Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Looking Back At The Year in Comics

It has been an interesting year here both personally and professionally, yet looking back at the year in comics the things that stood out to me most (or if you will, what I remember) were:

CrossGen Comics Bankruptcy - I was a big booster of CG in their initial startup, having made friends there when I won a trip to visit their HQ in their first months. I thought they had some interesting marketing ideas, and they seemed to be making great strides in getting their books in peoples hands in different formats.

Yet for various reasons- mismanagement of funds, running off of high quality talent, over expansion, and a product that just didn't appeal to the current audience - the company went under in a wash of controversy that left many creators owed money they'll likely never see.

Manga Continues To Expand - Some expected this to be the year the manga "fad" would finally end. Yet the opposite has happened, with expansions from Tokyopop and Viz and major book publishers like Random House throwing their hats in the ring.

Even the usually looked at comic dinosaurs like DC Comics, has seen the potential that lies within it, and launched their own line of manga. Which has been a very mixed bag so far, but at least they are finally opening their eyes to what could be the future.

Badgirls, Events and Gimmicks Return - Artists once thought of in derogatory terms such as the "Image Comics style" of big breasts and blood. Take that style to the typically thought of family oriented superheroes, and sales rise astronomically.

Explicitly violent death and dismemberment, of female characters especially, brings in audiences and attention from both in and outside the comic world.

While gimmicks like multiple and/or exclusive covers, rare editions and the like last seen at the height of speculator boom. Make their return in attempts to make more money by selling the same product to the same people.

On smaller, more personal notes:

Blogging is cool - Whether reading others or writing on my own, blogging has become a means to organize my thoughts, as well as get honest opinions on the things happening across the comic world.

Finding Cool Stuff - I found plenty of cool stuff this year like Rachel Nabors's Webcomics, Tania Del Rio's Sabrina run, Craig Thompson's Carnet De Voyage, Maria's Wedding, Busiek and Immonen's Superman: Secret Identity, Complete Peanuts, Othello, and Hikaru No Go.

Manga Love Deepens - I was pleased to find manga last year, if for nothing else but an alternative to the tired retelling of decades old stories from the big two American comic companies.

This year the expansion has allowed me more choices. Instead of reading to only have something different, I now find books from multiple genres that truly interest me in their quality.

Also a plus, is that for the first time in a long time my tastes seem to coincide with what is truly popular in a field. After feeling like an outsider, seeing book after book that I truly like not find its audience. Finding things I truly enjoy, and seeing that many other people do as well has been a great feeling.

My resolution for next year? Actually do more writing, rather than link to others news stories and the like.

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