Comic Creators on the Biggest Changes of 2021

The creator-centric side of SKTCHD’s end of the year breakdown continues today, as I asked a bevy of creators a quartet of questions to help get insight from people in the know on the subject of comics, rather than just perspective from a singular schmo from Alaska. And to keep things spicy, we’re going out of order, jumping directly to the third question they answered because I’m a wild child. This is typically where you would get creators sharing their favorite creators of the year, but not this year! We’re mixing it up to keep you on your toes. Instead, today’s question to the glorious panel of writers and artists who participated this year was:

It was a year of a ton of change in comics, and from change can come opportunity. Is there one change in particular that excites you about where things are headed?

This to me is an even more interesting question, because most people who make comics I know have less time to read comics (because they’re making their own comics) than they do to pay attention to this wild industry they’re a part of. That’s because the changes that happens within the varying structures that make up comics often impact their work, their careers, their lives, and beyond. That made this one of the more interesting questions for us to get to. So let’s do just that, with the order of answers being mixed up today to change things up a little bit more and to give everyone a little more time in the sun.

From Adventureman #4, art by Terry and Rachel Dodson

Terry Dodson (Adventureman): More and more people doing creator owned – creators creating is the healthiest thing.

Vita Ayala (New Mutants): The amount of creators trying new things in terms of dream projects has been wonderful. People taking chances on things they don’t know if a traditional publishers will pick up gives me hope!

Zander Cannon (Kaijumax): I’m excited about unions at comics publishers. My dad was a big union guy for his whole career, and although the idea of unions or guilds for artists and freelancers is pretty hard to figure out, I’m really glad that it’s starting to happen for publishing employees.

I’m also really liking that comics have settled into a sort of format-agnosticism; there’s still a lot of inertia keeping serialized floppies going, but I’m seeing a lot more books coming out that seem more appropriate to the content: larger format books, manga-sized HC graphic novels, board books. Being able to get everything digitally, I think, frees publishers up to try some fun stuff with the physical object itself.

Dave Baker (Everyone is Tulip): New distribution models always excite me. I think it’s probably going to be a bumpy ride, and I don’t think it’s all going to be good. But after nearly two decades with Diamond having a death-grip on the direct market, I’m REALLY excited to see things opening up. I’m hopeful for what this will entail.

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