The Comic Industry Talks the Biggest Changes in the Last Five Years

The gang at Multiversity asked a variety of comic professionals about their thoughts on the past five years of growth and in the industry. Here’s what I wrote…

It’s been an incredible period of growth and expanded visibility for comics and comic culture. Creator-owned stories returning to the forefront in a way we haven’t seen in over a decade, the explosive surge of comic conventions around the world, and comic-inspired movies galore have all contributed momentum and excitement.

That said, I think reaching the tipping point on digital content has been the most important development of the past five years.

There was a time when almost everyone, myself included, couldn’t imagine buying digital content. It felt fragile and ephemeral, like paying something for nothing, but with each year I can feel a growing need to cut back on the build up of physical objects crowding every corner of my home. I, and millions of other people, have come around to the convenience and flexibility that comes from watching, listening, and reading digital content instead of carting individual objects around. Purchasing a physical book is now a sign of important permanence for me. I buy high quality collections that have special meaning to me and, in turn, it means more to keep the printed version instead of heaping it on a pile with dozens of others.

In that same vein, the quality of online-first content and viability of self publishing online has come into its own. The internet is vast and diverse and the content that pushes through the filters of taste and interest are just as valid as any publisher’s line up, if not more so. In fact, more and more publishers are using online audiences as their barometer for offering publishing deals to content creators. It’s a wild and exciting time because Content is King. If you create quality material you can find an audience where ever you are, whatever your focus is. Having that alongside the increasing excitement for new stories/new ideas/creator-owned is an electric combination.

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m hopeful the above trends will continue and expand; More diversity, more opportunities, and more courage to create and promote unique and exciting voices that deserve to stand alongside our current best and brightest.

I’m typing this on an ultrabook while travelling across the country for my third comic event in three weeks. This morning I called my wife, wrote solicit copy, uploaded print files, proofed lettering, approved colors, and promoted my upcoming projects on a machine the size of a thick piece of cardboard while tucked into the corner of my friend’s office sharing his wifi. As long as I have an internet connection I can work pretty much anywhere while finding inspiration on the road. That feels like a fun and creative sci-fi-style future to me. I’m excited about what comes next.

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