Here’s the second part of our annual look at what’s happened and what happening next for comics. Thanks to everyone for all the time and thought they put into their answers. Part 1 can be found here.
Rick Lowell, retailer, show runner
2014 Projects: MeCAF (Maine Comics Arts Festival), May 18, 2014, Portland, ME
What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? DC Comics leaving the New York City offices
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? The continued re-organization of DC Comics, and the decline in print sales for the big two (Marvel/ DC) while indy publishers pick up the market share.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? I am expecting to see more creators leave Marvel and DC for Image based upon the many successes they have had over the last year or two.
Jeffrey Brown, cartoonist
2014 Projects: Kids Are Weird, Jedi Academy 2, Goodnight Darth Vader (Photo by Jill Liebhaber)
What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? The increase of attention to inappropriate behavior at comic conventions. Hey look, comics aren’t just for kids anymore, they’re for teenagers.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Cartoonists will all be working on cartoons instead of comics.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? Watching Game Of Thrones Season 3 all in one day when it comes out on itunes.
Mike Cavallaro, cartoonist
What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? Creator-owned and/or self-published comics like The Walking Dead, Saga, Battling Boy, Copra, TEOTFW, and others, selling extremely well and garnering critical acclaim.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? A continuation of the above trend, with Increasing numbers of creators, both new and established, pursuing their creator-owned projects.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? Since I’m a broke cartoonist, the only thing I ever feel guilty about is spending money on comics, so if there’s any answer I can think of that fits this question, it would have to be bigger, more obscenely expensive comic books. I dunno … how about some sort of Jordi Bernet “Artist’s Edition” with pages from “Torpedo”? Just throwing that out there.
2014 Projects: The Sequential Artists Workshop; Rosalie Lightning about my daughter, coming in 2015 from St. Martins Press.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? How the kids these days love cruddy 80s Avengers comics as much as they love The Blobby Boys . It’s all the same to them.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Someone getting paid!
Emma Ríos, cartoonist
2014 Projects: Pretty Deadly
What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? I have two favorites this year: Sunny by Taiyô Matsumoto and Out of Skin by Emily Carroll.
I’m quite fond of Matsumoto’s work and Sunny is the perfect follow up to Gogo Monster in a really refined way. He needs very few words to show all those raw feelings that make you think, nostalgic, of your own childhood. Even if there is no real connection with the story, or the characters.
And Emily has to be the supernatural, or fictional, bastard daughter of Edgar Alan Poe. I just can´t help falling in love with these horrible people she writes about, and with the dark poetry of her art. This story takes her storytelling and atmosphere to the limit, and the result is overwhelmingly beautiful.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? I’m very excited for Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods and also about Fantagraphics publishing Inio Asano’s work for the first time starting with Nijigahara Holograph.
Asano is so young, and her ability to talk about human nature, and the distress of becoming an adult is equally painful and beautiful. She is in my opinion one of the bests and more moving storytellers working nowadays.
Another book I would be looking forward to is the Graphic Ink:The DC Comics Art of Frank Quitely, obviously because of Frank Quitely. And of course the end of Prophet, which I know it will be epic to say the least.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? Writing some stuff I draw. I’m already preparing something.
Mark Newgarden, cartoonist
2014 Projects: How To Read Nancy (with Paul Karasik) –FBI, Fall 2014
Bow-Wow’s Nightmare Neighbors (with Megan Montague Cash)–Roaring Brook/Macmillan, Fall 2014
What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? Indy turbulence (FBI, Picturebox etc.)
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? The end of newsstand distribution.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? Upcoming George Herriman biography by Michael Tisserand
Josh Elder, writer, educator
2014 Projects: Writing “Scribblenauts Unmasked” and “Adventures of Superman” for DC Comics and overseeing “The Graphic Textbook” from Reading With Pictures. It’s going to be a big year in 2014 for all three! I’ve also been traveling abroad on behalf of the US State Department to act as a “comics ambassador” in nations like Chile and Russia.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? Marvel breaking the Internet in half at SXSW with millions of comic downloads. It showed that digital comics had truly come into their own and that the audience for comics is much, MUCH larger than we’d ever imagined.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? The intersection of comics and education. The Common Core curriculum explicitly recommends that comics be used in the classroom. I therefore predict that we’ll see an explosion of educational comics content (much of digitally native) that brings the medium to a vast new audience. Pre-concieved notions of what comics are and what they can do will be challenged and shattered. It’s going to be a very exciting time.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? Now I don’t feel guilty about any of this in the slightest, but… More format-challengng content from Mark Waid and Thrillbent; “Astro City”; Jeff Parker’s “Aquaman”; Jeff Parker’s “Batman ’66”; everything Rick Remender is doing at Marvel; the entire First Second catalog; more “G-Man” by Chris Giarrusso and literally too much else to list here.
James Romberger, cartoonist
2014 Projects: I am drawing a long, graphic novel written and colored by Marguerite Van Cook entitled The Late Child and Other Animals, that will be published by Fantagraphics this coming year; and then, on to Post York #2 for Uncivilized Books.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? Karen Berger leaving Vertigo and DC leaving New York.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Marvel finally doing the right thing by their founding artists and/or their heirs? Damn, I wish they would, but I’m not holding my breath. Too bad.
Dr. Mary Talbot, writer educator
2014 Projects: I’m eagerly anticipating the publication of my second graphic novel: Sally Heathcote, Suffragette, created in collaboration with BryanTalbot and Kate Charlesworth. Other projects I’m involved with aren’t for mentioning, yet.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? A graphic novel winning the prestigious literary Costa Biography Award.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Another literary award win? No idea!
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? Those mornings when I wake up and then remember I don’t have to go out to work any more, because I work from home. I’ve stopped feeling guilty about it, though!
Ales Kot, writer
2014 Projects: Zero, Quiet, Secret Avengers, Iron Patriot, The Surface
What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? I prefer to avoid absolutes unless they make sense to me, so this will be less about the biggest story and more about the story I thought of/considered/felt affected by the most. I am impressed by the renewed reader interest in independently created comics.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Less middle men and more extraordinary content going straight from creators into the hands, tablets, laptops, minds of the readers.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? I don’t have guilty pleasures. I find the concepts of guilt and shame boring.
ZERO #006, cover by Vanesa R Del Rey & Tom Muller.
A page from The Surface, drawn by Langdon Foss. Both projects are coming out via Image Comics.
2014 Projects: The Double Life of Miranda Turner, an ongoing series for Monkeybrain; “Integer City” currently running in Dark Horse Presents; plus new graphic novels with Dan Christensen and Megan Levens in 2014. Also, my book with Natalie Nourigat, A Boy and a Girl, just came out.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? Image Comics continuing to dominate, both in terms of sales and just general creativity. With titles like East of West, Pretty Deadly, Velvet, Rocket Girl, and so many others debuting, and how they continued to manage their own press events–it’s been exciting to watch and also exciting to take some small part of.
I think also the success of Blue is the Warmest Color at Cannes and on the arthouse cinema circuit has been a lot bigger than people have given it credit for. With dunderheaded critics trying to categorize “comic book movies” as a very limited thing, it’s good to for our medium when our diversity is represented to the outside world. Hopefully it got plenty of people to pick up Julie Maroh’s comic. Hell, I read it on a Kindle, which in itself is something significant.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Hopefully there is something we haven’t even heard of yet. I think our industry is on a creative upswell, and one that is moving away from traditional models in a lot of ways, and I just want that to continue. New and interesting things are always the best “big story.” So, let’s just say 2014 will be the better version of 2013!
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? >
I don’t exactly feel guilty about it, I don’t feel guilty about liking anything because who cares? Like what you like. But I’ve never really been a big Silver Surfer guy, the concept strikes me as kind of silly, but jeez-lousie, Michael and Laura Allred were pretty much born to draw the character, and so I can’t wait to have my eyeballs soak up the gorgeousness I know the Marvel Now Silver Surfer is going to be.
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.