And on to part four: lots of hints here about new books from familiar creators and also some very sobering thoughts about the biggest challenge we might face in 2022: book bannings, a subject where comics are particularly vulnerable. Please read these comments carefully and be prepared.
(PS: we’re re-running one survey because we inadvertently left out the art yesterday.)
You can read previous parts here.
Raina Telgemeier, cartoonist
2022 Projects: Still under NDA, but hope to have announcements this year!
Biggest story of 2021? Fostering community via zoom book launches, virtual comic cons, and online artist alleys!
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2022? Hopefully, a return to ‘normal.’ I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s smiles again.
What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2022? I took ONE trip in 2021, got to see faraway friends, and it was a balm for my soul. I hope I can do that again.
What have you learned in Year Two of the Pandemic? Social media is problematic, but it has been a lifeline during lockdown. In many cases I feel I’ve gotten to know people better, absent of the buzz of conventions and events. I also started swimming several times a week, and plan to carry that forward no matter how busy I get in the future.
Jay Scott Hosler, cartoonist
2022 Projects: My next book is called SANTIAGO. It focuses on the childhood years of Santiago Ramon y Cajal, the founder of modern neuroscience. As a child Santiago wanted to be an artist, but his father said he had to be a doctor, so Santiago found a way to do both and used his art to revolutionize our understanding of the brain. He won the Nobel Prize in 1906. I’ve posted a sample page (colored but unlettered) below:
Biggest story of 2021? I think it is the continued rise of YA graphic novels. There has been a tectonic shift. It’s almost as if some comics are for kids again.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2022? I wish I knew.
What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2022? No guilt involved, but I am excited to read the concluding chapters of Zander Cannon’s Kaijumax.
What have you learned in Year Two of the Pandemic? All of that time at home makes you feel as if you should be getting more work done. I think one of our problems is defining what “work” is. Typically we think of it as pages written or drawn. But at a time when it is difficult to get out and have the experiences that inform our work, we need to understand that, for creative people, reading a book can be an important piece of work. The quiet, meditative process of cleaning a closet or listening to music can be the neural diversion we need to move our minds into creative spaces. Watching a movie that inspires us or watching the birds at a feeder can engage us in vital ways.
Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner, writer, artist and publisher (now with art)
2022 Projects: Amanda and I will continue to write Red Sonja for a few more issues, will be introducing two new titles FOUND and BOOTY POW POW for Zestworld, we have a Harley Quinn short story for a DC special, and will be kickstarting six books this year including an Amanda Conner art book, a graphic novel called FANTASIMA and more PAINKILLER JANE books. Outside of comics, we will be developing QUEEN CRAB, THE PRO, G.I.ZOMBIE and a few other projects for TV and Film. I am also working on a monster of a role playing game. Busy times ahead.
Biggest story of 2021? Crowdfunding comics and creators stepping away from the big two.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2022? I think the biggest story of 2022 will be the continued progression of creators leaving the big two behind and finding their way using different types of publishing models along the way. We will finally see creators being involved with their I.P. on many different levels, and formats like Zestworld and Substack making leaps and bounds in the digital world for mainstream American comics and creators.
What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2022? Amanda and I are looking forward to doing more travel, supporting more creator owned work and seeing friends and fans at future cons.
What have you learned in Year Two of the Pandemic? I have learned that loyalty from a publisher is a thing of the past and moving forward always keep this in mind. I have also learned that working for the big two always has to be approached in a way that it’s fine to write for them, but to really make sure not to create any new characters for them and stick with the toys given to us as creators, until better sharing deals come into place one day and financial transparency becomes part of their foundation. I really do hope this happens one day.
Stuart Moore, Writer/Ops
2022 Projects: The Wrong Earth: Purple
Mystery M*rv*l N*v*l
Mystery *H*Y C*m*c
Biggest story of 2021? Art: Writers Tom King and Mark Russell had amazing years, with an enviable range of talented artists.
Business This was the year multiple distributors came back for good.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2022? I have no idea. I can barely think three weeks ahead. Just keeping my head down and doing the work!
What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2022? The return of Star Trek: Prodigy, probably! Fun stuff with gorgeous designs and artwork.
What have you learned in Year Two of the Pandemic? I’ve learned that I don’t need a lot of luxuries I just reflexively indulged in. I miss travel and seeing faraway friends, terribly. But I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful partner and to live in a great city (even if it does get socked with each new variant).
Maia Kobabe, cartoonist
Biggest story of 2021? The biggest story has to be the wave of viral book bans and book challenges that swept the country starting in late September and continuing on to the end of the year. This is something we are going to see even more of, I’m sure. We are all going to have to stand firmly against censorship, which is currently especially aimed at books with queer and trans characters, books about the civil rights movement and the history of racism in American, and books on sexual education and abortion. Comics are uniquely vulnerable to book challenges, as images taken out of context from books can quickly be spread through social media and spark waves of hate from many people who have never seen the book. One example is what happened to “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe, which was targeted by challenges in over 10 states in September and October. Parents were bringing printouts of the one or two mildly sexual scenes from the book and waving them around, trying to get the book banned on charges of obscenity. I think these kind of challenges are going to increase, not decrease, in 2022.
Kat Kan, Librarian
2022 Projects: I’ll be doing a comics program at the Florida State Library Association Annual Conference in May 2022
Biggest story of 2021? More major book publishers adding new graphic novel divisions and publishing comics for kids, from early readers to teens. These books are getting into schools and public libraries, where they can reach lots of children and teens. Another trend is increasing representation of BIPOC in comics, including Blacks, Latinx, and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders characters and BIPOC creating comics.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2022? In my social media feeds, I’m seeing more and more teachers TEACHING with comics – at all grade levels, from elementary school through college. I think we’re going to see every major comics convention including a strong schedule of educational panels to provide more help to teachers and librarians who want to incorporate comics into school curricula.
What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2022? I’m looking forward to getting a little more time for some travel, assuming national health conditions improve.
What have you learned in Year Two of the Pandemic? It turns out being an introvert who doesn’t like to go out much really helps. Zoom has been a great way to connect with friends and colleagues all around the country. I’ve been able to participate in various webinars because of Zoom.
Ed Catto, Retropreneur, Educator
2022 will be a busy year for me! A few of the comic-centric projects I’m working on are:
ITHACON – The nation’s second longest-running comic convention (not counting covid) will be wonderful. One of the classes I teach a class at Ithaca College is called “Ithacon” and I engage students in Geek Culture and teach them how to run a convention. This small comic con is on for April 23- 24th, and with all the Covid issues, it’ll be interesting to see how we pull it together. I don’t want to publicly say I have no idea, but I have no idea.
Captain Action: The Classic Collection – As part of our Captain Action efforts, we’ve been working hard to reprint the original DC series from the 60s. There are so many great things about this, including Gil Kane & Wally Wood art and early Jim Shooter writing. (Early Gil Kane writing too.). We finally found a way to make it happen and we’re pulling out all the stops. It’s on sale in May and IDW is our publisher.
Writing – Lots of great articles in Back Issue Magazine next year including Starman, Zorro, Thundra and Eisner’s John Law. I’m also thrilled to again be part of the Batman ’66 Season Three book, edited by Jim Beard. I’m focusing on that absurdly nutso episode featuring Ida Lupino and Howard Duff.
Lots of Art – Great art next year to be published in AHOY comics, Airship 27 books and – this is so much fun – beer label artwork for Next Chapter Brewpub!
Biggest story of 2021? The non-collapse, pivot and thriv-ation, of so many comic shops!
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2022? The struggles of the convention industry with the ongoing, and hopefully fading, COVID issues
What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2022? More Comic Kickstarters!
What have you learned in Year Two of the Pandemic? Two things: (1) My wife and I found we was watching to much news on TV, so we (finally) cut the cable and it has been an adjustment but a good one. (2) I was gifted a bluetooth speaker for the handlebars of my bike, and it’s been a game changer. It really motivated me to get out there – to get some fresh air and to exercise!
George Rohac, Strategic Manager
2022 Projects: Long Exposure V2, Saint for Rent V3, Pixels of You, Atomic Robo and AGENTS of Change, Last Sentinel, Ride or Die, Barbarous Chapter 7, Arise Ye Skeleton King Chapter 2, Knights-Errant Relaunch, Not Drunk Enough V3, Atomic Robo Tabletop Game, there is more but brain is soup.
Biggest story of 2021? Kickstarter Entertaining Blockchain
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2022? Kickstarter abandoning Blockchain or the mass exodus of creators and fragmentation of the crowdfunding market toward medium/genre focused sites/publishers.
What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2022? Travel/return of events and shows!
What have you learned in Year Two of the Pandemic? Setting hard end of day times. Previously I’d just work whenever, not the “always gotta hustle” but just, having worked from home for years, it was all just the same. So I had a why-not attitude. With the pandemic I started explicitly drawing the line to make sure my mental fatigue didn’t get completely burnt out. I’m still working a lot more than most people would say I should, but for me its the right level and makes me happy. I have my nights, I take my weekends.
Abby Denson cartoonist
2022 Projects: In March, Uniquely Japan will be out from Tuttle Publishing. It’s a multimedia book all about different cultural facets of Japan. It includes drawings and comics, as well as photos from over the past decade of my travels here. It’s a lovely, colorful hardcover book, and should be of interest in anyone wanting to learn more about Japan.
In the fall of 2022, Kitty Sweet Tooth Makes a Movie will be out from First Second Books, it continues the story of the adorable cat who runs a movie theater (introduced in the graphic novel Kitty Sweet Tooth). This time she’s making her own movie with the help of her friends and will travel around having adventures while she does it! Illustrated by Utomaru (character designer of the anime MUTEKING THE Dancing HERO).
Biggest story of 2021? The gradual return of conventions. Hopefully things will be safer further into 2022 and the comics community can connect more.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2022? Book banning among school districts, particularly targeting graphic novels.
What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2022? Watching more B movies and then listening to podcasts about them!
What have you learned in Year Two of the Pandemic? Reminding myself to take breaks and to not be hard on myself when I rest is a big part of my pandemic self-care. Also, making sure to check in with family and friends regularly has been important. Creatively, I find getting new art supplies or design tools (anything from a brush pen to a larger computer monitor) can be very motivating when I feel stuck in a rut.
Glenn Hauman, The Big Guy @ ComicMix
2022 Projects: 1. The remastered Jon Sable Freelance with Masterstroke Studios.
- A lot of new works in conjunction with the Robert E. Howard Foundation, with the first items, The Collected Letters of Robert E. Howard, available on January 22 to commemorate his 116th birthday.
Beyond that, there’s a lot we can’t say yet… but we might whisper…
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2022?
1. Whatever the hell the new owners of DC Comics end up doing with their new property.
- The pending Supreme Court decisions on work-for-hire, terminations of contracts, and reversions of copyrights to original creators, which could shatter Marvel, DC, Star Wars, Star Trek, and a myriad of other intellectual properties.
The return of the comics censors. There are lots of people looking to ban books, and that usually means comics and graphic novels are going to get banned. Be prepared to make some noise, and donate to the CBLDF.
Whether or not conventions and movie theaters come back at full strength.
What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2022? There’s a particular project I’m preparing that will bring me a tremendous amount of satisfaction. Nemo me impune lacessit.
Rob Salkowitz, Comics journalist
Biggest story of 2021? Digital: massive growth of Webtoon, sale of Tapas, Substack’s dive into comics
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2022? Big shakeout of middle-tier publishers
What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2022? Return of full-on SDCC this summer
What have you learned in Year Two of the Pandemic? Zoom with large groups is preferable because I don’t need to (fail to) remember everyone’s name.
Dash Shaw, cartoonist
2022 Projects: I’m working on another book and another animated movie– I don’t want to say more because I don’t want to jinx them!
Biggest story of 2021? The “biggest story” is always how many great books are coming out on a semi-regular basis. I particularly loved Jaime Hernandez’s “Queen of the Ring.”
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2022? I hope humans survive, and some continue to find good cartooning meaningful.
What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2022? I love the youtube channels devoted to cartooning– like Cartoonist Kayfabe and Noah Van Sciver’s channel and Gaijin Guy and Manben episodes on youtube… There are a bunch of them now and it’s really nice that those exist.
What have you learned in Year Two of the Pandemic? I’ve always needed silence… Best to unplug the internet for a while and stare at a wall.
Torsten Wesley Adair, librarian and comics evangelist
2022 Projects: Trying to finalize an inventory of my 30+ years of being a bibliovore and comics archivist. Plus the usual sidelines that I can never muster enough energy to complete.
Biggest story of 2021? Distribution is the biggest story, as Marvel and Random House entered the Direct Market this year.
This builds upon bookstore distribution and general retail, as Dog Man and other mainstream graphic novels continue to find new readers via libraries, schools, Walmart and Target, and even grocery stores.
Webcomics have become ubiquitous, both via Webtoons, but also on Facebook and other social media, as multipanel memes use comics mechanics to proliferate and entertain.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2022? Amazon’s continued exploration of in-person shopping, as they explore opening department stores and other retail opportunities. You can read my prognostication here.
What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2022? It would be a pleasure if I could generate more energy to get things done.
What have you learned in Year Two of the Pandemic? I’ve always been introverted even if working retail helped me to interact with needful strangers. (A Boy Scout complex of wanting to help people also forces me to talk with people.) I perfected my pandemic lockdown technique years ago when I lived in NYC, sometimes staying in my apartment the entire weekend.
So much of my methods is scheduled and routine, because a routine limits unexpected concerns. Changing that routine for the better is difficult, as habits are hard to break or adjust.
But being a nerd in high school, I found problems are usually best faced after a nap. Rest up, grab some paper and some sustenance, and then figure things out.