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The Beat’s 2023 Creator Survey: Part 3

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Back at it for the New Year! Wishing you all the best in 2023 – and to kick it off here’s more of what the comics world has cooking for ’23 – including previews from Fanbase Press, Neil Kleid, Jed McGowan and more. 

And don’t sleep on reading the 2023 projects – lots of stuff that you may not have noticed such as Jeffrey Brown doing a Mandalorian and Child book. Brown’s whimsical, family based Star Wars books provided the tone of The Mandalorian years before the series debuted, so this one is a natural.

For more: read on! 

Previous parts: Part One, Part Two


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Jeffrey Brown, cartoonist

2023 Projects: Working on a sequel to my middle grade DC book Batman & Robin & Howard, a Mandalorian and Child book, and a yet to be announced licensed project for the adult audience

Biggest story of 2022:  The return of conventions, for better or worse (or if you really think about it, both better and worse)

Biggest story of 2023: Someone will make a satirical Elon Musk comic and then Elon will buy them and that cartoonist will never make comics again, but they will stop worrying about health insurance and drive a Tesla

Guilty Pleasure for ’23:  Working on only one or two projects at a time instead of a dozen at once

Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? The comics community will return to its roots and communicate through mail order zines and local shops that sell no comics except minicomics made by customers


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David Harper, SKTCHD/Off Panel person

2023 Projects: Continuing onwards with my subscription comic site SKTCHD and weekly comics interview podcast Off Panel, and have a little something special cooking with a creator, as well as the occasional freelance gig.

Biggest story of 2022:  It’s a weird year for those types of stories, as there are “big” ones like Oni’s mess and all the weird stuff with Tapas that might not be as big as years past, or ones with uncertain impact like ComiXology’s disastrous update. But for me, it’s the quiet ill-tidings in the direct market in the second half of the year, and the general direction that’s headed.

Biggest story of 2023:  I think we’ll see real change in the direct market, for better or worse. I have no idea what that means, but something is coming.

Guilty Pleasure for ’23:  Cocaine Bear, obviously!

Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? Probably Twitter, until a better something else arrives.


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Julia Pohl-Miranda D+Q Marketing Director

2023 Projects: SO MANY amazing comics, kicking off the year with Where I’m Coming From by Barbara Brandon-Croft, Brooklyn’s Last Secret by Leslie Stein, Girl Juice by Benji Nate, Work-Life Balance by Aisha Franz, Man in the McIntosh Suit by Rina Ayuyang, and so much more.

Guilty Pleasure for ’23:  Not a guilty pleasure in the least, cannot wait to see the Randall Park/Adrian Tomine adaptation of Tomine’s graphic novel Shortcomings.

Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? *sigh*


BD_166.jpegBarbra Dillon, Editor-in-Chief Fanbase Press

2023 Projects: Next summer, Eisner Award-nominated publisher Fanbase Press will be launching the LGBTQ+, Upper YA graphic novel, FOUR-COLOR HEROES, written and illustrated by Aotearoa/New Zealand-born creator Richard Fairgray (Black Sand Beach, Blastosaurus).

FOUR-COLOR HEROES is a touching love story which follows two star-crossed young men who – in spite of their disparate backgrounds – find escape and one another through the pages of a comic book. The coming-of-age romance is set in a New Zealand high school prior to the passing of the Civil Union Act 2004 (which allowed same-sex couples to enter into a civil union).

In light of Fairgray’s New Zealand roots and given the Māori heritage of one of FOUR-COLOR HEROES’ protagonists, the graphic novel will be made available digitally in both English and Te Reo Māori as translated by Komako A. Silver and Alejandra Jensen (The Art of Taonga Puoro). The graphic novel will be released in English-language print in the summer of 2023.

Biggest story of 2022:  The impact that creators had on holding Action Lab accountable for its questionable business practices.

Biggest story of 2023:  The continuing path forged by independent creators through crowdfunding and social media platforms / The battle against AI art at conventions

Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? I think that it will continue to be an amalgamation of various platforms – whichever allows creators, publishers, and journalists to reach the masses.


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Tom Devlin,  Editor

2023 Projects: Why Don’t You Love Me by Paul B. Rainey, The Great Beyond by Léa Murawiec

Biggest story of 2022:  40th Anniversary of Love and Rockets

Guilty Pleasure for ’23:  This seems like the entire coverage of the comics industry.

Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? Let’s hope the ether.


CORINNA BECHKO headshot.jpegCorinna Bechko, Writer

2023 Projects: Avatar: Adapt or Die trade is out in February from Dark Horse. Also in February the miniseries Bill and Ted Present: The Princesses’ Triumphant Journey starts, from Opus Comics

Biggest story of 2022:  I think it has to be the upheavals at Twitter. I was active there for 14 years, really felt I had a community there, got work through the site, got news, etc. Now I’m mostly on Mastodon instead with a much smaller community. I imagine it’s the same for a lot of us.

Biggest story of 2023: Whatever rises from the Twitter ashes, I think.

Guilty Pleasure for ’23:  Attending more cons. It’s only guilty because I often really enjoy them while I know they are a privilege and very difficult for some folks.

Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? I hope Mastodon because I like it best but I’m not optimistic it will shake out as The One


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Stuart McMillen, Comics artist

2023 Projects: I am working on my debut graphic novel, The Town Without Television (Scribe Publications). To be honest, I am in the very early stages of creation, so don’t think there will be much to speak about until 2024 or 2025. I also haven’t been following ‘the industry’ much, so will leave the other response fields blank.

Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? Twitter


The brothers drew inspiration from the world they lived in. Their characters partied and groused about work; they aged, married and had children; they had potbellies and pockmarks.

Jacquelene Cohen, Comic Publicist

Biggest story of 2022: Love and Rockets 40th Anniversary! Two brothers creating an evolving the same comics series for 4 solid decades. Has any other artist(s) ever achieved anything close to this accomplishment?

Guilty Pleasure for ’23:  Going back to in-person comics festivals!

Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? Let’s face it, people love Twitter too much to leave.


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Neil Kleid, Writer, graphic novelist, Tigers fan

2023 Projects: Fans and readers can still pick up The Panic, the Dark Horse collection of the Comixology Original subway thriller I co-authored with Andrea Mutti this past year. January finally sees the bookstore release of Screaming for Vengeance, an original sci-fi graphic novel I co-authored for Z2 Comics with Rantz Hoseley, Chris Mitten and Dee Cuniffe based on the album by Judas Priest. Summer of 2023 brings the launch of an original prose novel based on some pretty familiar comic book characters that some of us hate and fear, and in February, I’ll be launching my first-ever Kickstarter, with the aim to collect a comic book I co-created and released digitally back in 2015. More on that soon!

Biggest story of 2022:  Oh, man…I feel like everyone is going to say “AI vs artists” or the complete upheaval of Twitter and social media as a place for the industry to promote, network and connect. Or maybe it was the constant support as graphic novels from Maus to Drama to Gender Queer to Fun Home faced bans across the nation? But I’m going to get a little morbid and say that for me it was the sheer numbers and unfortunate loss of so many amazing comic book creators and legends in 2022, such as George Perez, Carlos Pacheco, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Kevin Conroy, Kevin O’Neill, Alan Grant, Kazuki Takahashi, Tim Sale, Neal Adams, Garry Leach, Tom Veitch, Brian Augustyn, Kim Jung Gi, Tom Palmer…I mean, it was a rough year. We miss them all. Please stay healthy and safe, my comic book friends and colleagues.

Biggest story of 2023:  Will it be the concerted effort by comic book creators, standing with one another, to agree that our time and talent are too valuable to spend creating for publishers who delay payment and refuse to adhere to the letter of agreed-upon contracts? Will the big story be the uniting call to the mat of those companies that shirk their obligations to those creators who do the work and deliver on time, and continued support of and partnership with those who don’t? Or will it be the pivotal shift in online comic book communities as Twitter continues to deteriorate and hopefully other venues or forums finally coalesce to take its place? Maybe it will be an embracing of Jewish independent comic books and Jewish licensed characters/storylines as a way to combat the rising tide of anti-semitism in the world?

Nah. It’ll probably be “James Gunn Superman,” or something like that.

Guilty Pleasure for ’23:  Doing a little more traveling, hopefully, but also hoping to carve out time to cook with my kids. I love to tinker in the kitchen, but I’m always so busy working—just like I set aside time to write and work on comics, I want to do the same during the week by combining two other things I love: food and hanging out with my kids. The “guilty” aspect will be that I’ll feel guilty not writing! (What? You thought I was going to say “new Indiana Jones movie”? I don’t feel guilty about watching that!)

Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? I’m waiting for Hive to come back and be, y’know, usable again…but hey! Back to the message boards…or Livejournal!


leanne m krecic.jpeg

Leeanne M. Krecic, Creator

2023 Projects: “Charlatan” for the horror anthology “Lights Out”

Biggest story of 2022:  Discussions about comic imagery (The Punisher) and how they are inappropriately attributed to causes they are against (The Uvalde Police)

Biggest story of 2023:  The usage of AI art in comics

Guilty Pleasure for ’23:  Growing new heirloom seeds. I’m a plant nerd. ^u^

Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? Substack


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Jed McGowan, Cartoonist

2023 Projects: I’m very excited to release my new graphic, My Life Among Humans, with Oni Press on February 7, 2023. The book tells the story of an alien researcher who comes to Earth to observe humans in complete secrecy while sending regular reports back to its manager on a faraway planet. In the story, I play with a classic science-fiction setup: an alien comes to a small town and slowly takes it over. But my story is told from the perspective of the alien, and it was very important to me to take the alien seriously and portray it with care. It’s a bit of a sympathetic monster story, a kind of story I love. Here are some preview pages:

Biggest story of 2022:  For me (and maybe many other indie cartoonists), it might be the announcement that the small publisher ShortBox will wind down by the end of 2023.

Biggest story of 2023: I think people will continue to discuss and stress over the ways AI art and writing will impact comics and storytelling.

Guilty Pleasure for ’23:  Getting back to playing some hours-long board games with friends.

Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? I would love to see e-newsletters and personal websites take off (again) but maybe I am old fashioned.


Glenn Hauman, The Big Guy at ComicMix

2023 Projects: The recently remastered Jon Sable Freelance. Volume 1 looks amazing, and later volumes will look even better. Here’s are some before and after examples.

Before
After

Biggest story of 2022:  1. The slow return of getting back to normal retailing, conventions, and the like, with everybody recalibrating to see what still works, what doesn’t, what to bring, how to mask, etc. No two conventions are coming back the same way, all the previous lessons are out the window and everybody’s muscle memory for how to do cons is shot. And if we don’t figure it out quickly, a lot of pros and dealers are going to feel it in their wallets.

Biggest story of 2023:  Artificial intelligence assistance for creating comics– not just amateurs shoving prompts into Midjourney and seeing what comes out, but professionals quietly using it themselves. Imagine an artist whose line has gotten shaky in his old age using it to render clean inking lines– or to completely render a page in his own style from breakdowns. Or imagine a comics writer who decides to take an unpublished or unusable story and start seeing what he can come up with on his own.

I, for one, look forward to artists who previously swiped from other artists explain why it’s different for them.

Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? A donut party somewhere in Greenwich Village.


ReidBeaman.jpeg

Reid Beaman, Comic Book Artist & Writer

2023 Projects:  The Stretcher Bearers just released in April 2022 from Dead Reckoning and in 2023 it will finally be able to be nominated and compete for comic and library awards. I’m really excited about that. And I’m developing pitches/pages right now for more war comics and horror comics.

Biggest story of 2022:  The story about Diamond not seeming to care that Dark Horse is leaving them for Penguin/Random House for book distribution.

Biggest story of 2023: Probably what shape Diamond will be in as the industry steps away from them and they focus on the toys and games market. It’ll be interesting for sure.

Guilty Pleasure for ’23:  I’m really looking forward to reading more indi-comics and European comics and not Marvel or DC comics. I’ve been really big on reading whats new and whats catching my eye from France and Spain this year and I plan to continue to do so.

Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? I’m trying Hive but the damn app keeps freezing. I deleted Twitter and revived my old Tumbler account. So Instagram and Facebook really only seem to be the top apps I use to promote my work now.


kelly_sue_deconnick.jpegKelly Sue DeConnick, Writer

2023 Projects: Historia collection, Good Trouble Productions, and I’m not allowed to talk about the rest yet.

Biggest story of 2022:  Substack. Whether it’s been successful on the whole or not is beside the point. It revealed how many hungry many creators are for a way to get paid *and* own their own work was eye-opening for a lot of folks, I think.

Biggest story of 2023:  Maybe the death throes of Twitter? It’s been a central networking hub for the comics community for probably close to 10 years now with more connections and friendships made there than at cons. How we adjust and what replaces it is going to be interesting.

Guilty Pleasure for ’23:  Sewing.

Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? I suspect I’m landing at Post.news and on Substack. Not sure that will apply to the greater comics community, but we’ll see.


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Megan Kelso, cartoonist

2023 Projects: In 2023, I hope to publish a few articles about comics that I’ve been working on. I also have plans for some minicomics. I always like to start small after finishing a big project, and “Who Will Make the Pancakes” and “Crow Commute” were both big projects!

Biggest story of 2022:  I think it was the death of three major artists of the underground comics generation, Justin Green, Diane Noomin and Aline Kominsky Crumb. Losing them all in such a short time span really packed a wallop, and was a good reminder to take the time to appreciate our elders while they’re still here.

Biggest story of 2023: I don’t know, but I have a lot of colleagues with exciting books coming out in 2023, namely Rina Ayuyang, Mari Naomi and Fred Noland.

Guilty Pleasure for ’23:  more Taylor Swift!

Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? Instagram


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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