With today’s 24 hour news cycle and social media making comics feel like an industry of change and turmoil more than ever, it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on and what’s actually a good thing. It is for everyone, including the creators themselves. But there are still plenty of exciting things happening outside the comics themselves, and for today’s edition of our creator-centric end of the year coverage, everyone answered this related question:
For you, what was the coolest change or new thing in comics this year? Could be a comic, hiring, event, movement, anything.
So what was it? What stood out to the creators I talked to? Find out below, and make sure to read their responses for favorite creators and comics of 2015 as well.
Cliff Chiang (artist of Paper Girls)
I loved seeing a greater push for diversity in mainstream comics. I think momentum is building and we’ll be seeing more interesting books that appeal to a wider audience as a result.
Charlie Chu (editor of Kaijumax, The Sixth Gun and more)
I dunno if I’d call my choice cool, but I think seeing people openly talking about the issues the comics industry has with sexism and bad behavior has been uncomfortable and necessary, and ultimately healthy. Calling out bad behavior and not just letting stuff be swept under the rug is an important step towards making comics feel more inclusive and less like a misogynist dungeon.
Leila del Duca (artist of Shutter)
I feel pretty out of the loop on everything non-Image, but within Image Comics itself, I’m super psyched that Corey Murphy is now part of the team. She’s amazing at her job and a wonderful addition to an already incredible staff.
Sebastian Girner (editor on Deadly Class, The Goddamned and more)
I’m glad that readers and retailers are still supporting creator-owned comics to the degree that they are. I’m not sure people realize how amazing it is that this movement from a few years is still going on and going strong, because that was never a forgone conclusion.
Greg Hinkle (artist of Airboy)
I really enjoyed seeing bigger, quarterly books like Head Lopper, and the Savage Sword of Criminal one-shot. I like seeing stuff like Island from Brandon Graham and Image. I really think the shelves need that variety and I love the larger format. I’d love to see quarterlies or annuals have a renaissance.
On a personal note, I had my first convention signing at SDCC, which was pretty neat. This is the first year I’ve felt like I could call myself a professional, which is also pretty neat.
Joe Keatinge (writer of Shutter and Ringside)
It’s not necessarily the norm yet, but its been interesting to watch a good number of comics retail business models skew less toward “how much can we sell on Wednesday” and more towards “how much can we sell throughout the entire year, over the next several years, etc.” More playing the long game, continuing to focus on multiple forms instead of relying on week-to-week single issue sales, with an especially sharp eye toward building community as opposed to pushing units. SKTCHD’s recent piece by Fantom Comics’ Matt Klokel was a great example of this.
I’ll cop to a certain bias with the subject, as I’ve taken a regular role with Portland’s Floating World Comics, primarily working with them on ordering and sales. However I started doing so because I felt like the model of how we distribute and sell comics was undergoing radical change, was given the opportunity from the retail end and decided to put both my time and, by effect, money where my mouth is.
I’m hoping the long game, multiple format, community-focused angle is one which continues to grow and take effect. The combination of an ever-growing, ’90s-reminisicent reliance on false positive sales (goosing with variants, incentives which only sell-in units not sell through, constant relaunches with increasingly lesser result, a flood of #1s across the board) and the fact national and global economic predictions show a 30-40% correction in late 2016 (as well as an additional, yet related real estate crash and a growing concern over automobile loans to consumers who usually wouldn’t qualify [much like what happened with the previous real estate crash in 2008]) has me concerned over how retail will weather the storm. While Star Wars, Saga and other top tier books continue to be sales juggernauts, on the week-to-week, there’s been a considerable slow down market wide for sell through on line-wide titles across the board. It can be improved, but it needs to be done so with a combination of a more conservative and sell through-focused approach by publishers and retailers adjusting their business model to not be so reliant.
My point is this: comics have historically persevered through recessions, but if the market continues to focus on sell-in, it’s going to result in a problematic situation by the end of the calendar year. That said, I see a lot of positive changes from retailers like Fantom, A Comic Shop, Third Eye Comics, Beach Ball Comics, Flying Colors and many more, who focus on building a solid foundation through support diverse community, content and economic models.
Tom Muller (designer on Drifter, Zero and more)
Seeing much more good design permeate comics this year – a trend that looks to continue, and seeing so much great creator-owned books being launched.
Really liking what Vertigo has done, and how they mass-launched a full line of great books.
Declan Shalvey (artist of Injection)
I think Image hiring Corey Murphy to handle the direct market and recently hiring Jeff Boison to deal with trades are gonna make some serious industly waves in the next few years. Was impressed to see Rickey Purdin taking over as the new talent manager at Marvel and seeing the books Mark Doyle has developed since taking over the Bat office at DC. It’s brilliant to see great guys moving up in the industry like that.
Joshua Williamson (writer of Nailbiter, Birthright and more)
Vertigo making a comeback. I grew up reading Vertigo comics and I’m super excited to see DC pushing the brand again. Putting out some great comics like Twilight Children and Sheriff of Babylon. I’d like to see them return to their former glory.
Colorists getting credit and more attention for the amazing and crucial work they do.
The moves that Corey Murphy has been making at Image Comics this last year have been outstanding. Really building the Image brand and helping people sell books.