Warren Ellis takes a stab at Five Predictions About The Immediate Future Of Comics. It’s brief — just go read. A couple of main ideas:

* Roll-your-own digital available to creators creates distribution opportunities and chaos

* Creators will continue to explore Kickstarter and other methods to get paid for their work

* DC and Marvel in diminishing returns.

And this classic Ellis observation:

More of this: Oni, Viz, Avatar, Boom, Archaia, Fantagraphics and a few actual publishing houses having less share in the direct market than Eaglemoss, a company that packages partwork magazines with little Marvel and DC character figurines.  A less perfect illustration of what comics stores are actually interested in selling, I cannot find today.


  1. Why is it so impossible to believe that the fact that Eaglemoss selling well is a reflection of the actual demands of the consumer, as opposed to making loaded statements that declare the sellers of the material incompetent?

    Stores are interested in selling exactly one thing: that which makes money and pays the bills.

  2. Are we done with Warren Ellis yet? Mr. “DC and Marvel suck, underwear perverts are lame but I’ll go ahead and collect a check for writing them anyway” hypocrite? This is like Tony Harris railing against the big two but collecting his check for Justice League Generation Lost variant covers.

  3. I remember chatting with Ellis on the WEF back in the late 90s, or maybe it was the early 00s. He was absolutely, totally, 100% completely convinced that the trade format was about to overtake the industry and usher monthly comics onto the ash heap of history.

    He’s a much better writer than prognosticator.


  4. @MBunge – Uh, wasn’t Ellis 50% right on this? Marvel published only a handful of TPBs 10 years ago and now put out dozens each month. Plus they are launching OGNs. Book publishers – spurred on by FUN HOME and PERSEPOLIS – have launched their own OGN lines. Most of my comic-reading friends only read comics published with a spine.

    All this is happening as single monthly comics sell less and less each year. Ellis was right – although perhaps it just took a bit longer than he anticipated.

  5. “Uh, wasn’t Ellis 50% right on this?”

    Ellis thought the monthly comic was going to vanish in like the next year or so. We’re over a decade later and not only are monthly comics still the bread-and-butter of the industry, they’ve just seen their best uptick in sales (thanks to DC) in half a decade.


  6. I’m curious what qualifies creators as “established” to Ellis’ view. I know of quite a few projects launching digitally from different creators, and I have three coming in 2012 myself. Can’t wait till I get to that Warren-Ellis-thinks-I’m-relevant level of fame.

  7. With more comics written for the trade, the single issue has lost some of its’ value.
    Add to that, the cost of a single issue has gone up and the cheaper single issue comic is stripped of a couple pages while seemingly being loaded with the same amount of ads.

    Independent comics are in a better position than the Big 2. Some of them are an easier sell than the new origin of Superman that’s barely any different than the origin most know about already.

    The New 52 has been a bit of a boon for DC but the feeling that more could’ve been done is unshakeable.

    Marvel, with a couple of shining gems, is also doing business as usual. While more low key and spread out, they had a number of titles restart with new #1’s as well.

    Independent comics provide something that too many Big 2 titles struggle to – opportunity.

    The opportunity to tell a story without the ball and chain that continunity has become.

    The opportunity for creators to drive upon the storytelling highway as they please with no editorial or licensing department GPS.

    The biggest problem that comics has is visiblity. That goes for Wolverine, Green Lantern, Hellboy, Atomic Robo, Love and Rockets, etc.

    So few of the mass public are aware that every week there are new comics being made and released, older comics are being collected and reprinted.

    When some captial letters “Make Mine Marvel” and scoffs at a DC book and even give a book without Spidey in the corner a look, that just makes the world of comics smaller.

    At the same time, when someone rolls their eyes at the sight of Batman and Robin fighting back to back on a cover and questions how “real” a story might be, the chance to read a good story is lost.

    The fact that people had trouble with some Best of 2011 list because it had Habibi, Daredevil, Prison Pit all on the same list is just odd and speaks to the possibility that they may be oblivious to the fact that many are, in fact, oblivous to any of those stories’ existence.

    Like what you like. Bang the drum of a comic you adore. The problem lies when people only tell you about all the comics that suck when there’s so many being made.

    It’s a strange world. Keep it that way.

    And for the love of any god, digitial comics are your friend.

  8. I don’t really think it’s wrong for Ellis or Harris to slam Marvel/DC and collect a check for working for them. I think as long as they feel content with the work they are creating for those companies, have at it.

  9. I like Ellis’s guesses for the future. They’re always educated guesses and full of food for thought.