Thanksgiving ThoughtsA column article, Mission: Professional by: Steven Savage
Thanksgiving is coming, and yes, you're tired of gratuitous Thanksgiving posts. Sorry, you're going to get one more here.
It's time to talk about what current and future comics professionals have to be thankful for.
I'm an old geek. My first serious love in comics was Elfquest before the series came out, so you can see how comparatively ancient I am. I've watched comics go through many changes and challenges, crossovers, Secret Wars, and really strange merchandising attempts.
When I look over it all, I actually think this is a fantastic time for comics and people wanting to do them.
- The Internet. This may deliver news, games, and porn, but it's also great for comics. You can get talent, get your comic out there, and find new material easily. Back in the day I first found out about (and dabbled) in indie comics, we didn't have that.
- Self-publishing. Self-publishing is available to everyone now - if you don't just go full electronic. You can get your comics out in many ways.
- An acceptance of comics. Comic movies are big. Sure there's been some failures (though not top some of the video game adaptions that are terrible), but comic properties are cool. Add in the popularity of anime/manga, and comics are definitely hip and happening.
- Diversity of comics. Sure, people joked when Twilight was done Manga-style, but that meant an insanely popular property about the world's wimpiest vampire was worth putting into comic form (and it did look nice). Comics are being accepted more and more as a way to tell a story period.
- New tools. Remember back when Malibu's investment in digital coloring was big (back when there was a Malibu)? Well now you can do amazing things on your laptop.
- New marketing opportunities. Sure a lot of this is due to technology, but between being able to find agencies, set up your own web page, use Mailchimp, etc. you have plenty of ways to get the word out there. Plus there's a lot of useful books to help you!
- Communities. Just look at what goes on here at Comics Bulletin. We geeks have gathered together over the decades, between technology, acceptance, and sheer endurance. You have friends and fans waiting to be made - and talent to work with.
- Smart comics. There's a lot of good stuff out there to inspire you. My week just isn't complete without Penny Arcade, Girl Genius, and Axe Cop. I would also love to see that crossover.
- Sense of history. All the reprints out there and the electronic copies are putting the history of your industry, of your medium, in your hands. You can have a breadth of understanding few could have had twenty or thirty years ago.
So let's be thankful for what everyone who wants to work in comics has available to them. It's a great time.
- Steven Savage