We’re back with more thoughts on the state of the comics industry, news and inspirations. Thanks to the creators from all over the industry who took the time to participate at the busiest time of the year- you’ll find some thoughtful perspectives in the comments below – and as always a lot of sneak news.
James Romberger, cartoonist
2018 Projects: Post York (a lot of pages for #2 collected with #1 in book form). Also, Between Acts, a collection of my short solo stories. And, I have completed Steranko:The Self Created Man and am shopping it.
What was the biggest story of 2017? The mainstream doing their usual death dive of ineptitude and irrelevancy, and dragging their asses re: sexual harassment etc.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? The mainstream doing everything in their power to shrink the audience for comics.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: Watching my students at various schools make beautiful and inspiring comics, knowing full well that I am basically teaching them how to starve.
Who or what inspires you? I can’t name anyone and found this year to be underwhelming, which is to be expected given the current focus on graphic novels, which need a very long gestation and process time.
Jim Ottaviani, writer
2018 Projects: I’m not sure what (if anything) will appear in 2018, but 2019 might be big-ish, with graphic novels about Stephen Hawking and women astronauts and maybe even one more tumbling out into the world.
What was the biggest story of 2017? Much the same as in the rest of the world: #MeToo, with the resulting too-long-delayed ousting of a highly placed predator and the naming of many others.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? As the saying goes, prediction is difficult, especially about the future. So, I’ll pass!
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: Taking a weekend off from writing.
Who or what inspires you? It’s still the MARCH team for me; I got to see them speak, and they all inspired me.
Shaenon K. Garrity, cartoonist
2018 Projects: As always, I draw and co-write the daily strip “Skin Horse” (skin-horse.com) with Jeffrey Wells. My old strip, Narbonic, is getting a second printing thanks to a very successful Kickstarter campaign. I’m working on another comic strip, but I can’t talk about it yet. In the world outside of comics, I’m starting a blog for 2018 called Horror Every Day, in which I provide the correct horror movie to watch for every day of the year. For example, on International Left Handers Day you watch “Evil Dead.”
What was the biggest story of 2017? It’s possible we’re not cool with sexual harassment anymore? Pretty good if true.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? Bitcoins and sex robots. Sorry, I mean comics about bitcoins and sex robots.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: Watching enough horror movies to recommend one for every day of the year.
Who or what inspires you? Jason Shiga. He has no limits. He does not.
Van Jensen, writer
2018 Projects: with Dennis Calero, from Dynamite Entertainment. Two Dead with Nate Powell, from Simon & Schuster. Captain Canuck, from Chapterhouse. Some other comics and film stuff to be announced.
What was the biggest story of 2017? Like everywhere, the misdeeds of men in position of power. And the world finally paying attention.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? I’ve heard that a lot of comic shops are suffering, and I’m worried that where the market is right now, that’s going to lead to more shops going out of business.
Keiler Roberts, cartoonist
2018 Projects: paintings
What was the biggest story of 2017? Emil Ferris’ total domination of the comics world!
What will be the biggest story of 2018? The biggest story will be about the massive increase in comics sales after Mayo Clinic proves they are better for your heath than yoga and sunlight.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: staying home
Who or what inspires you? Mimi Pond. I really enjoyed reading The Customer is Always Wrong.
Jimmy Palmiotti, writer/editor
2018 Projects: Only creator owned- first out of the gate a kickstarter for a hardcover graphic novel called KILLING TIME IN AMERICA. Then on to Captain Brooklyn and a few other projects.
What was the biggest story of 2017? For me, It was the lack of power the internet has on sales. With all the noise the internet and people make about certain comic books, I found it amazing how most of the time it never really translates to the sales it should. We have seen a ton of books that people go on and on about get cancelled because of terrible sales and not finding their supposed audience in trades. There are exceptions, but for the most part, this is the year where the sales are slowly killing the business and once again I find peoples buying habits still locked in blind company loyalty, sadly. I will never understand this- being someone that buys a book by the creator’s names and not always the character. I always hope, each year, this changes.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? Creators once again getting frustrated by the Big companies not doing everything they can to involve them in the process, and benefits of their work on the page and beyond, and them going elsewhere to do their own thing and control the rights to their creations.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: Not working for others as much and getting some of the ideas Amanda and I have been sitting on out there into the world.
Who or what inspires you? Amanda Conner always. She has a joy to her work that reminds me why comics are so much fun.
Josh Bayer, artist/editor
2018 Projects: Unnamed Theth Sequel, All Time Comics Issue 6 out Feb 2018, and All Time Comics Season 2 out 2019. Rom1&2 recolored rerelease.
What was the biggest story of 2017? Women dominating narrative comics. Most of the effective comics I saw this year came from women.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? Thousands of would-be-cartoonists letting their dreams become eclipsed by the siren call of reality and the time suck of jobs and family.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: I dont really believe in guilty pleasure when it comes to art and comics. (Maybe Family Guy and the Orville though. )
Who or what inspires you? Tom Hart forever.
Stuart Moore, writer/editor
2018 Projects: CAPTAIN GINGER – SEE BELOW. Art by June Brigman. Inks by Roy Richardson, color by Veronica Gandini.
Mysterious Project X
Mysterious Project Y
Mysterious Project Z
What was the biggest story of 2017? The wave of mega-mergers affecting the largest entertainment companies in America.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? The rise of smaller companies to fill the gaps left by the mega-mergers.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: More STAR TREK: DISCOVERY.
Who or what inspires you? Tom King, Brian K. Vaughan
Sean Kelley McKeever, writer
2018 Projects: Multiple comics & games to be announced in 2018.
What was the biggest story of 2017? For a long time, we mourned the death of the midlist. Now the midlist is back, but its resurrection appears to be at the cost of the frontlist.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? I don’t want it to be about losing local comics shops, and I hope it will be about Marvel’s sales resurgence. A healthy Marvel & DC allow an eclectic commercial ecosystem to thrive.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: It’s a guilty pleasure because it’s 100% self-serving: my first new comics since 2011 will be in stores in 2018.
Who or what inspires you? Greg Pak is an excellent beacon of creator and comics evangelism. We need more of us out there on social media pointing our followers to who and what we love about the artform.
Raina Telgemeier is comics’ greatest superstar, almost singlehandedly responsible for creating a new generation of comics fans and creators and dreamers.
Kelly Sue DeConnick, writer
2018 Projects: Bitch Planet Vol. 3, Pretty Deadly Vol. 3
What was the biggest story of 2017? Bendis going to DC.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? I’d love to be wrong, but I’m afraid it might be the contraction of the Direct Market.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: The JoCo Cruise.
Who or what inspires you? The Billy Ireland Museum isn’t either a comic or a cartoonist, but my visit there was a profoundly moving and inspiring experience.
Gary Tyrrell, journalist
What was the biggest story of 2017? Abuse of privilege — milkshakes, Berganza, Cebulski, etc.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? I think Iron Circus is breaking out in 2018-19.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: I will have no guilt whatsoever regarding the coming White House perp walk.
Who or what inspires you? Kate Beaton took a horrifically terrible family tragedy and asked how she could help other people in similar situations that don’t have her reach. Lucy Bellwood is heading up a relief effort for Ojai, CA. More creators than I can count raised money for Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and other organizations in opposition to the regressive wave in politics. Matt Furie sued an alt-righter over his appropriation of Pepe, and it appears he’s not done. A lot of people are doing their best to make the world less cruel, less greedy, less hateful. More power to them.
Alex Lu, journalist
2018 Projects: Beat 4.0 and a couple of unannounced editing projects
What was the biggest story of 2017? The #MeToo movement bringing increased scrutiny to sexual harassment in comics
What will be the biggest story of 2018? How distribution channels in the market continue to shift
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: I feel 0% guilty about it, but digging through more classic Jack Kirby titles
Who or what inspires you? I couldn’t find it in me to sit through the peerless tragedy of Rosalie Lightning when it came out last year, but I managed to do so this year and found something sublime.
Ben Towle, cartoonist/educator
2018 Projects: I’ve delayed the planned launch of my new comic, In the Weeds, until next year owing to a rare fit of good sense and advance planning: instead of doing it chapter by chapter, I’ve decided to pencil the entire story in advance. I’m about half-way through and my main project for 2018 will be completing the other half. A few penciled pages:
What was the biggest story of 2017? I don’t know if it’s necessarily a “story” in the news sense of the word, but the conclusion of Providence. This series seems set to be Alan Moore’s comics industry swan song and is, in my opinion, his late-era masterpiece. Given what an important figure Moore is, I was surprised at how little attention this series received.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? Con-pocalypse! We are clearly in the midst of a “con bubble” that’s gonna burst soon. The number and frequency of comics/pop culture conventions currently happening just isn’t sustainable. I think we’re going to see a significant number of these start to go belly-up in 2018.
Who or what inspires you? I’m always inspired by Steve Ditko, who at age 90 is still steadily cranking out exactly the kind of comics he wants to be making. In 2017 he successfully Kickstarted at least three comics–maybe four?
Patrick Crotty, publisher Peow Studios
2018 Projects: New books together with Zainab Akhtar editing with the Peow team.
What was the biggest story of 2017? Patreon changes and how this type of service affects so many comic artists. It’s kind of a wake up call that should motivate people to try and figure things out for the better.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? Dunno! I’m no psychic.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: I’m only reading manga because its more exciting.
Who or what inspires you? Ryoko Kui, Delicious in dungeon is fantastic.
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.