Comics Creators

What will this era of comics be remembered for?


Here is something I was thinking about last night.

If you pick an era of comics, be it late 1960s, mid-1980s, early 90s or 00s, or whatever, any knowledgeable fan can clearly imagine how that era was defined, in terms of industry trends, the most popular and influential talent, and iconic titles. As you get closer to the present and lose the benefit of hindsight, it becomes a bit trickier.

So I ask the board: 10 years from now, how will people look back on the mid-2010s in comics? What are the industry-wide trends and developments that will define this era, who are the creators, and what are the books?

(I’d answer myself but I’m off to work for the day. Very curious to hear what people think though)


This is certainly the decade when comic book characters became more visible to the mainstream public via movies and television. We’ve never had so many comic book movie franchises and TV series as we do right now.

I think it’s also the decade when TPB sales became a significant contributor to total sales for the industry, as more and more people choose to “trade-wait” for convenience and to save money.

And, of course, it is the decade of MILLAR.


I think it will be two things:

1. The Renaissance of the Indie Creator: Indie creators have always been around with varying degrees of success but in the last several years, I think there have been more successful ones. Working at the Big Two used to be the ultimate goal of a creator but now that is a platform to build a fanbase and parlay into successful indie work.

2. Comic Books Go Mainstream: TV shows and movies are successful and not looked down upon as “kid’s stuff”. Superheroes are accepted by the masses.


I think in the same vein as Todd it’s going to be the second coming of Image. It’s something not seen in comics before that a line of non-licensed creator owned books has sold like this.

DC and Marvel are putting out some decent books but I can’t see a theme or trend that will be memorable in the future.


This decade will be mostly remembered for Image.

It will be remembered for an increase in diversity.

It will be remembered for endless reboots and renumbering.

It will likely be remembered for Saga & the Walking Dead phenomenon.

The big two will be mostly remembered for comics playing second fiddle to their movies and tv.


I agree spot-on with a lot of that Chris although I think Walking Dead is more associated with the last decade.


Creator wise it will be Mark Millar & Jason Aaron, perhaps John Hickman & Scott Snyder as well.

In terms of artists, Quitely is still the biggest name in comic art, Fiona Staples is big news.

Problem is there’s a lot of good comics out there, so it’s very difficult to stand out from the crowd unless you have a large & consistent body of work over the last few years.

The Batman run by Snyder & Capullo will probably be well remembered, as will Aaron’s run on Thor.


Quite possibly, I kinda hummed and hawed on that one, but I know the trade sales are off the scale the last couple years.


I was thinking Image as well. The indie scene isn’t as diverse as it was in the 80s and early 90s, but Image has been a great vanguard for what remains of the indie scene, pumped out an amazing array of titles, and in doing so made the comic shop a more welcoming environment for more small press publishers.


I love the work coming out of Image now. It seems to be a golden age of creator owned work. I am curious if any of the properties will have the longevity of their corporate cousins just because of the very nature of what they are. If Siegel and Shuster had been the only people to have ever worked on Superman, would any of us be familiar with the character?


They are nuts. Brian Hibbs did some analysis on Bookscan which is roughly 65-70% of the US and Canada book market and The Walking Dead had sold $16m worth of trades in various formats in a year. Add in the rest of the market and the rest of the world and it’s not unreasonable to think Kirkman is knocking out $40m worth of the one book.

*he also noted that it sold more copies than all of Marvel’s trades combined.


One thing comics retailers and people in the business are all saying is also the clientele is changing to be more diverse. Especially a lot more women.


I think it’ll be a few things:

The creator-owned boom, largely via Image but also some of the other non-Big-Two publishers. We saw this a little bit in the mid-to-late '00s but it’s really taken off over the last few years. It’s a great thing for the industry and comics in general.

The superhero movie/tv era. It’s easy to forget that just ten years ago there was no MCU, let alone a DC tv multiverse, and film and TV adaptations were still looked upon as (relative) novelties. Now you can’t move for them.

The crisis of infinite reboots. I think people will look back on the reboot/renumbering fetish of recent years as a real quirk of this era, and I think that once readers become tired of it (which I think is already happening to a large extent) we’ll see things fall back into a slightly calmer period as far as these constant relaunches go.

Most of all though, I think it’ll be looked back on as the point at which digital comics really became a viable, legitimate extension of the medium. I still think we’re yet to see the full impact that digital will have, as we’re in the middle of a period of great upheaval on that front. It will be very interesting to see what the comics landscape looks like once the dust has settled a bit.


I think the last 5 years will be remembered as not having anything great associated with them. There’s a general malaise in the comics industry.

  • the NuDC looks like a stunt that didn’t transform DC’s future like they’d hoped.
  • Marvel has lurched from forgettable event to forgettable event.
  • both companies haven’t had genre defining runs or seen the emergence of new brands of characters that reinvigorated them.
  • there isn’t a wave of future superstars in the making.
  • the wave of superstars that emerged at the start of the decade (Aaron, Hickman, Snyder, Remender, Fraction, Gillen) have all done good work, but nothing that feels like it’ll always be in print and brought in legions of new fans.
  • sales of their core brands are falling as the audience is starting to drift away.

It’s been the decade of big name creators trying their own things, but very few of them are seeing huge success. Kirkman still dominates but just with one title, BKV is doing well but I’m not sure Saga can expand beyond comics, Millar continues his fast-track to Hollywood. Everyone else has half decent selling books but no major cash in’s. Even a guy like Bendis gets Powers adapted and no-one cares.

The industry feels like it’s stagnant and I’m sure it’s because there’s so much success in other avenues like merchandise, movies, TV and so on. It feels like it’s been 1994-1998 for the last 5 years.


I wonder if some of this isn’t because everyone is saving their best stuff for the themselves (which they should) but the subsequent creator owned book doesn’t get the same kind of attention as doing it in the Big 2’s large, interconnected universes. In the end, it’s so much better for the creator but Marvel and DC don’t have a perennial story to sell.

I wonder if we’ll either start seeing creator owned books becoming the perennial sellers or if the Big 2 will try to offer more lucrative arrangements to get those ideas running back into their products.


Nobody watched Powers because it’s on Playstation I think, even here I asked a while back and barely anyone had seen it. It has somehow got a second season though.

There may be some change there because Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick have set up their production company and seem to be making a lot of deals.

They won’t all make it of course but The Wicked and the Divine, Outcast, Sex Criminals, Descender, Southern Bastards, Chew, Lazarus, Wytches and Thief of Thieves have all been optioned.


All of this is good in my opinion because it reduces the primacy of the “Big Two”, but it hasn’t lead to a contraction in the number of comics shops like last time. It means that there’s a chance the market will stabilise across a wider base and be more robust.

And you know, maybe we’ll get an appreciable increase in comic shops again.


Jim, I don’t know if you are letting a personal malaise or lack of interest project into the industry as a whole.

There’s never been so many diverse options to lure readers in.

I think your discounting everyone outside the big two.

Rick Remender and John Hickman have both openly stated recently that they are making a fortune off trade sales, earning a ton more money than they’d be getting at Marvel.

I think the big two are struggling, I think comics in general have gone from strength to strength.

There’s less massive hits because there’s far more titles out there for people to buy and the Internet & Digital has made it so much easier for people to find what they want outside what DC and Marvel are marketing to them.


I wonder if comics are moving towards a long tail model more like music and some other mediums.


I think that could be a good point.

The model & buying habits/options have changed enough to perhaps lead to that.