Robot 6

Looking forward, looking back: Creators weigh in on comics in 2010 and 2011

I know it’s getting kind of late, and if I keep working on this one it won’t even be our anniversary anymore by the time it gets posted … so let’s do it.

Over the last couple of weeks Tim O’Shea and I have been reaching out to various folks around the comics industry, asking them six questions about 2010 and 2011. And boy did we get an awesome response. My thanks to everyone who took time to respond to us today, not only for this feature, but for everything else we’ve posted over the last 16 or so hours.

So check out the responses (and lots of cool artwork) below … this is a mammoth post, and I apologize in advance for any formatting problems or other issues on my end

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KURT BUSIEK (Astro City, The Witchlands, Kirby: Genesis)

The Witchlands

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Offhand, I’d say THE 6TH GUN, USAGI YOJIMBO, CAPTAIN AMERICA, THOR THE MIGHTY AVENGER, FABLES and SMILE.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

I don’t know what got attention and what didn’t, really. Hope Larson’s MERCURY, I’ll say. Whatever attention it got, it shoulda got more.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

Probably the shift toward digital distribution.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

More good comics!

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

Hopefully, a lot more of it will be legally available digitally, so more readers will have a shot at finding and reading it. That’s a simple-minded answer, but it’s pretty much how I look at it.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

More ASTRO CITY. THE WITCHLANDS. BATMAN: CREATURE OF THE NIGHT. KIRBY: GENESIS. Plus some prose fiction and some screenwriting. That ought to keep me busy…

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GAIL SIMONE (Birds of Prey, Secret Six)

Birds of Prey #1

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

I had a ton of favorite comics, but I think the two comics that I hoped to see more people latch onto were Northlanders and Unknown Soldier. Those are phenomenal books by creators at the top of their game.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

I think I answered this one prematurely…

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

I have a couple, but I think the deliberate price drop from DC is possibly the biggest. I think it’s going to take a while to see the true effect. A lot of smaller companies led the way on this, but for one of the big two to make this move is impressive, and I see now that Marvel is launching several titles at a lower price point. What the high price points did was train readers only to buy “essential” titles…it removed the notion of browsing and spontaneous purchases. That will have to be reintroduced. It won’t be easy, but I do think it can happen.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

It’s always about content. There is no problem we have that will be completely solved with any answer other than content. Marketing will do some good, distribution will do some good, but nothing keeps veteran readers and creates new ones like content that resonates.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I’m not sure that that is the right question…we’re still telling stories the best way we know how. At this point, digital is just the method to get more faces in front of the stories, and not so much a call for motion comics or other halfway approaches. Those things may come, but at this point, it doesn’t change the approach so much. If digital does what we are all hoping it will do, I would definitely like to see the “What happened before” pages that Marvel is doing come to the digital copies of all books that need them. And I want us all to be thinking of ways that digital can support and complement brick and mortar stores, rather than replace them.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

Still doing two of my all-time favorite books, Secret Six and Birds of Prey, as well as a big special project with the great Ethan Van Sciver. I’m getting asked to do a lot of movie, prose and video game work as always and this year, I’ve decided to actually do some more, but I don’t know what I’m allowed to talk about yet.

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FRED VAN LENTE (Power Man and Iron Fist, Chaos War)

From "Chaos War"

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

PLUTO by Urasawa I enjoyed the most.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

I’ll plug Sarah Oleksyk, writer/artist of Oni’s IVY, which is debuting in January. Of course, the fact we’re doing my next big indy book together, RENAISSANCE, has nothing to do with that.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

The debut of the iPad, an electronic device that replicates the experience reading of a physical comic to a T.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

I hope that even in this tough market the mainstream industry doesn’t lose its urge to experiment, which is where all future hits come from.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

Ask me in February. I should have a unique perspective.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

For Marvel, what can only be described as a “Dream Job.” And me and Sarah’s RENAISSANCE. And the usual stuff I can’t talk about.

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CHRISTOS GAGE (Avengers Academy, Area 10)

Avengers Academy #7, by Ed McGuinness

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Gosh, that’s hard to say. I’ll just name some off the top of my head: SHIELD, CAPTAIN AMERICA, SECRET AVENGERS, JONAH HEX, UNRWITTEN, FABLES, LOCKE & KEY, SECRET SIX…I’m sure I’m forgetting about a million.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

I really enjoy WELCOME TO TRANQULITY, VICTORIAN UNDEAD and JONAH HEX. There are others I would have named, like MADAME XANADU, THOR THE MIGHTY AVENGER and WARLORD, but those came to an end. In general, I wish the market was more welcoming to new characters and non-superhero genres.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

The economy. Comics have traditionally been considered “recession-proof,” but it seems like the economy finally hit the industry pretty hard.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

An economic rebound. Also, I would love to see the expanding digital market appeal to non-traditional readers…more casual fans, interested in genres like westerns and war comics…the audience that allowed books like SGT. ROCK and JONAH HEX to last for many years on the newsstands but seemed to fade away with the shift almost exclusively to comics shops. I think there are a lot more people out there who would enjoy comics than are currently reading them, and I hope digital distribution is the way to reach that audience.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

No idea. I’m not smart enough to know. I’m just going to keep writing the best stories I can and hope people like them.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

AVENGERS ACADEMY, a second “season” of ABSOLUTION from Avatar Press, my “old man noir” miniseries SUNSET from Top Cow, a top secret ongoing series, wrapping up my run on G.I. JOE: COBRA, and a variety of things not yet announced from Marvel, where I’m currently exclusive. Also finishing up my work on the CAPTAIN AMERICA: SUPER SOLDIER video game and maybe doing some more things in the video game world.

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PAUL TOBIN (Spider Girl, Gingerbread Girl)

Gingerbread Girl

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

The three that most readily pop into my head are “Okko” by Hub, published by Archaia Press, “American Vampire” by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque, at Vertigo, and then the “Miss Don’t Touch Me” albums by Hubert & Kerascoet, released by NBM.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

The above three… although I guess American Vampire is doing fairly well with attention, lately. And I’d also add in the works of Rick Remender and Jeff Parker. Rick’s work on Punisher and his other titles have been consistently full of dramatic surprises… and not cheap surprises either, but real storytelling. Likewise, Parker treads the boards between humor and drama… creating strongly crafted characters that feel like real people.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

The DC shake-up? Or maybe the industry’s overall half-hearted attempts to embrace a digital future.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

More strong indy material. A greater emphasis on the long term goals of story-telling, rather than “Extremely Violent Major Event That Won’t Matter In Two Months” publishing plans. Both serve their purpose, but I think we’ve swung too far in one direction. I’d also like to see comics work towards a digital future, allowing for a much larger reader base.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

My work at Marvel and DC… ? It’s hard to tell at this point. Depends greatly on the 2011 progress of that shift. I do have a graphic novel (Gingerbread Girl… with artist Colleen Coover) coming out from Top Shelf in May of 2011, and we’re serializing it online before the actual release. I’m curious to see how that goes, and it will affect how Colleen and I release our next OGN… Imbecile: A Love Story.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

Spider-Girl for Marvel, as well as my two Marvel Adventures titles… Spider-Man and Super Heroes. I’ll be finishing up my Arcade mini-series. There are some DC projects I can’t talk about yet. Some Conan work for Dark Horse, and finishing the Falling Skies online material for Dark Horse and Spielberg. The above mentioned graphic novels. A Marvel thing I can’t talk about. And I’d like to really begin looking for agents / publishers for a novel I’ve recently complete. I’m also thinking about learning ballroom dancing. Does that count?

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JASON (Werewolves of Montpellier, Low Moon)

Werewolves of Montpellier

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Love and Rockets #3, Market Day by James Sturm, the Barney Google book and Captain Easy vol. 1

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

I enjoyed Eden by Pablo Holmberg, it’s a very nice little book. And also Macanudo by Liniers. I don’t read Spanish, but there are two collections of his work in French so far and he really deserves to be translated into English as well.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I’m currently working on another collection of short stories in the same format as Low Moon. There should be six stories, the book around 180 pages. It should be out in English late next year.

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CHRIS SAMNEE (Thor the Mighty Avenger)

Thor the Mighty Avenger #8

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Jeff Parker’s Thunderbolts and Hulk have been consistently great, Darwyn Cooke’s The Outfit, Criminal and Incognito by Brubaker and Phillips, The Sixth Gun by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt. In the past year I’ve also really enjoyed getting caught up on some older comics and strips thanks to the amazing collections IDW has been putting out like Winterworld, Torpedo, Rip Kirby and Terry and the Pirates.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Not sure if they’re “overlooked” but Declan Shalvey, Jason Latour, Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt, Tom Fowler, Paul Tobin, Jeff Parker, Gabe Hardman and Tonci Zonjic are doing amazing work and always deserve more praise. These folks should be on everybody’s Best Of lists if you ask me.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

Probably digital comics on the iPad.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

I’d love to see the industry focus on bringing in new readers (and younger readers), especially with more continuity-light, event-free stories.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I don’t really see it impacting my work in 2011, maybe further down the line though.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I have a number of projects lined up for 2011 that I’m couldn’t be more jazzed about. So far word has gotten out that I’ll be doing issue #155 of Ultimate Spider-Man and a book for FCBD called Thor and Captain America: The Mighty Avengers which ties together the worlds of Thor: The Mighty Avenger and Captain America: The Fighting Avenger. Plenty more on the schedule but I’m afraid I can’t spill the beans on what they are just yet.

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STUART MOORE (Namor: The First Mutant, JLA/The 99)

Namor: The First Mutant #2

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

I got caught up on SCALPED and SCOTT PILGRIM, both of which were absolutely amazing, in two completely different ways.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Marvel’s indy-themed books, like STRANGE TALES and GIRL COMICS, were very cool.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

Probably the changes going on behind the scenes of DC and Marvel. But that’s all very slow and unflashy. So I’ll say THE! REVOLUTION! IN! DIGITAL! PUBLISHING! (Even though it’s not really here yet.)

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

Creative solutions to a problem I hope will be short term: a sales decline that seems to be coming in the direct market. Everyone cites digital as the answer, and it probably is, long term — but it’s not ready yet. Very few people have devices they want to read comics on.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I’m hoping to use it to get some of my fringier, more personal work into print. The direct market has become very closed to new properties and new books, except for a very few projects, mostly by superstar writers and artists. I plan to explore a range of digital nooks and crannies, while still working largely for print.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

Ongoing from Marvel: NAMOR: THE FIRST MUTANT. A new storyline starts in January, as Namor is exiled to a very personal Hell. Current from DC Comics, in cooperation with Teshkeel Media: JLA/THE 99, teaming up two superhero teams from different cultural backgrounds. And then a lot of strange, crawling things that aren’t ready to see the light yet.

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JOE HENDERSON (White Collar)

Scene from White Collar's Midseason Finale

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

There were so many good books this year, but to single out a few standouts:

Fantastic Four—Hickman’s current run is my favorite FF in a long time, and I’m loving the current “3” arc.

Action Comics—Paul Cornell makes Lex Luthor a leading man and me hope Superman never comes back to the book.

Return of the Dapper Men—a beautiful and clever book, and especially smart of McCann to set himself apart as a writer by creating something unlike anything else on the shelves.

Prince of Power—I’ve loved the entire Hercules run by Van Lente and Pak, but I especially love this mini focusing on Amadeus Cho stepping up and becoming a genuine Marvel character in his own right.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Mike Costa, whose excellent GI Joe: Cobra always deserves more attention/praise. Josh Fialkov, who just had a much-deserved sellout of his great new book Echoes and was brave enough to write a (hilarious) Batroc/Fantomex story. And Kyle Higgins, who wrote the awesome Night Runner backups in the Batman annuals.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

Affordable day and date digital release. Also more Darkhawk.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

White Collar season 2.5 starts up January 18th on USA (with my episode!), then season 3 in June. I’m hoping to get some comic book work going in the next year as well.

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SEAN MURPHY (Joe the Barbarian)

by Sean Murphy

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

I hope to see less superhero comics. But knowing that won’t happen, I hope to see a new focus on Vertigo. With all the changes happening and the rumors in the DC hallways, I’m hoping Vertigo comes into a different focus in the next decade. While keeping true it’s successful roots, I’d also like to see more sales, tighter scripts, edgier art, and better attention to delivering these properties into the Hollywood system.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I imagine the digital shift will continue to indirectly promote the use of digital inking. While I personally think digital inking is a crime, I understand that it’s here to stay. Which is great because there will be less original art for sale in the coming years. Thus, those of us who use pen and paper will be able to sell our pages for more money.

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JIM McCANN (Return of the Dapper Men, Widowmaker)

"Not quite ready to fly..."

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

I think everyone upped their game this year. From Marvel- the relaunch of the Avengers line to to the mystery and compelling story in Hickman’s FF, Amazing Spider-Man’s run with some really great writers and artists, so many great things. DC I enjoyed Flash, Birds of Prey, and am on the bus for Brightest Day. Indy books that really stood out to me were Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard and the stand-out book of the year that took me by surprise- Morning Glories.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

I think Nick Spencer deserves all the praise he is getting for Morning Glories, if not more. Same with Jonathan Hickman & his SHIELD book. I think people like Jeff Parker, Paul Tobin, and Fred Van Lente are guys that put out great work month after month and should be followed. God Machine was a great book from Archaia that folks should check out, and same with Mouse Guard: Black Axe, which just started. It’s been a privilege to work with David Lopeź and Chris Samnee and I am so happy they are hitting big time. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Janet Lee, the co-creator and illustrator for RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN. She is getting a lot of praise from those who are discovering her work, but I think she is going to be a superstar now that she’s entered the world of sequential art.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

I’d have to say the reorganization of DC. It was a move that affected a lot of people and it will be interesting to see how a bi-coastal company works out.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

More support of the mid-tier and creator-owned titles. I understand budgets, but there are some amazing stories out there that people are missing out on because they think these books “don’t count as much.”

I would also like to see retailers commit more to all ages titles. The fan base is there and we need to have product in stores for this new generation of readers in addition to existing customers if the industry stands a chance of growing.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I think you’ll see it stay around the same for my Marvel work. As far as the DAPPER MEN books, due to the unique look and feel of the art, we want to make sure that the digital version is a special and different experience than the physical book. I think the technology is there, it’s just a matter of building something that will truly wow people the way the book has.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I’m currently working on HAWKEYE: BLIND SPOT and ZOMBIE CHRISTMAS CAROL for Marvel, TIME OF THE DAPPER MEN- the second volume in the Dapper Trilogy, and another project that’s under wraps at the moment but one I am very excited about!

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MATT SILADY (The Homeless Channel, A Delta of You)

The Delta of You

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

The women really stole the show in 2010. Lynda Barry (Picture This), Cathy Malkasian (Temperance), Vanessa Davis (Make Me a Woman), Julia Wertz (Drinking at the Movies), Hope Larson (Mercury), Renee French (H Day), and Sarah Glidden (How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less) all put out great books this year.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

I never think Matt Kindt gets enough press. His work is always exceptional and this year’s major release (Revolver) was no different.

I also really enjoyed Top Shelf’s recent Swedish invasion. Bravo to Chris and Brett for introducing us to a whole new comic book scene.

But the real catch is Ben Costa’s Xeric-winning hardcover collection of Pang: The Wandering Shaolin Monk. This book is just beautiful and redefines what self-publishing can look like. Highly, highly recommended.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

I guess it had to be the 399 cent comic (a.k.a. the number of pennies it takes to put the serialized monthly comic companies out of the serialized monthly comic business).

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

I’d like subscriptions for serialized comic books by the Big Two sold exclusively through comic retailers. You visit a shop, pay for a digital subscription, the retailer gets a cut, and you get a little secret code that unlocks the monthly download. That’s right, a little secret code. I just saved the industry. Boom. Done. What’s next?

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

It only impacts me in that it impacts the direct market retailers. On a day-to-day basis, I just worry about making good comics and helping other folks make good comics too.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I’ve got my spring graphic novel workshop to run at CCA and I’m co-teaching a brand new course with Justin Hall (True Travel Tales) that focuses on the history of the queer comics scene. I’m also chipping away at my next book and editing Kristin Olson’s beautiful series of graphic novels, Sick Bed Blues. Should be a fantastic year!

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JOHN ROGERS (Dungeons & Dragons, Leverage)

TNT's Leverage

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

The Boys, Secret Six, Irredeemable, Chew

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

The recent change in Vertigo residual structure is a pretty big development, and will force more young creators into self-publishing to protect their IP.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

A change in attitude toward piracy. There’s plenty of music piracy, and we’re still selling a couple billion a year in mps’s. Piracy doesn’t kill mid-list books — crossovers and events do. Piracys like the weather. Unavoidable and unmanageable. Just carry an umbrella and stop obsessing.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

The only new work I’ll be doing is self-published digital. So, a lot.

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CHRIS ROBERSON (Starborn, iZombie)

Stan Lee's Starborn #5

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

This was a GREAT year for comics. Particular favorites of mine, in no particular order, were THE WEIRD WORLD OF JACK STAFF, ATLAS, THOR: THE MIGHTY AVENGER, ALL of Grant Morrison’s amazing Batman books, KING CITY, GREEN HORNET: YEAR ONE, THE SIXTH GUN, ATOMIC ROBO, Paul Cornell’s ACTION and KNIGHT & SQUIRE, WITCHFINDER… I could literally go on and on and on.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Brandon Graham’s KING CITY is a marvel, and should be on everyone’s reading list. Same for Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt’s THE SIXTH GUN. And I’m still amazed that Paul Grist’s Jack Staff books aren’t best-sellers. On the web, I think everyone should be reading (and sending money to) Lucy Knisley. And I’m ready for artists like Evan “Doc” Shaner and Dean Trippe to be superstars already!

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

The release of the iPad was completely game-changing. You couldn’t design a more perfect device for reading digital comics.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

I’m ready for publishers to do day-and-date digital releases at reasonable prices, say $.99 for a full issue. It’s a great idea for a lot of reasons, but not least of which because there are lots of folks who don’t live near comic shops, or who live overseas and have to wait forever for new releases, so there’d be this whole new market that would open up immediately.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I think the work will largely stay the same, at least for the foreseeable future. But with digital distribution, we could be reaching a lot of readers who either won’t or can’t go to a comic shop on a regular basis.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

Coming up in the next year I’ve got SUPERMAN from DC, the ongoing iZOMBIE and the miniseries CINDERELLA: FABLES ARE FOREVER from Vertigo, and STAN LEE’S STARBORN and ELRIC from BOOM! Studios.

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SAM HUMPHRIES (Fraggle Rock, CBGB)

Fraggle Rock

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

I won’t repeat my personal top ten list from elsewhere, so how about a special shout out: Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s SIEGE: LOKI was one of the most memorable single issues produced by the big two in years.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Maybe it was a change in my surfing habits, but I thought there was more thoughtful, sustained discussion of works, outside of the news cycle, in 2010. The many incisive voices on Love and Rockets #3 and Grant Morrison’s Batman saga were a welcome change from the rapid blog churn. I hope to see more in 2011!

Daytripper was a remarkable book that got very little discussion.

Special Exits was indeed special and I felt got a little left behind by the news cycle. Which puzzled me, I thought the book came ready-made with all sorts of interesting angles and article fodder.

I think Fraction’s Thor is shaping up to be the equal or better of his Iron Man work and I can’t figure out if I’m alone in this.

Benjamin Marra’s Maureen Dowd book got some attention for its surface level LOLz but, I feel, not enough appreciation for its achievement as a genuine, multi-layered, stone-faced satire.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

The comic industry has lived to see another year!

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

I hope to see more bright individuals discovering ways to steal positive momentum for the industry despite the economy.

I’d like to see more experimentation in the business models of digital distribution.

I’d like to see the industry shift its definition of “success” and “failure.” Sometimes, it seems that nothing shy of a 100 issue run rates an automatic FAIL from the chorus of voices out there.

I’d like more beautiful English translations of European works. Hats off to the publishers already doing wonderful work on this front.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I see it opening a lot more options for distribution. But is it an overall improvement? Is anyone paying attention? Let’s find out.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

OUR LOVE IS REAL, a sci-fi love story with Steven Sanders.

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JUSTIN ACLIN (S.H.O.O.T. First, ToyFare)

art from "S.H.O.O.T First" by Ben Bates

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

I thought the Taskmaster mini by Fred Van Lente and Jefte Palo was one of the most unexpected and enjoyable reads of the year. Both that and Batman Inc. made me laugh out loud this year, which is one of the highest things you can ascribe to, as far as I’m concerned. I loved Thor: The Mighty Avenger, even though its cancellation broke my heart. Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour definitively answered by one niggling question about the Scott Pilgrim series, which was “Does O’Malley know Scott’s kind of a jerk?” And Axe Cop continues to demonstrate that no one’s imagination or sense of timing is as good as a 6-year-old’s. And I probably forgot a hundred other things I enjoyed the crap out of–I read a lot of comics!

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

I think the biggest story in 2010 was actually the lack of huge stories. There wasn’t really a Blackest Night-style monster that dominated, and instead you saw companies casting about trying to find something different, but not finding anything that really connected (or at least, that connected enough to offset the general economic malaise). Even digital comics, while certainly a favorite topic of conversation, didn’t really cross over in a way that indicates “The Future is here!” That, or Walking Dead being such a huge hit. All of my favorite storytelling right now that’s not in comics is on TV, and I hope we can see more of comics’ best cross over to that medium soon.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

One thing I’m sure we’ll be seeing, which I’m excited to, is the next generation of up-and-coming creators taking shape. I think in 2010 you saw a lot of the last wave of up-and-comers–your Jason Aarons and Jeff Lemires and Chris Robersons and Jonathan Hickmans–become the new establishment. It definitely seems like it’s time for some new voices to come in and fill that role.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I’m actually moving in the opposite direction – my story, S.H.O.O.T. First for MySpace Dark Horse Presents will be reprinted in MDHP volume 6, on sale in February from Dark Horse. That said, I would like to do more things in the digital space this year. The idea of not having to find a way to get anything printed is exceedingly appealing.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

Every day I sit at a desk and make more ToyFare. Other than that there’s nothing that can be announced yet, but I have recently gotten a bug up my butt to do a webcomic in 2011, as I mentioned above. If I could draw better than a 4-year-old I’d do it myself, but as it is I’m looking for collaborators.

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DARYL GREGORY (Dracula: The Company of Monsters, The Devil’s Alphabet)

Dracula: The Company of Monsters

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

My favorite new book of the year was iZOMBIE, by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred. They’ve created this wonderful, breezy tone, which is SO much harder than it looks. This year I jumped onto the IRREDEEMABLE and INCORRUPTIBLE bandwagon. Those books hit all my superhero fanboy buttons. And in the “late to the party, but what a party it is” department, I caught up on the UMBRELLA ACADEMY this year. Huge, huge fun.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I’m new to comics, with no built-in fan base, so any distribution channel that gets my books in front of readers is extremely valuable. In the prose world, my novels have always been available on the Kindle, and I’m seeing slow but steady growth there. Here’s hoping for another jump after Christmas. I was one of those thousands who I got an iPad this year (thanks, Santa!) and I prefer the reading experience on that device over the Kindle (though I’m using the Kindle app, and still like purchasing on Amazon). And of course, for comics, the Kindle machine is useless.

But allow me a moment for a rant. Marvel was offering some free comics as an inducement to try out their reader, and I happily took the bait. I downloaded the app, but then, before I could download the freebies, I had to create a billable account — which then failed on the iPad. I was so annoyed that I decided to skip the app. Come on, Corporate America! You’ve got to get these user experience issues figured out. You’re on an iPad, and the bar’s a little higher.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I’m trying to straddle both worlds — one foot in science fiction prose and another in comics. My next novel, RAISING STONY MAYHALL, will be coming out in June 2011 from Del Rey. And later in the year Fairwood Press is publishing a collection of my short stories. I’ve started daydreaming about the next novel, but it’s too early to talk about.

And in comics I’ll be continuing with DRACULA: COMPANY OF MONSTERS for BOOM! Studios. I’ve been talking with the BOOMers about another project that I hope will get the greenlight soon. So I’m busy, but I’m having a blast.

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NEIL KLEID (The Big Kahn, Superman 80 Page Giant)

The Big Kahn

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Dug into a new Cooke PARKER graphic novel with glee, stuck with perennial favorites WALKING DEAD, CHEW and GREEN LANTERN, but also hearted new comic gems like AMERICAN VAMPIRE, THOR THE MIGHTY AVENGER, Archaia’s FRAGGLE ROCK series, Jeff Lemire and Paul Cornell’s recent foray on SUPERBOY and ACTION COMICS.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Man, I know everyone’s gonna ring the THOR THE MIGHTY AVENGER bell here, but I’ll point toward Kevin Colden’s awesomely disturbing I RULE THE NIGHT, Marvel’s all ages SPIDER-MAN comic as written by Paul Tobin, Dark Horse’s CREEPY COMICS revival, and Ben McCool/Ben Templesmith’s CHOKER. Also, though I haven’t read it yet but flipped through at the store, the recent release of Scott Chantler’s TWO GENERALS should have been on folks’ radar as should have been Kody Chamberlain’s SWEETS.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

Shall I choose the DC restructuring/relocation/removal of imprints? The anxious, hurtling move into digital distribution including day-and-date delivery? How about the media/television domination of Kirkman’s WALKING DEAD? You decide.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

A clear, viable, monetized plan for digital comics distribution and more original works—comics and graphic novels—being created in that space. Also? More comics about cops with axes.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I imagine I’ll get back to doing original webcomics again at some point, but for 2011 it looks like my hand in digital will focus on getting past, published work available at well-established digital providers like Comixology and such, taking some of my print work and formatting it for iPad/tablet release. Hoping that can include full graphic novels, as well, the way IDW plans to do.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

Dean Haspiel and I have a ten page Perry White story running in February’s SUPERMAN 80 PAGE GIANT I’m pretty proud of but apart from that, 2011 is a head down creative year—I’m scripting/illlustrating a graphic novel for one publisher which will see daylight in 2012, while shepherding the art on a second book for another publisher which may debut at the end of 2011. I’m also putting a second draft polish on a Big Boy novel, which will probably need a third. I’ve got a few smaller irons in the fires throughout the industry but the graphic novel I’m drawing is the focus for the year.

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CAANAN GRALL (Max Overacts, Celadore)

Celadore

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

In short order, without elaborating why, I enjoyed all of these comics in one way or another – Muppet Show, Mystery Society, Ultimate Spider-Man, Chew, Black Cat, Locke & Key, Marvel’s continuing Oz adaptations, Echo, Scratch 9, Beasts of Burden, the Walking Dead, Cul de Sac, the Stuff of Legend, and I’ll stop now.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Keeping in mind, I read very little comics this past year, having moved to the country, I’d say from what I did see – Rafa Sandoval on the Ultimate mini series, Ultimate Mystery, does some fantastic art. He’s like a strange hybrid of Leinil Yu and Immonen. Once that story is wrapped, I’m sure he’ll be put on something big.

Also, I don’t know why Matthew Loux’s Salt Water Taffy books aren’t big by now. The Goonies is big. Why isn’t Salt Water Taffy? If you like one, you’re almost guaranteed to like the other. Maybe they are big? I’m no expert.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

DC’s restructuring. Sweep away some labels to make room for more ‘mainstream’ interchangeable heroes fighting the same fights, in the same tights? Sigh…

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

Less marketing hyperbole! Less comics that will “Change everything!” that are the “One you’ve got to see to believe!” – the one guest starring ‘Spider-Man/Deadpool/Wolverine/TakeYourPick!” – the one that’s “world changing!” – “Earth shattering!” – the one where “Someone dies! And you wouldn’t believe who if we told you.”

Man, calm down. The louder you shout, the more people will block you out.

I’m looking at you, Marvel.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I already distribute for free on the net. I’d love to get in on that iPhone/iPad business, but I don’t even have one to check if what I create would even work. Ah well. I’d like to see more comics released digital-exclusive, and then head to print if it’s successful. Not just if it’s finished and there has to be a book, but if its sales/popularity warrants it. That’s what I’m working toward.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

Currently, plugging away three times a week on my webcomic, Max Overacts is my only sure thing. In 2011, I hope for there to be a first print edition, collecting the first 120 strips or so. Hopefully in time for TCAF.

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B. CLAY MOORE (Battle Hymn, The Further Adventures of the Whistling Skull)

The Further Adventures of the Whistling Skull

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

SCALPED, PUNISHER (FRANKENCASTLE), BPRD, CHEW, THE SIXTH GUN, FANTASTIC FOUR

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Hopefully people are beginning to notice the phenomenal work that Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt have done on both THE DAMNED and THE SIXTH GUN.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

The reshuffling of DC in the wake of the Disney/Marvel deal.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

A tighter focus on quality (rather than quantity), and more successful creation/marketing/distribution of independent books along the lines of CHEW and THE SIXTH GUN (get them done, get them promoted, get them shipped on time).

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I have no idea. I’ll be curious to see how the larger companies and the deals they’ve put together impact what I do. And I suppose I need to renew the focus on distributing my creator-owned work digitally. Hopefully I can just sit on my ass and the royalty checks will start rolling in!

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE WHISTLING SKULL (DC Comics), GREAT BIG HAWAIIAN DICK (Image), BILLY SMOKE (Oni), a new BATTLE HYMN book, and many more.

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MARK ANDREW SMITH (Sullivan’s Sluggers, Popgun)

Sullivan's Sluggers

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

I’ve been living overseas in Asia for a very long time. I didn’t read anything current. :( I made a choice to read prose for the year and I’ve done a lot of reading but regular books. I haven’t read a single comic book all year.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

I’m out of the loop.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

I’m drawing a blank. I can hardly remember a single major news story from this year, which I think makes it uneventful.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

It’s a secret.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I was reading a thread on Amazon about authors and their books, and most of them were published on the Kindle. Even though they’re printed, they’re not ‘printed’. I prefer my books made from the flesh of freshly killed trees. Anyone can digitally print. We’re going to have a planet with 6 billion authors and no one reading any of their books.

Reading digital comics is still exciting and something I enjoy as a reader and to be able to have a lot of books on one device. There is a conflict of the creator side of me versus the reader side. There is no one sided answer and it’s not that great of a conflict, it doesn’t keep me awake at night. The price point for digital comics is so high that I don’t want to buy any digital comics, but I’ll read digital books. There isn’t any massive campaign or organized effort to raise awareness about comic books on reader devices.

If someone goes in with an effective marketing campaign, they have a great graphic novel, and do the same marketing and advertising for a digital graphic novel that they would for a new release in the book market, that it might catch and we might see our first millionaire from digital comics in the next few years. I hope it’s me. I deserve it.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I can’t discuss the specifics, but I’m working on a story that’s very BIG and LARGE SCALE. Literally.

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CHIP MOSHER (BOOM! Studios marketing)

Irredeemable #21

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Elijah Brubaker’s REICH by Sparkplug Comic Books is something I’ve enjoyed immensely. It’s up their with Lutes’ BERLIN in my book. Great historical storytelling. I really, really, really enjoyed AMERICAN VAMPIRE. I thought the first four issues of that series was terrific. And, if I could include a BOOM! series that didn’t get enough praise this year, that would be DRACULA: THE COMPANY OF MONSTERS. Busiek’s story mixed with Daryl Gregory’s script mixed with Scott Godlewski’s art just delivers the kind of unique story that you can only find in comics.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

DRACULA: THE COMPANY OF MONSTERS. DRACULA: THE COMPANY OF MONSTERS. DRACULA: THE COMPANY OF MONSTERS. Can I say that one more time? You need to be picking this up.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

The beginning of a viable digital marketplace for comics. The iPad has come down from Mount Cupertino and will save us all!

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

To smartly develop that viable digital marketplace into something that can attract a wider audience in the longterm. I hope to see the conversation move from “Digital is going to save comics” to “how do we smartly build a long-term audience in digital.” Brigid Alverson wrote a great article on Robot 6 here about the challenges of digital comics: I hope to see more of that in the coming year so we can all learn and grow and be better!

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

Since this is my department’s responsibly, for me it means… more work! Seriously, while I am as excited as the next person by emerging digital markets, there are challenges ahead for both print and digital that are not dissimilar to each other. Whether print or digital, we need to expand the audience for comics all around. Contrary to popular belief, digital does have challenges and is not an instant panacea to all our problems (See Brigid’s article above! ) But while I have tried to inject some real grounded reality into the discussion, it is very exciting time to be making and marketing comics.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I can’t WAIT for people to see what we have coming down the pike for 2011. HELLRAISER with Clive Barker writing! ELRIC with Moorcock anointed Chris Roberson writing. And then in April we’ll have…. whoops can’t talk about that now. And then in May, we have…. whoops can’t talk about that either. Well, let me just assure you. This year will make you go BOOM!

——————–

MARK SABLE (Teen Titans: Cold Case, Rift Raiders)

Teen Titans: Cold Case

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Casanova is not technically new, but it’s worth re-reading, not just because it’s a densely written book that embraces the medium like no other. Cris Peter’s colors really do make it a new book, and Matt Fraction delivers great back matter as always.

Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque’s American Vampire is the best new series I’ve read.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

No matter how many books I have out – and I think I had 3 or 4 this year – I always think the answer to that question is me and my work.

Seriously, with the success of Crossed and The Boys, Garth Ennis’ Battlefield gets overlooked, and it’s his best series to date. Similarly, I think with so many Avengers and GI Joe titles, Christos Gage’s work with Mike Costa on GI Cobra and his solo work on Avengers Academy don’t get the attention they deserve either.

Avengers Academy is a perfect superhero book – it’s got real, relatable teen characters and manages to tell a complete story every issue while keeping you coming back for more. I think it’s a great entry point into comics.

Although I’m biased, I’d say that Paul Azaceta is the most overlooked artist in the business. His work on Spider-Man proves he can handle mainstream superhero work as well as the darker stuff he made a name for.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

That the industry is putting out way too much decompressed, overpriced, inaccessible work Too many crossovers, too much writing for the trade…how do we ever expect to get new readers?

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

As a reader – more dense, accessible work. That doesn’t mean dumbed down. It means more creators and publishers taking Stan Lee’s maxim seriously, that every comic might be somebody’s first. It a;sp means giving readers a complete story for a reasonable price. When an hour long TV show is available for $2.99 online, why do comics that tell 1/4 to 1/6 of a story priced the same? Readers deserve an experience that’s longer than taking a crap.

As a creator – I love what the Hero Initiative is doing. But it’s ironic that some of the same people who are trying to help creators who were screwed over are continuing some of the bad business practices that put them in the poorhouse in the first place. I’d like to see creators, and freelancers in particular offered healthcare so there doesn’t need to be a Hero Initiative in the future.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I’m not sure. So far it hasn’t made me do anything other than buy an iPad, which is nice for showing pitches to publishers. But it hasn’t changed my buying habits, and I don’t see it doing so until digital comics are priced less than hard copies.

That said, I’m looking very seriously into the idea of doing a digital-only or digital-first book as an experiment. Warren Ellis’ Freakangels seems to be the model to beat.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I’m creating two more books for Kickstart Comics, the new publisher I helped launch with RIFT RAIDERS this fall. I’m writing a motion comic tied in with a visually stunning blockbuster movie. But what I’m most excited about is a book called GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES that re-teams me with GROUNDED artist Paul Azaceta at Image. I think it has the potential to be both of our best work to date.

——————–

PHIL HESTER (Godzilla, Wonder Woman)

Godzilla: Monster World #1

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Oh, boy. I’m so behind on my reading. You know I didn’t start Starman or Y, The Last Man until their runs were over, right? I have to say 20th Century Boys, though still in progress, has made its way into my all-time top ten. I love all the new Hellboy stuff. X’ed Out. Loved Tumor from Archaia. Jonah Hex. I always read Walking Dead the day I get ‘em. Digging Action, Spider-Girl, FF, Bulletproof Coffin, Joe the Barbarian, Scalped, oh, man… so much stuff I need to catch up on. Uhhh… every last comic written or drawn by my friends!

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

The aforementioned Tumor by Josh Fialkov and Noel Tuazon, also Proof by Alex Grecian and Riley Rossmo. Eric Canete is a genius and gets a ton of praise form his fellow artists, but he’s not as appreciated by the general public as I’d like.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

The inevitable move to digital distribution. Comic shops, don’t go away!

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

Again, a useful model for universal digital distribution. I know there are a ton of cool comic apps out there, but it would be swell to wind up with an itunes of comics.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I plan to put all my creator owned catalogue online for free in the near future. I mean, why not? They’re already there. Why not create a hub where all my stuff can be found? As long as I can get high end hardcovers like The Coffin to be profitable (and it was), access to my library of work can only help expose my books to new readers, fans, and hopefully buyers. I may also try some of my concepts out online before moving to print. Some of my noncommercial ideas are REALLY noncommercial and I have a hard time landing publishers for them. Those will probably find themselves delivered as webcomics.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

Writing Wonder Woman, The Darkness, Firebreather, The Green Hornet, Golly, Warpaint for Strip Magazine, and some indie OGNs, and drawing Godzilla for IDW.

——————–

EVAN DORKIN (Beasts of Burden, The Simpsons)

Beasts of Burden #4

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Market Day, Yotsuba!, Detroit Metal City, Hellboy, Polly and Her Pals, Kate Beaton’s online comics, Dustin Harbin’s Diary Comics (print/online), Prince Valiant vol 2, Afrodisiac, Rambo 3.5, Love and Rockets, Black Jack, Captain Easy vol 1, King Aroo vol 1, Thirteen Going on Eighteen, Four Color Fear, and some other stuff I can’t remember offhand, sorry. I mostly read comics from the library or stuff publishers send me for free. Who can afford these things anymore?

Because nobody asked, but they should, because kids are supposedly our future and all that crap: my 5-year old daughter’s 2010 favorites include Little Lulu from DHC, The Smurfs books from NBM, Bart Simpson Comics from Bongo, Tiny Titans from DC, various DC Silver-Age Showcase superhero collections, Johnny Boo from Top Shelf, Uncle Scrooge from Boom and the Felix the Cat book IDW put out, among others. She doesn’t pay for her comics, either. Except for Prison Pit and Tarot, I told her if she really wanted those we’d have to take it out of her allowance.

Ever hear a kid cry in a comic book store? It’s really kind of hideous.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez (and the Art of Jaime Hernandez book). Those two still tower over this medium, imho. Jim Woodring’s Weathercraft (I say this having only skimmed it, so, yeah, I’m part of the problem). Duncan Fegredo’s contributions to the Mignolaverse. Eddie Campbell’s Complete Alec (was this 2010 –?). Bongo, nobody talks about Bongo and they put out fun comics (Disclaimer: I freelance for them, but it’s still true). A number of excellent strip reprints, like Captain Easy, King Aroo, et al. Lots more, obviously. I mean, all kidding aside, who can keep up with the deluge of books these days? I hear good things about comics like King City, Orc Stain, Bulletproof Coffin, Pluto, Chi’s Sweet Home, Prison Pit, fill-in-the-blank, this, that and the other — I can’t gamble on them on my budget, the library doesn’t have them yet (if ever), and I don’t know how to download stuff off pirate sites (Hey, Kids — any help with the latter would be gratefully accepted, e-mail me!). I still haven’t read Wilson or Acme 20 or most of this year’s BPRD output or the latest Palookaville, and these are books I’m going to try to hunt down to read before most unknown titles, to be honest. I’m also clueless when it comes to web comics, on top of all that. So, yeah, lots of stuff gets overlooked. Publishers, creators and lunatics can all feel free to send me their books next year so I can make a longer and stronger list in 2011. I know the kids want to see that. So do it for the kids.

I will say this, though — somebody should’ve paid more attention to what Neal Adams was doing this year on Batman:Odyssey. Like, way before those books ever got into print. Holy. Crap. Batman.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

I dunno. Probably something to do with “apps” or falling sales or DC creating a lot of new Green lanterns and Vice Presidents. For me, it was FBI announcing the Complete Barnaby series for 2012.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

Health coverage. Ha ha ha! I almost typed that with a straight face, honest. No, actually, I’m just praying for more useless collections of lousy work, more licensed garbage from my childhood and yours, more variant cover overkill, more superhero violence and more one-issue stories stretched to six issue story arcs. It thrills me to no end to see these positive content-driven trends continue to support our healthy industry like Atlas holding up Earth-2. Oh, and Batman: Odyssey, more of that, please. It’s printed on blotter paper, did you know that? At least that’s my theory. Something has to explain the horrible freak-out I had after attempting to read the fourth issue. Either that or it’s a Cthulhu-related thing, like…there’s Cthulhu in the ink or something crazy like that. Involving Cthulhu. Raaargh.

Also, I thought the Spider-Man Musical was the best continuing storyline in comics in 2010, so I hope that sticks around to entertain and delight us all. The producers have a far more interesting handle on character setbacks and mutilation than most superhero comic book writers do. I’m amazed no one’s hired them for at least a Moon Knight or Aquaman mini-series by now.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I don’t expect it to do much for me, personally. I hope it increases the chances of other creators’ work to be read and enjoyed and made more profitable. But I’m doomed. I don’t believe anything can save me now beyond the intervention of the all-supreme being, the great creator. Of course, I’m talking about Jack Kirby.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I’m writing three short Beasts of Burden stories for Jill Thompson to paint for Dark Horse Presents, drawing a 10-page strip for the Bart Simpson comic from Bongo, illustrating something for Mad…um, I dunno, I might do some other stuff, too. Maybe not. Things have been weird, lately. For some reason none of my calls to DC Comics get returned, which sucks because I have this really awesome idea for a Batman series where he, like, poses dramatically on all the covers and does all this really intense stuff in his never-ending war on crime. Also, it has the Joker in it. Anyway, in the past few weeks I’ve filled out a lot of employment forms at K-Mart, Target, Popeye’s and a few other places. Still waiting to hear back from them. Petsmart would be nice, if they got back to me. I like animals.

Thinking positive thoughts for 2011!

——————–

IVAN BRANDON (Viking, Doc Savage)

Viking: The Long Cold Fire (hardcover), by Nic Klein and Tom Muller

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

I’ve been trying to figure that out, but I have a terrible memory for that kinda thing. I know I really loved Daytripper. I know I loved Batman and Robin. I dug Frankencastle for how it pushed in the opposite direction of the current comics trend and dealt with what’s POSSIBLE in comics rather than what’s REAL outside of comics. I think that’s hopefully the next push, people really thinking of these characters as incredible moreso than credible. I love that Casanova came back. I love new KING CITY.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

The attention to digital comics, though I think the specifics of that attention have so far been largely misplaced, but it’ll all eventually lead to good things hopefully.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

Bigger things. People trying to surprise rather than shock. In superhero comics, people really understanding that these worlds are full of infinite possibility and maybe they should stretch their legs a little more.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I don’t see it as a shift, I see it as a balance. I don’t think digital has to kill print, I think right now they’re separate markets and that’s how I’m trying to connect with them. But I think you’re going to see some more work debuting digitally and for my part I’m thinking of ways to make that work unique.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

At the big 2: my biggest work for hire project ever, by far. But I can’t name it yet. Also a return to a couple familiar characters.

On the creator owned front: I’m working on 3 new ideas simultaneously… 1 sci-fi, 1 real-world and 1 original superhero thing.

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ADAM BEECHEN (Batman Beyond, Wildcats)

Batman Beyond #1

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Northlanders, Scalped, Amazing Spider-Man, Stumptown, R.E.B.E.L.S., Invincible Iron Man, all the “Oral History of the Avengers” stuff that runs through the backs of the Avengers books.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Northlanders. “The Plague Widow” knocked me out.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

The restructuring of DC. It’ll be interesting to see how it affects the content going forward.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

More chances taken. Less concern over what will make a good movie, and more over what will make a good story.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I have no idea. I’m just going to keep on writing!

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

Batman Beyond, baby! That’s got my full focus right now, and I couldn’t be more excited!

——————–

TYLER JAMES (Epic)

Epic

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

The Stuff of Legend – This will eventually be considered a new American classic. Brilliant, brilliant work here. Can’t wait for more.

Nemesis – Millar at his filthy best.

Earth One Superman – I dug it, and I think JMS is making the right decision focusing on graphic novels. This would work as a movie reboot.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

CP Wilson III is doing amazing work on The Stuff of Legend.

Dexter Vines and Mark Morales need more praise for their inks. While I love McNiven’s pencils, his art on Nemesis just doesn’t compare to the fully polished look Vines and Morales give him on books like Old Man Logan.

Dan Slott writes one hell of a Spider-man and should be talked up more.

How about editor Nick Lowe? Nemesis, Shield, Astonishing Spider-man & Wolverine…Seems like every other book I pick up has his name in the credits.

And on the indy side, I feel like the work Cary Kelley and Harold Edge are doing on Dynagirl (dynagirlonline.com) needs more recognition. A quality superhero webcomic updating twice a week.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

Digital comics sales up 1000% from last year. They have arrived. The game is on.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

Less fear of digital. I’d like the big publishers to have a digital strategy that actually makes sense.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

Digital is opening up a new revenue stream and distribution channel for indy creators like myself, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. Last week, EPIC #0 went up for sale on Graphic.ly, and it was showcased in a new release pile sandwiched between an issues of POWERS and The Punisher. That’s big. While the major publishers are always going to have a serious advantage for eyeballs and attention, these new platforms give independent creators a shot at reaching a broader audience.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

On the comics front, it’s EPIC, EPIC, and more EPIC for me. We’ll be releasing an EPIC /Dynagirl crossover short soon, and artist Matt Zolman is hard at work on the first issue of the ongoing.

Also, ComixTribe, a new site I’m co-developing, launches the first of the year. ComixTribe’s mission is simple: creators helping creators make better comics. I’ve got big plans for the site, but it’ll start with just a few, focused columns that I think will be of high value to the comics creating community. I hope people check it out and join our tribe.

——————–

JOHNNY ZITO and TONY TROV (D.O.G.S. of Mars, Moon Girl)

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

JZ – All of Grant Morrison’s Batman stuff was just amazing. I read and re-read Batman and Robin. It was stellar.

TT – This was also the year, like everyone else, I read Scott Pilgrim. Which was really entertaining and super clever. It was refreshing in the way it blended genre and medium. Totes.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

TT – Hans Rickheit’s ECTOPIARY is the bomb dot com.

JZ – Did you guys see the Penthouse comic Sheldon Vella did? Very tasteful.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

TT – Comixology goes to the Droid.

JZ – Archie started dating the base player from Josie and the Pussycats and I was like what?

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

TT – High def comics. The 3D glasses pinch my nose.

JZ – Kindle, Nook, and all you other e-readers… comics are coming. Resistance is futile.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

TT – I would like to digitally distribute a “cyber high five” to everyone who enjoys our comics.

JZ – Everyone will be a super hero. Everyone will be a Captain Kirk.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

TT – We’ve got D.O.G.S. of Mars coming out in the next month, with the creep-tastic art of Paul Maybury.

JZ – Check out our cool T-shirts at the online store and Moon Girl is going to print thanks to Red5 just in time for Free Comic Book Day.

——————–

FAITH ERIN HICKS (Brain Camp, The Adventures of Superhero Girl)

Brain Camp

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Saturn Apartments volumes 1 and 2 by Hisae Iwaoka, Smile by Raina Telgemeier (a book I think will end up being a touchstone for a lot of future cartoonists), and Beasts of Burden by Jill Thompson and Evan Dorkin. There was also the wrenching conclusion of Pluto by Naoki Urasawa and the continuing mindscrew that is 20th Century Boys (Urasawa again). A great year for comics, I think.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

I really wish Naoki Urasawa would get the mainstream attention I think his work deserves. As in, I think every adult who reads should be reading his comics. His work is mature and exquisitely well-crafted, and I think if any comics for adults deserves to be accepted by the mainstream reading population, his do. Urasawa is regarded highly within comic circles, but I wish his work would break out the way some graphic novel memoirs have.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

More great stand alone work (like Beasts of Burden or Smile) in lovely packaging, so I can buy many graphic novels from my local comic store. And more awesome manga, please! It seems every year I find another great Japanese series to follow, and that’s pretty thrilling. I want more variety too, more books about different types of characters and different genres.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I’m currently slated to be working on two graphic novels: writing and drawing an adaptation of an unpublished Young Adult novel for First Second Books (I’ll be turning a manuscript into a fully formed graphic novel, basically. It’s a challenge, but fun so far), and drawing a young readers comic series for Kids Can Press, with J.Torres writing. I also have some fantastic web related stuff that hopefully I’ll be able to announce soon, and I’ll be continuing my indie/webcomic The Adventures of Superhero Girl. And somewhere in there I will also be sleeping.

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DAVID GALLAHER (Box 13, High Moon)

EXCLUSIVE Box 13 artwork

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

The comic that I look forward to reading month in and month out is AVENGERS ACADEMY. Really. That’s a seriously under-rated title that always delivers. I think the Batman and Spider-Man offices have also continually put out some very enjoyable and well-told stories.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Well, aside from AVENGERS ACADEMY, I think books like THOR: THE MIGHTY AVENGER, BLACK WIDOW and HAWKEYE & MOCKINGBIRD didn’t really get the amount of love they deserved. They were all pretty damn fun books.

I think there are more than a handful of creators whose work warrants more attention in 2011 – Drew Rausch and Aaron Alexovich are some of the first couple of creators that come to mind. Whether it’s on a team project like ELDRITCH, or individual projects like SERENITY ROSE or SULLENGREY – I think their work really deserves wider recognition.

I also think creators like Danielle Corsetto (GIRLS WITH SLINGSHOTS) and Meredith Gran (OCTOPUS PIE) can NEVER get enough attention. They continually deliver stellar work.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

The iPad. With the iPad came more creators, publishers, and readers talking about digital comic content. It was THE game changer this year.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

I’m hoping 2011 sees more creators debuting original digital content for mobile and casual comic readers. I love what I’ve been seeing in projects like VALENTINE and MOON GIRL, but I’d love to see MORE of it! BONNIE LASS, by RED 5, I think is another step in the right direction.

I really am looking forward to seeing other advances in digital publishing move forward. I want to see more convergence, the implementation of subscription services, digital lending, sharing, trading, and the like. More importantly, I’d like to see the price point on digital titles become a little more reasonable.

What I would really like to see is a shift away from the marginalization of digital comics, webcomics, and their creators. It bothers me that ‘being printed’ is still seen as ‘legitimizing’ a creators work.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

Most of the work I do is in the digital spectrum as it is. I think we’ll find even more opportunities to get our work into readers’ hands. I also think we’ll see a greater opportunity to tell more self-contained stories and maybe create a new model of serialized storytelling. I think these things, coupled with an increased awareness of digital comics, work in everybody’s favor. It’s an interesting time to be in comics.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

Along with BOX 13: THE PANDORA PROCESS, Steve Ellis and I have two creator-owned projects we are developing – one is a Victorian period piece, the other is a modern-day sprawling epic. We have another project we just signed on to develop – with a top-notch team of creators and editors – but we can’t talk about it just yet. Right now, it looks to be a fun year.

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KODY CHAMBERLAIN (Punks, Sweets)

Sweets #1

Sweets #1

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

It’s a tough call, but if I had to narrow it down to a small stack I’d go with “Lint” by Chris Ware, “The Outfit” by Darwyn Cooke, “Hellboy” by Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo, “Tumor” by Josh Fialkov and Noel Tuazon, “Joe the Barbarian” by Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy, and “Chew” by John Layman and Rob Guillory. There are plenty of others, but those came to mind first so I’ll stick with that.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

“Daytripper” by Moon and Ba was probably the second most overlooked book of 2010. Those guys have mad skills and it’s truly a gorgeous comic. But “Sweets” is probably the most overlooked.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

That one is easy. The rise of digital comic book distribution.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

I’d like to see our fan base grow in every direction. We desperately need to bring in fans of other genres and a lot more kids. I’m glad to see things moving in the right direction these last few years with new comic imprints for kids, I hope it continues.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

Most of my work tends to fall outside the superhero genre, so hopefully the addition of digital distribution will open the door to new readers and a bigger audience for every kind of story. We’ve painted ourselves into a corner with the superhero thing and the vast majority of entertainment consumers don’t associate comics with anything but superheroes. With a few notable exceptions, it’s been very tough for creators to earn a living doing anything but. I hope 2011 is the year comics become a mass medium again.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

We recently announced that we’re moving “Punks” over to MTV Geek as a digital comic and Josh Fialkov and I have been doing a lot of work behind the scenes to get that ready to roll. I believe the actual launch date is pushed back a few more weeks, so the comic line is set to launch the first quarter of 2011. I’m told “Punks” will be the first (or one of the first) comics to premier in that imprint. Besides that, I’m currently working on three original scripts. I plan to draw at least one of those starting in January, and I’ll probably collaborate with a different artist for the second. The third is an original screenplay that I’ve discussed a few times with a particular director, so hopefully that picks up steam early
in 2011. None of the scripts have a title yet except for the screenplay.

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VITO DELSANTE (FCHS, Aquarian 7)

Aquarian 7

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Hawkeye & Mockingbird, The Outfit, Tumor, Love and Rockets New Stories 3, Acme Novelty Library 20

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Tumor was a great book, but I feel like Josh Fialkov really didn’t get the praise he deserved.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

Towards the end of the year, a few stores closed or shifted management. I think 2011 is going to see a lot of restructuring and redefinition for what the direct market could and should be in a changing marketplace where readers are downloading their comics. Also, without patting myself on the back too much, I think my “Big Giveback” initiative was grossly overlooked. Here’s something that could change the industry positively, and with a few exceptions, no one really took notice.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

More creator owned comics by big names. More avenues for education as it relates to comic book creation.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I’m already planning on doing free online comics on my site.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

As mentioned, I’m going to launch a few new comics on my site (so far, Aquarian 7 is the first to debut by the end of the first quarter or so. Dean Haspiel and I are going to finish Fallout at some point and Rachel Freire and I should have FCHS Volume 2 out by year’s end.

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JAMIE S. RICH (You Have Killed Me, Spellcheckers)

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

I enjoyed quite a few series from the mainstream companies this year. Vertigo had a really good year with new books like American Vampire and Joe the Barbarian. Sean Murphy’s work in Joe was just incredible. In fact, it’s been a really great year for Sean’s fans, what with his Hellblazer miniseries finally getting released. Peter Milligan’s revival of John Constantine in the main title has also been a real surprise. I was very skeptical of his bringing back Shade the Changing Man for it, because his Shade book is one of my all-time favorite comic book series. Luckily, the issues were strong, and it felt right having Shade hanging around the comic racks again. I’ve been rereading the old books since Vertigo is reprinting them finally.

At Marvel, I really liked Marjorie Liu’s arc on Black Widow with Daniel Acuna. I liked the emphasis on the espionage aspects of the character. I dropped the book as soon as they shifted teams. I also really got into Matt Fraction’s Iron Man run and really dug both Dave LaFuente and Sara Pichelli on Ultimate Spider-Man.

For indie books, I think my trifecta of favorite graphic novels is Koko Be Good by Jen Wang (First:Second), H Day by Renee French (Picturebox), and Lucky in Love by George Chieffet and Stephen DeStefano (Fantagraphics). All very different books…but then, that’s why you read creator-driven stories, because you don’t want the same old thing. My guys over at Oni know what I mean. Where else are you going to find Ray Fawkes’ Possessions and the Bunn/Hurtt Sixth Gun series in the same comp box?

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Well, there are series that got cancelled or creative teams that moved on. Seeing Madame Xanadu get cancelled was just a bummer, and I wish Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Amanda Connor were still doing Power Girl. That and Detective Comics when Batwoman was the star were the only mainstream DCU comics I was buying monthly. Jimmy and Justin are also killing it every month in Jonah Hex, I wish that book was getting more praise. It’s such fantastic genre fiction, and their focus on single issue stories means just about every entry packs some kind of real punch.

One of my favorite manga titles recently published in North America also finished its run this past year, and I didn’t see hardly anyone talking about it or reviewing it. Viz published all nine volumes of Hinako Ashihara’s Sand Chronicles, and it is maybe the most consistent and overall satisfying dramatic series I have read. It’s not really a coming-of-age story, though it starts out as one. It’s a long-form serial where the characters actually grow into adulthood and change by the end of the run, and the narrative outcome is emotionally powerful.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

Digital distribution, especially with the new avenues opened up by the iPad. This will allow the concept of webcomics to evolve, as well as how print media deals with electronic reproductions, and hopefully open up the market even further. I also think it’s interesting to see how creators and publishers are dealing with piracy. The music and movie industries have all proven to have no idea what they are doing when it comes to that, and so far, outside of taking legal action against sites openly distributing material, I think comics have been a little smarter about it. You look at, say, the example of Steve Lieber actually engaging with people pirating Underground and working to make them understand what they are doing, I think that does a lot more than banging on a pulpit. I’m also curious to see more of the actual online community rallying together for one another the way they have when material is plagiarized or to fight the folks unfairly aggregating online content. There is certainly a far more rational community here than, say, the angry manga scanlators, who seem prepared to cut their own throats by letting some U.S. publishers take advantage of their fandom and get them to do the work they’d otherwise pay professionals for.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

Same thing I always hope to see: more diversity, more creative daring, smarter business practices. Less corporate line-wide events, less excuses for those events, more focus on just good, straight-up content. Less pissing and moaning from my fellow creators and more good work. For my friends in the journalism trade, I’d like you to realize that superhero porn movie parodies and celebrity bios aren’t news, and to finally figure out that many companies are faking these constant single issue sell-outs and stop acting like they are real, and instead let’s talk about the stuff that’s really good that isn’t shucking and jiving the audience. Oh, and did I say I want more cool comics? Less of everything sucky, more of everything awesome.

Specllcheckers

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I’d like to see my work actually available in that format. I’d like to see stuff I’ve written available on all platforms, I don’t want to be fenced in. That said, I am hoping there can be a greater synergy between all sides of the industry, more room for the many formats and cooperation on all fronts. I don’t see digital completely replacing print, nor do I see it cutting out that side of the business. I’d like to see greater thought given to the end package. Other entertainment industries are adapting to digital and streaming content by making that the temporary, on-the-go version. The better package is the CD with bonuses or the tricked-out Blu-Ray. I’d love to see some pilot tests where, say, you buy a comic and you also get a coupon for a free download of the issue to have on your portable device, or something along the same lines in reverse: if you downloaded this series, why not preorder the trade paperback at a publisher-funded discount from your local retailer? That kind of thing.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

Spell Checkers vol. 2 is the most immediate concern. Nicolas Hitori de and Joëlle Jones are in the middle of drawing it, and I think we’ll have a firm publication date set for sometime this summer very soon. I am about to start writing volume 3, too, so we’re really pushing ahead with the series. It promises to be more fun as it goes, with the humor and the plots getting more outrageous–the second volume lampoons the cross-over genres of horror and teen comedy, for instance–but the characters are also getting more well-rounded, as they are wont to do when you continue to write more and learn about your creations. I think the first volume needed to be the sparkly pop number, but now I have some room to stick a little more history and emotion into the proceedings since everyone has gotten familiar with our bitchy adolescent witches.

I’m also reconvening with Joëlle to start the follow-up to You Have Killed Me, though that will be a project that will take both of us some time. Joëlle has some amazing things in the pipeline herself, she’s got two graphic novels almost totally complete for two different publishers, and I am curious to see where here recent contribution to Ultimate Spider-Man will take her. You want to talk about something that didn’t get enough attention! Her being a part of that was a total highlight of 2010 for me.

The next thing you’ll see from me, though, is the short story I wrote for the Yo Gabba Gabba comic. Mike Allred drew it, and Han Allred colored it. We had a lot of fun, I tried to write a story that was very Snap City, but filtered through Gabbaland. Mike and I have two Madman specials cooking for Image, too, celebrating the character’s 20th anniversary. The first will be out in the very early Spring, and it will feature a new story by Mike & Laura, but also three short stories by talent we hand-picked last Spring: Matt Kindt, Tonci Zonjic, and Emi Lenox. The other special is going to have a pile of Mike’s favorite artists contributing and will be out later in 2011. Oh, and we’re getting the finished proofs for Madman Atomica, the second oversized hardcover omnibus as I type this. Over 1,000 pages! Not only did I edit, but I have a couple of stories reprinted in it, as well–one with Joëlle and one Mike, Dave Johnson, and I did for the CBLDF.

Not much else is scheduled to be out from me in the immediate future. I have two Oni projects approved and they have artists attached, including one I’ve teased about on my blog that I created with Natalie Nourigat. The other is with an awesome artist named Dan Christensen that Oni brought to my attention. That news will likely be winnowing its way out as we have more artwork to show. They are both right in line with the kind of stories people like from me, but they also go in whole new territories, they won’t just be the same old thing. I want to keep surprising my readers–and myself! That should mean an even bigger 2012!

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THOMAS HALL (Robot 13, King!)

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

I really liked the Franken-castle stuff that Marvel did, but aside from that and maybe a few stray issues that someone handed me, I read mostly Indy comics in 2010. I really love everything that Jacob Chabot does, and he had some great Mighty Skullboy Army minis this year. I love Chew and Atomic Robo, but then again, most people do I guess or at least the people I talk to. Unwritten was pretty good as well- hopefully that will keep rolling along. And on the Webcomic side, www.monstercommute.com is pretty much all I think anyone needs to read. It’s got everything I like in a comic- Giant monsters, crazy steampunk warships, comedy and a society run by a Frankenstein/ Abe Lincon hybrid all wrapped up in some of the most insanely delicious artwork that you have ever seen. I have been reading it daily for years & 2010 was a VERY good year for Monster Commute.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

My stand-pat answer for “most overlooked” person is comics is always Larry Marder, because Beanworld is on a level of genius all it’s own. Other than telling people to buy everything Larry has ever done, I would say I really, really love Old Man by Rob Osborne because it’s the kind of Comic I think is great to read and share with pretty much everyone in the family.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

For me, the biggest story is how Digital Comics kind of went from an Idea of the Future to an existing thing that everyone seems to HAVE to have an opinion on, and for most people that opinion is based on what may happen ten years down the road. People forget that there is a very good chance that 10 years from now may, in fact, look EXACTLY like now except there will be more people buying Digital Comics and more Digital Comics available. Alot of Comic Shop owners are really vocal about hating Digital Comics, and that throws the larger companies into a weird situation where they know there is a market for Digital Comics but they are fearful of pissing anyone off. Small companies aren’t so worried, and in 2010 we saw alot of Indy Comics move serious amounts of Digital Comics simply because they made them available and were willing to promote them.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

IDW is bringing back Godzilla, who is my all time favorite character, period, so I know 2011 is shaping up to be an amazing year already. And aside from ME writing a Godzilla story, I would like to see more books that are fun to read. I am not talking just about comedy, but Sandman was fun to read every month and that’s about as far from comedy as you can get. I guess I love it when people create a Comic that surprises me as a reader.When I put a book down and say, “I wouldn’t have thought of doing that,” it’s a great Comic as far as I am concerned. There is a ton of talent out there in Comics today, maybe more now than ever, but the bulk of people are doing stuff that just isn’t fun to read. So I want that sense of fun in 2011. And lots of Godzilla.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I want as many people to read my work as possible, and Digital Comics helps make that happen. Alot of people know Robot 13 only because of Digital, to the point where we get emails all the time from all over the world from people who are discovering our work and don’t have any way of reading our print stuff. When a kid emails me from China and says Robot 13 is his favorite Comic, I know that Digital Comics made that happen. And unlike Print Comics, I have no way of knowing how far that will reach. Eventually, all of Blacklist Studios’ Print Comics sell out their print runs, but Digital is an infintely renewable resource. So KING! will be available Digitally in 2011, as will more Robot 13 because people want it, and we will expand into whatever Digital areas will give new readers a chance to read our books.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

The final issue in the current KING! storyline will come out in 2011, as will a new story arc for Robot 13 where we really get a chance to slow things down a bit. The first Robot 13 mini series was so jam packed with monster after monster that I think it flowed past some people too quickly. The next story will bring alot of the threads of ideas and really develop some of them, and we have some things planned that nobody will see coming. I also have a couple of projects that I am writing for other artists- one with AP Furtado that is a Science Fiction Spy Action book set in an Alternate History version of 1966, which is kind of Inception meets Scanners meets The Thing. Aside from that, I am also doing a Chinese Ghost Story type book with an artist that I have known pretty much forever & who I have been bugging to do something with me for years. And once 2011 gets rolling, I will probably find a few more things as well.

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IAN BRILL (BOOM! editor, Darkwing Duck)

Darkwing Duck

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

This was a busy year for me and I must admit that I am only now catching up with so much work that was published recently. Of the tiny sliver of this year’s output that I was able to get my hands the following were favorites: Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6; Rick Remender, Tony Moore, Dan Brown, Joe Caramagna and various collaborators’ Franken-Castle stories; Grant Morrison’s and various collaborators Batman stories; the Casanova reprints by Matt Fraction, Gabriel Ba, Fabio Moon, Cris Peter and Dustin Harbin; Charles Burns’ X’ed Out.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

I think my fellow BOOMies Michael Alan Nelson, Francesco Biagini, Stephen Downer and James Dashiell did fantastic work creating a smashing urban horror story in DINGO.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

I’m trying to think of one but when I think of the big stories; the corporate changes at Marvel and DC and the greater premium on their respective IP as transmedia properties, the digital endeavors of major comic book companies, and the price wars over $2.99; I come away considering this zeitgeist that stories told in comics form are now predisposed to be realized and received in more ways than ever before by a sizable customer base, and those various realizations arise almost simultaneously.

Let me take the Scott Pilgrim franchise for example. Conceivably, a customer could have discovered the story from the film and its various promotions (including an Adult Swim animated short and a video game) and purchased all the volumes to read on their iPad. They have devoured every bit of Scott Pilgrim and never once touched paper. That’s just one example, there are many different ways these different permutations of comic stories can be put together by customers. Maybe someone bought volumes one through three years ago book form, then recently went and bought the rest for their iPad to so they can rediscover and finish the story.

I should note that I really do see film, video game, animation, etc. as other delivery system for comic stories. It’s not always the case but I think more and more comic stories being told in other media are still bound to their origins in comics. The biggest example I can think of is that the Marvel Studios film franchise is now using the trope of a shared universe, something that’s old hat to any one reading comics!

There is always going to be a thirst for comic stories. 2010 cemented the fact that the Pandora’s Box that is “option” has irrevocably been opened. There are different options for storytellers on how to deliver their ideas, and different options for customers on how to receive those ideas. The comics medium has to face what other entertainment industries have been dealing with for years, decades at this point, but in ways completely unique to the form and history of comics.

Again, that’s more of a zeitgeist than a story. Or maybe it’s more of a trend. Or more of a movement. Or…maybe all of the above are just the delirious ramblings of some dude who writes for talking ducks and chipmunks.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

More original works from talented and enthusiastic storytellers that are embraced by trustworthy and uncynical public.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I hope digital distributions has the affect that it makes more people enthusiastic to discover comic stories, whether that’s people who have been curious about comics but never indulged before because they never found a retail outlet that met their needs, a long time comics fan whose consumption of stories fell dormant until the convince of digital distribution, or whatever any individual customers’ story may be. I hope they find and enjoy stories that mean a lot to them in whatever form their discoveries may appear. Within the vast amount of work being produced today, if some of those stories that reach people on their particular journey happen to be mine, then I shall be most grateful and humbled.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

As of right now I am shaping the future of both Darkwing Duck and Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, trying to top what I accomplished in 2010. I edit Hellraiser (a 180 from the books I write in terms of content but a confirmation of the fact that no matter what the subject is good, clear and affecting storytelling should always be the main concern of all involved) and a soon-to-be-announced title I am very excited about.

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MEGAN KELSO (Artichoke Tales)

Artichoke Tales

My favorite comics from 2010 were Lynda Barry’s “Picture This” and Vanessa Davis’ “Make Me A Woman”

I’m very excited about the possibilities of digital distribution although I confess I have no idea what the particulars will be. But I think it will only work if it is ultimately artist driven in the sense that artists are happy with the aesthetic results of digital comics.
Artists took control of the whole digital production side of comics in the 90’s, so I am cautiously optimistic.

In 2011 I’ll be working on a new book of short stories. It will include a revised (and slightly longer) version of Watergate Sue, my strip that ran in the New York Times Magazine, and also 2 or 3 other “longish” short stories.

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SCOTT WEGENER (Atomic Robo)

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

That’s hard to say. I read a lot of great comics this year. As usual, I’m way behind the curve on a lot of comics. I finally got to read Moore and Williams’ PROMETHEA and really enjoyed it. That book’s old news though I guess. Then there was the last volume of PLANETARY -simply amazing. I continue to love and adore books like HELLBOY, BPRD, and INVINCIBLE, MOUSE GUARD. I’ll put them in my “ongoing awesome” pile.

For stand-alone favorite books of 2010 I’ve got a three-way tie between Canales and Guarnido’s BLACKSAD hardcover, Darwyn Cooke’s PARKER: THE OUTFIT, and Mignola and Stenbeck’s SIR EDWARD GREY, WITCHFINDER: IN THE SERVICE OF ANGELS.

BLACKSAD hit me right in the Death Star exhaust ports with it’s gorgeous artwork and fantastic 1950’s detective noir stories. Cooke comes at you with more of the same wonderful dime novel pulp, but in his own unique and mesmerizing style. WITCHFINDER had all the creepy folklore you’d expect from Mignola coupled with the style and panache Victorian horror. How can you go wrong?

Technically BLACKSAD and WITCHFINDER contained material dated prior to 2010. But the graphic novels that I bought all had 2010 copyrights, so that’s close enough for me!

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

I’ve got to go with one of my favorite creators out there who nobody’s ever heard of; Dave Flora. Creator of GHOST ZERO and DOC MONSTER, Dave does most of his work in his free time and publishes it to the Web, though a few Ghost Zero stories are available in print. Dave seems to have bottled the essence of what was magical in pre-television radio drama and then he pours it out onto the pages of his Ghost Zero work. Similarly, his DOC MONSTER work seem to capture everything that was spellbinding about movies like Forbidden Planet and presents it in webcomic form.

Brian and I were lucky enough to scam Dave into drawing a short B-Side story for Atomic Robo. It’s the rare Robo story that isn’t full of bad jokes and things blowing up, and it’s one of my all-time favorites.

I don’t have an agenda to push, but my second guy is also mostly web-based. Haha. John Allison does a very engaging and humorous webcomic called BAD MACHINERY, which was proceeded by SCARY GO ROUND, which came after BOBBINS. His art is very loose and cartoony yet also very ‘real” looking at the same time. His work has the same sort of charm that sucked me into the Harry Potter frenzy, despite my loud protests that I had no fucking interest in a bunch of stupid kids learning to be wizards.

Atomic Robo V. 4

Finally, I need to give a shout out to a guy named Chris Houghton. He’s a great artist and the comic he does with his brother is called REED GUNTHER (A Bear, A Cowboy, & A Very Wild West!). It really needs to find a home with some publisher. It’s good stuff, and if no one wants his book they should at least be throwing lots of offers for work at this guy.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

Is it bad that I’m drawing a big blank here? I don’t know. Did anything super amazing happen in 2010? I can’t think of anything. . .

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

Besides fabulous increases in Atomic Robo sales? =)

I’m really curious to see the continued development of the digital market. I want to see the Internet and smartphone playing field expand. And I want to stop hearing from publishers, retailers, and creators about how digital comics and Internet piracy are destroying the industry, or their work, or their business. Because they’re not. Instead I want to see how they are going to adapt and evolve to cope with the new reality of what comics are. And that will be huge when they do. Individuals can make small impacts here and there, but it’s really going to take these larger organizations and the resources they can bring to bear to really make big meaningful changes.

I know for a fact that there are retailers, publishers, and creators who are jumping into all this Buck Rogers in the 21st Century stuff. They get it. Heck, if my comic had a bumper sticker it would say “Mark Waid Is My Co-Pilot.” I have nothing but great respect and admiration for all of them. But there needs to be more of it!

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

Oh . . .wait. Haha! I can say a bit more on that I guess.

Digital comics have been nothing but good for Atomic Robo. Since debuting on the iPhone I have not done a single convention where I haven’t met at least three people who come to our table and tell me how they found Atomic Robo on their phones and now they’d like to buy the TPB from us. I get random emails from people telling me the same thing. I really think that’s the new model in comics- digital issues paired with robust TPB sales. The average joe doesn’t want a bunch of long boxes crammed with back issues they won’t ever read again. That’s for the obsessive collector niche. It’s not a growth market. But put that mess on their phone or their laptop and it’s a different story. And then these same people go to the retailers and get their trades. Its win-win as far as I can tell.

Sort of related, let me say that people pirate the crap out of my work. Everyday I get a Google alert with more links to torrent sites than anything else related to Atomic Robo. We (Brian and me) do not care. As far as we can tell there is no direct correlation between that kind of thing and lost sales on our end. What I do know is that every now and then the Internet piracy actually leads to more sales for us. Because people are seeing our work. They are spreading it around and they are talking about it.

The Internet is funny. It supports the things it likes, even when it steals them first. My proof is anecdotal -just more people talking to us at conventions. But I’ve heard it enough that I believe at it’s worst the piracy is nothing but free advertising for us. If it was up to Clevinger and me we’d have at least the first volume of Atomic Robo up on the Web for free by now. We just need to convince Red5Comics that stores won’t start boycotting their product for doing that.

It just popped into my head as I’m writing this, but I’d love to work on some Digital-to-Retailer thing with some of my new local comic shops here in NYC. I have no idea what we could do, but the idea of starting something in the digital realm and then ending up at Jim Hanley’s/ Comic Book Jones/ Midtown/ or Forbidden Planet would be awesome.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I’m declaring 2011 to be the Year of The Robot. And not the pantless sort that works in a car manufacturing plant. I’d really like to buckle down and put out more Atomic Robo material in 2011 than I have in the previous three years. Clevinger and I are also kicking around ideas for several new projects that we’d like to continue working on and maybe start showing to our publisher, or just put out on the Web. That might be more of a 2012 thing though.

Also with any luck, the first of several small Atomic Robo animated shorts will be coming out. There’s currently four studios messing around with what boil down to fan projects. Stuff that we all hope will lead to bigger and better things, but as of now are just hopeful gambles. The Fictory’s ATOMIC ROBO: LAST STOP is way ahead of the others guys and will likely be the first to drop. Cant wait!

——————–

RYAN CODY (Villains, Icarus)

Icarus

Icarus

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Hellboy and B.P.R.D are always a favorite, I also really enjoyed the Wednesday Comics hardcover that came out this year. It’s a beautiful package and had some of the best talent around working on it.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Sean Murphy gets his fair share of praise but probably not enough. Same with Eric Canete. Some of my personal favorites who I think are going to have a bigger impact in the next year are Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez and Scott Godlewski. Each one of them brings something new and exciting and I look forward to seeing what’s next for them.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

Probably all the shake-ups and distribution changes at the big two. Imprints closing, editors being moved around, digital taking a big leap and price changes all around seem to show that comics are still in trouble in a down economy but there are always going to be people who want to read comics both traditionally and digitally. That and the success of The Walking Dead TV show, people still really love horror and zombies, and a good product doesn’t hurt either.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

Less event comics and a focus back to storytelling and art. I don’t understand why every 4-issue run by a creator needs an ad campaign or a tag-line and why every event needs a press conference or full court press roll out. It seems like every body wants to try to make the event bigger than the comics instead of focusing on the story itself. Also, less vampires and zombies.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

My work, which I typically self publish will rely a lot on digital distribution in the next year. I hope that those who read the comic for free online will think about buying a physical copy or purchase merchandise or the comic digitally. Free comics are great, I understand the appeal 100% but I think many readers fail to recognize that their support, financially, is what makes these comics available at all. I also think a lower digital price point may increase readership among kids and teens and expanding that customer base is critical to comics, both in print and digitally.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I will continue to illustrate the webcomic Jesus Christ: In the Name of the Gun as well as produce my creator owned series ICARUS for both digital and traditional platforms. ICARUS is something I have been planning for years so I hope to be able to continue it for the foreseeable future. A film based on a book I co-created called Villains is still in active production so if that gets the green light and moves forward, I expect I will be returning to those characters sometime in the next year as well. Hopefully I can fit in some other projects at some other publishers this year as well. Editors, call me!

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ROB GUILLORY (Chew)

Chew #27

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Mesmo Delivery, Afrodisiac, Walking Dead and Scalped. And Daytripper, though I’ve only read one issue.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Rafael Grampa is absolutely brilliant and my favorite artist of 2010. And Kody Chamberlain’s SWEETS is something so subtly brilliant that I think a lot of folks will be giving it a second look in 2011.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

The end of Wildstorm and the unbelievable success of Walking Dead.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

More originality, more passion projects and less “events.” I’d love for companies to focus less on press releases announcing “The Next Big Thing”, and more on just making good comics that give the readers their money’s worth.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I think it’ll only help. As it is, we get tons of emails from readers who have bought the print versions of CHEW after loving the digital version. I see it as just another way to spread the love.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I’ll still be working on all the art on CHEW, but there’s a good chance that I’ll be doing a solo one-shot in 2011. We’ll see!

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SHAWN CRYSTAL (Deadpool)

Deadpool #900

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

The 6th Gun.
BPRD
Jason Aaron’s Punisher Max
Scalped
Deadpool Max

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Jason Latour is a cartoonist everyone should know. His work is truly unique and inspiring. He did a bunch of books for Marvel this past year, all of which are great.
Nick Dragotta is another cartoonist that deserves wider recognition. He’s has a classic super hero look, with a flair for the new. A nice combination. He’s been busy at Marvel, with more to come.

The 6th Gun. Great writing and great cartooning make for a GREAT comic. Why isn’t EVERYONE reading this book?
Goran Parlov is one of the best cartoonists in the industry. I’m not sure he’s overlooked, but i don’t feel he gets the praise he deserves.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

I think the release of the ipad did a lot to help the growth of the publishing world. As more years go by, i think we’ll all realize how vital that was for the future of comics.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

More great cartoonists coming in and shaking things up.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

Well, my first published work in 2011 will be released as a web comic for Marvel.com. Thats a first for me, and i think a taste of the future of publication.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I wish i could say! I’m doing a mini series for Marvel. All i can say is it’s going to be a career defining book for me. It’s something truly unique at Marvel and very exciting for me to be a part of.

——————–

KEVIN COLDEN (Fishtown, I Rule the Night)

I Rule the Night

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Colden: It was an unusually “mainstream” year for me, and by mainstream I mean more superhero and genre comics than usual. My typical tendency leans more towards literary or art comics. I bucked up for the Rocketeer Artist Edition from IDW, which was worth every penny, and is astonishing to look at. As far as new comics, I really dug Peter and Bobby Timony’s Night Owls, Kody Chamberlain’s Sweets, Thor: The Mighty Avenger, and all of the Batman titles. Bryan Q. Miller’s writing on Batgirl in particular is stellar. Also can’t forget Locke and Key, which is an insanely good read.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Colden: Hmm. I guess I can say this now – I think during the run of Zuda a lot of the creators involved didn’t get quite the level of respect they deserved from the larger reading public due to a variety of factors, none of which had any bearing on the work they were producing. Some of these folks I’m now in cahoots with through Comic Social Club (Matthew Petz and Juan Salcedo), but guys like Drew Rausch, who is fantastic, didn’t even get to be on the Zuda site in the first place. I also think Dan Govar (another CSC member), didn’t get enough attention for his comic Azure being a top three seller on the DC App for all three of its issues. Valerie D’Orazio’s Punisher:MAX one-shot was one of the most brutal stories I read this year, but didn’t get the love its brilliance should have.

But other guys who are truly great, like Chris Samnee and Matt Wilson (from Thor:TMA), and Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (Phonogram) are starting to get the love they so richly deserve.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

Colden: iPad comics. For years, those of us toiling away in the field of long-form narrative webcomics had been waiting for this thing, and had gotten the brush-off from the majority of the business when we said “Serialize digitally!” Welcome to the future, boys. I’m not going to say “I told you so.” Having a front-row seat in watching the Comixology guys explode from scrappy upstarts to being the most important people in comics literally overnight was pretty nuts. Ultimately, it’s the payoff for things a lot of people – myself included – have been working toward for years – making purely digital delivery as viable and respected as print.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

Colden: I’d hope that 2011 is the year that digital finally gets the respect it’s due. I think we’ve cycled back into an era where a lot visionary creators want to work for the big two, and I’d love to see readers really embrace books like Thor:TMA to the extent that it doesn’t get cancelled, and see the publishers be more supportive of innovative, visionary stories and storytelling, both creatively and from a promotion standpoint. Promotion is the big thing; if you want something new and interesting to do well in this day and age, it needs serious logistical support. The new Millers and Sienkiewiczes are out there, but I sometimes wonder if the fear of the new keeps us from hearing much about them.

Finally: the 4 D’s – Day and Date Digital Delivery.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

Colden: Not much. My whole career has been very involved in the digital realm, so to me it’s just business as usual. If anything, it might get more people to read I RULE THE NIGHT, which is only available through the DC App or Comixology.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

Colden: I RULE THE NIGHT should be finishing its run early in 2011 – six issues left, nine in total. I can’t talk about anything new yet, but let’s just say a project or three for a publisher or two that I currently work with, a project for a publisher I haven’t, and maybe the realization of a dream project.

——————–

ADAM FREEMAN (Hero Complex, Highwaymen)

Hero Complex

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

More comic companies judge a project’s potential for success in the comic medium, not just as an IP for a film.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

Debuting our Top Cow Pilot Season winner, “Genius” as a series. A yet-to-be-announced graphic novel and our illustrated novel, “Jake the Dreaming” for Radical.

Jennifer Van Meter (Hopeless Savages, Black Cat)

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Hope Larsen’s _Mercury_; Kathryn & Stuart Immonen’s _Moving Pictures_

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

Structural shakeups at DC were the most profound on my radar, though I’m not the best judge of what’s going to have the greatest effect on the industry.

Amazing Spider-Man Presents: Black Cat 2


Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I have to hope it puts my work in front of more people, gives my stuff more ways to find readers who’ll like it.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

Hopeless Savages, volume 4 is going to be a huge part of 2011 for me; also have a couple gigs coming up with Dynamite and Marvel.

——————–

OMAHA PEREZ (Holmes, Flash Gordon)

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

The Elephantmen series and The Odyssey graphic novel by Gareth Hinds.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Well, Gareth Hinds for starters. There is this unfortunate schism between the book publishing world and the comics market. So while Hinds’s The Odyssey (Candlewick Press) is getting a lot of well deserved attention from the traditional publishing media he is virtually ignored within the comics community. I see the same thing with my friend Ted Naifeh. His 3rd volume of Holly Black’s Good Neighbors came out this year from Scholastic. The work is beautiful as always and coming from Scholastic I’m sure the books have a much higher print run than his Oni works yet Good Neighbors received almost no attention from the comics press.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

The Drude

I don’t see this happening in a year’s time but I’d like to see the market shift to more resemble the European market. I want to see less emphasis on the Big Two superheroes. Marvel and DC’s actions over the years are clearly responsible for the shrinking market. Having the comics racks dominated by X-Men, Batman, and “event” books, at the expense of diversity, is not healthy for the industry. You don’t see kids or teen-agers at comics shops, overwhelmingly you see guys my age (40) or older. It is not just the format, print vs. digital. Reading Spider-Man comics when you are a teenager is just not cool, you might as well be bringing a Transformers lunch box to school.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I know it’s not there yet but clearly digital and print distribution need to go hand in hand. I think eventually digital distribution will be more profitable than print. For the time being, having work available digitally serves as a very necessary way to promote your work.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I adapted 2 chapters from Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur for an anthology featuring short adaptations of literary works called THE GRAPHIC CANON, coming from Seven Stories Press. I am writing a sci-fi/thriller called SUPER TERRE.R for a great young artist named Greg Hinkle (Parasomnia). And I will either be illustrating my sequel to Holmes, HOLMES VS. HOLMES or writing and drawing a new original project called THE DRUDE – or perhaps I should alternate between the two!

——————–

JASON McNAMARA (Martian Confederacy)

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Glamazonia The Uncanny Super Tranny by Justin Hall. If you only read one super-powered tranny book this year, this is it true believer! I know what you’re thinking: “calling a tranny super-powered is redundant,” but just go with it, nerd. As a self-made woman, Glamazonia joyfully sticks her stilettos into tired comic book tropes by altering her mysterious origin story depending on whose pants she’s trying to get into at the moment. Gender-bending at its best, this book was the most fun I had on the page this year. I hope that sounded dirty.

The Outfit, adapted by Darywn Cooke. As if getting another Cooke-adapted Parker novel wasn’t enough to celebrate, he includes an abbreviated adaption of The Man with the Getaway Face as prologue. Cooke does such a great job of realizing Parker’s world that it’s impossible to read the novels now without imaging them with his visual stamp. I’m anxiously awaiting future adaptations of The Score, in which Parker and his associates rob an entire town, and Slayground, in which Parker is trapped in an amusement park with crooked cops moving in to steal his loot. If I ever get Cooke into the trunk of my getaway car, I might ‘encourage’ him to draw the entire series.

——————–

NATHAN EDMONDSON (Who is Jake Ellis?, The Light)

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Turf, Mice Templar, and Fluorescent Black –to name a few. Hard to play favorites, but these stuck out.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Brunswick and McDade’s Jersey Gods comes to mind.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

Who is Jake Ellis?

The iPad. Maybe The Walking Dead on AMC in second place.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

An integration of digital distribution in an intelligent way that benefits all levels of the industry.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I’m interested to see if the impact hits as quickly as 2011, but I think ultimately the majority of singles will go digital, and more focus will be given to the production of trades–which I hope to see embraced in a more significant way by mainstream booksellers.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I have an ongoing and two minis in the grinder. We’ll see what else the new year brings!

——————–

VAN JENSEN (Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer)

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

There were some great books this year. The Outfit was Darwyn Cooke being Darwyn Cooke. I have to mention the Alec omnibus and BB Wolf from Top Shelf. Dark Horse had amazing collections of Beasts of Burden and Blacksad. I continue to be hugely impressed by Sweet Tooth and The Unwritten from Vertigo.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

The single best thing I read from last year was Eden, the book by Argentinian cartoonist Pablo Holmberg that was translated by D&Q. It’s an excellent little collection of four panel cartoons. They’re this perfect blend of whimsy, fantasy, hope and despair. Really beautiful stuff. My publisher, SLG, also released a little book called Captain Long Ears by Diana Thung that was a powerful bit of comics.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

The main thing that stands out is the rise of the digital comics industry. Granted, I think we’re still a long, long way from figuring out how to make serious money from digital comics, e-readers, etc. (or, at least, I am). But this was the year we saw Marvel and DC jump into the digital waters, and comics apps performed pretty well compared to other books.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

Every year, my biggest hope is that comics people make every effort to expand the market. We’re making an incredible variety of comics, and a lot of them are remarkably well done. There are still people out there who would enjoy these books, but they only think of comics as superheroes. It’s getting better, but there’s still a long way to go.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

Both of the Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer books have been published digitally, and the net result is that a few people read the books who might not have otherwise, and I’m a few dollars richer. So I’m not planning Pinocchio 3 as a digital-only release just yet. However, I was contacted recently about writing a comic specifically for the iPad, and I’m excited at the very least to explore it as a medium and utilize the functionality of the device within the storytelling. I would guess we’re at least five years away from digital having a big financial impact in comics, though.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I just wrapped up the script to the third and final Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer, so I’m moving on from that project for now. I’ve written two other graphic novels that I’m pitching around, and I have a pitch out for an ongoing series that I’m really excited about. Beyond that, I’m working on some prose for the first time in a few years, and I’ll have some new mini-comics (including at least one in my autobio Nebraska series) that I write and draw. Beyond that, potentially some work for hire stuff.

——————–

NATE NEAL (The Sanctuary)

The Sanctuary

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Hans Rickheit’s online comic serial Ectopiary. It’s worth reading just to examine the drawings of the architecture, let alone the standard mindblowing Rickheit storytelling. I also liked Blammo #6 by Noah Van Schiver. The Bob Dylan comic in there is priceless and hilarious. And Derek Van Gieson’s World War 2 serial in the last several issues of the Mome anthology–the gestural drawings give Toulouse Lautrec a run for his money, plus it’s nice to see some grit in the alternative comics scene.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

What kind of question is this to ask a cartoonist who put a book out this year anyway? Am I allowed to say “my book is being overlooked” without coming off like a numbnuts? Screw it. My book. Go buy it. Ha!

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

Thank God I can’t think of anything to answer that question!

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

Better artwork and stronger stories. A broader perspective in subject matter.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I make work for people with book fetishes.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I’ll be finishing a graphic novel that’s going to melt all of your brains. Beware…

——————–

JIM OTTAVIANI (T-Minus: The Race to the Moon)

T-Minus

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

In alphabetical order:

Afrodisiac, by Jim Rugg
Mercury by Hope Larson
Moving Pictures by Kathryn and Stuart Immonen
Mysterius the Unfathomable by Jeff Parker and Tom Fowler
The Outfit by Darwyn Cooke
Prime Baby by Gene Yang
Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Smile by Raina Telgemeir
Trickster: Native American Tales edited by Matt Dembicki

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

I think some of the above could be included in that list — Smile and Mercury and Prime Baby in particular, since they were intended for an all-ages audience, and comics fans often don’t pay attention to such material.

And Scott Pilgrim. Why doesn’t anybody talk about *that* book? Trust me, it’s terrific.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

I think the release of the iPad made a big difference in terms of how people talked about digital distribution. To come clean: I don’t own one, and don’t plan to any time soon, but it certainly changed the way I thought about the viability of comics on a mobile device.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

More good books to read. That’s all…and that’s a lot to ask for!

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I have a contract to serialize a graphic novel on the web, so it’s definitely changed how I wrote my most recent graphic novel. I enjoyed thinking about the possibilities that the medium had to offer, and doing things that would have been hard, or even impossible, on paper. So it’s changed the way I think, and that’s a good thing.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I’m not sure what I’ll be working on (there are a couple of things in the discussion stages right now, but nothing is settled, and I’m also working on some ideas just for fun), but things that will come out include “Feynman” with art by Leland Myrick and “The Imitation Game” with art by Leland Purvis.

——————–

JOEY WEISER (Mermin, Cavemen in Space)

Mermin

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

The comics I was most excited about this year were probably Set to Sea, The Unsinkable Walker Bean, and One Piece. All nautical!

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Chris “Elio” Eliopoulos is one of my favorite cartoonists right now and has been for some time. I think he’s definitely on the rise having done a comic through Koyama Press, a Yo Gabba Gabba! book for Oni and with a book coming out from Top Shelf next year, but I mention him because I don’t think he’s a “household name” in the comics world just yet…

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

I’m sure this wasn’t THE BIGGEST news story, but the first that comes to mind is the cracking down on manga scanlation, with several of the biggest scan sites getting shut down. Scanlations and piracy are still huge, but I think it raised a certain awareness that had some effect on the general shift I see in internet culture back towards supporting things you care about financially or at least legally with sites like Hulu and Kickstarter.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

With the bulk of my work leaning towards younger readers lately, I hope to see comics for kids continuing to get support from the industry.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

While I do a weekly comic strip that appears on the web, I think that the more and more people read comic books and graphic novels on electronic devices, the more I will grow comfortable with the idea of serializing a longer work online.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

In early 2011 (late January or early February) the 5th issue of my mini-comics series Mermin will be printed. It’s the last issue of the first story arc, so that’s exciting. And I have much more Mermin planned after that!

Also, Monster Isle, my weekly webcomic, continues to update every Thursday at http://tragic-planet.com/monsterisle/ and I have written some SpongeBob Squarepants comics, which will be coming this year from Bongo.

——————–

BRETT WARNOCK (Co-Publisher, Top Shelf Productions)

BB Wolf and the Three LPs

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Sadly, my growing pile of to-read books just gets bigger. (Not for lack of interest.) I REALLY enjoyed Matt Kindt’s Revolver, and Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth is one of the only floppy comics i buy, along with Walking Dead, because i love them both so damn much.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Well, it’s only a matter of time before Joseph Lambert is a household name amongst the comics cognoscenti.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

Digital.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

I’d love to see a thinning of the heard from the practitioners of dreck — less licensed crap, fewer big event superhero comics, and the umpteen million spin-offs — a some vital signs of life for us indies trying to add real cultural value to the world.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

We’ll see. Our big launch is this Spring.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

Lots of good stuff: Robert Venditti’s new book (drawn by the amazing Mike Huddleston) should turn some heads; more Incredible Change-Bots from Jeffrey Brown; we’ve got no less than nine kid’s graphic novels scheduled for 2011… geez, so many books. Stay tuned for our big 2011 Publishing Schedule announcement, which you should see in just a couple weeks.

——————–

DUSTIN HARBIN (Diary Comics)

Diary Comics

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

This one’s surprisingly easy, although I’ll stick to less obvious choices, just because maybe I’m more qualified to talk about those than the really BIG books. The three books that stick up right away are David King’s Lemon Styles, Michael Deforge’s Lose, and Sarah Glidden’s How To Understand Israel In 60 Days Or Less. All three were books I was floored by throughout, and which HUGELY informed my thinking about my own comics throughout the year.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Probably all of them, honestly. Except, you know, the regular ones. Enough with those guys! I think Sarah Glidden is hugely underrated–I’m not saying her book is the best thing since Maus or anything, but using autobio comics to unpack and examine complicated ideas–as opposed to the more standard “why are relationships so hard” kind of thing–in a way that allows room for the reader’s own ideas, is an accomplishment. Not to mention a gorgeous one. I would maybe say this was my favorite book of the year, at least in terms of being surprised by it.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

Hm, I don’t follow the comics news that closely. Did someone get a new costume? Have they revamped any 70’s DC characters in an exciting way, maybe changed them to women? I think going forward the iPad–and comics on digital devices in general–will be the big news story of 2010, at least in terms of having deep ramifications for the future of the industry. All the other stuff kinda pales, I think.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

I would like to see comics grow up and take itself seriously in 2011. Stop acting like pissants in comments sections. Stop disagreeing with people because you’re bored at work. Stop trying to call every 80 page short story a “graphic novel” because you want it to sound more adult. Start blending all the genres together more, so there’s not “superhero” and “everything else” as much–I think that would help the health of the big companies a lot too. Stop seeing comics as content farms for possible movie pitches. Make great stories, great art, don’t listen to dummies in end-of-year bits pontificating about what you should do.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

Not at all! For most people publishing comics on the web, the shift to digital distribution happened in like 2002 or something, or way earlier maybe. But my business model is a boutique one, so the rules are a little different (and smaller).

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

Hm I don’t think I can say anything directly, but I’ll be doing some deep longform memoir stuff, plus I have some pitches lined up, and maybe one or two collaborations. Plus more DHARBIN! webcomics, not the diary ones, the entertaining ones.

——————–

DAN NADEL (Publisher, PictureBox)

H Day

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

(I’ll exclude my absolute favorites, which I published: H Day, Powr Mastrs 3, If ‘n Oof, and Puke Force. And yet I named then anyway. What a schmuck I am. But what a year!)

-Wally Gropius by Tim Hensley
-The Art of Jaime of Hernandez by Todd Hignite
-Crickets #3 by Sammy Harkham
-Jimbo (Party Ball) by Gary Panter
-Diary by Gabrielle Bell
-Wild Kingdom by Kevin Huizenga
-The Search for Smilin’ Ed by Kim Deitch
-Jesse Marsh’s John Carter of Mars
-Polly and Her Pals Vol. 1: 1913-1927 by Cliff Sterrett
-Denys Wortman’s New York
 by James Sturm and Brandon Elston
-Curio Cabinet by John Brodowski
-Weathercraft by Jim Woodring
-Steam Walkway by Carlos Gonzalez
-Acme Novelty Library 20 by Chris Ware
-Bodyworld by Dash Shaw
-X’ed Out by Charles Burns
-Silver Surfer by Frank Santoro in Strange Tales Vol. 2, #1
-It Was the War in the Trenches by Jacques Tardi
-King City by Brandon Graham
-Wilson by Daniel Clowes
-Love and Rockets Vol. 3
 by Los Bros Hernandez
-Afrodisiac by Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca
-Captain Easy, Soldier of Fortune: The Complete Sunday Newspaper Strips Vol. 1 (1933-1935) 
by Roy Crane

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Tim Hensley’s Wally Gropius is at the very top of that list, and right underneath it is John Brodowski’s Curio Cabinet and hovering above them all is one of the best things Marvel has published in decades: Silver Surfer by Frank Santoro in Strange Tales Vol. 2, #1.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

Obviously: Ben Jones, Cartoon Network mogul.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

I have five words for you: Chester Brown: Paying for It. Whatever this industry is, it should shut down for a week and collectively worship Chester Brown. Secondarily, I would like to see a resurgent underground in the U.K., led by Will Sweeney, Leon Sadler, Jon Chandler, and others, which will bring shame upon the colonies. Also hoping for more many interviews with Pat Lee by Rich Johnston.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

Writing a book about comic book history during my “me” time, but mostly I’ll be trying to get someone in charge to allow CF to draw Magnus: Robot Fighter and Brian Chippendale to draw The Uncanny X-Men. When I’m not doing that, I’ll be publishing around 8 or 9 books and a variety of oddly formatted objects in and out of comics “proper”.

Some of ‘em:

Color Engineering by Yuichi Yokoyama (Ltd. ed. artists’ book, 200 pages, full color)

Garden by Yuichi Yokoyayma
(332 page graphic novel)

Tales of Greenfuzz by Will Sweeney
(All four issues plus tons of new stuff)

1-800 MICE by Matthew Thurber
(the collection, plus a liter of new MICE)

“Untitled Project” by CF
(Sorry, no peeking!)

——————–

DEAN TRIPPE (Power Lunch, Butterfly)

Power Lunch

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Grant Morrison’s multi-title Batman epic is the story that has had me most excited to get over to my local shops, Comics Toons N’ Toys when I was in California, and Austin Books & Comics since the move to Texas. I don’t think anyone’s got a better handle on the Bat-Family characters than Grant. I’ve also been really into my pal Chris Roberson’s super-fun iZombie series (and more recently, Starborn & this week’s Superman/Batman!) and Kurt Busiek’s continuously astounding Astro City work (The Silver Agent two-parter was beyond wonderful).

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

As a DC fan, I’m pretty psyched for the new guard on the writing staff. Paul Cornell, Nick Spencer, Chris Roberson, Scott Snyder, Phil Hester, Jeff Lemire, and others, as well as the recent promotion and greater authority for Mark Chiarello, whose record of shepherding awesome comics is unmatched in recent memory.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I’m doing the art for a new book with J. Torres for Oni Press called Power Lunch, and we’ll also have a Power Lunch short-story available at Free Comic Book Day that I’m incredibly excited about, and I’m working on the return of my webcomic character Butterfly, as well as a few currently secret projects with other friends.

——————–

TOM SCIOLI (Godland, American Barbarian)

Godland

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

That’s a tough question. I read a lot of comics. I fall in love with a lot of comics, but when people ask me what I’m reading, what’s good, I blank on it. Most of the comics I read are old comics, so I don’t know how up to date I am with this year’s offerings. A lot of the comics I’ve read from 2010 were my friends’ comics. A lot of my favorite comics were reprint projects.

Dreadstar “The Beginning” Hardcover by Jim Starlin- A lot of these stories I already have, but the first Metamorphosis Odyssey has never been reprinted before (except in an unreadably botched SLG volume), so it was my first time reading it. It is a cosmic disco masterpiece.

The Best of Simon and Kirby, and the Simon and Kirby Superheroes books from Titan- A lot of great rearities, never-before printed stories, nice production. I want this series of books to keep on rolling.

Dick Briefer’s Frankenstein- I read this one in the days leading up to Halloween. the humorous Frankenstein stories were good, but I’d never read any of the early horror ones before. It’s a really potent updating (for a 1940’s audience) of the Frankenstein comics. These are really pure revenge stories. The story is transplanted to 20th century America. It’s got a formula, but it’s a really good one. Frankenstein’s monster wants revenge on his creator, so he goes on killing rampages, yet goes out of his way to protect his creator from harm, so that he can live a long life of suffering, watching his creature destroy the world.

Galactica:1980 – This one’s a guilty pleasure. I love the old BSG series, probably for all the wrong reasons. It’s nostalgic, one of my earliest memories, the similarity to Star Wars. This comic wasn’t the greatest comic in the world, but that didn’t stop me from loving it. They never really did an ending to the original BSG, and this was a good capper for it.

I’m on board the Neal Adams Batman Odyssey train, and I plan on seeing it to its fiery spectacular crash. The thing that always disappoints me with the DC books is that something which would be a perfect self-contained thing, they usually end up giving it a non-ending and having it spill over into some new series by a different creative team. I’m thinking that’s not going to be the case here, since this is a singular work, by a singular talent in the Howard Hughes phase of his career. I love it.

Bodyworld by Dash Shaw- A great, thorough exploration of a sci fi idea, with a great cast of characters. Professor Panther is one of the great misanthropes of comics. It was a joy to read.

Bulletproof Coffin- I’m on the edge with this one. I’ve bought and enjoyed every issue of it, but I haven’t quite clicked with it yet, but it’s one of the few new comics from 2010 that I’ve been following in serial form.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Starlin is a legend so it’s hard to put one of his books in this category, but I thought The Dreadstar: The Beginning collection was a pretty big deal, which passed with hardly a mention. None of the great comic stores in Pittsburgh carried it. I’m the only person I know who bought it.

I’d like to get the new Starlin art book, but none of the stores in Pittsburgh are carrying that either.

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

That’s easy, Marvel/Disney. Aside from that, there were a lot of industry shakeups at DC. The death of Wildstorm took a while to sink in, but man, they were the industry leaders for the bulk of this century. Kirby Family/Marvel Lawsuit is a story that’s just starting and will be a big one in the coming year.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

Keep up the good work. There’s more comics of excellent quality in print now than there ever has been. I’d like to see more of the money in comics going towards the creators in comics. My hopes for the industry are the same as my hopes for society in general. Access to free healthcare for all. Fewer middlemen.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

It’s changed the form my work takes. Here’s an example. My webcomic, American Barbarian, was intended to be a monthly comic book that would be collected into a series of graphic novels. I was unable to find a publisher willing to take a chance on a new, weird monthly comic. A completed GN would be an easier sell, but I didn’t want to toil away at it for a year in obscurity waiting to release it, so I launched it in webcomic form. Because it’s a webcomic, I’m not forced to fit each chapter into an artificial page length dictated by the traditions of monthly comics. Each chapter would’ve been around 20 pages. Now that it’s a webcomic, some chapters are well over 20 pages, some are well under it, 14 pages. Each chapter can be whatever length is appropriate, I don’t have to pad or prune.

Now that I’ve made the jump to webcomics, I’m seeing that it’s not much more of a jump to go into animation, so as soon as American Barbarian wraps up, my next creator-owned project will be animated.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

American Barbarian (ambarb.com). Joe Casey and I will be giving Godland it’s big grand viking funeral. I have a Captain America story coming in February. I don’t have any other work-for-hire books in the works beyond that, but these kind of things tend to fall in my lap when I least expect it.

——————–

ADAM HINES (Duncan the Wonder Dog)

What were your favorite comics of 2010?

Tim Hensley’s Wally Gropius, Pierre Duba’s Racines, Vincent Fortemps’ Par les sillons, Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library 20, Brian Maruca & Jim Rugg’s Afrodisiac, Dominique Goblet’s Les Hommes-Loups, and Grant Morrison & crew’s Batman and Robin.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

A few things, but all that really matters for me is Duncan the Wonder Dog: Show Two.

——————–

MATT KINDT (Revolver, Super Spy)

by Matt Kindt

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Sweet Tooth, Sixth Gun, The Outfit (Darwyn Cooke)

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

Electronic comics — reading them on mobile devices, etc.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

Cheaper electronic comics.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

Hopefully bringing more people to my work by making it more accessible.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

Mind MGMT (Dark Horse), Strange Crimes (First Second), The Tooth (Oni Press)

——————–

THOMAS ZAHLER (Love & Capes)

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

I’m sure everyone’s saying it, but I think it’s the iPad. More and more, media needs a digital component, and the iPad finally created a place where comics could be consumed without losing a lot of their specialness. And, Apple design being Apple design, it’s launched a bunch of copies that will make it a kind of standard in the industry. It’s created the first new market for comics in a long time.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

I come from an advertising background, so I tend to think a lot of problems are marketing issues. Last year, my aunt, who knows what I do for a living, asked “Do they still make Batman comics?” The books aren’t where people can discover them anymore. I’d like to see more initiatives to get comics in front of people. FCBD is great, but we need to make them ubiquitous again. And that’s not something I as a small publisher can fix. But I’ll bet you that Disney and Warner Brothers might be able to figure something out.

Likewise, I’d also like to see more entry points for new and younger readers. I’m worried that we’re creating a walled garden for kids comics where they exist separately from comics in general. One of the things that helped me discover more books was that Green Lantern appeared with Superman in Action Comics and, hey, maybe I’d like to check that out. These days, if I read Brave and the Bold or Tiny Titans, there’s no second book to pick up without having to relearn the characters’ history all over. It’s not “for kids” as it’s “kid friendly”.

Star Wars was a film that was fine for seven-year-old Thom to see (even with Han shooting first) but 27-year old Thom found it to be a pretty great and satisfying movie. It takes a lot more work to make a book that can be enjoyed by generations, but I think it’s worth it.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

As things stand, it’ll remain the same. IDW has put my books online for some time, and they’re continuing to do so.

To my mind, the big thing that will take digital comics to the next level and me with it are the development of a subscription service where for a flat monthly rate I can access the entire library of a comic company. There are a lot of books I’d like to read without necessarily owning, and as a creator I’d love to be able to read the last year of stories of a character I’m trying to pitch on without needing to track down and buy old issues. That’s going to involve figuring out a royalty system for creators who are eligible, of course.

I’d also like to see a universal format for comics so you’re downloading a book, not a reader system. It’d make it easier to provide the file rather than have people have to get a proprietary player.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

More Love and Capes, that’s for sure. And I’m lettering the Stan Lee Guardian30 NHL project which is a lot of fun. Past that, I’m hoping that the success and glowing reactions to LNC helps encourage some other places to let me play with their toys. I promise I won’t break them.

——————–

JASON LITTLE (Motel Art Improvement Service)

Motel Art Improvement Service

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

In no particular order:

Crickets #3 by Sammy Harkham
X’d Out by Charles Burns
H Day by Renee French
Meanwhile by Jason Shiga
Weathercraft by Jim Woodring
Wally Gropius by Tim Hensley
Acme Novelty Library no. 20 (“Lint”) by Chris Ware
Picture This: The Nearsighted Monkey Book by Lynda Barry
The Wild Kingdom by Kevin Huizenga

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

If you happen to be a comics publisher in search of unexploited brilliance, I urge you to investigate the following cartoonists:
Polish-Minnesotan cartoonist Tom Kaczynski draws contemplative essay-comics about his place in the world and his position in space-time. He also runs the boutique mini-comics publishing concern Uncivilized Books. http://www.uncivilizedbooks.com/
Many like myself discovered Jon Lewis‘s True Swamp in the mid ’90s. The story is as lively as ever at http://trueswamp.wordpress.com/ , going up in two-color a page a week. Simultaneously, Jon has been working on his superhero team book Power of 6, and just published Klagen: a Horror with Uncivilized Books.

I got to know Damien Jay when he built an astonishing installation for a gallery show I curated. His website presently has yards of jaw-dropping sketchbook pages posted. His sense of design (particularly with type), color, and calligraphic cartooning is remarkable. Read all four issues of his medieval story The Natural World.

I love Dan Zettwoch‘s diagrammatic comics. You might think that this means cold and hard drawing, but Dan’s cartooning is deeply humanistic and loaded with personal charm. Buy his minicomics and those of his St. Louis colleagues at usscatastrophe.com

My favorite story from Kramers Ergot #7 (the really big one) was Josh Simmons‘s “Night of the Jibblers”, a funny, terrifying, and finally poignant horror story told in tiny panels. “The White Rhino” is being serialized in Mome. It’s a crazy, uninhibited psychedelic story, as rich and unrestrained as Jodorowski.
T. Motley immigrated from Boulder to New York a few years ago, and brought his brilliant formal playground “Tragic Strip” to The Brooklyn Rail. It’s worth subscribing to this paper for Tom’s comics alone. Read more at tmotley.com.

Eli “Hob” Bishop grew up in his parents’ avant-garde theater company. His compelling minicomics often exist in dream-space, hospitals, or both. Hob also runs the Global Hobo minicomics distribution outfit, where you can find his work including three issues of An Inside Job.

I remember meeting Hellen Jo at a cartoonists’ hangout at the Indian restaurant next door to Comic Relief in Berkeley. At the time her comics were really cute and charming. Suddenly though, her style changed completely and her pages were taken over by sexy, leggy teenage girls, vomiting, fighting, and doing other interesting things. You can bet my attention was grabbed. Buy her Jin & Jam no. 1 at Sparkplugcomics.com

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

I would like to see more graphic novels from visionary cartoonists chased by their own demons, and fewer collaborations arranged by editors. We do these for the paycheck, and the work is never anywhere near as good as the former category.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I will spend a solid seven months working on my next book, The Sphere, which will be a 3d comic about intersections between English rock music in the ’70s and architectural drawing in the fifteenth century. If I’m lucky I might get some time in to continue work on Vlak, my Kafkaesque.

——————–

KAT ROBERTS (Fever Dream)

What were your favorite comics in 2010?
– Jaime Hernandez’s “Love and Rockets, New Stories 3″
– Darryl Cunnigham’s “Psychiatric Tales”. I originally found these on Darryl’s livejournal, but they’ve since been published.
– Jim Woodring’s Weathercraft
– Michel Fiffe’s contribution to “Twisted Savage Dragon Funnies”.
– Kentaro Miura’s “Berserk”. This has been one of my most favorite reads for a while now. I was glad to finally catch up on all of the available American translations this year.
– Joan Reilly’s “The Disconnect”. My favorite mini that I’ve read all year.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I love seeing my work published, but thus far, the web has been my primary means of getting my work out into the world, so the growing shift toward digital isn’t something that bothers me too much.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I’m continuing to work on my shorter works under the umbrella title “Fever Dream” and will be starting on an adaptation of “Antigone”.

——————–

JANET LEE (Return of the Dapper Men, Emma)

Time of the Dapper Men

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

JL: I always feel like I should do as they say on America’s Top Model and pick my own work. But I won’t. J

Monthly series: Marvel’s “Ozma of Oz” and “Sense & Sensibility”; Vertigo’s “Unwritten”.

I think the adaptations of classic literature that Marvel is putting out are absolutely stellar. It’s one of the reasons I sent the geekiest email on the planet asking to be given a chance to work on “Emma”—well, that and my sad, Jane Austen obsession. And I love stories like “Unwritten” that turn beloved literature on its ear.

Graphic novels: “Koko Be Good”, “Castle Waiting 2”, “Parker: The Outfit”, “American Vampire”, and “Duncan the Wonder Dog”.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

JL: I like to read broadly, so my greatest wish for the industry in 2011 is that the diversity of comics published increases, that more people are able to find comics and love them, and as a result the market expands. Bit of a chicken-and-egg, I realize, but there is real opportunity if we can figure out how to harness it.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

JL: So far, in 2011, I’ll be working on Marvel’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, “Time of the Dapper Men” (sequel to “Return of the Dapper Men”), a short for the next “Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard” anthology, a couple of projects relating the Jim Henson properties, and (fingers crossed) one or more children’s picture books.

——————–

JAMES KOCHALKA (Johnny Boo, Dragon Puncher)

Dragon Puncher

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Forming by Jesse Moynihan http://jessemoynihan.com/
Leave it to Pet volume 4 by Kenji Sonishi
Invincible by Robert Kirkman
Weathercraft by Jim Woodring
Wilson by Dan Clowes
If ‘n’ Oof by Brian Chippendale
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass by Akira Himekawa
Walter Gropius by Tim Hensley
Billy Hazlenuts and the Crazy Bird by Tony Millionaire
Lose #2 by Michael Deforge
Sonic Universe
Sonic the Hedgehog
Acme Novelty Library #20 by Chris Ware
Palookaville #20 by Seth
Werewolves of Montpelier by Jason
Little O and Friends by Oliver Kochalka

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Forming by Jesse Moynihan

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

I’d like to see more small publishers start up following the spirit of Koyama Press.  But is there anyone else on earth with the will to do that besides Anne Koyama?

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

I don’t know.  I guess my publisher Top Shelf is starting some sort of iPad comic app in the fall of 2011, I think.  I have no idea how that will affect me.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I’m still working on the Glorkian Warrior videogame, and it’s starting to really get awesome.  I’ve also finished inking a Glorkian Warrior graphic novel, but that still needs to be colored.  I’m half done with Dragon Puncher Island and Johnny Boo Does Something.  I need to finish a movie script I starting writing for my friend, director Geoff Marslett.  It’s about two teenage boys who are building a mechanical battle suit.  I only wrote like 15 pages of that script in 2010 before I got completely derailed.  I have ideas for two TV shows that I might try to make on my own, if I have time.  I’ve been writing hip-hop inspired pop songs about partying… I hope to have an album of that stuff completed before the end of 2011, as James Kochalka Superstar.  I’m also working on a new Punky Brewskies album with my friend Jason X-12, in a sorta similar vein, but more rap oriented and probably less pop.  I guess I’m going to Hollywood to help Frederator pitch a SuperF*ckers TV series.  We’ll see how that goes!  Man, just trying to pitch that thing sounds insane… imagine if it actually got on the air.  Of course, it would be the best show EVER.

Glorkian Warrior videogame

——————–

M.K. REED (Americus)

Americus excerpt (Chapter 1/Page 17)

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

I was really happy to see Megan Kelso’s Artichoke Tales finally finished, I think my eyes might have actually bugged out of my head when I saw it at MoCCA. The end of Scott Pilgrim, Mercury, Smile- its been a great year for books by (or aimed at) ladies.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Brooke Allen’s NBM book, A Home For Mr. Easter, was totally adorable. Phil McAndrew, Britt Wilson, Sally Bloodbath & Matt Wiegle have all been putting out comics that are totally beautiful and hilarious.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

Manners.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

This year my publisher asked me to start serializing my graphic novel on the web, a year before it came out, which has been pretty cool to test out, although people keep telling me they’d rather read it collected.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

In a few months, I’ll be kicking off a new comic, About A Bull, based on the Tain Bo Cualigne, an Iron Age Irish epic, and in the fall, Americus will finally be out in stores.

——————–

PAUL MAYBURY (D.O.G.S. of Mars, Party Bear)

from D.O.G.S. of Mars

What were your favorite comics in 2010?

Spera, an online web series edited by Josh Tierney and illustrated by various artists. King City by Brandon Graham. Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s Black Blizzard reprint by Drawn and Quarterly. Chi’s Sweet Home by Kanata Konami published by Vertical. Chi is seriously one of the cutest things I’ve ever read.

What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?

Francis Sharp chapter 1 by Britt Sabo and Anna Bratton which was self published using the Xeric grant. I’ve seen a lot of books created and targeted towards younger readers put together by big publishers with a lot of money behind them, and they aren’t half as good as this book.

Rod Racer by Toby Cypress is one of those books that hurts to look at it’s so beautiful. To be fair, it’s not easily available yet. I had someone pick up a copy for me at NYCC, but keep your eyes peeled for the next larger print run.

Death Day by Sam Hiti. It’s pretty much a rule that I will by anything Sam puts out. He’s a fantastic artist and story teller, and I literally waited years for him to release this after reading Tiempos Finales. I once went into a crazy bidding war with Brian Wood on ebay over a Rambo drawing Sam did. After I realized who I was bidding against I jacked up the price to be a jerk, since he has DMZ money and all. In short, I lost…

What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?

I think the return of single issue comics that we all look forward to. King City and Orc Stain represent a kindred style and art movement that really gives me hope that quality comics can come out and grab the attention they deserve. It’s also great to see people successful and doing their own thing.

What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?

I really just hope to see e-readers usher in a new accessibility to independent comics. I love browsing through used boxes of comics and finding rare gems or just crazy looking comics I’ve never heard of for a quarter from the 90’s or 80’s. I want the same sort of comics craze and ability to get your work out there to happen again even though the stores themselves are shrinking and comics aren’t necessarily looked at as a goldmine.

Where do you see the shift to more digital distribution impacting your work in 2011?

My next book is a digital exclusive. It’s also the first time I’ve been paid to draw a comic that doesn’t hit print for a while. This probably makes me extremely lucky. Even though there are technically less costs as far as printing, shipping and retailers, I don’t see much changing in the way of creator’s shares getting bigger anytime soon. The way I’ve seen the pie cut up in various examples of digital distribution, it’s the same game with a different name. I’m hoping for a third party revolution with the internet, and easier ways to download comics from different sources. My assistant Ricky and I were talking about how the music industry had to learn a hard lesson, hopefully comics won’t take as long to turn it around. I would like to see digital download codes given out for buying a print copy of X-men, so I can download it for free on my ipad. Similar to rewarding people that buy records and get mp3 downloads.

What projects will you be working on in 2011?

I’ve got D.O.G.S. of Mars coming out through Comixology, Crack Comics (Next Issue Project) coming out from Image and I’ve got about five different projects I’m playing the waiting game on with publishers and writers to see who moves first. While I sit around and grow my hair long, I’m also writing new books and editing and creating a mystery project with Josh Tierney that is so amazing looking it’s hard to keep to myself. I also need to find a publisher for Party Bear, hint hint.

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Comments

10 Comments

Sir! Paginate this! T’is nigh impossible to read!

Yep, or spread it over several days … just way too much to wade through.

Maybe also ask a longer list of questions to each creator … say ten … and run their answers to only three or four, just so things don’t get quite so repetitive.

Thank you for compiling this and publishing it. Your efforts have produced a litany of new titles for me to check out. Thanks to all the writers and artists who responded to your query for turning me on to some new, and previously unheralded, content. This is a fantastic resource!

Sheesh. Can’t speak for anyone else but personally, in a world where online content is all too often chopped down into 5-minute soundbites, I’m glad to find a long, rambling article like this every so often. Thanks CBR for taking the trouble to include so many creators from across so many imprints.

Sean T. Collins

January 3, 2011 at 8:00 am

Hi all–We just adjusted the formatting slightly to hopefully make things a bit easier on the eyes. Happy reading!

Wow, this is… extensive. I’ll probably have to go back and re-read the bulk of it later, but I guess it works out to all the same.

“Anyone can digitally print. We’re going to have a planet with 6 billion authors and no one reading any of their books.” – Mark Andrew Smith
“I plan to put all my creator owned catalogue online for free in the near future. I mean, why not? They’re already there.” – Phil Hester
And pretty much everything Scott Wegener said on digital. Also…

“The [Spider-Man Musical] producers have a far more interesting handle on character setbacks and mutilation than most superhero comic book writers do. I’m amazed no one’s hired them for at least a Moon Knight or Aquaman mini-series by now.” – Evan Dorkin

Ha!

Lots of great opinions about lots of things. Great job on compiling all of these! I was surprised to see as many compliments as I did on Remender’s Punisher/Franken-Castle, which I personally loved, but know it had extreme reactions on both sides for the general readers. I was also surprised to see so many people speak out (as usual) against events/”The Next Big Thing!” when 2010 was arguably the least ‘unified’ year in quite some time.

This should be an interesting year.

Evan Dorkin for the win. Bravo.

I’m so grateful for those who contributed to this article as it’s exposed me to new comics and comic genres I plan to explore this year. As much as I love superheroes, I definitely realize the sustained health and growth of the comic industry with various comics and comic book genres.

I am sure this piece of writing has tuched all the internet visitors, its really reazlly fastridious paragraph
on building up new webpage.

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