Every year on the fourth week of November the iFanboy staff gathers together at iFanboy Headquarters. We sit around the giant meeting table, in our chairs that feature each of our individual logos on the back, and we break bread and we give thanks to another crazy year in comic books.
Conor Kilpatrick Gives Thanks To… Great Books
When you read comic books for decades upon decades you know that there are ebbs and flows. There are periods of time where there are a lot of great books being done by a lot of great creators and then there are dead periods where just about everything you read feels very average and there’s no cause for excitement. It’s the natural peaks and valleys of serialized entertainment. Right now we’re in a peak time and there are more great books than ever. The shining stars of DC’s The New 52 are still going strong. Marvel NOW! might be a silly name but so far in its first month and a half it is proving to be a major creative shot in the arm for Marvel Comics. Image Comics might be having just about the strongest creative year of any comic book company out there. There are gems being published at Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, Archie Comics, and at even smaller publishers. Every where you turn there’s a reason to get excited — truly excited — for Wednesday.
Josh Flanagan Gives Thanks To… Artists
I tried to narrow it down to something more specific, but what I’ve really come to appreciate this year are comic book artists. I know, it seems obvious, but bear with me. I was always a fan of the comic book writer. But the more I started talking to creators and about the art of comics storytelling, the more I learned to appreciate what a unique and special art comic book drawing is. There’s nothing like it, and a master of the form is really only going to be appreciated by a handful of well informed individuals. They have the part of the job that takes the longest. Even with a full script, there are still so many problems to be solved, and challenges to be resolved, and they do most of it while working in a vacuum. To take words and ideas, and transform them into something that’s visually stunning and does it’s job clearly and cleanly is a monumental task. I appreciate artists I work with, and the artists I get to admire on a regular basis. We few readers are the lucky ones to be able to enjoy and understand great comic book art, and the rest of the world doesn’t know what they’re missing.
Ron Richards Gives Thanks To… Community
One of my favorite things about this life has been the strong communities I’ve been lucky to be a part of. Our generation grew up with the notion of a place where everyone knows your name, thanks to Cheers, and it’s that concept of belonging to something that I just absolutely love. Growing up I was lucky to be a member of a thriving underground music scene on Long Island, and then moved into a larger national underground music scene where the community was strong and supportive. I thought those days were behind me as I got older, but thanks to iFanboy and many of you, I’m proud to be a part of one of the best communities in the world: the comics community. Made up of several layers of community, beginning here with the iFanbase, expanding out to our fellow comics podcasters, to the the creators and professionals working in the industry, and out to the fans, the comics community is always entertaining and always a place where we can go and be ourselves. Conventions bring us together and starting 2012 at the wonderful Image Expo, and ending at MorrisonCon and the New York Comic Con made for one of the best years of the celebration of comics I can remember. I got the opportunity to meet and talk to so many members of the iFanboy community, as well as some of the most talented comics professionals you could ever meet. A case could be made for me to be thankful for the amazing science fiction comics we got this year, like Saga and The Manhattan Projects, but when I think about this year, it’s the hugs and the smiles and that feeling where everyone knows your name.
Gordon The Intern Gives Thanks To… A Summer of Comic Book Media
My girlfriend’s 14 year old daughter and I have spent a lot of time this year bonding over The Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel’s The Avengers, and of course The Dark Knight Rises and I’ve even gotten her to read a few comic books because of her excitement for the movies. I should also note that my three year old LOVES watching Marvel’s The Avengers with us, too. So, for bringing the family together, I’m quite thankful. Additionally, I’m thankful for the show Once Upon A Time. While I don’t watch it myself, the 14 year old loves it and cannot wait until she is old enough to read Fables. Maybe one year I’ll bring her to Comic-Con with me…
Paul Montgomery Gives Thanks To… The Irrepressible
Yes, it’s the name of the dirigible moored just outside my bedroom window, but it’s also a quality I admire so much in the people who create comics. My friends David and Jeremy started their own book this year with a small publisher. Their dedication is dogged and more than a little valiant. As relatively easy as it is to tell and distribute a story in the digital era, it’s more challenging than ever to drum up real investment and attention, to bolster your signal against the noise. I learned very quickly that comics isn’t an industry for opportunists looking to massage their gums with beluga caviar. Just to get by requires persistence. It means having a story to tell and struggling to find and maintain an audience. It might mean Kickstarters and campaigns and financial gambits. It means making a lot of calls to shops and being that voice in the wilderness for your story, an advocate not just for your own art but for the audience with which you hope to find fellowship. This year, I raise my cup to the people who try. To the underdogs and to those who’d invite them in. To the irrepressible spirit of storytelling.
Mike Romo Gives Thanks To… An Abundance of Riches
I’m thankful that we still have such an abundance of comics to choose from, week after week. This has been an extremely tumultuous year for comics (and it only promises to get more so), but even so, we still have an incredible selection of stories to choose from, in print and (even more) in digital, with more and more new books — and new creators — entering the market seemingly every week. It heartens me that everyone involved with comics —readers, creators and retailers — still stick with this medium, and I hope that we still this kind of energy in comics continue for the years to come.
Jim Mroczkowski Gives Thanks To… Marvel Studios
I’m thankful that Marvel somehow actually pulled off the impossible. When it was first announced that all of the Marvel movies were eventually going to culminate in The Avengers, I looked at the films’ wildly divergent styles and tones and said, “How on earth is that going to work?” This summer, they replied, “Here’s how.” I’m also thankful that maybe now I can start leaving when the credits roll again.
Molly McIsaac Gives Thanks To… Geeks
There has been a LOT of controversy surrounding things lately – ‘fake geek girls’, cosplayers, etc. Despite all of the resounding ickiness that has made itself known, the staggering support of the community has really floored me. For every ignorant comment, there have been ten that restore my faith in humanity. It makes me so happy that the geek community (for the most part) watches one anothers’ backs and is supportive of each other – even strangers. Thanks, geeks, for being some of the finest human beings I have ever met!
Ryan Haupt Gives Thanks To… Escapism
I am thankful for comics being an escape. Both the books and the community, particularly here at iFanboy, give me a much needed break from my daily routine. I have to read a ton for work, and most of it is very dense and technical. It is nice to have a holiday where I can actually take some time to curl up with a book and a beverage and be somewhere else for a little while. And no, this is not a comment on my girlfriend’s family.
Gabe Roth Gives Thanks To… Childlike Wonder
I’m thankful that I’m a kid at heart. Yep, I’m thankful for me. That’s right. Me. Sure, I could say that I’m thankful for my patient wife, my comic-loving kids, my dog Stanley, my house in the suburbs and all that, but hopefully my appreciation for those things is implied this time of year. No, the thing I’m thankful for is something more abstract, something at the core of who I am as a comic book reader, namely it’s that part of me that hasn’t really changed much since I was a little kid and I picked up my first thirty-cent issues. Simply put, I’m thankful for the ability to experience aspects of my life (comics!) with unashamed childlike wonder. I’m thankful that, though I’m a couple years into my 5th decade on this planet, I’m still excited when Wednesday rolls around and I find myself face-to-face with a new stack of comics. I’m thankful that I still get genuinely excited for summer movies based on my favorite superheroes. I’m thankful that I can still find joy in the purchase of the occasional action figure. I’m thankful that, though I’m burdened with the typical muck and mire of adult responsibilities, the wide-eyed comic book fan that lives within me still…well…lives. I’m also thankful for Brian Posehn on Deadpool and the San Francisco Giants.
Chris Arrant Gives Thanks To… Editors
When things go wrong, readers and pundits pass out the blame fairly liberally to the creators but also oftentimes the editor. It comes with the territory somewhat given the editor’s role as the company face when it comes to that given book, but when it comes to the inverse happens and a book goes well, the rewards and admiration is usually reserved for the creators alone. Take for example, Watchmen… or maybe a more recent example like the current Batman series. Both are real admirable achievements, and neither could have successfully winnowed its way through the vagaries of the comic publishing system without the editors to forged those waters. I’d say that a large percentage — 90% at least — couldn’t name off the top of their head who the editors were for Watchmen, or the more recent Batman. A good editor in comics is a renaissance person of several skills — from simple spell checking and proofreader, but also a shepherd of both the comic and its many moving parts but also the creators and working with a group of freelance, work-from-home, free spirits known as comic creators. That’s no easy task. For my money, I’ve recently been really impressed by the ship(s) Marvel’s Steve Wacker has been steering. From his inaugural treatment of making the “thrice monthly” The Amazing Spider-Man era work, all the way to beating the odds and providing the space needed for Daredevil to be a successful and critically acclaimed book again while getting out from the long shadow of Frank Miller without dissing it in any way. I’m all for calling our editors when something goes wrong, but there’s a lot of good going on in comics that editors are a part of as well.
Ali Colluccio Gives Thanks To… The iFanbase
There’s been a lot of arguing and downright ugly remarks made about what or who “counts” as a comics fan this year. The comics internet has been an unwelcoming and, at times, hostile place if you’re a lady. But I have never, in all my time as part of this community, felt that from the iFanbase. I almost feel like I live a charmed virtual existence compared to other women comic bloggers, journalists, and fans, because there’s no hate in this corner of the internet. Sure we argue over things that, out in the “real world,” are kinda silly. We get mad and yell. But at the end of the day we’re all here to celebrate the comics we love. The iFanbase is a big part of the reason I fell in love with comics four years ago, and I’ve made some of my best friends through this site. I am so very honored and proud to be part of the iFanbase. And it’s all because you guys are so awesome. So thanks for being you.
Timmy Wood Gives Thanks To… Diversity
Look at all the different types of comics that were on sale this past year: The Walking Dead, Chew, Fatale, Reed Gunther, Saga, Li’l Depressed Boy, The Manhattan Projects, Sparrow and Crowe, Black Kiss II, Adventure Time, Popeye, Hellboy, Mind MGMT, Mind the Gap, Point of Impact, Thief of Thieves and many more. There is at least something out there for everyone. Even DC is trying to expand their line with stuff like I, Vampire, Sword of Sorcery, G.I. Combat and Dial H. It may not be working out as successfully for them as Image but I still applaud the attempt. There are so many different genres and stories available on the shelf. This is good. This is how you get people interested in comics.
Matt Adler Gives Thanks To… The Boys
I am thankful for Garth Ennis’ The Boys. Recently concluded, we’re now able to view the 72-issue saga in its entirety, and get a full picture of what Ennis intended with it. It was a polarizing series, which some derided as nothing more than Ennis trashing superheroes. In my eyes, it was far more than that. It was a parable about many things; the nature of the corporate system, and how it can subtly and dangerously undermine the foundations of society. The dangers of trusting in a few select, unaccountable people to solve our problems for us. The ugly, fruitless cycle that is created when brute force is seen as the solution to every problem. And yes, the absurdity and creative bankruptcy that results when a single genre dominates to the exclusion of all other ideas. Ennis’ message may not have been popular with some, but it’s one we needed to hear.
Jeff Reid Gives Thanks To… Publishers Embracing The Past
I’m very thankful that the past hasn’t been forgotten by today’s comics publishers. When I was a young comics fan in the early to mid-1990s, I remember wanting to read Crisis on Infinite Earths so badly that I was nearly going crazy. DC refused to reprint the event, stating that they didn’t want to confuse readers by presenting anything that even remotely referenced old continuity. When the series was finally reprinted in 1998, I was ecstatic. These days, it seems that just about anything that publishers think will sell gets a reprint. From the Steve Ditko era adventures of perennial C-listers Hawk and Dove to old Avengers tales like “The Bride of Ultron,” the comics past is now something that can be experienced by those of us who might not have been around the first time.
Josh Christie Gives Thanks To… Saga
This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for Brian K Vaughan’s triumphant return to comics with Saga. One of the industry’s best comic writers penning a story that feels a hell of a lot like original recipe Star Wars more than makes up for his semi-retirement. Fiona Staples’ gorgeous art is just the icing on the cake… er, the cranberry sauce on the turkey. I’m perennially thankful for Vaughan’s fantastic work on Runaways, Y: The Last Man, and other series, but in 2012 I’m extra-thankful for this new on-going series.