The Beat’s 2021 Creator Survey Part 4: the year we really missed conventions

And that’s a wrapping on our annual creator investigation. Reading all these rebuts if there’s one thing that came through: parties truly miss agreements. It’s been said a lot that inducing comics is a solitary job, and going to see conventions is a key part of cartoonists’ social animation. and parish. In fact I’d like to excerpt something Brian Hibbs wrote in his answer 😛 TAGEND

” There’s nothing greater and stronger than the communities we construct for ourselves. Everything we do, “everything weve got”, stanch and follows from parties around us, and being grateful for those linkages is probably the essential points we can do .”

There are also some actually heartfelt words about enduring the last year in all four parts of this survey. Hopefully this produces us together a little more. Thanks as always to everyone who took the time to participate. Reading the answers as I set this together really warmed my heart.

Read the previous three divisions here .

Tomorrow: the 2020 Comics Industry Person of the Year!

brian_fies.jpgBrian Fies, Graphic novelist

2021 Projects: Abrams and I are publishing a paperback volume of” A Fire Story” in Spring 2021, with 32 new pages of the information contained! Too “workin on” a new, unnamed graphic fiction with Abrams, currently planned for Fall 2021.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2020? That the transition of mainstream superhero comics from a publish medium for their children to an IP-generating machine for cinema and Tv belongings appears to be almost complete. I can imagine that DC and Marvel might stop engraving comics very soon, but there will be Batman and Spider-Man movies forever.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2021? No thought. Finding it hard to care.

Guilty pleasure for 2021: Lunch out with friends.

What did you learn in 2020? I have learned that, so far, I am luckier than most. As a misanthropic introvert, I joked that I’ve been preparing to quarantine my part man. But that joke isn’t funny anymore and I know people who’ve died. I’m doing what I can to help, and am grateful for my state and relative fiscal security.


dave_nuss.jpgDave Nuss, publisher Revival House

2021 Projects: publishing Super Magic Forest by Ansis Purins

What was the biggest story in comics in 2020? The DC/ Diamond split

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2021? not sure….hopefully a tidal wave of

Guilty pleasure for 2021: whatever Josh Simmons creates

What did you learn in 2020? maintaining a weekly zoom/ skype call with close friends to discuss ongoing creative projects


neil_kleid.pngNeil Kleid, Writer/ Graphic Novelist

2021 Projects: SAVOR, a culinary YA adventure graphic fiction with John Broglia& Frank Reynoso, out 1/6/ 21 from Dark Horse Comics; and an announced horror successions, a love letter to NYC with Andrea Mutti, coming late in 2021.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2020? At the beginning of this year I would have pointed to the #MeToo movement’s unmask of several high-profile, predatory comic book designers and editors…and I also want to mention the long overdue, increased awareness of not only the lack of diversity/ BIPOC builders and editors throughout comic book publishing but the amazing, baffled, concerted effort to increase their visibility to those in positions to hire, peculiarly due to the unfair gap in pay proportions when compared to that of white-hot authors. But in looking back both of those may have suffered under the shadow of the pandemic and how impactful it has been on the industry. Not simply for those who have been sick and stand due to the tragic deaths of family and friends…but likewise from the Diamond shutdown grind several publishers to a halting, stopping labor, and the absence of a meeting tour pressure an legion of masters will vary depending on cons for financial support to explore new avenues for survival…including crowdfunding and formation via Patreon, both of which learn massive spikes in engagement.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2021? I’d like to be optimistic and say that an impending vaccine will restart agreements, moving us gradually down a artery toward “normal” again, but I’m not sure we’ll get back to the way things were( if at all) for some time. It would be nice to say that the biggest story in comics in 2021 might be an industry looking forward and hopeful as a new administration comes in stateside, and( once those on the front lines get it) vaccines are administered in Spring/ Summer, allowing for rekindled hangouts and high-fives. But it also may be more industry-specific, like the fallout of Random House’s acquisition of Simon& Schuster, how that are harmful to their graphic fiction business, and how architects on both sides are affected. Or it may be an industry place the pandemic behind them to ultimately is known that a precarious, single distributor solution may not be model, particularly in a life where the majority of members of the global population is ingesting media on their devices. Or, you are well aware, it could be that some plucky Jewish dude meets success with his new graphic tale about adventuring cooks defending villain pirates with a magic sword? Who can really say?

Guilty pleasure for 2021: Some amazing television presents got me and mine through this pandemic: Ted Lasso, Cobra Kai, The Mandalorian and half the content on Disney+ -and despite them taking me away from my writing, in some cases sitting down together to watch those evidences saved our household close and sane. Slew more to come, so bring on WandaVision and the brand-new season of the Flash!

What did you learn in 2020? You can’t stress about the things you can’t control, and sometimes you only need to disconnect and go for a walk.

josh_frankel.jpgJoshua Frankel, Publisher, Z2

2021 Projects: A mas- Z2 has 50+ diaries coming

What was the biggest story in comics in 2020? I would say one of two things, though they are intertwined. First is DC scaling back on single publish comics, this move alone is more likely to lead to a 20% reduced by the direct market. However this pass into the second point which is the financial insolvency of Diamond comics. What no one seemed to notice is that when Diamond suspended fees during the start of Covid it was for sales that had already happened by and large and money Diamond had already received. Later Steve Geppi did an interrogation with ICV2 where he let slip that they had a credit line that would fund accounts payable for a month.

Now granted I don’t know the inner workings but if you are talking to your bank about amply tapping out a personal credit line it frequently implies there isn’t a lot of money in reserve.

Given the rebound in comics and PPP money the bleeding was checked, nonetheless here lies the big-hearted matter DC doesn’t use Diamond anymore and is drawing back on Diskette. Given that DC was around 30% of Diamonds business this is a big issue. The perimeters on dissemination are thin and a company losing 30% of volume isn’t good. In fact I had heard before that Diamond’s margin was exactly 30%.

Now factor in the fact that Penguin Random House only bought Simon and Schuster stimulating them the bookstore distributor for DC, Dark horse, IDW, Viz, BOOM and us at Z2( As well as many other purchasers) you abruptly have the primary bookstore distributor of comics all under one roof.

That said I actually don’t think Diamond will go out of business. Well-equipped warehouse space has shot up in appraise and other parts of Diamond are quite fruitful, my guess you’re looking at an acquisition.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2021? The Comic Convention Die Off- So while Covid will be over next year and convenings will probably be able to resume late Summer look at a good deal of Comic Meeting getting shuttered. It was already a very crowded field with a lot of gatherings set up that had been losing money.

That said I fantasize the ones that make it will do better due to pent up expect but I’d expect 20 -3 0% of conventions in the US to be done for good.

Guilty pleasure for 2021: This is silly but looking forward to going to a terrible chain restaurant so I can get a large glass of soda with refills. This is very silly but it’s the simple things..

What did you learn in 2020? Weirdly 2020 wasn’t a bad time for me personally. That said still looked forward to it ending.

amy_chu.jpgAmy Chu, writer

2021 Projects: Sensational Wonder Woman

What was the biggest story in comics in 2020? the failed attempt of meetings to pivot online

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2021? the return of in person cons( hopefully ?)

Guilty pleasure for 2021: a boozy mani pedi

What did you learn in 2020? you can have 5 lbs of flour, sugar even cup pates sent to your doorstep for free through Target.com


john_bivens.jpgJohn Bivens, creator

2021 Projects: The Devil’s Red Bride

What was the biggest story in comics in 2020? Conventions Canceled

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2021? First evidences coming back

Guilty pleasure for 2021: Getting to( hopefully) talk to comic fans at a bar.

What did you learn in 2020? Take treads& zoom with friends.

maria-ludwig.jpgMaria C Ludwig , Editor( Art by Aline Chau)

2021 Projects: Marshmallow& Jordan, by Alina Chau( forthcoming from First Second in 2021- I’m the main bible writer& then they have a production editor for dealing with the printer, etc)

What was the biggest story in comics in 2020? Continued discoveries of horrendous behavior( Warren Ellis; Cameron Stewart being referred as a “groomer”& Jason Latour decrying Cameron S& get called out as a serial harasser/” sexuality pest” by multiple beings within a month of that … it feels like that was eons ago now, but no … still 2020 ).

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2021? The continued reign of Young Adult OGN’s

Guilty pleasure for 2021: Collecting more tarot/ prophecy decks by astounding comics kinfolks like Becky Cloonan, Yoshi Yoshitani,& Trung Le Nguyen

What did you learn in 2020? Setting up regular video announces with friends/ friend radicals has been great, but the 2 people who stopped me sane were friends I could see in person( ever masked& safe)- going out of the house and dressing up for each other’s birthdays was a special treat.


Devaki Neogi, Cartoonist

2021 Projects: I’m working towards educating two pitchings of two separate narrations: one cruelty and another one punk-fantasy. I’m excited to finish them and send them towards their destiny. I have two short floors coming out, the first one probably in the first quarter of the year and the second largest one in the last quarter. I can’t wait for them to be out. They are going to be a career-defining for me.

Guilty pleasure for 2021: Mini trips( short breaks) in between projections!

What did you learn in 2020? Having work to do was a blessing, which too meant something to push “youre going to” get up and go to work.

justin_richards.jpgJustin Richards, Writer

2021 Projects: Creator-owned mini serial and kickstarter campaigns

What was the biggest story in comics in 2020? DC breaking ties with Diamond

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2021? How will we switch the industry after COVID uncovered the fragility of our infrastructure?

Guilty pleasure for 2021: Expanding my inventive efforts to more than just traditional comics.

What did you learn in 2020? Surround yourself with others that will lift you up and patronize you in the most difficult of of times.

jimmy_aquino.pngJimmy Aquino, Podcast Host/ Producer

2021 Projects: Comic News Insider and Comic Beat Insider weekly podcasts!

What was the biggest story in comics in 2020? Figuring out how to distribute comics during a pandemic.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2021? Realigning and continued adjustments to publishing/ deployment/ etc.

Guilty pleasure for 2021: More South Korean variety shows because they are exhilarating!

What did you learn in 2020? I’ve found it’s real hard to not make my attention spiraling down. However…Doing the weekly podcast, including more interviews and specials, and starting another podcast with The Beat chief herself Heidi have all been things that I look forward to each week. I started cooking even more and call it my” kitchen care “. Zooming with friends has fucking awesome really to see other faces and stay in touch.


Brian Hibbs, Retailer

2021 Projects: The biggest ongoing activity we have is the Graphic Novel Clubs, and curating enormous works by immense inventors for huge readers each and every month. The Kids club( for middle-of-the-road books) is, I hope, growing more” comics literate” books with deeper experiences and to improve understanding of the way each month.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2020? DC unexpectedly withdrawing from the general eco-system of the Direct Market. The forks of that routine( in the midst of a pandemic no less !) are going to linger with us for many years to come.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2021? What is still viable and what needs to be jettisoned to move comics forward. I suspect most “conventional wisdom” explanations are going to end up very wrong

Guilty pleasure for 2021: It will probably definitely sounds like a plug, but honestly all of my pleasures these days come from Interviewing kinfolks about process and plane and comics-making; I’ve got plans for at least thirty-six more great in-depth exchanges in 2021, and I can’t wait! Much of the Video Archives can be found now: https :// www.comixexperience.com/ archives

What did you learn in 2020? There’s nothing greater and stronger than the communities we build for ourselves. Everything we do, everything we have, stanch and flows from parties around us, and being grateful for those contacts is probably the most important thing we can do.

c168c38a47387a173309243807b8e535_original.jpgA page from Helm Greycastle

henry_barajas.jpgHenry Barajas, Writer

2021 Projects: Helm Greycastle# 1

What was the biggest story in comics in 2020? The biggest tales were the brave gals being put forward and talking about their trauma by the men that used their ability and clout to operate with impunity.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2021? Major comic book conventions and publishers will not bounce back.

Guilty pleasure for 2021: Simon Hanselmann’s CRISIS ZONE on Instagram. Real-time comic during the pandemic. Simon deserves an Eisner. STEENZ and Julez Rivera stimulating Sunday Funnies comic strips cool again are right up there.

What did you learn in 2020? I’m operated in this business on my own dime. I form the various kinds of comics I want to read. Don’t wait for an editor to get back to you. There is no right time to launch a series. Simply form comics.

heidi_macdonald.jpgHeidi MacDonald , editor in chief, The Beat

2021 Projects: Largely the Beat, but expanding our Patreon and doing more cool things than ever. Also doing more video and live stream, even when we can do things IRL again. And delayed until you assure what Therese Lacson and I are cooking up.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2020? Chickens came home to roost. A wrinkle in the supply course laid all the flaws in the system bare and….comics lived. Thrived even.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2021? We’re not done with shocking mutates at DC. At least one major publisher will go under. And yet…comics will endure. Thrive even.

Guilty pleasure for 2021: My 2020 guilty desire was ice cream, and I enjoyed every savory pierce. In 2021, boozing more salted ointment sud beverages from Yaya Tea.

What did you learn in 2020? Even though I invest a good deal of age online- a Batch of era- I realized that it’s the 3D durations that mean “the worlds largest” to me. As I said during numerous zooms, I’d make anything to be having this conversation in a grungy convention meat dorm, sitting at one of those folding counters, on a concrete flooring, feeing an$ 8 hot dog. We’re meant to communicate in person, with all our impressions, and having to do it over Zoom and Twitter and FB is part of why we’re having a lot of the problems we’re having now. That said, if there was a good thing to come out of 2020 it’s that regular zoom calls cured me connect regularly with people who are important in my life.

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