January 1, 2015

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2015 New Year's Resolutions from Panel Patter and Pals

And here are in 2015! Welcome to another year, and I hope that however good your 2014 was, that this coming year is even better!

As we get ready for another year of comics and conversation. I once again turned to our many friends in the comics industry and asked them for their comics resolution. They're reproduced here, in no particular order, along with some things to look forward to from each creator coming up in 2015.

Panel Patter Team:

Rob McMonigal: Because of all the transitions in my life, I fell behind on new books, and played catch-up all year. For 2015, I want to work on reading new comics when they're still new!

Rob Kirby: I resolve to enjoy drawing & writing way more and freaking out much less.

Guy Thomas: This may be a tall order, but I resolve to finally stop making excuses and start up my own little publishing company. Look out, 2015, you're going to be hit by This City Press!

A.J. McGuire: Feeling inspired by Ben Urkowitz's list of resolutions for cartoonists, I find that many of these are applicable to readers of comics and writers on comics.  For me specifically, I want to read slower and think harder about what I read in 2015.

Scott Cederlund: In 2015, I want to read less comics and give more time to the books that I am reading. I just spent two weeks reading Dave Sim's Jaka's Story and it was nice to be able to read it like I was reading a novel, just soaking in Sim's cartooning and storytelling, without rushing through it because I needed to have a review up on Wednesday night before everyone else.

James Kaplan: For 2015 I'd like to read more legit small press books (i.e., stuff that doesn't show up in the Diamond Previews catalog).  I'd also like to get better at dropping books I'm not enjoying.

Panel Pals:

Annie Koyama, Publisher of Koyama Books: I was thrilled to find out that the Japanese have a word (tsundoku) for the new books that pile up on your shelves or beside your bed that go unread. I don't make resolutions but if I did, mine would be to tackle my large tsundoku. A pretty pleasant goal, if you ask me.

Patrick Dean, Half-Assed Cosplay and other Projects: For 2015, I need to catch up on reading some comics I've been meaning to read for years. Maybe I can die without reading "War and Peace", but I'd feel awful if I kicked the bucket and never read the rest of "Walt & Skeezix." I read the first book and loved it.

Neil Brideau, Radiator Comics Distro: This year I plan to keep a record of all the comics I read, so at the end of the year I can reflect on a great year of reading!  I know I read some gems this year, but it's hard to remember what they were.

D.J. Kirkbride, AMELIA COLE co-writer, THE BIGGER BANG writer: As a reader, I feel like I missed far too many great books in 2014. My 2015 goal is to catch up on 2014 reading while keeping up on the comics to come in 2015 -- and then spread the word with great enthusiasm. It's important to remember that being in the world of comics is fun. Also, as always: more writing, more pitching, more new comics!

Pat Aulisio, Infinite Bowman (coming in 2015): I took the year off from comics fandom, I read maybe 5 comics in all of 2014; I felt the need to distance myself from the influence of other comics and focused on just working on my own comic stuff, none of which was published the whole year. So in 2015 I will start voraciously reading comics again (as well as see most of my 2014 work published).

Troy-Jeffrey Allen, Writer of Bamn and Editor for ActionAGoGo.com: For 2015, the goal is to stick to the plan, stick to the plan, stick to the plan. You know who your audience is, now go get 'em!
And while we're still here: I have to backtrack through Morrison's DCU stuff -- from JLA all the way up to Multiversity. Also, I need to start reading Black Science and Hip Hop Family Tree.

Kelly Froh, comic artist, co-founder of Short Run comix & arts festival in Seattle: I'm hoping to write and draw some longer stories that have been swimming around my mind for years but I've been too lazy or afraid to really commit the time to them.

Jeff Parker, Meteor Men, Aquaman, Batman 66: My 2015 goal is to get a couple more original, creator-owned books rolling, with fellow creators I admire. I still need to get the word out on METEOR MEN with Sandy Jarrell and am grateful for the positive reviews so far, and it’s got me in the right frame of mind to bring more new books into the world.

Charles Forsman, The End of the Fucking World, Revenger (coming in 2015): For 2015 I am going to overcome my doubts and build my confidence to make some next-level comic books.

Malachai Ward, Ritual 3: Vile Decay and Prophet: There are a lot of creative goals that are too numerous and mundane to list, but on the process & lifestyle side of the comics-equation, I really need to solidify my ability to work diligently, quickly, and within a healthy schedule. (AKA not staying up and waking up crazy late)

Andy Warner, Cartoonist and Journalist, co-editor of Irene: I want to try to not schedule as many projects so tightly. I know there are always gonna be mission creep or unexpected events that take up a bunch of time, but I still have a hard time making allowances for that. Then something happens, a project gets pushed, and I'm scrambling and stressed out instead of happy that I get to draw comics all the time for a living. I resolve to give myself more bit more breathing room.

Lucy Bellwood, Writer/Artist behind Baggywrinkles, Grand Adventure, Down to the Seas Again: While 2014 was a year of great productivity, travel, and growth, it was all happening at such a breakneck pace that I have zero perspective and felt like I was largely flying by the seat of my pants. I'd like 2015 to be a year with more DIRECTION. I want to build consciously on the relationships and projects I started in 2014 and get more comics finished as a result.

Kevin Czap, cartoonist and comics mom at Czap Books: I'm planning a lot of very big life changes in 2015, not least of which will see me leave my job to focus on Czap Books full time. I'm aiming to release a new book of my own, some more issues of Ley Lines, and a collection of one of my favorite comics in the fall.

Virginia Paine, Cartoonist and Sparkplug Books owner: Finish Book 1 of The WHYs/put out three new books through Sparkplug.

J.T. Yost, Founder of Birdcage Bottom Books Comics Publishing and Distro: There's so many great comics that I'd love to publish in 2015, so my resolution is to find a way to make enough money to do so! So far, in the pipeline we've got a collection of comics by Dakota McFadzean, at least two new comics by Jamie Vayda (LOUD COMIX #5 and the first issue in a series written by Alan King about his late wife's battle with cancer), the "On The Other Hand" anthology (comics drawn with the artists' non-dominant hand) and "Bottoms Up!" a collection of comics about hitting rock-bottom & recovery. Maybe a new comic by yours truly if I can get my act together.

Cathy G. Johnson, Jeremiah: For 2015, I want to value quality over quantity, in my own work and what I read. I don't want tight deadlines and carelessness to cause me to produce work I'm not proud of. I want to continue pursuing art created by marginalized voices and meeting creators where they are, rather than pigeonholing work into distinguishable categories, which can be a habit whether we are conscious of it or not. I want to strengthen in me observance, quietness and empathy.

Rich Barrett, Nathan Sorry and columnist for Mental Floss: As a comics creator: This year I hope to find a way to fit the time-consuming process of making comics more easily into my life or else risk my in progress graphic novel dying on the vine.
As a comics columnist for Mental Floss: In addition to my weekly column I want to continue writing more focused special features about specific titles, characters and different genres of comics like I’ve done in the past about X-men continuity, Mike Mignola and Judge Dredd.

Jamal Igle, Marketing Director of Action Lab Entertainment: "That Ant-Man doesn't suck."

Deb Aoki, Site Runner of Manga Comics Manga: Okay, my comics resolution is to post to MangaComicsManga at least once a week. To help this along, David Brothers is starting a weekly feature to do some manga/comics reviews for MCM! that I'll be posting in the next few days. We're trying to get each other going this way. :-)
I'm also going to start on catching up on reviews and posting photos from my recent trip to Japan -- so look for some signs of life from my long-dormant blog in the next few days.

Lori Henderson, Site Runner of Manga Xanadu: This year I want to work on getting reviews written and posted in a more timely manner.

Rafer Roberts, Plastic Farm, Valiant's Anniversary Specials: 2014 was my most successful comics year to date. I resolve in 2015 to continue busting my ass to get the comics done on time and to the best of my ability, and to publish at least two new issues of Plastic Farm.

Carolyn Belefski, Curls: I hope to keep doing what I'm doing and reach a wider audience. I've taken on a handful of freelance illustration and design projects and just launched www.carolynbelefski.com. My goal is to focus on creating and not get distracted with breaking news about Kim Kardashian.

Ben Towle, Oyster War: Well, I didn't go a very good job with last year's resolution, but maybe I'll do better with this one. Now that my webcomic Oyster War is pretty much a done deal (look for the print collection in 2015!) I'd like to really devote some time this coming year to improving my fundamental drawing skills such as figure drawing and facial expressions, as well as trying learn more about good character designing and digital painting/coloring. YouTube tutorials, here I come!

Natalie Nourigat, Tally Marks: My goal for 2015 is to get back to creator-owned comics and finish the first 5 issues of Over the Surface!

Nick Brokenshire, Amelia Cole: I'd like to try and up the quality of my work in 2015. I want Amelia's story to be told as well as possible. Also, I'd like to try and get the chance to tell different kinds of stories. I need to excercise more!

Emi Gennis, Cartoonist and Educator: This year I want to make comics that are outside of my comfort zone. Lately I have felt as though I'm in a bit of a creative rut, so I plan to make an effort this year to explore new media and narrative styles and to take risks with my work.

Ken Eppstein, Nix Comics: I think my #1 resolution will actually be to continue to hone my personal illustration skills to the point that I'm comfortable making and selling books all by my lonesome.  I'll always work collaboratively for the majority of Nix Comics titles, but I think I owe it to myself to explore a little artistically.

Liz Prince, Tomboy: To not compare my success to anyone else's: it's very easy to assume that everyone is having a far better time in their career than you are, and I am someone who falls prey to that far too quickly.  2015 will be the year of celebrating my comics for what they are, and not what they are compared to other comics.

Joey Weiser, Mermin: In the beginning of 2015, I'm working hard to get Mermin Book 4 done and ready for you all to read as soon as possible.  Throughout the year, I've got a sort of built-in resolution I gave myself -- to draw a character a day for my blog Daily Dragon Ball!

Kate Dacey, a.k.a. The Manga Critic: When I hung up my Manga Critic's hat in 2012, Black Butler, Soul Eater, and Vampire Knight were everyone's favorite series; now that I'm blogging again, it's clear that Attack on Titan is the new Naruto. There's just one problem: I haven't read it! My goal for 2015, therefore, is to hack my way through the highs and lows of Titan canon so I can judge it for myself.

Michael Moreci, Roche Limit: Honestly, my main goal is to take a step back from the public side of comics. I feel we have a great community, but also a community that can be very demanding. All I want to do is make the best art I can, enjoy what I enjoy, and be happy.

Tony Breed, Muddler's Beat and Finn and Charlie are Hitched: 2014 was a very difficult year for me, personally, and I think I need to write about it—so my resolution for 2015 spins to write some personal comics to process that. (I can't promise I'll let anyone read them, though.)

Colleen Frakes, Cartoonist, Library Tech, and Trash Tweeter, along with a new collection of Prison Island comics coming in 2015: While most everything else was crap, 2014 was a good year for comics. In 2015 I want to do it all over again. And maybe get better at drawing cars.

Dr. Forrest Helvie, Professor of English Literature and Criticism, Writer and also blogger for Newsarama: I'd say I generally made some good progress towards hitting each of the goals I originally had for 2014, even if I didn't necessarily cross the finish line on all of them. For 2015, I want to get my academic book w/ McFarland Press wrapped up so I can focus on my children's graphic novel being published by Underbelly Comics. I am also hoping to write do more articles and interviews this year where I can talk with creators about a number of issues facing the comics industry, in addition to showcasing some exciting projects that may not normally get the same exposure as many of the A-listers' books being published from the Big Three.

Mari Naomi, Dragon's Breath and Other Stories, Turning Japanese (coming in 2015): For 2015 I want to keep updating my Cartoonists of Color and LGBTQ databases, and keep doing the Creator Spotlights on Twitter. I also plan on continuing my promotion of Dragon's Breath and Other True Stories; having a successful (and sick-free) book launch/tour for Turning Japanese in the fall; plus finish inking the YA graphic novel I've been working on. Also, world peace. I want to figure that one out, too.

Matt Dembicki, Editor of Wild Ocean: I'm going back to my minicomics roots on a few new projects that will be coming out in 2015. A little historical, a little science fiction, maybe some marine-life work again. But I'd really like to revisit the smaller, less-expensive formats.

Chris Roberson, Writer of Edison Rex, Co-publisher of Monkeybrain Comics, and Co-creator of iZombie: My resolution for 2015 will be 1920x1080.

And on that note, Happy New Year, everyone! We'll be right back at sharing thoughts on great comics with you tomorrow, leading off with a review of Locust Moon's Little Nemo tribute book! See you there!