The ComixTalk End of 2007 Roundtable
Xerexes: Everyone here writes about comics -- looking back on what you wrote this year, what was your favorite piece and also, what piece provoked the largest response from readers?
Alverson: I'm lucky that I get the opportunity to write longer pieces in addition to my regular daily blogging. My favorite piece was the article I wrote about British girls' comics for Newsarama. All the other girls my age gave up on comics when they outgrew Richie Rich or someone told them that Superman was only for boys, but I had years and years of great comics about spunky girls having thrilling adventures, usually at boarding school. It was great to share that with the rest of the world. But the piece that got the most reaction was the one I wrote on MangaBlog in March, titled "Missing the Paradigm Shift", about the way the comics world has grown, and superheroes are now just a small part of it. I thought I was stating the obvious, but the piece drew a lot of interesting comments.
Badman: My favorite piece... perhaps my column (at ComixTalk) on a page by Jaime Hernandez, or an article I wrote on Frank Santoro's work that is hopefully coming out in print sometime soon or maybe my review of Hope Larson's Gray Horses. I'm happy to get any response, and I don't tend to get much except from my regular readers (who tend towards the experimental/theorist side of comics).
Tyrrell: Biggest response is easy -- the Dave Kelly/Todd Goldman dustup back in April, when the lawsuit threats went a-flyin'. As I write this, it is day #213 since we asked Goldman's lawyer precisely what we wrote that was objectionable, and day #213 of waiting for a response.
My favorite piece will be the one I write tomorrow, to be surpassed by the one the day after that. It amazes me that anybody actually reads this stuff or cares what I have to say.
MacDonald: Do I really have to answer that question? (Sigh.) I think my posts on the various women-in-comics controversies this year ("Night of the Feminazis Parts 1 and 2") turned out pretty good, and I wish I'd gotten around to writing the third part, which had the opening line "Women like a lot of crap." One of these days. As for reaction, the post which shall not be named is still being made fun of and parodied and passing allusions are being slipped into other reviews two months later. Thanks to me, C.F. is known worldwide as the best letterer in contemporary comics! I succeeded in touching a nerve, but I wish I had been able to use a surgical steel needle instead of a rusty poleaxe, but I do stand by what I said, and hope to return to the themes raised at some point in the near future. Onward and upward with the arts!
Dijkhuis: I haven't written that much about comics lately, but I think my posts about Project Wonderful earlier this year got a lot of attention, because PW seemed to be a big story last year. With hindsight, it probably wasn't; it's just another useful but unreliable tool in the web publisher's toolkit.
Shea and Gallatin: Earlier in the year, we did an interview with Mike Maihack of Cow & Buffalo that got a great response and we also really enjoyed talking with Brian Anderson of Dog Eat Doug. More recently, we got a lot of interest in our interviews with Nate Piekos of Atland and Howard Tayler of Schlock Mercenary. Finally our involvement with the WCCA (Web Cartoonist Choice Awards) at Megacon was great as well.
Xerexes: Give me a bold prediction about webcomics for 2008.
Badman: My webcomic will suddenly become extremely popular... that's bold... realistically... more great webcomics. More experimentation with form, more experimentation with technology, interface, serialization, links, layouts, text, design, color, theme.
Spurgeon: A general downturn in the economy combined with the further development of opportunities for traditional media sources on-line is going to have a drastic impact on on-line advertising sales for anyone not aligned with a major company. Tough times ahead.
Shea and Gallatin: Cloning, and sprite comics will be accepted as the one true webcomic art form (as they actually work on Mobile phone screens). And people will start to just think of the art form as "comics" and the individual mediums as just a way to read them.
Alverson: I don't see any drastic changes ahead. People will continue to experiment with different ways of presenting comics and making mone from them, but only a few will be able to quit their day jobs.
MacDonald: Some smart publisher is going to realize that webcomics are the next Garfield, and make lots of money for everyone. It is inevitable. I'm shocked that no one has been smart enough to see that yet.
Tyrrell: Having exhausted all other challenges, Ryan Estrada will perfect a computer-brain interface (probably co-developed by Randall Munroe and Ryan North) that will allow him to draw webcomics directly onto the Internet with lasers by thinking about them. "Estradarama 2008", will shatter its previous record of four dozen guest strips by an order of magnitude. This will provoke me to buy my fellow panelists a round of very good cocktails at the Pegu Club in Manhattan while we bitch about having to double-check all the URLs.
Dijkhuis: Ryan Estrada will do what Gary Tyrrell just said he would do... but he will still get his Wikipedia article deleted.
Seriously, though, webcomics artists should prepare for an advertising crunch driven in part by an erosion of trust in the intentions of ad providers. Web ads have been riding high lately; they're not going to go on riding high.