The Panel gathers movers and shakers from across the industry together to answer your questions!
Don;t miss out on your chance ask the big guns a question or two, send them in now and don’t forget to get those questions in for the alternate-edition foil-covered poly-bagged 25th anniversary column.
Most of the Panellists should be known to you but if not, don’t panic I’ve got a few details on them at the end of the column.
This week’s question comes from Mac who wants to be in the number one slot in the Diamond top 100 in 10 years time. The question is:
“What’s the best thing that’s happened to the comic book industry in the last 10 years and where do you want to be (in relation to comic books) in 10 years time?”
Terry Moore: “The best thing that happened in the last ten years was all the great talent that DIDN’T leave the industry during its depression. Talented artists and writers can make a lot more money in other industries, and we have lost many talented people who could have helped the sales of comics where it counts, in the Top 20 category. I don’t blame them for moving on to better paying jobs, but I am really grateful to the talents who stayed and continue to contribute to the industry’s health, and to the great new talents arriving every year. My most sincere respects to them all.
In ten years I hope the Strangers In Paradise books are in their final and permanent package and sell for the next umpteen generations like Tintin books.”
Axel Alonso: “My response: “Argentina…Living in Argentina.””
Vince Moore: “It’s really hard to answer this question. The world of comics right now is split into so many factions. Some claiming things are better than ever. Others saying the end is nigh, calling the superhero the agent of the apocalypse. Still others basically surrendering to Manga, as if it were an invading force, as if there were no flaws or limitations to those kinds of comics like there are with any other comics. But overall, the last ten years have been pretty good to comics. We have better looking comics these days, better creative people involved. The quality of the books themselves and the kinds of books available is the best I’ve ever seen. Could it be better? Sure, but we’re not at the end of the road yet, just at one point along the way .In ten years? Well, right now I would just like to make it through my first year without any problems, self generated and otherwise. I would like people to enjoy my stories, to keep writing and even drawing. To have fun and enjoy whatever I do. All simple, modest goals. Besides, no one stays on top forever. I would just like to have a solid, steady audience for my work, people who enjoy it enough to recommend it to friends consistently. To constantly build rather than lose audience.”
Gary Spencer Millidge: “I’m not sure that any single thing has changed the comics industry for the better over the past 10years – apart from the steady growth of certain aspects of the medium like the Internet, the bookstore market and some sectors of the independent publishing market. Possibly the worst thing has been the collapse of the distribution system other than Diamond, and next to that the collapse of the budding book store distributor LPC, which almost took several comic publishers with it. Perhaps the last 10 years has been characterised by consolidation in the direct market, the increase in quality books and trade paperback collections, and the recent steady growth in sales to the bookstore trade, despite its teething troubles. Diamond offering book trade distribution to small independent publishers has been a real boon in this regard. In the year 2013 I certainly hope that I’ll be earning a good living from my ever-growing inventory of self-published comics material. Perhaps by then I will have even finished Strangehaven.”
Fiona Avery: “I think it’s great that comics have been of interest to the media lately. I was pleased to see so many films that came out well and were based on comic books. I have enjoyed X-Men and Spider-Man, Road to Perdition, Daredevil and many others. I think it’s a long-awaited development for comic books. At least, it feels that way to me, because the last time I remember a really great movie based on a comic book, I was a juvenile with one massive crush on Christopher Reeves in his Superman outfit.
In 10 years, I’d like to be happily publishing my own little line of comics. Nothing fancy, just a nice little stream of interesting stories that I can take into TV and Film and develop when folks are interested on that side of the fence. I’d also like to be working on some good books with Marvel, or DC, or Dark Horse, stuff with existing, well-known characters, since I’ve had fun taking a turn at Spider-Man and Thundercats lately. I think the whole exclusivity thing is silly and would rather be a hired gun at many different places in the future.”
Alan Grant: “You’ve got me there. My memory is such that I’m not sure what happened in comics in the past 10 weeks, let alone 10 years. If I have to give an answer, I guess I’d say it’s the ever-increasing influence of manga and other eastern styles of storytelling.
As for my relationship with comics in 10 years time: it’s my aim to be in executive control of a global business founded on comics. Watch this space…!”
Alonzo Washington: “The best thing that has happen to comic books in the last ten years are good TV, animation, action figures & movie adaptations. The fact that these major popular vehicles have created major interest in the world of comic books is paramount. The fact that there have been a number of comic book films & cartoons that don’t suck is huge. In the seventies & eighties most super heroes cartoons, TV programs & movies were crap. Those productions sent the message that comic books where just campy non sense just for kids. Now there is a new adult success & respect for comic books. Movies & TV shows like The Matrix, X-Men 2, Spider-Man, Blade, Bat Man, The Crow, The Men Black In Black, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Batman: The Animated Series, and Angel are examples of comic book spin off productions that converted a number of regular people into comic book fans. The impact of this is everywhere. Now regular action films & video games mimic comic books. Moreover, I think great video games have also contributed to the success & importance of the world comic books in the last ten years. All these productions that I am naming have made comic books cool to everyone. I PLAN TO HAVE ALL THESE ART FORMS ADDED TO MY COMIC BOOK CREATIONS. I have already added action figures & bobble heads to my comic book universe and it has added more power to my company. Most comic creators are only heroes to comic book geeks. However, it is slowly changing. Now if you are good as a comic book creator you can become a rock star to the masses. Comic books are not just for geeks & kids anymore. The more that this continues to change the better the impact of the comic book world will be on mainstream popular culture. The more good comic book entertainment productions that are created for mainstreams audiences will only help the comic book industry grow and produce more fans.”
Alan and Dawn Donald: :One of the best things is definitely comic book movies that actually reflect the comic book. Also, Vertigo and everything else that has followed on its coat tails. And the Internet, which has brought fans and creators together and opened up the industry. Finally, we’ve seen comic conventions get bigger and better (from what we’ve heard).
In 10 years’ time, Alan would like to be a published author and Dawn would like to be a wife of a published author (not necessarily Alan!).
This Week’s Panel: Alonzo Washington is the creator of Omega Man and noted black campaigner. Alan Grant has had his hands in many pies including Batman and Judge Anderson. Vince Moore’s work for Platinum Studios can be checked out via the link on his name above. Fiona Avery who plays in the Marvel Universe, and with Wildstorm at DC and is also the creator of No Honor. Gary Spencer Millidge has been self-publishing his acclaimed Strangehaven comic book series for eight years. Axel Alonso is one of Marvels top editors having worked on Spider-Man, Hulk, X-Force, and Trouble. Terry Moore is the creator of Strangers in Paradise, has written for DC’s Birds of Prey and drawn Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Next Week’s Question: “Joe Bloggs is standing next to you in a store and says, ‘Why should people read comics?? What do you say to him’?”