CBR's staff has examined at the trends of 2007 and praised the books and creators that got them excited over the past year. Now, it's time for us to look ahead to 2008. Back for this final round of the round-up are CBR writers Emmett Furey, Andy Khouri, Dave Richards, and George Tramountanas to tell you what people will be talking about in 2008.
GEORGE TRAMOUNTANAS & ANDY KHOURI
Digital Comics - Legal action was taken for the first time in 2007 against sites facilitating the piracy and illegal file-trading of copyrighted comic book material. Much like the music and film industries before us, the comic business is at a crucial juncture -- especially the majors, Marvel and DC, if the music industry's plight is any indication (and it is foolish to think it isn't). The publishers have realized they can't ignore the digital revolution any longer. The need is clear: there has to be a way to get comics to readers in a digital format, and in a form readers actually want to pay for. The questions this raises, however, are numerous:
"What is the best format?"
"How can we do this but still protect our properties from being illegally copied and distributed?"
"How can we do this and not cannibalize our brick-and-mortar retailers?"
"How do we compensate creators for their work in the digital realm?"
The most important thing is to just get started. Marvel did exactly that with their humorously named DCU (Digital Comics Unlimited). Within minutes after getting the site's launch, Marvel's servers were overwhelmed by a curious public. This only goes to show that demand was far greater than anyone could have imagined. As long as Marvel doesn't grow complacent with this site, they have a hit that should yield many rewards.
DC Comics threw their lot in with their Zuda initiative. The site doesn't contain any existing DC titles (and looking at the homepage, one can hardly even tell it's associated with DC), but it's a start. DC almost seems like its parent, music and film giant Time Warner, in this situation, in that DC knows there is money to be made on the internet, but they're not sure how.
Perhaps most impressively in 2007, Dark Horse teamed with social networking giant MySpace.com - the world's most heavily trafficked website - to relaunch their hugely influential anthology series "Dark Horse Presents" as a free digital comic available exclusively on MySpace. Additionally, Dark Horse has further engaged the Web 2.0 age by using the initiative as a means to discover new comics talent, with every digital issue of "MySpace Dark Horse Presents" featuring work by a new creator discovered on MySpace, often in collaboration with established stars like Joss Whedon.
Virgin Comic has embraced MySpace similarly, offering fans the opportunity to assist writer Mike Carey in the creation of a new comics property by way of Virgin & MySpace's Coalition Comix venture.
A few other publishers have begun the move to making their material available online, including Top Cow and IDW. It's a serious issue, and I'm glad companies are looking into it. It can only help our industry grow.
The Return of Millarworld - Mark Millar is finally putting out another creator-owned title with "Kick-Ass," and I can't wait! And I'm sure his upcoming run on "Fantastic Four" with Bryan Hitch won't be anything to sneeze at, either.
Movies - This next year is almost an embarrassment of riches for comic book fans. In 2008, we'll have the opportunity to see "The Dark Knight," "Iron Man," "Incredible Hulk," "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," and "Wanted." In addition, I'm sure we'll be seeing more stills and footage for the "Watchmen" movie which will be released in 2009. I'm going to be eating a lot of popcorn this next year!
"Invincible" #50 and "The Walking Dead" - Hitting the 50-issue landmark is quite an achievement for any book in today's market, let alone a book that's not from DC or Marvel. Plus, writer Robert Kirkman has indicated that he has special plans for these issues, and he's one fellow who doesn't disappoint in my book.
"Secret Invasion" - In our trends of '07 piece we discussed "crossover fatigue," but I can't help myself - this event sounds great! From all that's been said about it so far, it sounds as if it's been well-thought out and planned; plus Brian Bendis is behind the whole event.
The "New" Captain America - As of "Captain America" #33, it seems like we now know who it is, but the interesting part will be watching what he does. Under Brubaker's able pen, anything's possible.
"X-Men: Messiah CompleX" - This crossover has been well executed and promises to reinvigorate the line and give it stronger focus. I'm just hoping the payoff delivers. Please, please deliver.
"Amazing Spider-Man" - Like many, I wasn't thrilled with the changes made to the character in "One More Day." That said, you can't deny the talent that will be working on the thrice-monthly book, including writers Dan Slott and Bob Gale, and artists Phil Jimenez and Steve McNiven.
"Final Crisis" - The main question fans want answered is, "Was the $156 I spent on 'Countdown' worth it?" Lord, I hope so.
Warren Ellis on "Astonishing X-Men" - Ellis has said on many occasions that the superhero genre is not necessarily his cup of tea. As such, the fact that he'll be helming one of Marvel's premier team books, and that his run comes immediately after Whedon's celebrated arc, should make for a fascinating read.
"Final Crisis" - Morrison's "Seven Soldiers" set a high bar for his work in the DCU, and I have high hopes for "Final Crisis."
"Logan" - Brian K. Vaughan has always been selective about the mainstream superhero projects he's chosen to do, and they never fail to deliver the goods. I'm curious to see how he handles the old Canuckle head.
"Fantastic Four" - Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch. 'Nuff said.
"Ultimate Iron Man II" - I much enjoyed Card's first installment, and have long awaited this follow-up.
"Secret Invasion" - Marvel and Brian Bendis' alien invasion epic is shaping up to be a heck of a story. The idea of an undetectable alien invasion is fascinating and sounds like it will be fun a story to watch unfold. The effects on the heroes of the Marvel U should be interesting to see as well.
Duane Swierczynski's run on "Cable" - I discovered Duane Swierczynski with his excellent novel "The Wheelman" and loved his follow-up, "The Blonde," as well. So I'm eagerly anticipating his run on "Cable." If Swierczynski's novels are any indication, "Cable" should be chock full of amazing action, fascinating characters, and some bizarre and hilarious situations.
The End of "World War III" - Like I mentioned in my "Best of 2007" list, "World War III" (the current storyline in "G.I. Joe: America's Elite") could end up being the best G.I. Joe story ever. The scope is global and there's a genuine threat since everybody is in danger. And that's just been the first six parts of the story! I eagerly await the final six parts - especially the climax of the story
"The Dark Knight" - If the trailer for "The Dark Knight" is any indication, Christopher Nolan's second Batman film could be even better than his first. The story looks great, and so far Heath Ledger looks to be perfect as the Joker.
"Thicker Than Water" - This year, U.S. readers were introduced to Felix Castor, freelance exorcist and the star of Mike Carey's series of prose novels with the publication of "The Devil You Know." But over in the UK, the third volume of the supernatural mystery series is in stores and, thanks to Amazon UK, I've been able to pick up books two and three - they were awesome. So you can bet, regardless of the exchange rate, I'll be pre-ordering the fourth Felix Castor book "Thicker Than Water," which hits the UK in 2008.
That's all, folks!
And thus concludes our Year End Round-Up. Did we forget anything exciting coming up in 2008? If we did, please swing by the forums and tell us. We want to know about the "good stuff" as much as the next person (even more so).
The CBR News Staff wishes each and every one of our readers a Happy New Year!
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