Welcome to part II! We got so many responses, there’s going to be a part III! And also please note that there are quite a few news bits and art previews within here, as well as thoughtful mini-essays on the economics of comics past and present. Thanks to everyone who took the time to answer. Now, grab that cup of coffee and let’s go.
Abby Denson, cartoonist
2009 Projects: The City Sweet Tooth (my review comics of NYC’s best desserts!), Amazing Spider-Man Family – Spider-Ma’am Stories, and Dolltopia.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? Sadly the bad news: Minx folding, Tokyopop downsizing, publishing layoffs. I think those are the freshest in my mind. But there were a lot of bright spots, the publication of Drawing Words & Writing Pictures, which is an excellent resource for aspiring cartoonists and comics professors. Some great books came out: Tamara Drewe, Goddess of War, The Complete K Chronicles, Black Jack, and Saltwater Taffy to name a few. Also, Lynda Barry on the road with “What It Is”, spreading her genius and inspiration around was a definite highlight of 2008.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? As an optimist I’d like to think it will be a rebound in the comics publishing business and opportunities for more unique work to come out, but I suspect it will probably have something to do with The Watchmen movie.
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be: Post-apocalyptic karaoke hostess / cat wrangler.
Becky Cloonan, cartoonist
2009 Projects: I’m currently working on new issues of Demo, written by Brian Wood and being published by Vertigo. I wish I could mention some of the other stuff I got on my plate, but I should probably stay quiet for now.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? I’ve hated Skrulls since I was in 2nd grade, so when they attacked Earth this year I was all like “Oh no they didn’t!” But they did, and I can’t wait to see where it takes things.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? I’m no good at guessing, but I’ve been really impressed with the talent that seems to be flooding into comics these days, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more publishers throw their hats into the ring to accommodate the growing number of amazing cartoonists. That is, if the economy doesn’t collapse and send us back to the barter system. (I’ve been sharpening my hunter/gatherer skills just in case.)
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be: I’ll finally be able to put my hunter/gatherer skills to good use! Maybe I’ll even open up a post apocalyptic muscle car shop with a sign like “Speed is just a question of nuts and berries…”
Malcolm Bourne, writer
2009 Projects: working on a new Gustav P I story with Ken Meyer for Desperado Publishing and a book, the biography of Michael Kennedy
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? the biggest story of 08 for me in the industry was losing my friend Dave Stevens and in a different way, the Iron Man movie similarly i think the biggest story in 2009 will be the Watchmen movie
Bob Fingerman, cartoonist
2009 Projects: Connective Tissue, a trippy illustrated novella (Fantagraphics, April 2009); From the Ashes, a satirical “speculative memoir” of the adventures of my wife and I in the post-apocalyptic wasteland that was New York City (IDW, starting May 2009). (Art above)
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? Here’s where I let the team down. I have no idea what constitutes a big story. That Moebius released not one, not two, but three fantastic books in one year? That’s big to me, but is it really big? Dunno. But comics-wise, I thought it was pretty exciting.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? No clue. The Watchmen movie? Does that count? That’ll be big (if it gets released on time, what with the legal nonsense and all).
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2009?I don’t have guilty pleasure; I just have pleasure.
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be: myself. If I can star myself in a post-apocalyptic yarn, I think I’ve spoken. If the world of Mad Max could accommodate Toecutter, The Gyro Captain and Auntie Entitiy, my role would be Kid Snark.
Nick Lowe, editor [Editor’s ntoe: It is impossible to google pictures of editor Nick Lowe.]
2009 Projects:[Lowe, Nick] Uncanny X-Men, Patsy Walker: Hellcat, Captain Britain & MI13…
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008?The Iron Man movie is awesome.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? I don’t know that it’s one story, but a rise of new voices in mainstream comics.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2009?I don’t feel guilt. Maybe Beverly Hills Cop 4?
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be: Corpse. I don’t have a lot of post-apocalyptic skills.
Keith R.A. DeCandido, writer
2009 Projects: A series of FARSCAPE miniseries that I’m scripting off plots by series creator Rockne S. O’Bannon, published by BOOM! Studios, and also writing a manga series for TokyoPop called STARCRAFT: GHOST ACADEMY, which ties into the popular Blizzard Game.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? That Marvel and DC have gone all crossover all the time and that the IRON MAN movie rocked.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? Something wholly unexpected that will come out of left field and gobsmack everybody. Well, that, or how much THE SPIRIT movie sucks.
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be: Plucky comic relief — mainly because they get all the laughs and they =usually= live to the end of the picture……
Mark Verheiden, writer, producer
2009 Projects: Writer/Producer: Heroes, starting with the “Fugitives” arc in February 2009 + writer/producer for the final episodes of Battlestar Galactica, which finally run starting Jan. 2009. Also, writing ARK for Sony (feature based on my Dark Horse comic), and I’m working on science fiction/comics-related feature screenplay projects at DreamWorks and Warner Bros.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? Dark Knight movie cracks a billion dollars worldwide and yet comic sales stagnate/fall.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? The big story would be the runaway success of a new book, but in this economy, the big story may simply be “comics survive another year.”
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2009? Anything by Johnny Ryan… and I’m not THAT guilty about it.
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be: Hapless would-be peacemaker killed in the first act.
Hope Larson, cartoonist
2009 Projects: Over the next two or three months I’ll finish up a new YA graphic novel, Mercury. It doesn’t have a pub date yet, but I have my fingers crossed for late 2009 or early 2010 because I think a lot of the book’s themes are timely ones.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? The untimely death of Minx.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? Comics & the Internet, especially now that we’re in a recession and book publishers are less interested in acquiring graphic novels.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2009? Taking an extended vacation from my drafting table and focusing on my writing. I’m still working through my cartoonist guilt over this.
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be: Llama rancher.
Stuart Moore, writer
2009 Projects: Spider-Man: Fear Itself (Marvel, January 2009)
Star Trek Alien Spotlight: Tribbles (IDW, March 2009)
Wolverine Noir (Marvel, April 2009)
The 99 (Teshkeel, ongoing)
Shadrach Stone (Penny-Farthing Press, Spring 2009) (art above)
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? I think it was the way, the moment the economy went bad, comics companies immediately froze wages, cut titles, laid off staff, and made dire pronouncements for the future. Oh, wait, no: That was book publishing. For once, comics is the industry that ISN’T panicking.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? The economic situation eventually will affect comics. I suspect we’ll ride it out better than some, for the following reasons: (1) comics’ overhead is low; (2) the much-maligned nonreturnable direct market system allows publishers to plan print runs with far more precision, and less waste, than book publishers can manage; and (3) as Tom Spurgeon has pointed out, comics has a lot of “lifers” — people who’ve been through tough times before and have developed a repertoire of coping strategies.
There will still be wage freezes, titles cut, and layoffs, of course. But no dire pronouncements. Nobody in comics ever does that.
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be: “The Scribe at the Edge of the World”*
* TM & © 2009.
Josh Neufeld, cartoonist
2009 Projects: A.D: New Orleans After the Deluge, my true-life graphic novel about Hurricane Katrina and six New Orleans residents who survive the storm. The book is greatly revised and expanded from the version which appeared on SMITH magazine in 2007–2008. A.D. is coming out from Pantheon in August — just in time for Katrina’s fourth anniversary.
Also, as part of my new Dojo Graphics studio, I’m writing the “motion comics” element of an ABC News TV special called Earth 2100. It’s a very dark story of what lies in store for our planet if we don’t make major global concessions to the reality of climate change. ABC wanted me to write and draw the story, but my A.D. deadline prevented me from doing the art. So I’m writing it, and I got Joe Infurnari the drawing gig. If it all comes together the way it should, it’ll be an amazing project. Earth 2100 is scheduled for summer release.
Along with cartoonist Tim Hamilton, I’m also working on some semi-animated illustrations for a Lifetime TV project due to debut on Valentine’s Day.
Finally, I hope to announce sometime early in 2009 a new collaborative graphic novel project I’ll be working on for the rest of the year.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? The revelation that President-elect Obama reads comics! But I’m still trying to figure out why he favors Spider-Man and Conan?
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? The undercover investigation into where Obama stores his comics in the White House — and why he favors Spider-Man and Conan?
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2009?Ironically, even though I barely read superhero comics any more, I really enjoy genre movies. So I’m definitely looking forward to mainstream trash like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek.
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be: Chronicling the story in Earth 2100! No joke!
John Jackson Miller, www.farawaypress.com
2009 Projects: My fourth year writing Dark Horse’s STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC begins with the launch of a new era for its main characters, now that the fugitive origin story has concluded. (The sixth trade, “Vindication,” is due in May.) With our heroes out to make their fortune in the galaxy, we’re working to capture the space-opera fun of the original films in a way that’s accessible to all comics readers, not just Star Wars comics readers. I have some other fiction projects in the works as well, including more original fiction for StarWars.com. My comics research continues on The Comics Chronicles (http://www.comichron.com), where I expect to have the complete Diamond-exclusive era data online this winter — as well as additional reference pages on a lot of questions frequently asked about comics sales, pricing history, and more. I have a lot of different kinds of data to post, so I’m planning regular weekly updates there in addition to the pieces I do for Newsarama and Comics Buyer’s Guide. Chuck Fiala’s and my webcomic, Sword & Sarcasm (http://www.swordandsarcasm.com), continues, as well.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? Focusing as I do on comics circulation history, I thought the resilience of the comics market — so far — to the problems in the greater economy was remarkable. There are a lot of reasons for that, structural and otherwise, but I think there may also be something in the nature of the medium and its audience. The latest issue of The Economist opines about the relative health of the video game industry, attributing it in part to the fact that for its core audience, video games aren’t a consumer good, they’re a lifestyle. Comics may have a similar claim, and that might well be what’s helped us get through slow times in the wider economy before.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? I think it will be worth watching very closely what the reaction within the direct market is to the ongoing round of comics price increases. Again, we should expect that an older audience with more disposable income would be able to absorb that without a problem — but that assumes the audience has the disposable income to spend even on those things that, as mentioned, may be part of their lifestyle. What happens in the chain bookstore market, while further out of our control, certainly bears watching, too. I’ve written before that the things that have come to the industry’s rescue in the past have often played a role in generating the next crisis: here would be a case where the shifting emphasis toward trade paperbacks could cause problems.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2009?Well, on the financial chaos score, I was rooting for the new Gordon Gekko movie, MONEY NEVER SLEEPS, to make it out in 2009 — though it looks like cinema’s slickest and slimiest financier may not emerge from jail and onto the screens until 2010. I’m guessing they’re getting a lot of new material to put in the film right now!
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be: The guy at the end of the dock selling tickets to Waterworld.
Colleen Doran, cartoonist
2009 Projects: Stealth Tribes for Vertigo with Warren Ellis. This has been going on for some time, but we are literally within weeks of completion now. Also, I recently signed on to do an original GN for Vertigo with Derek McCulloch, the wonderful writer with whom I worked on the Tori Amos: Comic Book Tattoo project. It is being edited by Joan Hilty, who was a wonderful editor with whom I previously worked on Reign of the Zodiac for DC with Keith Giffen.
I’m pulling A Distant Soil out of hiatus as well, to start as a webcomic, and to march to completion in print with Image Comics. There are also couple of other things I can’t discuss right now.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? The economy. The popular wisdom has always been that comics were immune to recession, or that the demand for fantasy in bad economic times always means a boom market for industries like ours.
I’m not certain that’s always the case. More importantly, I think the comics market is linked to the world in ways it was not when the US economy was hit by recessions over the past few decades. For example, the book industry is more a part of comics now than it ever has been in my lifetime. There’s never been a time when the health of traditional publishing has had a major impact on comics. Many cartoonists these days don’t even work for Marvel or DC anymore, they work for Scholastic, or Harper Collins. When these companies cut back – and they are – comic creators suffer, and the art form suffers.
Many comics companies have cut back as well, leading to a lot of joyful crowing on behalf of people glad to see their rivals fall. But when I see already marginal professional types gloating over the fall of their enemies, I have to wonder what makes them think their marginal careers will do any better in a down market than they did in a flush market.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? Again, the economy. The direct market was created as a response to the financial collapse of the 1970’s. The direct market was a new market, so the direct market was all about growth. And when we hear about how comics are immune to recession, that ignores the direct market and how it came into being.
I remember the market correction of the mid-1980’s, when comic companies were branching out onto the newsstands, and some of the publishers not being entirely familiar with the trauma that book returns can bring. I think we’re in for another big round of that. We’re already in the middle of it, actually.
As for webcomics, that arena has huge room for expansion, but who is going to pay for those webcomics is the question. These comics are supported by advertising dollars and product sold to consumers with disposable income. With less disposable income, there’s less cause to buy a mug with a cartoon on it. Advertisers are cutting back.
It remains to be seen if some of the people who are supporting themselves with webcomics will be able to continue. It’s one thing to have an inventory of work that can be put onto the web as supplemental income. It’s quite another to have to produce new work regularly to keep the hit counter up. I bet a lot of people are going to have to cut back. I’m going web with my work because it’s supplemental income, and I don’t have to be self supporting with it, but I will be very interested to see how the numbers add up over the next several months. I really don’t know what to expect.
If anything, the new webcomics market illustrates the importance of owning the rights to your own work. This is a very inexpensive way to publish. If you have inventory, and can web publish a number of works at low cost, even if you aren’t bringing in big bucks per book, you can raise some dough. Whether or not you will want to continue to self publish if the work doesn’t eventually pay for the effort put into it is another matter entirely. But the days when you were likely to lose tens of thousands of dollars self publishing are no more. You just don’t need to take the risk of printing comics and carrying inventory if you don’t want to. if your work goes critical mass and you can take it to print, great. If not, that’s too bad, but at least you can still show your work to people, and the publishing act needn’t put you in the poorhouse.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2009?Reruns of Magnum PI on cable. Tom Selleck in short shorts is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.
Eric Reynolds, all-around comics guy
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008. I don’t know if it was the biggest story, per se, but personally, I think this year in comics will be defined by the passing of my old pal Rory Root. For all he is missed, I still don’t think we’ve begun to fully appreciate what we’ve lost.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009 I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess the economy.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2009? Fewer shitty comics.
Charles Kochman, publisher
2009 Projects: The launch of the imprint Abrams ComicArts in Spring 2008. Our first titles are: The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle (the first full appreciation of this seminal comics/pop culture icon); Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-creator Joe Shuster by Craig Yoe (newly discovered S&M art created in the early 1950s when Shuster was down on his luck. Not only the art but the story behind it is revelatory); The Art of Jaime Hernandez: Secrets of Life and Death by Todd Hignite (finally, an inside look at one of the most important, and private, creators in working in comics today); Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? by Brian Fies (the follow-up to Mom’s Cancer, Brian Fies flexes all of his artistic muscles, creating a groundbreaking work that looks ahead while acknowledging our collective past); Underground Classics: The Transformation of Comics into Comix by James Danky and Denis Kitchen (the first serious survey of the American underground, all reproduced from original art); Erotic Comics 2: A Graphic History from the Liberated ’70s to the Internet by Tim Pilcher (Alan Moore asks in his introduction that readers, “Absorb the contents of this book, and do so shamelessly.” I’ll argue with most anyone, but not Alan.); and The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats Sell Out by Adam Koford (the LOLcats phenom as seen from the lens of early twentieth-century American comics). And although it is not on the ComicArts list and some will decry it’s not even comics, the January 13 laydown of The Last Straw, the third book in Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. After selling 11 million copies in less than two years, it will be hard not to acknowledge Kinney’s influence on a generation of readers growing up with a comics storytelling vocabulary that they first gleaned from his series.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? Webcomics. Just because a comic is posted online does not mean it will sell when collected and printed with ink on paper between hard or soft covers, but the Web has allowed for a preponderance of artists and writers of all ages to express themselves and get their work out in front of people who have never, or will never, step foot in a comic book store. The variety of subject matter and art styles and storytelling that we began to see in 2008 is incredibly exciting. Although I have been lucky to publish Mom’s Cancer and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, both of which started out as Webcomics, and have signed up Jason Shiga’s Meanwhile and Barry Deutsch‘s Hereville, I am looking forward to the day when a Webcomic remains a Webcomic and not a vehicle to attract a mainstream publisher to “validate” its existence with print publication. There are many great Webcomics out there, but so far none have achieved that Sgt. Pepper moment of using the unlimited resources of the internet to tell their story in a way that print never could. Josh Neufeld’s A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge comes the closest, but still lacks the unlimited links to YouTube videos and Wikipedia entries and AP stories to support and constantly update the story with backup and enhanced reading experiences, much like a re-mastered Criterion version of a great movie—only moreso. If these still early days of the Internet are analogous to television, then we have moved on from the Howdy Doody and Twilight Zone Webcomics of Compuserve and Quantum Link, and are currently reading online the equivalent of All in the Family, Happy Days, and The Six Million Dollar Man. In 2009 and beyond, we still have the Webcomic equivalents of cable TV, Homicide: Life on the Streets, The West Wing, and Seinfeld to look forward to.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? The long-awaited publication of Robert Crumb’s Book of Genesis, an adaptation of the Bible story, which Norton will be publishing in Fall 2009. I had the privilege of seeing some of the pages in France two years ago, and the scope of the work has haunted me ever since. I’m sure the religious right will be all up in arms with cliché horror that a quote unquote “cartoonist” has defamed their sacred cow, but Crumb is taking this work very seriously, and Genesis is some of his best work.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2009?Work aside (for a change), I look forward to getting married in June—with no guilt whatsoever.
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be: That of Brian May, scoring the apocalypse, perhaps creating a karaoke version of “Give Peace a Chance.” Those of us eternal optimists for change who are left behind can sing along and nod our heads to virtuoso guitar licks and three-part vocal harmonies, as Bush and the rest of his administration from 2000–2008 are dragged down by Furies to pick up soap in the showers of hell.
Caleb Monroe, writer
2009 Projects: Writing THE REMNANT, from BOOM! Studios
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? Taken all together, I think it was Marvel’s digital subscriptions, Zuda, FreakAngels and Dark Horse’s success with book editions of webcomics (most notably Achewood and Perry Bible Fellowship), because…
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009?I predict in the coming year we’re going to see the first struggling midlist books with devoted followings (the likes of Amazing Spider-Girl, Manhunter, Blue Beetle) that get moved to a digital-to-trade model rather than cancelled altogether. Especially because the impending price-hike will probably hit the midlist the hardest, and may be confined to the monthly mags, meaning trades will be an even better relative bang-for-buck value. For that matter, so will Marvel’s digital subscriptions…
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be: Hot-air balloonist…the only way to fly!
Brian Heater, journalist
2009 Projects: Cross Hatch in ’09. Also, where’s my book deal?
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? Why, the recession, of course! It’s funny (not funny ‘ha ha,’ of course), we were certain that it was going to be comics in classrooms or comics on the Web, this time last year, but it’s amazing how a complete financial meltdown of the western world can sidetrack the best laid plans of mice and supermen. I wish I could say that, in light of the fact that we had arguably the most important presidential election on our collective lifetimes that the story had been political cartooning, but sadly that’s not the case. It’s not for lack of great cartoonists, of course–some of our best political cartoonists are stalking the editorial pages as we speak. Rather, I think it’s, at least in part, due to the unfettered access we have to all of them, which is to say that’s it’s much easier to pick an editorial cartoonist that suits our tastes and political leanings precisely. It’s really lessened their impact. Also, I hate to say it, but perhaps two terms of Bush made folks lazy. That’s eight years of having punchlines handed to you on a silver platter. Obama, by contrast, is a much harder nut to crack, in terms of political satire.
On my side of the fence, however, I would like to point to the emergence of fantastic new indies like Sparkplug and Secret Acres. Also, is it just me, or was 2008 a giant year for Top Shelf. D&Q, Pantheon, and Fanta all put out amazing stuff, but it was Top Shelf who really knocked it out of the park this year.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009?Why, the depression, of course! That’s the easy answer, right? So let’s go with a less obvious one. My prediction: the iPhone becomes the first great e-comics reader. The screen is small compared to the Kindle, sure, but the colors are brilliant and multi-touch makes for a fantastic comic reading experience. Hopefully the next iteration of the Kindle will be more comic book friendly, but let’s call the iPhone a proof of concept that sequential art can work in e-book format. Format a Webcomic to the device and you’ll be comics’ next billionaire.
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be: Machete wielding goon number 2.
James Sturm, cartoonist, educator
2009 Projects: Finishing up Market Day, graphic novel (D&Q 2010) (image, above.)
Editing a book of Denys Wortman drawings (D&Q 2010)
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? Comics have arrived! So many great books coming out for every reader regardless of age or interest. Between new books and reprints projects it’s impossible to keep up. A lot of cartoonists worked hard for this day to arrive.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? When does Crumb’s Genesis book come out? That could be it. Or perhaps how the economy effects GN/comic publishing? Will all the gains be mitigated by the collapse of the publishing industry? Likely the biggest story is something no one can see coming.
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be: To help sustain a cartooning enclave in Vermont. After the fall, we’ll need cartoonists more than ever!
Larry Marder, cartoonist
2009 Projects Original Beanworld graphic novel “Remember Here When You Are There!” Short color Beanworld story for Dark Horse Free Comic Book Day
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? Barack Obama and Rachel Maddow of MSNBC read comics. And are proud to say so.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? Whatever happens to the economics of the retail marketplace and its points of purchase.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2009?The return of LOST. (Although it never makes me feel guilty.)
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be: Mad mystic in the burning sands of the desert.
Joe Infurnari, cartoonist
2009 Projects: The Transmigration of ULTRA-lad! will continue on Act-i-vate.com as well as an exclusive 12 page story in the upcoming Act-i-vate primer from IDW. The Primer will be available in 2009. Fans of Glen Brubaker and Dan McDaid’s Jersey Gods will find my illustrations in a series of four back-up chapters written by Mark Waid. I will also begin work on a project for First Second Books.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? A wise man said to me, “rather be an optimist that proves to be wrong than a pessimist who ends up being right.” In that spirit, the optimist in me says the further rise of comics and graphic novels as a legitimate literary medium is the story of 2008 but the pessimist in me suspects it might be the economy and it’s effects within the industry.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? Once again, the angel on my right shoulder tells me it will be the rise of new talent and further inroads into new markets for comics. And the a–hole on my right shoulder keeps tugging at my ear and whispering, “it’s the economy, dummy.” Perhaps the truth will lie somewhere in between with economic conditions forcing comics creators and publishers to think of new, more successful business models and mediums for delivering comics.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2009?The Marshall Law Omnibus from Top Shelf.
Dean Haspiel, cartoonist
2009 Projects: Creator of BILLY DOGMA [Act-i-vate], STREET CODE [Zuda], illustrator of THE ALCOHOLIC [Vertigo] and MO & JO [Toon Books], creator/editor of NEXT-DOOR NEIGHBOR [SMITH Magazine].
The biggest story in 2008? I’ll let smart fans and academics weigh in on the pros and cons of the comix industry. Meanwhile, my personal big stories were meeting and talking to Steve Ditko at his studio, making an original webcomic for the NY Times, getting a driver’s license, and becoming a donor-daddy to a beautiful baby girl named Ruby.
The biggest story in 2009 will be when webcomix start to officially impact print sales as readers assimilate to the various digital formats available in both free and subscriber mode while saving precious trees for quality story collections rather than event comics floppy slaughter. Also, whispers of a new, American imprint that will be equal parts L’Association and 2000AD by way of RAW when a posse of webcomix creators take full control of their careers in the spirit of Will Eisner and launch new franchise fair for the masses.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2009?In 2009, I’m looking fwd to Zack Snyder’s adaptation of WATCHMEN and J.J. Abrams relaunch of STAR TREK. I can’t wait for the world to read/see what I’ve read/seen [thus far] in the shapes of Walter Simonson’s THE JUDAS COIN [DC Comics], Bob Fingerman’s new mini-series, FROM THE ASHES, and J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Cavallaro’s mini-series, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SAVIOR 28 [both from IDW]. Tim Hamilton’s ominous yet poetic adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s FAHRENHEIT 451 [Hill & Wang] will be a must buy, as will Josh Neufeld’s A.D. – NEW ORLEANS AFTER THE DELUGE [Pantheon]. Also, look out for more great free webcomix at ACT-I-VATE, including the debut of Michel Fiffe’s CUBA.
In a Mad Max movie I’d wanna be Wez but I’m probably, actually The Lord Humongous aka The Ayatollah of Coca-Cola.
Jeffrey Brown, cartoonist
2009 Projects: I’m just wrapping up “Funny Misshapen Body,” which is stories about high school through art school and how I ended up becoming a cartoonist. I’m also working on the Sulk series for Top Shelf, hoping to have 3 or 4 issues out this year.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? Hm. The absolute entrenchment of Marvel and DC feeling they need to have a universe wide crossover event every year? No, The recession, layoffs, economic gloom? That story is way bigger than comics. Kramers Ergot 7? The biggest book, for sure, but can the release of one book really be the biggest story? How about movies like the Dark Knight, Iron Man, Hulk, Persepolis all being hits? That’s really more of a movie story than a comics one. I guess I can’t really think of one big story.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? Amazingly, the release of the Watchmen film is overshadowed when the Kramers Ergot 7 film adaptation is announced, but goes way over budget, and puts several production companies out of business. Fortunately, all the artists involved make an extra $20,000 for their stories, although they do lose their film rights on those stories for the next 10 years, and failing to read fine print in the contracts, several artists find their characters become syndicated daily comic strips.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2009?Going to the Barcelona Comics Festival.
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be: Sensitive book learned father whose obscure knowledge of the arts and culture fail to impress the marauding gangs of beach buggy drivers.
Ross Richie, co-founder of BOOM! Studios
– The smash-hit first mini-series based on FARSCAPE written by series creator Rockne O’Bannon
– our exciting new mini-series HEXED (out 1-7-09)
– our best-selling horror flagship book FALL OF CTHULHU (just given a rave by the LA Times)
– this spring’s upcoming INCREDIBLES series written by BOOM! editor-in-chief Mark Waid!
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? Unquestionably the total rise and ascendence of The Geek leading mass market culture. When Will Smith makes up his own super-hero in HANCOCK and dominates the box office, when IRON MAN and THE DARK KNIGHT represent the polar opposites of how fun and how serious superheroes can be and both land on everyone’s year end “best of” list, when HELLBOY gets a sequel, We’ve Arrived. DC had Batman, Marvel had Iron Man, Dark Horse had Hellboy, Image had Wanted — the top 4 publishers all dominated at the box office! How cool is that?!
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? How the North American economy shapes retail stores and the publishers who feed them product. How will “Big Event Comics” sustain the top tier and the midlist for the Big Two. And how will print comics continue to work out its relationship with webcomics?
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be:Keeper of the Relic. I bought a bound collection of an early run of Weird-Science Fantasy EC originals in tip-top shape from Hi De Ho Comics in Santa Monica, CA in the 1990s. Even in the future, I won’t let go of that.
Tania del Rio, cartoonist
2009 Projects: I am finishing my 42 issue run on Sabrina with issue #100. It will be an exciting conclusion to one of my proudest accomplishments! I’ll be continuing to do smaller projects for Archie, such writing a Katy Keene mini-series. I’m also working on a two-part graphic novel for TOKYOPOP about quinceaneras. With the new year, I’ll also be updating my webcomic regularly (www.mypoorlydrawnlife.com). Last, but not least, my husband and I have been enjoying writing stories and creating art for our Victorian-inspired Bazaarium (www.thebazaarium.com).
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? I’m afraid I’m going to be pessimist and say that the biggest story was probably how the failing economy impacted the medium as a whole, particularly my personal drug of choice: manga. I always felt that the manga bubble would burst eventually, but it seems a shame that it’s happened so soon. That isn’t to say that manga is dead – far from it. But I definitely see how the economy has affected it and all those people who work behind the scenes- especially friends and acquaintances of mine who worked on OELs – and with my own title, Sabrina.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009? I hope that much like in the first depression, comics will make a big comeback as good, affordable, escapist fun that everyone will latch onto! Maybe they’ll even return to newsstands!…..Well, probably not, but one can dream. I’m also excited to see how, with the success of recent comic-book movies like Batman, how upcoming films like Watchmen and Wolverine will fare. (I at least hope Watchmen will see the light of day, given the legalities it’s been facing.)
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2009?With Sabrina coming to an end, sad as it is, I am rather looking forward to having more time to embark on some more personal projects, particularly a young-adult novel I’m working on.
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be: I will be the one who knits crazy sweaters and legwarmers for everyone using found objects like wire and rope (to protect against road rash, of course).
Shane McCarthy, writer
2009 Projects: Transformers: All Hail Megatron (IDW)
What was the biggest story in comics in 2008? You know, I’m sure people will want to talk about Hollywood and comics but I’d really like to stick with the comics side of things. I’m actually thinking the biggest story of the year was Brian’s ‘Secret Invasion’. To successfully pull off a crossover that feels like it mattered and has been planned and hinted at (love the clues) for quite some time…man…that’s gold. I love the attention to detail and the effort put in to make it really worth the effort of actually doing it in the first place. Hats off.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2009?In stark contrast to my previous statement maybe it’ll be that we can go for a year without a massive, Earth shattering crossover? Is there more coming up? Probably. I’d love it if there wasn’t though. Rock on.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2009? Actually having time for a life? No? Then perhaps just time enough for Call of Duty…
When the world turns into a Mad Max movie, my role will be: I desperately want to be the little boomerang kid. I *should* get the role considering I can actually throw one. Needless to say I’ll probably end up being one of the annoying buggers from the (horrid) third film.