Welcome to the limited-edition, alternate-foil-cover 50th anniversary issue of SBC’s The Panel, a chance for you to put your burning questions – comics-related or otherwise – to a group of comics professionals.

The Panel lives or dies by your contributions; please email them to panel@silverbulletcomicbooks.com and we’ll add them to the list…

This week’s question is as follows:-

“You’re dying, you only have one year left to live – it’s your last chance to achieve immortality via the comics medium – what do you do to achieve this?”

Roberta Gregory:

Well, perhaps I would try to be the first comics-creator-whose-time-is-running-out to produce a grittily-realistic autobio story about the whole process, though on the other hand, I would like to be remembered for more than just being “the Dying Cartoonist.” Of course, someone else could do it first, and that would take a lot of the fire out of it. Imagine having spent the last year of ones life on something that ends up being “Just another damned Dying Cartoonist story.”

I guess it would be more realistic to just do that one story that one has always wanted to do, but hasn’t for various reasons, too controversial, too daring, not commercial enough. I believe we are put here to do our own unique “thing,” no matter how much it intrudes on others’ “comfort zones.” Or how unmarketable it is. What are people gonna do…. hate it so much they’ll never buy another of your books again? And, just think, trying to get rid of all those extra copies will be someone ELSE’S headache!

Roberta Gregory is the creator of “Bitchy Bitch”, who not only stars in Roberta’s Naughty Bits comic book (from Fantagraphics), but also appears on television worldwide in animated adventures, the latest being the “Life’s a Bitch” series on the Oxygen Network.

Alan Grant:

I don my Batman costume and bring the Justice of the Night to Bush and Blair.

Alan Grant, writer of Dredd, Batman, and the slightly mad Doomlord, can be seen currently with Arthur Ranson on Judge Anderson in the Judge Dredd Megazine, and the superb Com.X trade collection of The Last American.

Stephen Holland:


I can’t leave my mark on the medium, I’m just a retailer.

All I can do is try to make a mark (not mine, nor Mark’s – just “a” mark) on the industry, by serving the readers as best as I can, by promoting the finest works wherever I can, and by occasionally raising issues that those with vested interests would rather ignore.

The important work is currently being done, will continue to be done, and – perhaps as importantly – has already been done by a huge number of exceptionally talented comic book creators, who up until now have only begun to receive a tiny piece of the acclaim and exposure they so richly deserve, because they’ve yet to reach their potential public.

If I died in a year’s time (and let’s face it, the amount I drink and smoke every day is hardly conducive to longevity – I’m already well past my first bottle of wine tonight), there are so many more to take my place, not least of which is Mark Simpson himself, my business partner and core of Page 45 who knows far better than I what makes a top-notch comic. I’m the onewith the big mouth. Mark is the guy who knuckles down and buys in the best the medium has to offer.

If Mark dies, many creators who have little access to the public at the moment will suffer. If I die, you just get a welcome respite from the self-publicity machine. Although someone’s going to have to learn Accounts lickerty-split!

Mark Simpson runs Page 45, a comic shop in Nottingham, with Stephen L. Holland & Tom Rosin. He doesn’t have a monthly column in Comics International, but that’s because he’s busy designing the window, talking creators like John Porcellino into selling us their wares, and generally being very full of beard.

Donna Barr:

That’s easy. You just die. Then everybody wants your books. Feh.

If I knew what it was I’d have done it, and I wouldn’t be waiting around to wait until I was dying.

Okay, long shot — abandon everybody and everything that are depending on me, because in one year I’m going to abandon them anyway.

Sell everything I have.

Hit New York. Or Japan (take up Japanese again). Flog my work like a maniac to publishers and show people and newpapers. Write like a maniac. Do nothing else, not even housecleaning or cooking. Get actual publishers to pick my work up. Finally learn the damn book business.

When I run out of money, stand on a soapbox and read my stuff in the street.

Probably get forgotten anyway…

Shoot a president?

Donna Barr has books and original art at www.stinz.com, webcomics at www.moderntales.com, www.girlamatic.com, and has POD at www.booksurge.com Nothing she won’t try, at least once.

Jesse Leon McCann:

Screw that! If I have a year to live, I’m going on a ’round the world cruise.

Jesse Leon McCann is a New York Times Best-selling Author. He’s currently editing the fourth Simpsons TV Episode Guide for Bongo Comics/Harper Perennial, and writing stories for DC Comics’ Looney Tunes and Cartoon Cartoons.

Vito Delsante:

Somehow get the Make A Wish Foundation to get me on Batman….and then I’d out Batman and Nightwing.

They’ll never forget me then!

Vito Delsante’s creator owned mini-series, “The Mercury Chronicles”, with artist Jim Muniz, is now in development with Image Comics and will hit stands late this year. “Batman Adventures Vol 2: Shadows and Masks” (DC Comics) is out now! He will next be seen in Reflux Comics #3 (August) and in X-Men Unlimited #5 (October).

Brandon Thomas:

Man, with one year left to live, I’m trying to make sure I don’t go out like Tupac. That dude was only in the ground a few months, before everybody went digging under his bed and found a bunch of bullshit that HE didn’t think was good enough to release in the first place (which would explain why it was under the bed) and then they pressed it and sold it to people. To prevent such a disastrous occurrence I would likely devote much of that last year to writing enough material to sustain a respectable posthumous career, and leave it in the hands of people I trusted enough to make sure it got out the way I’d intended. By the way, I’m really not fond of this idea, so I’ll just have to make sure I don’t die for a few more years.

Brandon Thomas is one of the writers of Spider-Man Unlimited #3, scripter of Youngblood, creator of Cross and long-time Ambidextrous columnist.

Jason Brice:

Glue 100 copies of X-Force #1 to my bare flesh, douse myself in single malt whisky, and set myself alight whilst running through Times Square.

Jason Brice is SBC’s Big Kahuna, the boss-man, the publisher, and the main man to send all legal injunctions to. He papers his house with them.


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