English in great-looking books… or they recolor it and the story is that yet again someone’s mucked up Moebius. Fingers crossed for the former!
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2016? Incessant baseless online speculation about the new Star Trek series. I will read 100% all of this.
Kieron Gillen, writer
2016 Projects: The Wicked + the Divine, Darth Vader, Mercury Heat, Uber plus the usual things I can’t talk about and (inevitably) things which I’ll make up that are brand sparkling new because I get so bored, Heidi, I get so bored.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2015? I’m normally pretty good at Industry watching, but this year I honestly haven’t got a clue. All I’ve done is work. The impact of the Star Wars comics, perhaps? It’s certainly the biggest story in my royalty cheques. Culturally, the diversity conversation starting to reap dividends.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2016? I’ll be able to tell you, as my plan for 2016 is to do less work so I can be on the ball about this stuff.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2016? Doing less work.
Zack Davisson, cartoonist
2016 Projects: Wayward (Image Comics) Kitaro (Drawn & Quarterly)
What was the biggest story in comics in 2015? The death of Shigeru Mizuki–rarely does a comic book artist’s death explode like that, with coverage in The New York Times, BBC, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, etc … for many, it was the first time they heard the name of this influential Japanese comics genius, although they have certainly seen the legacy of his 60+ year career.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2016? What matters more, the loud internet voices of the dollars of buyers? People continue to complain about DC and Marvel, but at the same time continue to buy in bulk. Will there be a crowd shift?
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2016? The return of Rom: Spaceknight! I had to shout a yahoo for that one!
Christian Beranek, cartoonist
2016 Projects: My webcomics Validation, with Kelci Crawford, and Intergalactic Medical Doctor, with Tony DiGerolamo and Dave Windett, will continue. Also planning to finally release Unhappy White Girls. In addition, IΓÇÖm looking for an artist for another project I am very passionate about.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2015? Diversity. Which has been a great discussion to have and I hope it continues. IΓÇÖm also hoping corporate comics expands their hiring to not only include people of diverse ethnic backgrounds but also those with different life experiences. We desperately need new voices.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2016? Corporate comics releasing more books than ever before. With all of the movies, tv shows, video games etc… there will be a directive for even more product that ties in. We’ll hear Disney and Warner Bros. announce timelines for their movies that take us into the 2030s. All of us will realize it will never ever ever end.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2016? Speculoos Cookie Butter on Saltine crackers. I was introduced to the delicious gingerbread type spread in Belgium by artist Mario Boon and immediately became enamoured by its wonders. And recently my Mom pointed out if you put it in on a Saltine cracker it becomes a next level snack. So I want to consume more of it in 2016 but not too much, however. Moderation!
Alex Lu, journalist
2016 Projects: Editing and writing for The Beat, making Podcorn Podcast, and getting a grasp on that strange land known as post-undergrad adulthood.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2015? All-New All-Different Marvel’s performance has dominated the conversation over the last few months. From the controversy surrounding its creators to the appropriation present in its Hip Hop Cover variant program, it seemed to be off to a rocky start. The announcement of National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates writing BLACK PANTHER and the continued ascendance of Ms. Marvel have quelled the racial outcry some, only to recenter the conversation on the relaunch’s middling performance, which featured mindblowingly high #1 sales followed by huge dips in #2 shipping orders.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2016? Socially, as we’ve seen from the fast and furious uproars surrounding RED WOLF and AIRBOY #2, representation, both behind the scenes and on the pages, is likely going to continue to be the center of discussion. We ended the year with strong audience and creator backing of the Asian American Iron Fist movement, so it’s quite likely that we’ll be consistently seeing the battle for healthy minority representation expand beyond comics to all comics-based media. Economically, the DC You launches were generally a bust and according to some analysts, All-New All-Different Marvel is slipping. The performance of the Big Two in 2016 is going to be VERY important, as it may signal that relaunches, an industry standard for god knows how long, are no longer effective in bolstering sales or attracting devoted new readers in the long term.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2016? Completing my collection of Absolute Sandman and frothing over Batman Vs. Superman no matter how good or bad it is..
Joan Hilty, editor
2016 Projects: BECOMING ANDY WARHOL (Abrams, fall 2016); LEGEND OF KORRA (Dark Horse, fall 2016); BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (IDW, spring 2016); top secret projects with Blue Man Group, Hill & Wang, and Denis Kitchen.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2015? The long, long, long. long overdue renaissance of comics IP on the small screen.
Jen Sorensen, cartoonist, editor
2016 Projects: I’m still editing the comics section for Fusion, where we’ve been publishing some great nonfiction comics along with political cartoons. I’ve got some cool projects that I’m editing right now that I’m very excited about publishing in the new year. (Link to Graphic Culture: http://fusion.net/GraphicCulture )
What was the biggest story in comics in 2015? Aside from the horrific Charlie Hebdo attacks, the sudden end of The Nib on Medium came as a surprise to many people, as it was extremely popular. I hope we continue to see websites paying creators for their work.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2016? I think “Bordertown,” for which the cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz is a writer, will be interesting. (I realize that’s not exactly a comic, but maybe it will generate a comic book spinoff!)
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2016? Cheese, as usual. Especially free samples from the grocery store.
Xavier Lancel, journalist, Scarce Magazine
2016 Projects: I am putting the final touches on a special issue of our magazine focused solely on Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. We have two big projects for 2016: – first, releasing our first annual english issue of SCARCE, called SCARCE INTERVIEWS. It will feature the extended interview I did of Ernie Colon, which gave birth to Ernie Colon Unlimited, a website on Ernie I’m managing. – second, releasing the first french annual collection of our first issues, dating back from 1983-1984. Scarce will be 33 years old in 2016, probably one of the longuest running magazine on comics!
What was the biggest story in comics in 2015? Marvel actually succeeding in releasing Star Wars products. I was one of those who bet on their failure compared to the wonderful work Dark Horse did.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2016? Soon the day will come when industry leaders will realise that variant covers crazyness, relaunches habits, expensive pricing and double shipping are unattractive to readers. I’m smelling 90’s blindness again.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2016? Watching Twin Peaks season 3.
Eric Peyron, writer
2016 Projects: The Rage Comic Book Series. The first issue will be available in January. It will be written by me, and drawn by Alan Quah and St’phane Degardin. The next ones are set to be drawn by Alex Nascimento, with colors by St’phane Degardin.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2015? I would like to say Secret Wars or Convergence, but it looks more like businesses restructuring their departments and valorizing their assets than actual stories. These days even my favorite authors are not writing exceptional stories, so I guess I’ll pass on this one.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2016? The Marvel-DC Crossover Event for the 20 years of Amalgam? Ah, it still might not happenΓÇª┬áThe announcement that the Fantastic Four and the X-Men are returning to Marvel Movies with the same deal as Spider-Man? Mmh, this actually might happen, but probably not in 2016. Let’s say the Superman vs Batman movie, then.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2016? Getting to write and produce the next issues of the Rage Series, at last!
Nick Abadzis, cartoonist
2016 Projects: Doctor Who – new tenth Doctor adventures (Titan Comics) Pigs Might Fly (First Second) Other stuff too secret to talk about yet
What was the biggest story in comics in 2015? For me, it was Rachael Ball bringing out her first, long-awaited graphic novel – The Inflatable Woman, a strange and magical work. I was also really happy to see a new book by Dylan Horrocks – Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen. The reinvention and reinvigoration of the Marvel Universe was also pretty nifty.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2016? Preacher by my old friends Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon coming to TV.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2016? I’ll be importing plenty of Toffee Crisps from the UK to fuel all my US-based work.
Roy Thomas, writer, editor
2016 Projects: A giant book on Stan Lee’s career at Marvel and elsewhere, for the German publisher Taschen 7 issues of my comics-history magazine ALTER EGO continue to work with Stan Lee on the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN newspaper comic strip continue to write at least 3 online strips for Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.’s website maybe write a comic book or two, as well as introductions to some hardcover reprint books, etc.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2016? Captain America: Civil War film… if that counts
Yuuko Koyama, cartoonist
2016 Projects: Backnumber collections of my mini-comics. It will be my first publication.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2015? Inari konkon koi iroha
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2016? praying collapse of current cabinet
Mike Vosburg, cartoonist
2016 Projects: I will be continuing my work on The Mad Mummy, and doing as much painting and illustration of my own as possible. Also in 2016 I’ll be introducing a weekly comicbook supplement of all my creator owned material.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2015? The inefficiency of the digital distribution network. With all of the amazing creations available of new and unique series, so little of it gets pushed…while the some old stuff from IDW, Marvel and DC continues to dominate.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2016? Some new movie created on a comic series created 50 years ago….
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2016? Watching more old movies and discovering new and exciting art. Yes, I am an old man, but I still have taste.
Christopher Butcher, show runner, retailer
2016 Projects: Currently getting ready for TCAF 2016, being held May 14th and 15th in Toronto Canada. Also just completed a successful first year for our official Festival shop, Page & Panel, and continuing to work at The Beguiling, one of the greatest comic stores in the world. Oh, and I blog occasionally at comics212.net as well, and hope to keep that up. I think I’m editing a book that’s coming out in 2016 too?
What was the biggest story in comics in 2015? This is a tough one. The whole year had sort of a low rumble to it, frankly, with very few big ideas able to capture the public’s attention for longer than a news cycle.I do think that the general industry chatter is swinging back towards Marvel and DC’s machinations in the general, to the detriment of a lot of good projects that need (and frankly deserve) that attention more than licensed properties do, but all in all it’s a very business as usual year, I think.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2016? I honestly have no idea. There are a couple of great publisher anniversaries in 2016, with First Second Books turning 10, and Conundrum Press in Canada turning 20, and I’d really hope that they manage to capture the public’s attention as I think both publishers are putting out some great material, and an anniversary is a great time to look back over that publishing history and highlight successes. I also think new books from Clowes and Ware, are going to duke it out for “book of the year” on a lot of lists, and that’ll be fun. It also looks like a very strong year for new manga, with Inio Asano’s Goodnight PunPun and Girl on the Shore both set to blow people’s minds.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2016? Actually reading has become my biggest guilty pleasure, as so many other aspects of the industry take up my time. I’m looking forward to, as I do every year, sitting down a month after TCAF is done, and just digging into the tote bag full of comics I bought, reading and relaxing for a few days. No better way to spend a weekend, or to get a real overview of what’s happening in comics right now. :)
Kat Kan, librarian
2016 Projects: Creating order lists of graphic novels for some new branch libraries in Atlanta and my usual monthly lists of recommended graphic novels for Brodart’s BIBZ database.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2015? So many different kinds of comics and creators winning major comics awards – comics for kids, diverse comics and creators – it’s been an amazing thing to see. When creators such as Raina Telgemeier, Gene Luen Yang, Noelle Stevenson, and so many others can win major Eisner Awards, it’s a cool thing to see. Related to this, comics are earning honors in mainstream literature awards as well – El Deafo and This One Summer both won honors in the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz awards for youth literature. Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust (First Second Books) won a Batchelder Honor for best translated work for young people. And Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona was a nominee for the 2015 National Book Award, Young People’s Literature category.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2016? Diversity in comics is growing, and hand in hand with that is the greater acceptance of the comics format in schools. This has been building for a long time; I talked a bit about this at the 2006 NYCC Professional Day.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2016? Using more comics to teach my students in the school library!
B. Clay Moore, writer
2016 Projects: Aloha, Hawaiian Dick (comic), the Hawaiian Dick television show, a couple of new work-for-hire projects, more creator-owned launches.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2015? The increased diversity amongst mainstream creators, and the increased desire of diverse creators to get their voices out there.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2016? Two things: The continued migration of “big name” creators to creator-owned projects, and the exploitation (in a positive sense) of comic book material in other media, with creators taking a more active role in their development.
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.