A massive change is coming to the comics industry, according to no less an authority than Mark Millar:
[T]he industry, as we all know it, about to go through some massive changes unlike anything we’ve seen since I was a child. I don’t just mean digital (though that’s obviously a factor). But massive, very interesting stuff going on that’s going to change things quite radically for people working in the industry and anyone reading the books. The next 12 months is looking like a comic book revolution. Some of it’s good and some of it’s bad, but we’re looking at a very different industry a year down the line in terms of where people are going to be working, what they’re getting paid, etc.
I love change. It’s what comics is all about. But fascinating to hear what’s going into new contracts in particular. I think there’s a massive, massive boom coming, but not in the way you think.
What prompted this was a conversation Millar had with Bryan Hitch, who – Millar explained – “as creators [are] privy to info that doesn’t trickle down for a year or so sometimes,” but no further hints were given about what kind of change we’re looking at. It’s worth bearing in mind that Millar has a history of making grand statements like this that don’t really come to anything – Anyone else remember the number of times he predicted a giant comics boom that never actually materialized? – but it’s an interesting hypothetical to play with nonetheless; just looking at the moves that both DC and Marvel have made over the last year reveals an industry in flux and uncertain about what the future is, so I wouldn’t be surprised if things are very different this time next year. But different in what way…? I’m not sure I could make any kind of safe guesses; after all, this time last year, who really could’ve predicted DC relaunching its entire line, going linewide day-and-date and taking more than half the direct market as a result, never mind the apparent cull of Marvel’s lower-selling Marvel U books or Image Comics announcing their very own comic convention. 2011 has been a very odd year for mainstream American comics, so perhaps hinting at a massive change but staying very vague about what that kind of change actually is is the safest option of all…?