I should have titled this “non-predictions about comics in 2012.”
Predictions are, by and large, a mug’s game, and some if not all of what’s below falls under the rubric of The Bleedin’ Obvious, but I wanted to get it out of my head and down on a screen in any case.
This year should be the year where a wide swathe of established comics creators go “digital-first” with a broad variety of projects. However, that should also have been last year. Which leads me to wonder whether or not there’s really a taste for it among the creative community. (Aside from me: but I’m not certain I’d have the time or access to the artists that’d really make it work for me.) So I’m going to go ahead and say this isn’t going to happen this year, and won’t until it’s really too late – and just hope I’m completely wrong about this one.
This year, at least three groups will offer indie comics creators a “roll-your-own” digital service allowing them to ready and upload their own comics into storefront apps. It will be absolute chaos, and will create the sort of curational crisis you see when you browse for Kindle books by genre.
A corollary to the above, though: I expect to see more new comics creators bypassing the standard model of comics publishing entirely this year, and going straight to book publishing houses and crowdfunded self-publication and direct-to-digital using one of the services mentioned above.
For those who care about the big commercial comics companies: DC will continue to cede market share to Marvel during 2012, until they launch another round of issue 1s in September. But the bounce from that won’t last as long as the New 52. At which point, sadly, I think we’ll see the first signs of exits and exit strategies from DC staff.
More of this: Oni, Viz, Avatar, Boom, Archaia, Fantagraphics and a few actual publishing houses having less share in the direct market than Eaglemoss, a company that packages partwork magazines with little Marvel and DC character figurines. A less perfect illustration of what comics stores are actually interested in selling, I cannot find today.