The fickleness of the American comic reading public has never been stronger. Not when even one of the most popular Marvel artists today said that he would think twice of taking a break to do his own stories.
“I’d like to do my own sci-fi stories, not superhero ones. But I’m scared of leaving mainstream comics. In a perfect world, I will do it.” – Leinil Yu
This is a very real fear as seen in the case of Gerry Alanguilan who left mainstream comics inking in 2005 to do his own projects like the Eisner nominated Elmer. But he made a return to Marvel in 2010 as it was difficult financially for him in the Philippines. Alanguilan said it was hard to make money doing your own things
“After Elmer was done, it was hard to find work in the US again. I visited Leinil and told him I’ll ink him again if there is a Mark Millar project because I’m a big fan of Savior. Earlier on, Leinil had offered me Ultimate Hulk vs Wolverine and Secret Invasion. I turned him down. But when Ultimate Avengers 2 came along, I started working on American mainstream books again.
“I still want to do my own personal stories like the one I did for Liquid City Vol 1 and the story I wrote, Where Bold Stars Go To Die. But it takes a lot of time to do them because of the Marvel deadlines I have. Still, I will do them because I want an outlet for my own stories. But at the same time, I cannot give up my Marvel jobs because I might not get them back again.”
This sentiment was shared by Tan Eng Huat, the artist for Thor and X-Men Legacy. Having returned from San Diego Comic Con in July, he noted that the Big 2 have cut down on their titles and they might not give you new jobs if you decide to take a break. There are many young and hungry new artists out there who want your gig.
Chris Lie of Caravan Studios (Indonesia) also said that with the closure of Tokyopop in 2011, even manga style artists in America are out of a job.
Bleak news to end STGCC 2012. But all the more it means that we cannot just depend on overseas market to grow our indigenous comics industry. We have to develop it ourselves, support local and neighboring works. So it is heartening to see more regional artists and studios setting up booths at the Artists' Alley this year. More can be done to bring these talents in to our shores for STGCC.
More incentives and deeper discounts perhaps?