200706010122We 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.

1 COMMENT

  1. “After 13 years and 19 graphic novels, Moore has achieved something unique in comics”

    I’m missing which aspect of what he did is “unique”, when the story seems to have at least one other example of every aspect of what he did, except for the exact numbers (19 graphic novels in 13 years).

    Or, to quote, “you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means”.

  2. And it was self-published; a remarkable feat in any creative field. :)

    With webcomics the new standard, self-publishing a comics series is a dying enterprise.

    Oh, I’d just give it about ten more years to come back. Personally, I’d love to self-publish a series (though it’d be in graphic novel format), and I think there are enough new creators out there who are starting to become already thoroughly sick of the majority of available publishers. Just give us time and some extra cash in our pockets (or enough credit to pull a decent loan)!

  3. And it was self-published; a remarkable feat in any creative field. :)

    With webcomics the new standard, self-publishing a comics series is a dying enterprise.

    Oh, I’d just give it about ten more years to come back. Personally, I’d love to self-publish a series (though it’d be in graphic novel format), and I think there are enough new creators out there who are starting to become already thoroughly sick of the majority of available publishers. Just give us time and some extra cash in our pockets (or enough credit to pull a decent loan)!

  4. “Well, he put out a regular comics series on a regular schedule for 13 years, writing, drawing, inking, and lettering everything himself. I think that’s pretty unique.”

    Well, my point sort of was that “pretty unique” doesn’t mean much. Unique by definition means only one. Absent the specific numbers (13 years, 106 issues, 95 of them self-published), there doesn’t seem to be anything unique mentioned in the story. If I wanted to get real nit-picky, didn’t Jim Lee draw a segment in one issue, forever robbing Moore of the distinction of doing everything by himself?

  5. Well, since Terry is the only person to have done so, it does fit the definition of “unique,” even with a one-time “guest artist.” Jeff Smith did fewer issues and had to go on hiatus a few times. Dave Sim had Gerhard for all the backgrounds. Again, Terry did everything himself and on a steady schedule for an unprecdented period of time. And guess what–SiP has had a consistent high level of quality as well! I only wish I could have been in New York for the big celebration. Terry and Robyn deserve a big round of applause (and a nice vacation!).

    Jackie E.

  6. SiP, I believe was the 2nd* non-superhero comic I bought. When they were published by Image my LCS ordered some for the shelf, which is where I browsed through it. I stuck with it a long time, but not all the way to the end.

    * Preacher was the first, but considering he was using that “word” power at the beginning SiP might be considered the 1st non-superhero book I bought.

  7. Any idea when the last hardbound edition will be coming out? That way I know how soon to start saving. :) The hardbound versions have been beautifully formatted, even if they’re a tad on the expensive side, so I had to stop buying them for a while since I didn’t know how long the series would be going. I’m actually happy the series has ended! ;_; Now Katchoo and Francine and David can have some peace and “happy ever after”. :)

    And SIP was the first non-Japanese comic I ever bought. :D

  8. Aaaarrgh! Okay, I had to work that night, but would have been nice to attend.
    SiP is an amazing success; the digests sell well at my bookstore even though it gets little notice in the comics industry. (Barnes & Noble even featured the art book on a display once.)
    I look forward to what else he’ll produce. If you’re looking for something to fill the aching void, I enjoyed the work he did for Dark Horse’s Droopy Comics.

  9. Actually, Heidi, Age of Bronze has always been published through Image. I don’t think Eric has ever self-published his comics.

  10. I was at the VIP thing for a little bit and it was indeed a schmoozer’s dream… sad I had to leave early, but the true emotional aspect of it all hit me today when I sat and read the last issue and those words, “the end’ really did make me realize that it felt like the end of an era as Heidi said -SIP, CEREBUS and BONE come to a close and long form epics like CASTLE WAITING and FINDER have adopted different avenues of publishing (to my eyes, anyway) that moves away from, what was to me, the romance of the self publisher sitting at the drawing table, sitting at the typerwriter, managing a monthly publishing schedule and doing it all one’s self. FINDER definitely comes closest to me, posting the pages and then handling all aspects of the trades, but with CW at Fantagraphics, TRUE STORY, SWEAR TO GOD at Image and folks moving into the webcomic/straight to trade aspect, I’m having trouble thinking of other DYI monthly indie books that I wait for month after month,year after year. I think the new model is the graphic novel self publisher, ala Jane Irwin, Paul Sizer and others… I dunno, I’m rambling. I loved the last issue. I’ll miss SIP.