SURVIVOR OF THE DECADE
Who hung on despite the odds? Who reinvented themselves for a new audience? Who shows no sign of it slipping away?
Rob Liefeld was a laughing stock in comics at the beginning of the nineties. There's still a lot of mocking done. But he's rejoined Image, found new Marvel work, expanding with his Apocalypse series and refuses to go away, by a combination of pure will and a maintained loyal fanbase. I hear he's producing a variant cover for a new Image title as well…
As an antithesis, there's John Byrne who, despite alienating Marvel, DC, Image and Dark Horse has found a hope in IDW, reprinting his Next Men and commissioning new Angel and Star Trek work from him. His fans are now his employers.
And there's Tom Brevoort who by all rights should have gone in the pre-2000s Marvelcutions, junked with the oldsters when the new guys took over from Bob Harras' boys or been stolen by the opposition. But Brevoort has continued carving out his career soldly at Marvel to the extent that you couldn't imagine the place without him. Even if he is now wearing mouse ears.
But the winner is Bob Wayne. Ex-retailer from Texas, his stint at DC Comics has seen him preserve the direct market as the principle place that DC, and indeed the rest of the industry, does business. He has survived various waves of changes at the company, seeing off bosses, colleagues and co-workers. As the tides change, rising and falling, Bob Wayne stays as a solid rock. Unassailable, immovable and unflappable. To many he is DC Comics. And he knows where everybody's skeletons are buried and which Human Resources files hold the X Rays.
Let's watch him accept an Inkpot Award…
SCAM OF THE DECADE
Would it be Marc Alessi, who persuaded large sections of the comics community to move to Tampa, Florida before going bust as quietly as possible? Or Rick Olney, also probably not a scam in conception, but his repeated lies, expectations, threats and insults to anyone he still owes upwards of $35,000 gives him a solid entry? Possibly Josh Hoopes – the king of scammers who, through the decade, ran scams against comic book publishers and hopeful professional creators?
No, it would be Pat Lee and Roger Lee of Dreamworks who bankrupted the company, diverting payments to their new company Dream Engine, leaving many owed thousands, while securing recovered payments to their parents. Then doping it all over again with Dream Engine. And leaving creator Alex Milne uncredited and unpaid for his work for major companies.
Pat Lee currently runs Pat Lee Productions in Hong Kong. Here's Pat wishing all his creditors a Merry Christmas!
COMIC OF THE DECADE
All Star Superman reduced every Superman origin in one page and went on to treat the whole Superman mythos in just a wonderful fashion. Ultimate Spider-Man was the comic that changed Marvel overnight, soon infecting the rest of the line, aiming for a consistent, more mature line that worked together as a universe, culminating in the likes of Civil War. Promethea was a magical grimoire disguised as an action adventure comic, Preacher and Punisher found new ways to be men, Cerebus discovered new scripture as Book Of Genesis told the old one. And Y The Last Man, Transmetropolitan, DMZ and Fables told longform consistent stories from the get go, while Love And Rockets kept showing them how to be. There have been thousands of fantastic comics this decade.
But the winner is a title that, if launched today, it wouldn't have reached Diamond's minimum distribution terms. But this richly meta-textual adventure has reached out from the comics medium into games, music and film communities, spurred what is destined to be one of the most fashionable films of the next decade and will do as much to bring people to comics as Watchmen had. And should be a lot more accessible too.
The comic of the decade. Scott Pilgrim.
It's the bo-bomb.
SCOOP OF THE DECADE
I've had a few good ones over the years. That DC were planning a weekly comic called 52 that would tie in with a One Year Gap. The temporary cancellation and replacement of the Batbooks during the "Battle For The Cowl" series, with Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely returning after. That Batman and Captain America were for the chop. That Robert Rodriguez was insterested in worikking on a Sin City film. That Bob Harras' dismissal was down to finally defending staff against Ike Perlmutter. The Felicia rumours about Bil Jemas' behaviour at Marvel that would lead to his dismissal. How the events of 9/11 were used to censor and cancel Mark Millar's run on The Authority. That Alan Moore was taking League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen to Top Shelf and Knockabout, asking for his name to be taken off V For Vendetta and dissassociating himelf from it publically. That Frank Miller would be returning to Batman with Jim Lee.
But no. The scoop of the decade could only be seen in hindsight. A little report from a Lying In The Gutters back in May 2003 that not only were comic books being scanned and uploaded by a team calling themselves comic book archivists that had 90% of all Marvel and DC comics books published to that date, but were updating with every published book by these companies every month – and that soon access to those uploads would be hitting Bit Torrent networks.
It came to pass. And the industry has never been the same again. Course in ten years time we'll be injecting comics through our tear ducts.
Ooh look, Demonoid is back. Someone tell Dan Slott!