2019 is here and, while it is really just a somewhat arbitrary demarcation of time, it is a chance for new starts, the dropping of bad habits, and the start of new projects. We asked our staff what they’re going to do differently, comics wise, in 2019. Or, at least what they’ll try to do for a week before they inevitably go back to their old ways.
I kid! These are fantastic people, and we believe in their resolutions. If you have a comics-related resolution, leave it for us in the comments!
Paul Lai: Writing addressed to his son in Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes, “It does not matter that the ‘intentions’ of individual educators were noble. Forget about intentions. What any institution, or its agents, ‘intend’ for you is secondary. Our world is physical. Learn to play defense—ignore the head and keep your eyes on the body.”
I have to quote the writer of “Black Panther” and “Captain America” to explain what I mean by my comics resolution: Stay engaged in a world that’s physical. Keep your eyes on the body.
This past year, life got in the way of writing much for Multiversity, and I even had to break from podcasting. I didn’t stop reading comics, though. Or watching Black Panther. Or Crazy Rich Asians. Or trying to keep up with consuming all the cultural production that our youth and children consume to tell them what the world is like. I have to.
See, I’m an educator. I teach adolescents English. I teach teachers of adolescents. And I raise a daughter. I’m part of the institutions that line kids up, stick books in front of their faces, and then reproduce inequalities, glass ceilings, normativities that oppress, year after year. And as Coates searingly attests to his son, we who love our children have to teach defense against a world that entices you with wordy intentions and ideals while betraying your body with every representation, every dehumanizing rendition, every bias-confirming simplification.
This year, I do hope to write and perhaps podcast about comics more. While I do so, I resolve to critique and hail, to discern and to challenge, to analyze and to celebrate, how these visual texts can shape how we live and how we reimagine in the physical world. As much as comics influence our culture, we who read and promote them had better consider what stories they tell and what world they contribute to creating. I resolve to that vigilance.
Kevin Gregory: At the end of 2018 I will have racked up over 300 pieces on Multiversity Comics, not counting all the articles I’ve been a part of with “Multiversity Staff” as the title (we do love you all very much). I will have hosted 20 episodes of a podcast, not something I set out to do, but something I love doing, and I’ll be almost halfway through my graduate degree. I have made so many friends through this work (looking at you MMM cohosts Nick and Jess) and have learned so much about comicdom, the medium of graphic storytelling, and the history of superheroes, comics, and graphic novels. It’s the latter of that that I hope to explore more in 2019.
I love history, philosophy, and theology. Those are the things that I am in school learning, thinking and writing about. Comics has a wonderful and elaborate interplay of all three, but if I had to pick one as my favorite it would have to be history. I’ve watched many of our Multiversity colleagues (Nick, Vince, Alice, and others) do read throughs of older Golden, Silver and Modern Age comics this year and seen them tweet about their enjoyment of it and I’m ready to get in on the game. I didn’t take as much time in 2018 to read as many comics as I wanted (as evidenced by my huge to read pile in my apartment), but I want my 2019 reading to incorporate older material.
I’ve had a dream project working in my head the last few months of starting with “Crisis on Infinite Earths” and reading every DC title by release date, week by week, as people read now to try to understand “What must it have been like” to read through this universe as it unfolded, was rebooted for the first time, and streamlined into modern comics. I’ve currently been reading every DC title since Rebirth began in a similar manner. I would try to do this and supplement it with interviews and other comics history things. I’m thinking 2019 may not be the year for this (still gotta get my master’s folks), but I can start reading older runs on characters with creators who are mostly beloved (currently taking suggestions). Vince introduced me this site of reading orders and I’m going to start small.Continued below
In addition, I hope to read some “Hellboy,” pick up some more true graphic novels, and continue to expand my pallet slowly beyond the Big 2 on my big quest of reading it all!
Mark Tweedale: Our “Webcomics Weekly” pieces have really drawn my attention to the sheer volume of comics that aren’t even on my radar, so I’d like to read more webcomics this year. I feel like I might be setting myself up to fail to a certain extent here, because I work on a computer, so the last thing I want to do with my free time is look at a computer screen, and self-published webcomics usually cost more to ship to Australia than the actual book (which is why I’m still woefully behind on Tracy Butler’s “Lackadaisy”). Still, the independent publishers seem to be picking up these comics more and more, and there’s some really nice editions out there.
Michael Mazzacane: Saying “read more” is, and sounds, trite, but that’s the crux of my comics outlook in 2019. DC seems headed towards a Crisis which has me preemptively looking ahead at the exit ramp for a while. It’s not like I’ll drop them completely, “Deathstroke,” Batman,” and other character centric books are still being produced, but that is a concept that does not enthuse me. It’s a good thing that there are plenty of other publishers popping up quarterly, it seems, to fill the void. We still haven’t seen what Axel Alonso-Bill Jemas outfit looks like. Image continues to pump out stuff. So on and so forth. Viz recent shift in how they handle digital distribution of Shonen Jump has me bought in and reading more manga then I have in years, and Kodansha always seems to be on sale via comiXology. Which is to say nothing of the ever expanding world of webcomics. With so much too read, why bother reading stuff you don’t really want to.
On a production side of things, I want to write more longform stuff just to flex some old muscles.
On a personal side, just stay off Twitter.
Nick Palmieri: As with others, the last few years, especially since joining this site, have been about widening the scope of my reading. Five years ago, I was still primarily reading DC books. Since then, I’ve expanded into the non-superhero premiere publishers, then the smaller Direct Market publishers, and finally came back around to dive deep into Marvel. I’ve started regularly reading OGNs, read countless runs of older series, and figured out how to navigate the enormous world of manga. I’ve even started reading some off-the-grid (non-Direct Market) books. Only two frontiers remain: Webcomics and newspaper comics. The decentralized nature of webcomics makes it difficult to figure out what to read, and I’ve had trouble getting into the style of comic strips. But new tools have been developed to help the former, like Line Webtoon’s app, and I’m sure my bias against newspaper books will disappear if I just read more. It’s now or never. So, bring on 2019: The Year of Webcomics and Newspaper Comics.
Matt Garza: I started writing for Multiversity at the start of the year and it has been a wonderful experience. It has allowed me to further immerse myself in a medium I love. I’ve learned so much and I want to keep on learning. So in 2019 I want to read more comics. I want to read comics I’d never have given a chance on before. I want to try reading some manga. And though I love them, I want to read more than just superheroes. I’d love to give smaller publishers some of my attention.
This is a big industry and there is a plethora of material to consume. There are so many stories to delve into and finding a story that you like, well that can be a magical thing.
Christa Harader: In 2018, I made the decision to stay away from using the platform I have to bash media, and I’d like to continue that trend in 2019. Making comics is hard. A lot of them are okay. Some of them are terrible. Very rarely, a select few are unreadable. There’s plenty of ways to talk about media and how it could be better, or what its failings are, that are constructive, with the end goal of people making better stuff. Otherwise, what’s the point?Continued below
We exist in a digital feedback loop of toxic fan behavior, and when that trickles up to journalism it’s unfortunate. I love Multiversity because of its balanced and nuanced take on comics, and look forward to flexing my lit muscles even further this year. If you don’t like something, it’s on you to figure out why that is and communicate it effectively!
Brandon Arnold: For a long time, I considered myself to have a pretty broad reach with my comics consumption. I still read mostly superhero stuff, but I prided myself on being able to recommend independent, non-super stuff for anyone willing to listen to me. Then I started writing for Multiversity. I was writing up book announcements and news pieces for publishers I had never heard of. “Lion Forge? First Second Books?” I’d ask myself. “What are these?”
Yes, Brandon. Of course there are more than just the big two, Image, Dark Horse, and Boom! My new years’ resolution is to fight my pride (and fear) and explore these even smaller publishers because I know there is good stuff coming out of them. And just because they’re not carried at my LCS, doesn’t mean I get to ignore them.
Rodney Ortiz: I find that there is a repetitive nature to resolutions. You pick something difficult that you want to achieve and many times you fail. So a few years later you prop up the same resolution. That’s not a negative critique on resolutions. I feel that recognizing that you’ve failed increases your future probabilities of succeeding. So my resolution for 2019 is one that I’ve made numerous times, and have failed at just as many.
Being on a comic book website we clearly consume a lot of material. My resolution though is not to consume more, but produce more. I feel a good proportion of comic fans have desires to create. Creating a comic (or a blog/novel/script) is a difficult process. It takes retrospection and an ability to open yourself up to the possibility of what you created wasn’t any good. It is much easier to lean back and ingest what others have created. There’s nothing wrong with that of course. The nature of our hobby is to appreciate and celebrate the creative works of those we admire. But, if like me, you have that itch to add to the medium instead of simply taking from it, then resolve to do something about it in 2019. You’ll probably fail. I’ve failed numerous times. At the very least though, it’ll give you a deeper appreciation for the industry we love.
Robbie Pleasant: My first resolution is to pay attention to more parts of the creative team than just the writers and artists. As I was looking over articles like our picks for top letterers, I realized just how often I overlook these subtle but vital aspects of comics, and as a reviewer, that needs to change. So first and foremost I need to start keeping an eye out for excellent examples of inking, lettering, and all those little things that really bring the comic together, so I can properly credit the people who make them happen.
Aside from that… I need to catch up on a lot of shows. I’m still making my way through the latest season of Iron Fist, while my to-watch list is filled with Daredevil, Voltron, and so on. I know that’s a small thing, and not exactly an important resolution, but it’s important to me to be caught up on everything so I can better speak from a place of knowledge.
Elias Rosner: It was a struggle to come up with a New Year’s Resolution this year. Normally, I don’t have any, or, none that amounts to anything more than “I’ll get project X done by date Y.”
OK, maybe that’s a bit disingenuous. Picking a resolution was easy, expressing why I passed over the more obvious one is trickier. I’ve written and rewritten this post multiple times, throwing out each draft. This shouldn’t be that hard, and yet it is.
This past year has been a long one, with a lot of changes, and that meant I had an ever shifting schedule, morphing and melting, refusing to coalesce into something I could work with – working midnight to six am at least on top of it all certainly didn’t help. This inability to craft a routine that I was comfortable with weighed on me, so much so that as I attempted to find my footing, some things fell to the wayside. My prose reading plummeted while the pile of unread comics on my shelf and next to my bed grew.Continued below
Going into 2019, I hope to be able to fix that. I want to set aside time each day to read and write, to work my way through one book, one story, focused solely on that, even if it’s only for a half hour at a time. It’s tangential to comics, insofar as I want to use this time for prose & writings as well, but there is power in dedicating a small portion of your day to something you love, if you can afford it.
When I wrote my first draft of this, I had a whole section on reading less and then a whole section on my hatred of losing productivity and time to Twitter due to the infinite scroll. But in the end, all that is, is fluff. What matters is what I have resolved to do and how I will do it and in 2019, that means consciously marking time for doing nothing but reading, writing, and allowing myself to get immersed in their stories.
Tom Shapira: I should probably read less comics in 2019. I know it is probably an odd resolution form a self-proclaimed ‘comics critic’ but to me “read less” is also a synonym for “think more.” Every month thousands of new comics come out – issues, graphic novels, webcomics, mini-comics… we are drowning in content; content that is, thanks to wonders of the internet, is forever at the tips of your fingertips: if it’s not in your local LCS you can order it from Amazon or Book Depository or straight from the publisher; you just can’t wait to read this new collection and have no patience for snail-mail? Hop on to comixology. Want to read a forty-year-old Marvel series that’s been out print since before you were born? It’s probably on Marvel Unlimited.
In this kind of environment it’s easy for the act reading of comics to become a race, you get this new-thing-you-always-wanted and you rush through it with lightning speed to make time for the next new-thing-you-always-wanted. This year the translated edition of “Mort Cinder” finally came out, and I found myself in a mad dash to finish it on time to have a review ready; which is no way to treat a masterpiece. So in 2019 I’m going to try to want a bit less, I’m never going to actually catch up with everything that comes out anyway. Hopefully this would allow me to give each comics I do read the attention it deserves.
Christopher Chiu-Tabet: I wrote three long form articles for MC this year: the first was a reaction to IDW rebooting their Transformers line, the other two were more ‘timeless’ essays about Marvel’s non-American heroes and The Dark Knight for its tenth anniversary. However, the former is very much something I feel I should’ve done more of: from Disney’s appalling and unfair firing of James Gunn – whose second Guardians film is why I started writing thinkpieces and applied here – to the cancellation of Netflix’s Marvel shows, this year was just insane. (Even Bongo Comics closed for goodness sake.)
Now granted, I am very busy with my position here as news manager, watching every comic book-related development like a hawk, and recapping shows I love, which is all very draining (hence why I passed on our farewell to Stan Lee), instead weaving my thoughts where I can instead. But like almighty Thanos, I could’ve found a better way to balance everything, because really, it shouldn’t take too long to write a response or reflection on something that’s happened. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself, I am autistic after all, but nothing good comes out of not trying. To play on a classic comic book movie, this is the life I chose, the life I lead, but it’s not guaranteed someone will have the same thoughts as you and write it up.
Kate Kosturski:The joy of working at Multiversity is exposure to everyone else’s interests. Before I joined the site, I had never heard of Hellboy or 2000AD. (Cue our staff Hellboy expert Mark Tweedale metaphorically clutching his pearls upon reading that statement.) So as trite as it is, my goal is to read more, and make time to read more. I had a fair share of personal upheaval in 2018, starting the year off with major surgery for my mom (she’s okay, FYI) and a big job change that led to more responsibilities at work and ending it with a death in the family and having to move house in less than a month. With 2019 looking to start off on a even keel for me – – no threats of “is my landlord going to sell my house” or getting used to new rhythms at work – – I have more free time on my hands, and I want to use it wisely (read: not spend all of it on social media. Yes, I know that is an ironic statement coming from the site’s social media manager).Continued below
In terms of what I want to read, it’s a varied lot: the source material for TV adaptations past, present, and future (“Outcast,” “The Umbrella Academy,”), everything Hellboy (thanks to the assistance of our Hellboy Universe Reading Order, this will be easy), and the Hack/Slash series. Viz Media’s change for Shonen Jump also has me intrigued enough to try more manga. I’m hoping the New Year also brings an expanded catalogue to DC Universe so I can continue my explorations there. Indie stuff always remains at the top of my list; the creative freedom that many of these creators have when they are not tied to one of the power player publishers continues to blow my mind.
I also want to support more local comic shops. My new job requires a fair amount of travel, and normally I try to fit in a yarn shop on those trips. (After comics, my other love is knitting.) I need to make time to incorporate comic shops into that routine, even if it means delaying picking up my books a day or two past Wednesday. I’m spoiled having my local shop being the New York City behemoth Midtown Comics, and there are so many more great shops out there.
On a production level, I always want to write more, at more outlets, and get paid to do it.
On a personal level, get my finances in order (moving plus Christmas holidays hits the bank account hard), get healthier, clean off the DVR, and finish all those lingering knitting projects I didn’t get to in 2018.