Onward! Into the Future!

in charge!

in charge!

Obviously, we just had something of a banner week around here. Even to those of us on the inside, it was disorienting. They say that change is the only constant, but even the most jaded among us take for granted that certain things will always just be. Alas, all an assumption like that gets you is the feeling of a rug violently jerking from beneath your feet and the caress of the hardwood floor on your cheek. Nothing is off the table.

I mean, Paul Montgomery is in charge of something. Did you ever think even your children would live to see the day?

Whenever changes like these happen the natural, almost automatic reaction is to ask, “What next?” Sometimes you’re thinking, “Anything is possible!” and sometimes you’re thinking, “First they came for the Rons, and I said nothing because I don’t read X-Force,” but either way your mind is on the future. Or mine is, anyway.

Mr. Richards’ (he makes us call him Mr. Richards) ascension caused me to realize that in the last year or so, at least four people I know because of iFanboy have had their names on published comics as writers, designers, or editorial types. I’m certain they won’t be the last. Years from now, you will be looking at someone you openly mock in the comment threads now and saying, “I knew him when. He sucked then, too.”

It’s not just the success of my talented friends that has been booming lately. Think about it: if someone had asked you five or ten years ago what your ideal future for comic bookery would be, would that not be more or less the actual world you’re living in right now? Imagine I had pulled you aside the year before X-Men hit theaters and told you about all this. Imagine I was standing behind you in that line for The Phantom Menace opening night, and through your almost orgasmic rapture of anticipation for the most exciting cinematic experience of your adult life (talk about things you never saw coming) you overheard me saying, “One day, reading comic books will be as normal as reading anything else. You will see grown women reading comics on the train on a regular basis, and for that matter encounter them on fandom sites at least as often as basement-dwelling trolls. Often, they’ll be reading their comics digitally, because comics will be one of the most downloaded things on the internet; they will be easier to buy than a cup of coffee, although occasionally more expensive than one. Major comic book events and spoilers will be covered in the newspaper. The real one, the one your parents read. Marvel and DC will have entire programming blocks on cartoon channels, and everyone in the world will go see movies about the Avengers every summer. There will be X-Men movies and Spider-Man movies and f***ing Green Lantern movies and Hellboy movies, and the next time they make a Batman movie it will be so good the Joker will win an Oscar… stop laughing. Joel Schumacher will stop doing them. All of these movies will be by directors and stars people have heard of, with real money spent on them. Comics will take over the world long before they even make the Ghost Rider sequel… yeah, you heard me! Ghost Rider. Sequel.”

You would have stepped out of line to get away from such a lunatic. And yet.

So, what comes next? What’s left?

Sonia Harris' portrait of the iFanboy lineup circa 2008. Hawkgirl quit when her origin changed again.

Sonia Harris’ portrait of the iFanboy lineup circa 2008. Hawkgirl quit when her origin changed again.

One thing the future does not hold, I hope we can finally agree, is the death of comics. I’ve been hearing people wail about the End Times since before everything I just listed happened. Sure, sales aren’t what they were in the sixties or the nineties, but comics aren’t what they were in the sixties or the nineties. Reading isn’t what it was in the sixties or the nineties. There are huge indies now. There are amazing resources for self-publishing and self-promotion. There are webcomics that can turn anyone with a pen and money for GoDaddy into a published creator. There are apps, and apps, and also apps. Comics are a way for creative people to engage in dynamic visual storytelling without effects, cameras, or even collaborators. As long as there are people who want to tell or read stories, comics will exist in some form. What that form will be, of course, is anyone’s guess.

Will the hunger for superheroes wane in the future? In theory, everything ends and tastes are fickle. Still, this is a question people have been asking at least since the Daredevil movie came out ten years ago next month (!!!). If this whole thing’s going to run out of steam, it sure is taking its time, isn’t it? Yet another dull-and-colorless-as-dishwater Superman movie is on its way this summer (the dullness of Superman being perhaps the only thing in the universe impervious to change) but even that isn’t likely to kill the momentum.

Will there be a comics renaissance, if that isn’t happening all around us already? Will the generation watching Ultimate Spider-Man who have never been without an iPad become the readers that keep us going to 2100 A.D.? Only time will tell. I’ve been watching this pastime forever, and the news still surprises me every day.

Jim Mroczkowski is gunning for Mr. Richards’ parking space.


  1. I came back to comics at a time when the conversation was constantly, “When will comics die?” Every website was tellin’ it to the mountains and yet, its still here. I think the fans have something to do with that. I will shed a tear if or when the death of printed comics happens, but as long as they keep going through a digital source or whatever, its a good thing.

    Or as RUSH likes to sing, “He knows changes aren’t permanent, but change is.”

  2. Excellent as usual, Mr Mroczkowski.

  3. Well done

  4. You have the power to go back in time and you decide to stand in line for The Phantom Menace? You ARE a lunatic. Also, please bring me a copy of Gray’s Sports Almanac when you come.

  5. I get tired of people saying how sick they are of superhero movies. If 5-8 “romantic comedies” can be made every year, then why is 2-3 superhero movies in the summer too much to ask for (as long as they’re good of course)? Comic-wise, stuff has changed. I don’t think I ever saw digital comics really taking off when they got started, or that they might replace print copies. It’s nice that reading comics is semi-normal now (not everyone is cool with it yet), and sometimes it even makes you more interesting to others. Tv shows based on comics can be successful and run multiple seasons, hopefully more on the way. Probably my favorite is that Batman is cool again, to everyone and not just comic fans. But no offense to anyone out there, I hope the next generation of fan has better standards than what’s in the “Ultimate Spider-Man” cartoon.

    • The thing I don’t agree with Jim M. is the “Yet another dull-and-colorless-as-dishwater Superman movie.” There’s only been a movie trailer’s worth of material on the Man of Steel released, so unless he’s seen an advanced screening I’m not sure how you make this evaluation.

    • Theres 3 that I know of; one narrated by Jor-El, one narrated by Pa Kent, and one that was shown recently around some other blockbuster (This one looked pretty awesome) or something. I’m looking forward to Man of Steel (both movie and mini-series), because Superman needs some attention and we need a Justice League movie. Some people just don’t care for Superman tho, and can’t.be convinced otherwise.

  6. I don’t think the superhero movie will go the way of the dodo, at least for quite some time. It’s become the norm now for there to be at least 3-4 superhero films every year. Those are the movies I anticipate seeing the most. Even now, Marvel is finding new an inventive ways to attract viewers. Did anyone every think that there would ever be an MCU before Iron Man? I certainly didn’t but I’m glad it now exists and that’s something that I’ll follow until they decide to close the MCU for good.

  7. Lovely article and I agree we’re living through a glorious time for comics. However, if you go back in time and you’re standing in line behind me for the Phantom Menace, instead of telling me about comics can you tell me not to bother watching the movie please? Thanks.

  8. great article Jim.

    bring on a JusticeLeage film

  9. Two things:

    1) I really miss Sonia.

    2) We need to drastically update that image of the JLiFanboy. Conor should be Batman, Ali is Wonder Woman, and Paul is perfect as Red Tornado.

  10. There will always be people who sigh and complain about superheroes and their movies.They tend to be people who swear more by indie comics then by capes and tights.

    I suppose that’s fine.Everyone’s allowed to their own opinions and interests but you have to recognize that a fair amount of comic books are about superheroes.Go into your comic shop and look at the covers on the shelf.What do you see?

    If last summer taught us anything it’s that superhero movies are not going away anytime soon.I also don’t want printed comics to go away.Don’t get me wrong, i love the Comixology app and all but there’s something satisfying about buying in the store.Like hearing the Star Wars theme music it awakens something childlike within you that i don’t get reading them on my iPad.I do have to give digital comics credit, they make storage a helluva lot easier then finding room in my house to hold my comics (I’m even thinking of buying a filing cabinet!)

  11. It is an interesting comparison. When Phantom Menace came out, I was no longer reading comics, and I think I’d already sold my collection off to head into the “real” world with some money (which was pitifully little, to be sure); now I own a comic book store. Comics have come a long way in that time, but I still want so much more out of them, for everyone. Here’s hoping the next 10-15 years are as revolutionary as the last.