I’ve always loved New Year’s predictions, whether they be about sports, politics, business or pop culture. So with the site up and running, I’m going to play Nostradamus and offer up my own predictions for 2017. Without further ado…
10) It will be a(nother) record-setting year for comic book films
We’ve become numb to the power (and ubiquity) of comic-related film and television, but that doesn’t mean the success is ebbing. The 2017 slate looks poised to set another box office record. Marvel will give us a trio of films: Guardians of the Galaxy Volume. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok. Fox will give us the final chapter in the Hugh Jackman Wolverine series, Logan. DC brings Wonder Woman to the big screen followed by the year-end blockbuster Justice League. The kids will go bananas for Lego: Batman. And for you non-superhero fans we’ve got Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Ghost in the Shell.
9) Comics will become significantly more politically and socially conscious
The election outcome and impending “Trumpidency” have emotions running raw, and the comics community appears particularly emboldened to rail against what’s to come. Historically, the arts have been a vital vessel in dealing with socio-political issues and it stands to reason that we’ll see a marked increase in the political nature and social-consciousness of comics in 2017 and beyond.
8) Digital comics will show real innovation after years of stagnation
No one doubts the ever-increasing importance of digital comics sales. Yet, the pace of innovation has been alarmingly slow. Comixology has offered little new functionality in the years since Amazon acquired it, and most digital comics remain little more than digitally reproduced versions of their printed counterparts. I expect 2017 to be a landmark year for real innovation – both in how digital comics are procured and formatted.
7) Pricing will be heading higher, industry-wide
Comic book fans are no strangers to rising prices, so it may come as a surprise to learn that average comic prices have flat lined over the last two years. One of the major reasons for stable pricing was DC’s decision to hold most of its line at $2.99 with the Rebirth initiative. While that was a welcome decision to many readers, comic shop owners are less excited (lower prices on the stands means less profit for the store owners), and it’s unclear whether the price reduction will have a sustained impact on unit volumes for DC. I expect we’ll see another bump in pricing in 2017, as DC loosens its own discipline while other publishers push the envelope further ($4+).
6) Marvel will undergo a line-wide reboot in response to record-low market share
As a lifelong Marvel Zombie, there are always Marvel books on the stands that I thoroughly enjoy. Yet, creatively I feel as though the company is in a bit of malaise, and that’s been reflected in this year’s market share declines. Based on how successful DC’s Rebirth (reboot) initiative has been, I expect Marvel will undergo a similar line-wide reboot if (when?) its market share reaches a decade-long nadir in mid-2017.
5) The convention bubble will burst, painfully
The comic book convention scene has never been hotter, but all good things must come to an end. The success of conventions across the country (and world) has led to an ever-increasing number of shows. We’ve started to see signs of exhaustion as new promoters are throwing together events and struggling to meet even modest financial goals. Creators are feeling burned out and many are having trouble recouping their travel expenses. While I think the well-run conventions will continue to flourish, 2017 will be the year when we see a meaningful retrenchment in the number of shows promoted.
4) Valiant Entertainment will finally break into the Top 5 publishers thanks to excitement over the Sony film slate
Based on the exceptional quality (and consistency) of the Valiant books, it’s downright shocking to see that their share of the direct market remains under 1%. That will all change in 2017 as Sony Pictures readies the first of its Valiant-related films (Harbinger), and more people become aware of the richness, depth and breadth of the Valiant universe.
3) The following people will become household names (if they aren’t already)
Nothing gets me more excited than seeing creators I’ve adored ascend to widespread acclaim and financial success. Here are a handful of creators that I believe will go from “talented but underappreciated” to unmistakable stars in 2017: Aaron Conley, Bilquis Evely, Daniel Warren Johnson, David Rubin, David Walker, Dennis Hopeless, Greg Smallwood, James Tynion IV, Javier Rodriguez, Lewis LaRosa, Maria Laura Sanopo, Matthew Rosenberg, Mico Suayan, Mirka Andolfo, Otto Schmidt, Rafael de Latorre, Sanford Greene, Steve Orlando, Tom Taylor, Tyler Crook, Veronica Fish
2) Geoff Johns will helm the top-selling comics of 2017 in his return to regular writing duties
Geoff Johns recently teased that he will be returning to full-time comic writing in 2017, and included an image of Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen with his announcement. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Johns’ helms the biggest “event” of 2017 that brings the Watchmen characters front and center to the main DC universe.
1) 11 O’Clock Comics will celebrate its 500th episode!
Join David, Vince and me in celebrating our 500th episode at the end of November. Normally we don’t make a big deal out of “anniversary” episodes but 500 seems like a worthwhile exception. We’re hoping to have some big things planned for the occasion, and will be keeping you apprised of our plans as the year progresses.
What are your predictions for 2017? Who do you think will be breakout stars? Which films and television shows are you most excited for? What changes do you want to see (or expect to see) this year? Which smaller publishers are you most excited about, or worried for?