Comics Creators

Comics - Everyone Else (NOT Marvel / DC)


I read the latest Cinema Purgatorio and thought it was pretty good.

But then again, I’m the one who read Lost Girls and also thought it was pretty good so who knows. :slight_smile:


The reckoning is coming I think. Lots of comics publishers are being kept afloat by investors looking for a big return. Others (and most Image titles) aren’t making much money. Big name creators use their big two income to subsidize third party books with the hopes of repeating the Millar or Kirkman experience. I think things are contracting right now, and as such times will get tougher. I see the number of produced titles going down before too long.


I think it needs to Jim.

You and I have been at variance on this in the past, but upon reflection and the benefit of hindsight, I think you and Robert were right about a lot of it.

There’s a lot of really great comics out there - but there’s also lot of crap. And I don’t think the audience is big enough for it.


The other factor is the more poor experiences there are the more people walk away entirely. Comics require a pretty good strike rate, so publishers must be more discerning. Image aren’t (as an example) so beyond the Kirkman, Millar and BKV books most Image titles can’t get much of a following. Buy three shitty Image books and you’ll be less interested in trying a 4th. At this point I think the industry has severely damaged itself (Marvel screwing up hasn’t helped either). We’re on a comics forum and we have many members who don’t read comics anymore. That’s a massive problem - that of the 400 titles published each month none of them are interesting enough for our own members who love comics. That’s like loving TV but cancelling your TV service and just watching old DVD’s.

Now Image don’t really care. All the money is passed through, as is all the risk. They just publish, they don’t own anything else. And while that’s ok for them to do, these creators are really small businesses who don’t have the skills or resources to run a business. I’ve worked with Millar enough to see how much work goes behind the scenes. He’s a single operator with a handful of hired hands competing in the same space against giants like Disney and Warners. That’s impossible to sustain. I’ve thought for years Image is flawed fundamentally, the founders got their millions but the model doesn’t work except for a select few. You can see that in the number of titles that just went nowhere. Their strike rate is abysmal. Image itself would shut down of those three guys walked away.

The other publishers like Dark Horse, IDW, Boom, Avatar and so on aren’t filling the void the way they could. And with the anticipated dip in comics I think is coming (meaning lesser wages, fewer comics, closed stores and much less profit) along with maybe Hollywood money drying up (they’ve got 20 years of IP’s to adapt these days, and outside of a select few books it’s hard to get a hit out of a non big 2 comic franchise), well the industry is in for a hard couple of years.

Which is ok, it’s a cycle. In 2022 and beyond boom time will be here once again. Great new stories and properties and a new generation of talent. It’s just winter right now, spring is coming.


That’s the perfect analogy,


It’s a danger the movie studios face, so they keep investing to get their audiences. Comics haven’t done the same. Well they have, but they lost the plot about 4 years ago.


Magazines, periodicals, newspapers, anything requiring physical reading has diminished greatly. Oh, I think more people are reading a whole lot more, in general, than, say, 1990. But it’s texts, blurbs, tweets, one-liners. Not exactly meat for the mind. And face facts, True Believers, learning how to read sequential comics is an acquired skill. Most do not learn to write cursive, or how to look things up in actual books. They speak to Siri. Yeah, that takes some effort. That wouldn’t be so bad if retention had not become hideous. Rule of thumb I learned from a memory researcher 'way back; it takes seventeen seconds for a concept to be retained in short-term memory for it to transfer into long-term memory. Ask-and-reply takes too little time, flat out. (This applies to verbal memory only.) Basically, then, without the time needed for perhaps taking a note (which kicks in tactile and visual memory) it is as if that information never existed. Same with reading digital comics, if one does not attend to remembering.

Basically, as much as we’ve talked about it, the industry has shot itself in the foot several times. Needs new paradigms.


Well, that one was shit.

As to the main topic - there’s only two Avatar books on my hit list:

War Stories - For which I will put with Aria’s art, because Ennis on war stories is generally consistently excellent. Can’t help but suspect the fifht trade due next month will be the last.

Uber: Invasion - I don’t know what the nature of the deal with Avatar is, but I’m starting to think it’d be a good idea for Gillen to make sure he can untangle it away from them if the company goes down in flames. The first trade of this second half should have been solicited, that it hasn’t been is testimony to likely difficulties. Gillen needs a back-up plan as not completing this book would be a tragedy.

They did, in the past, push the envelope quite a bit - at the time I’m not sure anyone else would have published Red Rover Charlie, but with Image putting out The Goddamned - easily one of the most fucked-up books you’ll ever read - what need is there for Avatar now?


I know so many people on other forums invested in Uber it’s not even funny. It’s pretty amazing to see a lot of dissection on an Avatar book like that, much like what happened with Providence. 2015 was their best year in quality, honestly in recent memory.


Did you manage to bag the HC version of the Volume 1 trade? It has the most incredible set of extras detailing what went into creating it.


Nah, I like catching up once in a while on it, but I’m not really in-depth into it.
I’ve seen that HC and it’s really rad.

Also Goddamn I hope Patton doesn’t get merked easily like every other Allied character


Kids these days with their interwebs, their Tweeters and their FacePage. Why can’t they be like we were and read physical paper things, call people on the phone to talk and write letters?!? :wink:


“After 24 years of memorable storytelling, SEGA of America will conclude their Sonic the Hedgehog publishing partnership program with Archie Comics. This does not mark the end of Sonic in comics, but signifies SEGA of America’s decision to take a different direction for the series that will be announced at a later date. SEGA would like to thank Sonic’s amazing fans for their loyalty and passion over all the years. SEGA looks forward to providing more information soon.”


“You got all that from lines on paper? In books? You’re like … a wizard!”


That’s something that companies that make candy, shampoo, movies, fast food, cars, and so on, have all figured out. The comics companies (outside of the Big Two, the Fantagraphics/D&Q types, 2000AD, etc.) don’t really even do a lot of Branding 101 stuff, they haven’t asked who their customers are and how they want their product to make them feel, they haven’t created a recognizable look or a company-wide “voice” that stands out from their competitors. I doubt they have anyone on staff who does this stuff.

I don’t think the “every book is an island” approach that Image has adopted is a great one. There needs to be some kind of unifying quality control, and support for all titles across the line with the big titles a tide that lifts all ships. In a great and well-marketed line you need to feel like you’re not just reading some comics, but that you’re in on something cool, a part of something special. Think of peak era Vertigo or Windstorm. Y The Last Man and 100 Bullets owe so much to the fact that people loved Preacher and Transmet, which owes to the fact that people loved Shade and Sandman, and so on. If you love Lazarus and Jupiter’s Legacy, why buy another Image book? Who knows what you’re getting.

I am sure “indie” comics lines of the 90s thought about it like the indie record labels of the 80s, where labels like SST or 4AD or whatever almost had a whole aesthetic and way of life attached to them. If you liked Dead Can Dance, you would probably like the Cocteau Twins, and so on. If you’re going to run a boutique comics line, that’s how you have to think about it. I’m 100% certain Vertigo did back in the day.

(And Valiant is pretty good at this, but they have other concerns, namely good entry points)


Great analogy. I think it goes to my point on curation too. I want to read the Epitaph Records of comics.


Have added IDW, Bongo, Chapterhouse, and Vault.
Also added Previews Order Forms


I genuinely could do this tomorrow and have enough content to keep me happy for the rest of my life. Ditto with comics. And with books, music, etc.

Yes it’s great to discover something new that you can enjoy, but if you’ve never before read/watched something 20 years old, then it is new to you. It doesn’t have to have been published this month.

And there is so much existing content already out there I guarantee that any of you could stop reading/watching new stuff tomorrow and still be excited, challenged, and entertained for the rest of your lives by the old stuff you missed first time round.

(Note, I’m not advocating for all creators to set down their tools. Something new-new is just as good as something old-new. I’m just saying it’s not technically needed. So when you’re creating something new, you’re not just competing with your peers, you’re competing with centuries of classics. So step up your game.)


I’m genuinely curious as to how big the next boom will be. The booms seem to be getting smaller. I think digital will have to be an important component of a new boom.


I hate to be that guy, and don’t mean this as condescendingly as it usually is, but I didn’t realise the Archie Sonic Comic was still going. Curious as to what Sega’s new plan is, because I can’t see it being a license with a huge amount of competition over, given how weird the core Sonic fanbase is and how Sega’s driven the property into the ground over the last decade or so.