Push Comics Forward
January 28, 2015 4:09 PM   Subscribe

It’s primarily about joining the conversations that are happening in this comics community of ours, helping to support and amplify those messages, and encouraging others to join. I love this industry. I’ve been working in it, when I’ve had the good fortune to have the opportunities, since I was like 17 years old. To see the way the industry has evolved in even the last few years is amazing–we’re seeing things (slowly!) become more representative. We’re ahead of the curve in many ways in comics and we’re also behind the curve in many ways. - Boom Studios Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon talks to Comics Alliance about Push Comics Forward, "a movement to actively shape what the comics industry SHOULD look like in 10 years."
posted by Artw (16 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I've never seen a single comic book issue send shockwaves through the industry the way that Lumberjanes #1 has in a long time. I think it's possible that some day, it could be seen as signaling a new age of comics, the way that DC Showcase #4 or Giant Sized X-Men #1 have.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 4:30 PM on January 28, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm not exactly sure if announcing your hot new projects for 2015 are by Mark Waid and Frank Cho is really "pushing comics forward" but uh ... OK.

I think Boom Studios certainly publishes a lot of good stuff, but I feel like they're taking credit for way too much. Yeah, sure, Lumberjanes is awesome and great, but it's not like Brooke A. Allen or Noelle Stevenson were magically plucked out of obscurity. They were already making comics and doing well at it! That Lumberjanes took off isn't really that much of a surprise to me.

(Also, I loved Ryan North's run on Adventure Time and I enjoyed the first issue of Squirrel Girl, but I never really got the impression he was really waiting for his big break for some major comics publisher. I think Dinosaur Comics was doing pretty well for him.)

People -- creators of all kinds, retailers, writers/bloggers (... show organizers ...) -- have been fighting this good fight for years. And while I think Boom's initiative is well-meaning, I wish I didn't feel like it was ignoring all the groundwork so many people have done before they found success with a few licensed products and a few originals. Yeah, anything that shows people that comics are more than Marvel/DC superheroes is a good thing, but this all just feels a bit too self-congratulatory on the part of Boom.

(I am grumpy right now so maybe that's coloring my opinion of it. I just worked a 12-hour day.)
posted by darksong at 4:57 PM on January 28, 2015 [4 favorites]

I'm really looking forward to when Lumberjanes comes out in a collected volume; I'm too cheap for single issues, but it sounds fantastic.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:00 PM on January 28, 2015

Yeah! #PushCOMICsForward (by publishing stuff that you already know will sell because it caters to an extreme fan base already established via internet/is created by people well within the mainstream). Am I being unkind? I'm a cartoonist.
posted by palindromeisnotapalindrome at 5:35 PM on January 28, 2015 [4 favorites]

No one thought comics targeted at All Ages was viable until KaBOOM!
That's some Stan Lee level hubris right there.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:38 PM on January 28, 2015 [5 favorites]

What Darksong said.

I like a lot of what Boom is doing and many of my friends work on books for them. But I'm not sure about a publisher with four men and no women on their "about" page masthead lecturing me about the importance of diversity in comics. This is not a new idea. We're already working on it, Boom.

And yeah: pay your artists better. Stop relying on spectacularly popular webcomics celebrities to do your marketing for you. Hire women into the top editorial tier. That would be a more helpful contribution to comics than an aspirational Tumblr.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 5:40 PM on January 28, 2015 [13 favorites]

Narrative Priorities nails it.
posted by beefetish at 5:42 PM on January 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

I like the philosophy as stated, though as others have pointed out the execution will need some more work.

That said, every person who's saying 'we need more diversity' is one less person saying 'when's White History Month?'
posted by Mooski at 6:44 PM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

I like the philosophy as stated, though as others have pointed out the execution will need some more work.

It's co-opting a legitimate grievance to push the same old mainstream people and the same old mainstream stuff, hoping to exploit the people complaining to give you free advertising as you get them to buy the things they are complaining about hoping they buy your spin on it.

And my money stays firmly in my wallet...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 7:40 PM on January 28, 2015

I don't know a lot about the comics industry so I can't comment on how this fits into that politically, but I like the words they write. New ideas are good. More than anything I just wish there was more stuff - anything - that isn't about "superheroes". Because blah!
posted by Drexen at 2:54 AM on January 29, 2015

A comic based on a 14 year old card game poking affectionate fun at bad D&D campaigns is "Pushing Comics Forward"?

God why do I even work in this medium.

I guess I'll have to dig up Boom's submission guidelines and call their bluff on this whole "promoting more gender diversity, racial diversity, and LGBT diversity" and "empowering bold new creative voices" and see if they're interested in doing something with this transwoman's almost-finished SF epic.
posted by egypturnash at 6:11 AM on January 29, 2015 [4 favorites]

I don't have enough knowledge of the industry to critique what he is saying, but I will say that the KaBOOM-produced Bee and Puppycat comics have gotten me (32-year-old female, nerdy but never into comics) into my local comics store for the past few months to buy new issues -- and look around at other series, too. So something is working.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:18 AM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

The Twittere comics community has seized on to this and seems very positive about it: #comicsForward

That's by no means just Boom people FWIW.
posted by Artw at 9:58 AM on January 29, 2015

I'm glad that people in comics are having positive conversations about our collective goals for the future.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:15 AM on January 29, 2015

I stopped into my local store and tried to buy a copy of Lumberjanes #1 for my goddaughter this morning: $20. Shocked, I checked Amazon: $25 and up! I can't remember a single title with that kind of demand.
posted by eamondaly at 11:32 AM on January 29, 2015

egypturnash DO IT DO IT. tbh if theyre publishing frickin munchkin they should give you some love
posted by beefetish at 1:11 PM on January 29, 2015

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