Baltimore: Bendis Vs. Kirkman

Alan Kistler

Alan Kistler is a freelance writer who has contributed to and He is a freelance video editor who occasionally acts in independent film projects. His blog is located at

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4 Responses

  1. John Ostrander says:

    Both are right and, consequently, both are wrong. For Kirkman to get the notice he gets NOW for his creator-owned work, his Marvel work undoubtedly helped. Bendis is going where the money is right now and I can't fault him for that but there's something to what Kirkman says about doing more in the cretor-owned field.As Kirkman did make the point originally, the point will come when DC and Marvel will decide you've had your day and they'll move on. At that point, if you want to continue to make money in the career you love doing, you'd better have some creator-owned work. Bendis runs the risk right now of not having work ready when Marvel inevitably jilts him. He may just segue into movies.Of course, some of us think that the future of the comics is online.

    • Alan Kistler says:

      You know what, I have to question why this panel only consisted of two successful 'super-stars.' I mean, my friend Kevin McShane has been doing his own independent comic Toupydoops for a while now and is certainly not quitting his day job. Why didn't we hear from people like him? Why didn't we hear from web-comic people like Scott Kurtz or Jeph Jacques (who also, funnily enough, went to high school with McShane and me)? I think they should've been up on that same panel too.

    • Dave says:

      I don't have access to the sales figures (and I haven't seen the charts) but wasn't Kirkman's Invincible and Walking Dead series doing well before his work at Marvel?While Marvel Zombies was a hit and undoubtably led some people to Waliking Dead while they were looking for other Zombies stories, I don't think his other Marvel work set the world on fire saleswise. I really think the sales for Invincible increased due to word-of-mouth more than anything he did for Marvel. I seem to remember Battle Pope being re-released during this time and doing fairly well.I agree with Bendis regarding the difficulty of getting a creator-owned titles going without an established audience for the creators, but there is evidence that this type of success isn't impossible. For example, I had never heard of Greg Rucka prior to Whiteout and Queen & Country.I really think you have the right idea John with having a back-up or side career for the days when your time with big two has passed. My dad worked in the lumber business for years. As the industry was slowing down, he commented to me that he wished he'd trained himself for two careers so he'd have something to fall back on. I've taken his advise and have two college degrees. As a result, I've developed four distinct careers in my lifetime.

  2. Marc Alan Fishman says:

    The 'rarified air' of these stars is such that they negate each others' point in my opinion. Marvel and DC are BUSINESSES that thrive on making PROFIT. And because of that, they pay creators top dollar to create for their top books that sell the most. When a creator reaches the point where they are recognized by name and name alone… that is truly a rarity. For those (like myself) who is fighting tooth and claw to break in to the industry, I could only hope that some mass exodus of talent flees Marvel and DC forcing them to somehow come down from their mighty thrones and see me and all of those like me who want a shot at the top. But you know what? There's a reason why the creators won't just up and leave. Piles of cash, and offers to play in the Marvel and DC sandbox at your hearts content pretty much lock down the talent for each company. I respect both Kirkman and Bendis, and am glad that this has sparked conversation amongst the indie guys who want in and those pros who are already in… I can only hope that the books continue to improve in content and direction, and that one day a door opens for me and those like me.