And we’re back with part 2 of our annual creator survey looking at the thoughts on the industry by the people in the industry. As usual, some news buried in those 2020 projects, so read them closely. Also previews of new books from John P. Green and Fanbase Press. Thanks to everyone who took time to respond.
And is case you hadn’t noticed…Kids comics were CLEARLY the big story of 2019. It’s rare to see such consensus across the board!
You can see all installment of the survey here.
Maia Kobabe, writer/artist
Biggest story of 2019: The thing that really knocked my socks off was Raina Telgemeier’s “Guts” having an initial print run of 1 million copies!
Guilty Pleasure for 2020: I’m really hoping for more volumes in the series “Witch Hat Atelier” by Shirahama Kamome. It’s my favorite new manga series in a LONG time.
Person or Comic of the Decade: I think it has to be Raina Telgemeier. Her first memoir comic, “Smile”, came out in 2010 and since then it’s been Raina’s decade. Her comics have re-shaped the entire middle grade/ya comic industry. There are so many projects which have been green lit because of her success, and her sales are part of the proof that kids are still reading. Kids want comics, and Raina keeps on putting out smash hits!
Jeremy Melloul, Writer, Translator
2020 Projects: Young Adult / Middle Grade Graphic Novels
Biggest story of 2019: Incredible continued performance of the kids market
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2020? Greater independent avenues of success.
Guilty Pleasure for 2020: Greater connection between American & foreign comics. Wider internationalization of independent & creator-owned comics.
Person or Comic of the Decade: Raina Telgemeier (Smile) – Redefined the industry.
Christian Beranek, Writer
2020 Projects: I have a few comics in production and am co-writing Hollywoke: Another Novel with Tony DiGerolamo. It’s the follow-up to Wokeistan: A Novel.
Biggest story of 2019: From the past to now? Avengers: Endgame. For the future? Crowdfunding sites becoming legitimate competitors to Diamond Distribution.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2020? Phase 4. What will become of the MCU? Will fans continue to show up in droves? Will it all start going up on Disney+?
Guilty Pleasure for 2020: Writing the numbers 2020 on everything. It really is cool to look at and say out loud.
Person or Comic of the Decade: Stan Lee
Shaenon K. Garrity. Cartoon Person
2020 Projects: My first graphic novel, Willowweep Manor, with artist Chris Baldwin, will be out in 2020 from Simon & Schuster. Jeffrey Wells and I are heading into the finale of our daily online comic strip, Skin Horse. I continue to edit manga for Viz Media and run the manga review section of Otaku USA magazine. I’m drawing a lot of pictures of cats.
Biggest story of 2019: No idea, but I’m happy to see the New York Times bring back its graphic novel and manga bestseller lists.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2020? No idea, but I’m excited about the new run on Alley Oop, one of my favorite comic strips, by Joey Sayers and Jonathan Lemon, two of my favorite comics people.
Guilty Pleasure for 2020: In these troubled times there are no guilty pleasures, but I plan to watch a lot of terrible horror movies.
My non-guilty pleasure is urging everyone to visit and support the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. I judge human goodness by how much a person appreciates cartoon museums.
Person or Comic of the Decade: Comic of the decade: a tie between Emil Ferris’s My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant!, and Lynda Barry’s books on making comics. Each is a completely different kind of masterpiece.
Creator of the decade: Raina Telgemeier, leading a sea change in American comics.
Publisher of the decade: Iron Circus, developing the potential of online crowdfunding as a viable publishing model.
Glenn Hauman, The Big Guy at ComicMix
2020 Projects: 2020 Visions (freshly remastered!), His Name Is… Savage!, Whisper, ha.i.ley, and the usual mix of projects that I can’t talk about yet.
Biggest story of 2019: The young adultification of comics. Raina, Jeff Kinney, Dav Pilkey, etc. — all hinting at a future where comics may not need a periodical distribution system. And that may be seismic to the industry.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2020? I suspect we’re getting close to “peak comics” if we aren’t already there. Like “peak tv”, it’s not that the quality has never been better (although that’s true) it’s that so many comics are coming out that it may be impossible for ANYONE to read them all– which means that we may be reaching a point where there’s no common touchstone in the field.
Guilty Pleasure for 2020: Watching Dr. Seuss Enterprises lose their appeal to our win from March. If I’m walking around ECCC with a big grin, ask me about it.
Person or Comic of the Decade: Greg Berlanti. While there may be one other person who’s had more impact in bringing comic characters to the wider audience, that person has never actually had a single comic credit to his name, so Greg wins for actually sitting down and doing the job.
Erica Schultz, Writer
2020 Projects: The Silver Spurs of Oz from Capstone Publishing:
Forgotten Home from comiXology Originals:
Biggest story of 2019: I think the launch of Powers of X and House of X was a huge comics story. The return of Jonathan Hickman brought a lot of fans out of the woodwork.
Also, while not comics, but fan/pop-culture related, I think these made some headlines: the release of Captain Marvel, Baby Yoda, Sony’s deal with Marvel/Disney for Spider-Man, Avengers Endgame’s multi-billion dollar box office grab, Robert Pattinson named to play The Dark Knight, the Disney/Fox merger, the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover in the Arrowverse, The Rise of Skywalker release, and the launch of Disney+.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2020? I think a big story will be when Disney+ has more content like the Marvel series WandaVision and Captain America and the Winter Soldier for people to love and hate. I wonder how much mileage Baby Yoda has.
Guilty Pleasure for 2020: Does sleep count?
Person or Comic of the Decade: Tarana Burke. Though Ms. Burke didn’t target comics specifically, her activism for women everywhere was important. I definitely believe the #MeToo movement, despite having been around long before it caught on with more recent social media platforms, helped creators and comics professionals come forward with their stories of harassment within the comics industry.
Barbra Dillon, Editor-in-Chief / Publisher
2020 Projects: Quince: The Definitive Bilingual Edition (Releasing 1/15/20) – Collects the full Spanish and English-language versions of the Eisner-nominated series into an oversized hardcover
Nuclear Power (Releasing October 2020) – An alternate history tale of the Cuban Missile Crisis that posits the lengths to which a government will go to deceive its citizens. (The Handmaid’s Tale meets The X-Men)
Biggest story of 2019: The shift in comics publisher presence (and decrease in size of Artist Alley) on the floor of San Diego Comic-Con
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2020? TBD!
Josh Trujillo, Writer
2020 Projects: Original picture book with Lion Forge “Lost Beast,” licensed work for Oni “Rick and Morty,” DC Comics debut “The Flash,” Queer stuff for Abrams for 2021.
Biggest story of 2019: The YA takeover! Two year ago most publishers seemed clueless about how to rival Scholastic, now everyone wants a piece of the pie.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2020? Corporate restructuring and (hopefully) a real attempt at collective bargaining for freelancers.
Person or Comic of the Decade: Tom Spurgeon. He set the template for what a good fan is: Welcoming, enthusiastic, and unafraid to speak truth to the gatekeepers in the industry.
Taimur Dar, Journalist/Marketing Specialist
2020 Projects: Besides continuing work for The Beat, I’m phasing into providing freelance marketing/social media services on full-time basis. Already in midst of working with the non-profit Global Voice Acting Academy and in discussions with other potential clients and their personal projects.
Biggest story of 2019: Kevin Feige becoming Marvel Chief Creative Officer, expanding his role in Marvel media beyond the movies and into publishing. Hopefully the rise of Feige is a sign of not only new things to come but the end of end of Ike Perlmutter’s notorious penny pinching reign and practices.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2020? The 5G timeline DC Comics has been teasing for awhile, whether or not it’s yet another continuity reboot.
Guilty Pleasure for 2020: I’ve been burned by DC Comics films in the past, but I’ve been on a Harley Quinn kick in the last year thanks to the great animated series so I actually have hopes for the Birds of Prey film.
Person or Comic of the Decade: Tom King. A new voice in comics who’s managed to bring depth to the superhero genre. Moreover, we’re seeing his influence in the way publishers adopt the approach in the format of his best selling projects like VISION or MISTER MIRACLE i.e. self-contained finite miniseries around 12-issues
Andrew Farago, Curator, Writer
2020 Projects: Currently working on the Cartoon Art Museum’s 2020 roster of exhibitions, including a spotlight on the Takei/Eisinger/Scott/Becker graphic novel They Called Us Enemy, a Calvin and Hobbes tribute exhibition and online art auction, and a Wonder Woman retrospective, among about a dozen others.
Biggest story of 2019: Young readers. The enthusiasm that kids, their teachers, and librarians have for comics and graphic novels is having more and more of an impact across the entire comics industry as every publisher is trying to crack the tween/YA code.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2020? Raina Telgemeier’s Smile has now been around long enough that we’re going to get a tidal wave of books created by the kids who grew up reading it. I think that’s going to be the prevailing influence on new cartoonists for years to come, both in terms of art and writing.
Guilty Pleasure for 2020: A big sigh of relief after the 2020 elections, hopefully.
More immediately, though, I can’t wait to see how they’re going to wrap up the CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event.
Person or Comic of the Decade: Raina Telgemeier/Kate Beaton
Jimmie Robinson, cartoonist
By Gazebo – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62796816
2020 Projects: Bomb Queen Loves Trump mini-series
Biggest story of 2019: DC cancelling the Vertigo line.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2020? Image Comics streaming service producing content based on their books
Guilty Pleasure for 2020: More superhero movies! I love the position that comic books have in today’s popular culture. Movies, TV series, streaming, books, products, you name it.
Person or Comic of the Decade: G. Willow Wilson is the keyword/catch-all for the decade that truly recognized and celebrated women in the comic industry’s we are seeing today. Breaking deep into mainstream news and elevating not only her gender, but also her religious beliefs as a muslim. Plenty of pioneers before her, but for the last ten years women have had a voice at the table like never before.
John Patrick Green, Cartoonist
2020 Projects: I’m working on a new chapter book graphic novel series called InvestiGators from First Second Books! It stars two alligators named Mango and Brash who wear vests and solve crimes. Book one is out in February and book two will be out in the Fall, with three more after that.
Biggest story of 2019: Since this is how 2019 ended, for me it’s that the HBO Watchmen series ended up being GOOD.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2020? Hopefully more good news about all these graphic novel imprints being started at big publishing houses!
Guilty Pleasure for 2020: I’m really curious to see the absolute last of the Fox X-Men franchise if and when NEW MUTANTS finally gets released.
Person or Comic of the Decade: I’m going to break the rules here and say First Second Books. But if I can’t get away with that, then I’ll say Calista Brill.
Sarah Horrocks, Cartoonist
2020 Projects: Aorta and Blue Refrain. A mech and submarine comic respectively.
Biggest story of 2019: Tom Spurgeon’s passing
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2020? Someone being horrible
Guilty Pleasure for 2020: Venom 2
Person or Comic of the Decade: Prince of Cats. The Watchmen of the 2010s.
Meg Lemke, Editor Mutha Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Brooklyn Book Festival
Biggest story of 2019: The passing of Tom Spurgeon, which washed the industry in grief.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2020? The wealth of books publishing out of the gold rush for middle grade, in particular Gina Gagliano’s imprint Random House Graphic, but also numerous other imprints and schemes–this is an ongoing story but I see it reaching new heights in 2020.
Guilty Pleasure for 2020: reading novels that don’t have pictures, which I sometimes feel like I have to hide behind a comic book given my job(s)
Person or Comic of the Decade: Raina Telgemeier – SMILE published 2010, and this decade its influence has profoundly changed comics readership and publishing; and as the parent of a now eight-year-old girl, I’ll say that Raina’s fans just keep replicating.
Mey Rude, Comic Journalist
2020 Projects: I have my first comics writing being published by The Nib!
Biggest story of 2019: Queer women and non-binary people making comics
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2020? QTPOC making comics
Guilty Pleasure for 2020: The Harley Quinn movie
Person or Comic of the Decade: Jillian and Mariko Tamaki. Boundless, Supermutant Magic Academy, Lumberjanes, That One Summer, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, in my opinion, no one has consistently put out not just good, but GREAT work that will stand the test of time and continues to influence the comics scene like these two have.
Stuart Moore, Writer/Freelance Publishing Ops
2020 Projects: CAPTAIN GINGER Season Two – more of the cats-in-space epic by me and June Brigman! Starts in February. More BRONZE AGE BOOGIE, too.
Biggest story of 2019: The takeover of TW by AT&T, with all sorts of collateral fallout including the end of the Vertigo line and the cancellation of several titles including SECOND COMING. By the way, can we stop saying the Vertigo line was “sunsetted”? It didn’t have Alzheimer’s.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2020? My spider-sense tells me there’ll be a major shakeup at one of the big companies, but I don’t know which one or how things will fall.
Guilty Pleasure for 2020: PICARD PICARD PICARD
Person or Comic of the Decade: I’m gonna go against trends and say Stan Lee. His profile was never higher than in his last few years, and his death was international news. May we all have such long, illustrious careers.
Tom Akel, Writer/Publisher
2020 Projects: Wrapping up BACKCHANNEL over at LINE Webtoon, several new projects that will be announced in next few months.
Biggest story of 2019: That there’s no more Hyatt bar at SDCC. It was the end of an institution.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2020? There’s not as obvious an answer to this as there has been in years past. My best guess is that a major new player in comics will emerge that we didn’t see coming, most likely out of a big corporation (NBC, Google, Facebook, ViacomCBS, etc.).
Guilty Pleasure for 2020: Spending time with my family.
Person or Comic of the Decade: Person of the Decade – Stan Lee. His impact on pop culture was never felt as broadly and powerfully as it has been the past 10 years.
Kat Kan, Librarian
2020 Projects: I’m working on a program on STEAM in comics as an official Will Eisner Week program in my local public library, where I am now a full-time librarian. I am still the Graphic Novel Selector for Brodart Books & Library Services.
Biggest story of 2019: As a librarian (and former school librarian), seeing more programs at big comics conventions (including SDCC) featuring comics in classroom curricula. Also, seeing major trade publishers such as Random House beginning new graphic novel imprints. And thirdly – the creation of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table of the American Library Association.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2020? What I would love to see – comics winning more major literary awards. More realistically, I think we’ll see the continuing strength of youth comics, especially from trade publishers; some of the best comics are being published for kids.
Person or Comic of the Decade: Raina Telgemeier – SMILE came out in 2010 and became a huge bestseller across the nation. She dominated the New York Times Graphic Novels Bestseller lists for several years, and she’s continuing the trend with her latest graphic novel, GUTS.
Giulie Speziani, Writer
2020 Projects: still working on it
Biggest story of 2019: Vertigo shutting down
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2020? Vault becoming a strong contender at award shows.
Guilty Pleasure for 2020: Baby Yoda Funko Pops
Person or Comic of the Decade: Saga is still going strong from its debut in 2012.