Warren Ellis considers what will happen to comics in 2012:
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.
On that last point, I think we’ve already seen the start of that with creators like Bryan Lee O’Malley, Hope Larson and Craig Thompson go to “mainstream” publishers with their latest projects, and creators like Tony Harris and Camilla d’Errico using Kickstarter (not to mention Womanthology)… But I worry that Ellis is right about his first two suggestions, depressingly.