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Year Ender 2004: The Creators - Part IV

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As part of our Year Ender feature, Broken Frontier has asked a lot of creators about how they look back on 2004 and what's in store for each of them next year.
From Monday through Friday, you'll get to find out what their answers are to the five questions we asked them.

Today: Jimmy Palmiotti, Phil Harmon, Phil Hester, Raven Gregory and Ryan Scott Ottney.

 

JIMMY PALMIOTTI

BF: Creatively, what were some of your highlights in 2004?

JP: Working on the THQ Punisher video game, writing the Monolith and Hawkman monthlies, getting the screenplays worked on for Beautiful Killer, Tempest and the Ballerina and spending some vacation time in Key West this month with Amanda.

BF: Which mainstream book of the past year did you enjoy reading the most and which was the best small press book in your opinion?

JP: My favorite small press book is anything that Evan Dorkin puts out. He really is a brilliant guy that needs to publish more.
As for mainstream, I would say I really enjoyed Darwin Cooke's DC: The New Frontier and Mark Waid’s Superman: Birthright series, as well as loving each beautiful page of John Cassaday’s art on Astonishing X-Men series. I’m now really digging Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern: Rebirth and I’m also eagerly looking forward to the new Concrete mini by Paul chadwick. 

BF: Which fellow creator’s work are you dying to read in 2005?

JP: Anything by these guys: Mark Waid’s Legion of Superheroes, the Solo books by that "A" list of creators, Justin Gray’s Batman stories, Concrete by Paul chadwick, anything by J.G Jones, Phil Noto, Paul Gulacy, Amanda Conner, Dave Ggibbons, Phil Winslate, Cliff Chaing, Darwin Cooke...the list is huge. its a great time to be a fan of comics.

BF: Are you satisfied with the way the industry evolved over the course of the year? Are there any trends in particular you noticed that are going to be relevant in 2005?

JP: Well, it looks like, because of the way things are selling, 2005 is going to be the year of the "event" comic. Watch how every major company is going to do these big mega events and crossovers that push their bottom line characters sales up… who could blame them?
The downside is that this past year was a really poor year for the creator-owned properties  (for a complete list of cancelled books, just check the future quarter bins). For every new title and character that got canned and not supported by the retailers and the public, there are 20 more that are now not ever going to get even looked at and see the light of day. All these new and smaller companies are going to get hit big time and it is really depressing, but the public speaks and the companies listen. That's the way it goes. 

BF: What is up your plate in 2005?

JP: We [Justin and I] are going to totally blow away the competition with what we are doing with Hawkman and get the book back where it belongs as a top selling DC title.
Twilight Experiment is also a huge book for us coming the beginning of 2005 and this summer we have announcements for new series and mini series coming from both DC and Marvel as well as some film announcements. Just check the message boards at Paperfilms.com for future announcements.


PAUL HARMON

BF: Creatively, what were some of your highlights in 2004?

PH: Ok, let me preface my answers by saying most of my picks will be based on art, shamefully I can't think of one new comic I had a chance to read. Flight was a great concept. Blacksad was very pretty, Superman Identity was very lovely.

BF: Which mainstream book of the past year did you enjoy reading the most and which was the best small press book in your opinion?

PH: The mainstream books I wanted to read the most, and mostly based on art, would be the Superman: Identity and New Frontier. For small press I liked the look of that Sam Haiti book, but the name escapes me.

BF: Which fellow creator’s work are you dying to read in 2005?

PH: My buddies, Mark Smith's Amazing Joy Buzzards, Ovi Nedelcu's Pigtale, I'm waiting for our books to actually be on the stand to read them, so I am looking forward to that.

BF: Are you satisfied with the way the industry evolved over the course of the year? Are there any trends in particular you noticed that are going to be relevant in 2005?

PH: No, I won't be satisfied until some more conceptual works are on the charts. If the top has to be all Batman and whateve, at least give us something interesting like the FIRST Batman Black and White, the FIRST one. I do think high concept will be coming back; as soon as you actually get some solid art telling a halfway interesting story, you begin to realize comics shouldn't be synonymous with super-hero.

BF: What is up your plate in 2005?

PH: Mora, Mora, Mora! I'm trying to think of a bad movie joke but I haven't had coffee. I'm organizing a group to help promote some of my friends and my works, and something we are trying to do is have get-togethers for comic enthusiasts and pros, starting in my home town Los Angeles. And expect to see some very very funky strange short stories from me somewhere, sometime in the future, possibly in the back of Mora. I promise to have read more books by next year!


PHIL HESTER

BF: Creatively, what were some of your highlights in 2004?

PH: I finished a 4 year run on a dream job with great creative partners when I handed in Green Arrow #45. I also wrote a mini series for Image called Deep Sleeper with my artist pal Mike Huddleston that was well received critically, if not commercially. Also got to see some of my past work collected in trade form in The Wretch collected editions from Slave Labor and the Firebreather TPB from Image. Also, a film studio bought out all the rights to The Coffin.

BF: Which mainstream book of the past year did you enjoy reading the most and which was the best small press book in your opinion?

PH: From Marvel: Daredevil. From DC: Identity Crisis and Azzarello & Risso's Batman run. All of Alan Moore’s ABC stuff. To be honest, I'm almost a year behind in my reading. I have a long box full of comps waiting by my drawing board.
My favorite small press book was Demo, which was consistently engaging and energetic. I also really loved the graphic novel It Disappears.

BF: Which fellow creator’s work are you dying to read in 2005?

PH: I love 'em all, so don't make me choose! I will make a special appointment to read anything that should happen to come out from Frank Miller, Alan Moore or Charles Burns, though.

BF: Are you satisfied with the way the industry evolved over the course of the year? Are there any trends in particular you noticed that are going to be relevant in 2005?

PH: Hard to say. I like the inroads GNs are making in the traditional bookstore market and the overall healthy sales of GNs. I'm worried that, while the top books are performing at higher and higher levels, mid and lower tier books seem to be slipping.
I think Marvel, DC, and everyone else for that matter are getting better at running lean and squeezing profits out of some books that would have normally been cancelled. Unfortunately, this puts pressure on some of the mid-level and smaller publishers that used to dominate the under 15K niche of the market.
But what do I know?

BF: What is up your plate in 2005?

PH: Drawing an as yet unannounced title for DC with Ande Parks on inks.
Writing short tales for Western Tales of Terror #2, a Decoy Special, and the new Negative Burn. Also writing a horror mini for Desperado with John McCrea entitled The Atheist and an indescribable hero book for Devil's Due with my pal Tyler Walpole that is tentatively entitled Stronghold.


RAVEN GREGORY

BF: Creatively, what were some of your highlights in 2004?

RG: The Gift being picked up by Image Comics was one of the biggest moments of my life.  I don't think anything can top that.

BF: Which mainstream book of the past year did you enjoy reading the most and which was the best small press book in your opinion? 

RG: Supreme Power is by far my favorite mainstream book. JMS is just beyond belief with what he can do with 22 pages.  Blankets was my favorite small press book of all time.  It was really amazing.

BF: Which fellow creator’s work are you dying to read in 2005? 

RG: Bendis. Nobody raises the bar like Brian.

BF: Are you satisfied with the way the industry evolved over the course of the year? Are there any trends in particular you noticed that are going to be relevant in 2005? 

RG: Really great stories. It's a trend I hope continues.

BF: What is up your plate in 2005?

RG: The Gift, The Waking, and hopefully some stuff at one of the BIG two.


RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY

BF: Creatively, what were some of your highlights in 2004? 

RSO: In 2004, from a personal standpoint, I had two major accomplishes.
First of all, I was and still am excited about my involvement with the recently launched ALIAS ENTERPRISES (http://www.aliasenterprises.com).
I think you're going to be seeing a lot of good work from this new publisher, and I'm happy to be part of the ground floor.
I'm also excited about the creation of SCRYPTIC STUDIOS (http://www.scrypticstudios.com), which is a website for writers - comic book and otherwise - that I created this year with a lot help by a group of talented writers and good friends.  The success of that site was more than I ever imagined it would be!

BF: Which mainstream book of the past year did you enjoy reading the most and which was the best small press book in your opinion? 

RSO: Wow, there are a lot of mainstream books that I could list.  IDENTITY CRISIS, SUPERMAN: BIRTHRIGHT, SUPERMAN (with Lee & Azzarello) etc. As for small press books, I've always enjoyed DIGITAL WEBBING PRESENTS!

BF: Which fellow creator's work are you dying to read in 2005?

RSO: I'm looking forward to the return of the TENTH MUSE by Darren Davis (watch for a HUGE announcement to be made about this book soon), and the TED NOODLEMAN trade paperback by Jim Keplinger and Ryan Ottley; both at ALIAS ENTERPRISES!  

BF: Are you satisfied with the way the industry evolved over the course of the year? Are there any trends in particular you noticed that are going to be relevant in 2005?

RSO: I think we're moving slowly but steadily in the right direction.  I've noticed the role of the writer becoming MUCH more important to readers, and writers becoming much more popular, which I think is great, obviously!  I just hope my career peaks before that high comes back down.

BF: What is up your plate in 2005?

RSO: We're relaunching an all-new Scryptic Studios with more features and a bigger news/columns section!  Any writer out there looking for resources, criticism, samples, or just a place to hang out, come check us out!
I'm also looking forward to finally releasing my LEGEND OF ISIS series. We've been working on that for quite a while, but held back for a variety of reasons.  I think the recent decision to move to ALIAS ENTERPRISES will ultimately speed the process up for us.  I know we're wrapping up issue #4 as we speak!
And finally, I'm hoping that we can also find a good home for my new BIKINI BANDITS book, which I'll be sending around next month!  This book is based on the girls featured in the popular Atomfilms web-films, DVDs, and music videos with bands such as A PERFECT CIRCLE!  APC is one of my absolute favorite bands, and it's been great to work on this project!

- Frederik Hautain

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