Marc Alan Fishman: Welcome to the Comic Book Industry of the Future!

Marc Alan Fishman

Marc Alan Fishman is a graphic designer, digital artist, writer, and most importantly a native born Chicagoan. When he's not making websites, drawing and writing for his indie company Unshaven Comics, or rooting for the Bears... he's a dedicated husband and father. When you're not enjoying his column here on ComicMix, feel free to catch his comic book reviews weekly at MichaelDavisWorld, and check out his books and cartoons at Unshaven Comics.

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4 Responses

  1. Gevian Dargan says:

    The only thing I would add to this vision for the future is an acknowledgment that the power of major publishers is and always has been financial capital. And while I agree with Dave Sim that the difference between a publisher and talent is that even on their best day, a publisher can never do what an artist can do, it is time for the creator-owned community to create a publisher that rivals the DC and Marvel PUBLISHING operations. Because both companies real achilles’ heel is that comic book publishing is not their primary business (i.e. concern) anymore. Marvel said precisely this in their 2002 Annual Report, before they went dark. The passion of the creator-owned community could knock Marvel and DC off their mighty perch if their efforts are focused laser-like with the right material, at the right moment, with the financial resources to do so i.e. Image, when they first started back in the ’90s, but with someone at the helm who knew what she or he was doing.

    And they will only get those financial resources if some of the creators with “lottery money” (i.e. merchandising or licensing profits from properties like TMNT, The Walking Dead, etc.) reinvest that money into the business of PUBLISHING comics. They must use that money (yes, RISK that money) to grow the business and counter Marvel and DC’s stranglehold on the marketplace. They must marshal their forces and create a distributor to rival Diamond who now serves simply to maintain Marvel and DC’s chokehold on the North American marketplace, whether we’ll all know it or admit it (and ComiXology is doing the same for them digitally). To me, Image has long been a place where this kind of publishing force could emerge. The problem with Image is that for all their successes in publishing, they can never seriously challenge Marvel and DC because they get none of the proceeds from when a book they publish becomes a licensing and merchandising bonanza (e.g. The Walking Dead). They can’t use the profits from the total success of a property they helped bring to market to GROW their publishing business significantly.

    Now, I realize that I am not saying anything that many have not heard before, and that’s because this is not rocket science, it can be done and should’ve been done a long time ago, but it hasn’t. Why? Because the creator-owned community has always lacked a concrete vision of what the comic book industry of the future should look like. They have lacked the will to be publishers or at least create a publishing operation that allows them to profit from their work, but still acts and operates like a publisher. They lack the courage and/or wisdom to walk away from the “old favorites” and the very companies they curse as they walk out the door with corporate coin falling out of their pockets. If the comic book industry of the future you describe is ever to be, then it’s time for the small press (publishers and creators alike) to collectively pool not just their creative resources, but their financial resources. It’s time for the Kirkmans and Unshavens (I wish you all the best in your endeavors with Sony) of the world to put their money where their mouths are.

    • Mark Turner says:

      GREAT Article Mr. Fishman! I think this is one of the only ways that those of us who are fans/creators who want to see change in the industry will happen. Gevian Dargan Bravo to you as well (are you a creator by any chance?)!! I will work on my end to be part of the revolution….be the change you want to see as they say.

    • Well stated Gevian. If I would be so bold though? The “investment” in a single publisher where ALL indie/creator owned properties go… in an effort to compete with Marvel or DC is all but impossible. I feel that what NEEDS to happen is a rising of a DISTRIBUTOR (not diamond) that makes indie guys have the ability to reach a national audience, in print, that is still profitable. THAT is really hard to happen though.

      Trust me, when the Samurnauts eventually gets us mad “TMNT” money? We’ll open the publishing house of the future. Mark my words. I’m from the future.

  2. In the future all superheroes will be Black. In other future news those superheroes will not be able to get a cab in New York.