Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Outlook 2010: Comics in the Next 365, p.3 - CREATORS

I was interviewed recently, along with a handful of others, about the greatest challenges and opportunities as a comic book creator in the coming year. For the most part my outlook is to keep my head down and work!

Here's my whole interview uncut. Comments are welcome!

Q. What would you say are the two biggest challenges or concerns you have in the coming year for the comic book industry? And why did you choose those?

1. Being seen

One of the biggest challenges I see for the comic industry is geared towards the little guys. The small press people or anyone that's not one of the "big two" seem to have a very difficult time getting their books noticed. With the growing demands by distributors it's harder to get new material on the shelves. It's not that there is a lack of new material, it's a lack of readers and retailers willing to take a chance on a book that doesn't have your traditional super heroes in it. I can't blame the retailers. Traditional books from traditional publishers sell, and retailers are in the book selling business.

Take the Talisman for example. I don't really know what the numbers are on the book yet, but this is a book written by Stephen King, one of the worlds most popular authors, being published by Random House, one of the worlds largest publishing houses, and I would be willing to bet that a lot of readers don't know it's out there because it's not being published by Marvel or DC. That just blows my mind. Granted, there's a hack drawing it, but whatever!

2. The increasing size of the Comic Cons

I don't think I have to go into great detail about this one. Some of the cons have become so huge that it's practically impossible for comic book creators to attend. Support your comic focused conventions like Heroes Con in Charlotte, and The Baltimore Comic Con. If you love comics, go to a real comic convention.

Q. What are the two biggest opportunities/hopes you have for the coming year for the comic book industry? And why?

1. Digital Comics

One of the biggest hopes I have for the comic book industry is the development of digital comics AND a platform to make them widely available. I know, I know, digital comics have been around for years. I'm not talking about the motion comics some publishers are offering, or little viewers on a web page. I'm talking about a simple, full-page comics that read like... a comic!

Part of the appeal of a comic book is the design of the page, the way the reader's eye moves across the page from panel to panel, and the way it's intended to linger on certain panels. Great effort is taken by comic book artists and colorists to lead the viewer through a book. Most digital efforts in the past have attempted to force the participant along like they are watching a movie. Let's leave animation to the guys that do it best, and lets create digital comics that embrace all that is great about the comic book.

With rumors of Apple developing a tablet notebook that resembles the iphone/itouch, this could finally give digital comics the opportunity it's been waiting for. Imagine having a device that allows you to see the comic full size on the entire screen. You could flip the pages with the swipe of your finger, easily zoom in and out, and pull up a navigational menu on demand. Under Apple, these comics could be as easy to download as third party apps, and it would give all books the opportunity to have a wider audience. In the end, it would be a great opportunity for the comic industry.

2. Great Non-Super hero movies and TV shows

Superhero movies are great. I love Iron Man as much as the next guy. Trust me, I'm not dogging on those franchises. Anything that can increase awareness for comics would be refreshing. I'm looking forward to Wildstorm's Red, Oni's Scott Pilgrim, DC's Jonah Hex, or Image's The Walking dead. None of these would be considered typical comic books by the random guy walking down the street. My hope is they can increase readership and create a few more loyal customers.

posted by Tony Shasteen @ 8:44 PM   2 comments
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Name: Tony Shasteen
Home: Atlanta, Georgia
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