The Beat’s 2023 Creator Survey Part 1: where do we go from here? – Comics Beat

What was the biggst story of 2022?
It was a year full of changes and challenges. And as we’ve done every year for 15 years, we asked comics creators, retailers and journalists to tell us what they thought were the biggest trends of the year. As is also tradition, we asked our respondents to pick the Comics Industry Person of the Year. That will be announced next week but for now let’s just dive into a look back at ’22 and preview of what’s coming in ’23!
Thanks as always to everyone for taking the time to respond to our survey. 
Erica Schultz, Writer
2023 Projects: Hallows’ Eve from Marvel, X-23 from Marvel, the TPB of The Deadliest Bouquet from Image.
Biggest story of 2022:  The turmoil at Oni Press and the lack of publishers with booths at NYCC.
Biggest story of 2023: What social media site will all the comics people flock to and stick with?
Guilty Pleasure for ’23:  The new season of Bad Batch.
Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? Who knows. As of right now, I have accounts with Instagram, Tribel, Mastodon, Hive, Twitter, and Counter Social. People are talking about Post, but I think my phone is maxxed out.
Victoria Ying, author, illustrator, and cartoonist
2023 Projects: My book “Hungry Ghost” about growing up with an Eating Disorder will be released on April 25, 2023!
Biggest story of 2022: Webtoons drama

Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? I’ve seen a lot of comics folks on Hive, but things are so shakey, I can see a dark horse (hah.) coming out of nowhere too.
Matt Bors, Cartoonist and editor
2023 Projects: I’m writing Justice Warriors volume 2 with Ben Clarkson about election in Bubble City and also developing my wasteland characters from my editorial cartoons, Gorm and Tinsel, into something longer form. So two dystopian comics with two totally different vibes.
Biggest story of 2022:  Cons were back.
Biggest story of 2023: No clue.
Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? Social media will be more scattered and broken up across more fiefdoms, which is healthy, even if it feels more diffuse. The days of everyone being on twitter every second of the day are over, if you want it.
Marc Arsenault, Editor and cartoonist
2023 Projects: Editing various books for Webtoon/Yonder. Relaunching Sparkplug and Alternative Comics distro. Getting some archive stuff back into the market and in libraries’ and university collections from Wow Cool, Alternative and Sparkplug. Working on a Dylan Williams bibliography. Maybe finally doing some comics myself again.
Biggest story of 2022: I think I’m breaking a rule here or two, but, honestly, I think it is web comics overtaking print for readership and manga getting even bigger. See the Publishers Weekly stories from a few weeks back. And also any of this year’s comics best sellers lists in PW
Biggest story of 2023: DC Comics closes up shop and stops printing new comics. A beast like that can only live so long with its heart ripped out.
Guilty Pleasure for ’23: Al Ewing, who gave us good Defenders comics again. OK, maybe they are a bit derivitave of the Gerber/Kraft/DeMatteis era, but why should that matter?
Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? A lot of us old timers are still on the ole FB, but I see Hive as a potential winner here.
Eric Reynolds, Publisher and Editor
2023 Projects: Briana Loewinsohn’s EPHEMERA, Maria Bamford & Scott Cassidy’s HOGBOOK & LAZER EYES, Natalie Norris’s DEAR MINI, Simon Hanselmann’s WEREWOLF JONES & SONS, Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez’s LOVE AND ROCKETS, Daria Tessler’s SALOME’S LAST DANCE, Marcello Quintanilha’s LISTEN, BEAUTIFUL MARCIA, Garth Stein & Matthew Southworth’s THE CLOVEN, Jordan Crane’s GOES LIKE THIS, Ruppert & Mulot’s EXTRAORDINARY PART, and many more!
Biggest story of 2022: Skyrocketing manufacturing and shipping costs and cascading printing delays at a time of record inflation. Tangentially, the increasingly shaky ground the direct market — a fragile ecosystem built upon an increasingly anachronistic business model — stands on.
 
Biggest story of 2023:  Either Disney or Warners decide they don’t need to subsidize the traditional American comic book format just to develop IP.
Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? Something else. I haven’t deleted my twitter yet but I’ve significantly curtailed using it.

Jimmy Palmiotti, Creator , publisher
2023 Projects: PAINKILLER JANE- TRIGGERGIRL- FANTASIMA-THE PRO- for Paperfilms and Image Comics.
Biggest story of 2022: More and more creators following their paths and doing their own characters and owning them. The big two are shrinking as they try anything they can to stay afloat by offering as many covers to each book as they can. They have now gone full in on appealing to collectors and less about content to sell high numbers. Walk into any comic shop and witness the fatigue.
Biggest story of 2023:Creators learning how to sell directly to the fans using new technologies and the comic art audience continues to grow as record prices for original art keep skyrocketing.
Guilty Pleasure for ’23: I look forward to building the audience for my work beyond just comic book fans and finding new ways to get the work out there. I am also looking forward to traveling worldwide with my wife Amanda Conner in 2023.
Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? Twitter and Instagram and creators private mailers will be the thing.
Tom Akel, Publisher & Creator, Rocketship Entertainment
2023 Projects: On my personal plate – the Stan Lee’s Genesis tabletop game, Backchannel volume 2, a short story with Ben Templesmith, and a couple of unannounced things. On Rocketship’s plate – too much to list, most of it unannounced.
Biggest story of 2022: 2022 seemed to have more unexpected layoffs, turnover, and general PR and marketing mishaps than we’ve seen in a long time.
Biggest story of 2023:  Our new A.I. overlords will generate all of the content but still not be able to do dishes or laundry. I’m kidding, I hope.
Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? So far it seems to be Hive. I’m not on Mastodon.

Rantz Hoseley, VP of Editorial, Z2 Comics
2023 Projects: Z2 has 4 jaw dropping projects that are launching next year that I can’t mention yet because they aren’t announced yet, but holy cats… they are something!
Biggest story of 2022:  The announcement and launch of FMP (Frank Miller Presents) – I mean… RONIN II?!? Who the hell could have predicted we’d see that 40 years after the original!
Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? I’m on all platforms, but since we are all habituated and addicted to social media, I think it’d be great if they all collapsed and we have to re-learn how to network & connect in person.

Rob Clough, Critic/Publisher/Editor/Teacher
2023 Projects:In addition to teaching for SAW (Sequential Artists Workshop), running my Rent-A-Critic editing service for cartoonists, and writing reviews for SOLRAD and my good ol’ High-Low blog and Patreon, we at Fieldmouse Press are proud to be publishing new books from MariNaomi, Andrew White, Allison Conway, Cole Degenstein, Zoe Belsinger, and a few surprises to be announced.
Biggest story of 2022: Two things: the return of live comics shows and the fierce hunger for comics they displayed; and a changing of the guard in alt-comics as more publishers shut down and new ones take their place.
Biggest story of 2023:  Pushing the incredible thirst for YA and middle-grade comics that’s been cultivated for well over a decade and starting to translate that for an audience that’s approaching adulthood.

Guilty Pleasure for ’23:  Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling!
Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? I think it’s going to be diffuse; many will stay on Twitter, and Hive would be attractive if it wasn’t so glitchy. None of the other apps have the interactive and random quality as twitter.
Kriota Willberg, Cartoonist
2023 Projects: A Comics Guide to Surgery, still looking for a publisher even most of the rejection letters call the book “brilliant.” It’s an introduction to surgery from both sides of the scalpel. Written for anyone who has had surgery or will in the future, has a friend or family member with a surgical history or future, or for anyone who is just curious about surgical procedures. Another book is a memoir based on my minicomic, Cadaver Diaries, a book about the way the study of anatomy has shaped my life–through my art, patient care, play, and death–from the time I was a teenager. I see anatomy everywhere, from the clinic to rock concerts and even my dinner!
Biggest story of 2022:  For me, graphic medicine is a growing genre that has been fed by comics about COVID 19.
Biggest story of 2023: Can’t wait to find out!
Guilty Pleasure for ’23:  Working on my books while living off my savings. We’ll see how long it lasts. High on the pleasure and high on the guilt levels.
Ruben Bollilng, cartoonist
2023 Projects: Of course, another year of Tom the Dancing Bug every ding-dong week. Also, two new books in The Complete Tom the Dancing Bug collection from Clover Press will be published in 2023: Volume 3, On the Trail of Tom the Dancing Bug (compiling the years 1999-2002) will be released in April. Volume 2 (compiling the years 1995-1998) will be published later in the year, title and cover unannounced as yet.
Biggest story of 2022:  I’m hardly in the center of the industry, but from my personal position, it seemed to be the return of in-person conventions. (Because I returned to in-person conventions.)
Biggest story of 2023:  Hoping it will be that sales of comics, graphic novels, and comic strip compilations overtake sales of iPhones.
Guilty Pleasure for ’23:  With varying degrees of guilt (listed in order from a lot to none at all), whatever Silver Age Marvel reprints, Little Lulu reprints, and Carl Barks reprints are published in 2023.
Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? As formerly enthusiastic Twitterer, I’m hedging my bets by joining as many as I can and watching to see which gains traction.
 
Rob Salkowitz, Comics journalist
Biggest story of 2022:  Comics publishing industry tops $2B, up 60% year-over-year
Biggest story of 2023: Hangover from the streaming recession hits comics in a big way, impacting publisher business plans that rely on media deals
 
 
Van Jensen, writer
2023 Projects: My sci-fi YA graphic novel with Jesse Lonergan, ARCA, is coming out in July from IDW Originals. I also have an ongoing series at IDW that will be announced soon. I’m co-writing TEAR US APART with Jay Baruchel and art from Alessandro Micelli for Dark Horse, the bloodiest romance you’ll ever see. And then my debut novel, GODFALL, comes out in the fall from Flyover Fiction. I also co-founded a web3 company called Eon Rift that is producing comics and video games, and we’ll formally launch in the new year.
Biggest story of 2022:  This felt like the year that everyone in the industry realized that Marvel and DC are second tier publishers. The sales have born that out for a long time, but creators now look at the industry that way, too. This isn’t to diminish Marvel and DC. Other publishers have exploded and taken the mantle.
Biggest story of 2023:  Going to make a guess that we’ll see two comic book publishers go out of business.
Guilty Pleasure for ’23:  I’ve got volume 5 of the Claremont X-Men omnibus series pre-ordered, and it’ll move to the top of my to-read pile as soon as it arrives.
Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? I would’ve said Hive two days ago, but now it seems like it might fail. Wouldn’t it be swell if we hung out more in real life?
Andrew Farago, Curator, Historian
2023 Projects: Working on a full slate of exhibitions and programs for the Cartoon Art Museum, and a couple of new books from Insight Editions that will be announced soon.
Biggest story of 2022: Now more than ever, it feels like a major generational shift is underway in comics. People seem to be really into Lore Olympus and current manga titles or the latest superhero crossover book or 1990s omnibus hardcover, and it feels like neither fanbase knows much or particularly cares about the other. “Comics” increasingly means only one type of comics to readers. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it feels like there’s less and less crossover between audiences right now.
Biggest story of 2023: I hope it’s continued growth in the publishing industry. More titles, more creators, more comics for every type of reader. There are a lot of reasons for optimism heading into 2023, and it would be great to see every comics creator keeping as busy as they want to be next year.
Guilty Pleasure for ’23: More conventions! It was fun easing back into the convention scene in 2022, and I’d like to do twice as many of them in 2023.
Mastodon, Hive, Twitter or something else? Sticking with Facebook, mostly, since I don’t want to do social media on my phone and the other sites aren’t really grabbing me yet. Maybe we can all go back to LiveJournal and just have our own individual blogs again? I’d like that.
 
 
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