…and while we’re at it, books, too.

Yesterday, the team at BOOM! Studios, one of the coolest independent comics publishers, announced a new initiative called ‘Comics Forward’

Push Comics Forward

Push Comics Forward has its own site, and a hashtag for discussion on Twitter (#ComicsForward)

And fortunately, BOOM! are not the only comic publisher pushing diversity and expanding their audience. DC has added Gotham Academy and Batgirl, Marvel has Captain MarvelMs. Marvel and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and more. Image has a swathe of comics like this – fewer for all-ages, but many that expand the range of what’s available in comics storytelling.

Some quick historical context: when comes were at their most popular, they encompassed a wide range of genres (especially including romance, a notable missing genre among most larger comics publishers right now, crime, as well as supernatural/fantasy/supers), and the readership was both women and men. It’s only later on that the major publishers narrowed their aesthetic and marketing focus in a way that excluded women and younger audiences. So this intentional expansion of what kinds of stories are being told and what audiences are being invited in is not a question of ‘cheapening’ comics or ‘giving in to feminism’ (which is like saying ‘giving in to equality and compassion’), but more like a return to the breadth of content and readership comics had at its height.

I am excited to see what Push Comics Forward will accomplish, for BOOM! and for comics more broadly.

In both comics and in SFF literature, there’s been ongoing conversations about diversity and representation, to the point that I hope it will prove to be a sea change and not a seasonal or temporary topic. With initiatives like Push Comics Forward, the Destroy Science Fiction anthologies (Women Destroy Science Fiction, Queers Destroy Science Fiction), We Need Diverse Books, and more, I hope that a high standard of diversity and representation will become just another part of what is expected from the comics and SFF literary world. I’ve been doing my best to be part of the equation by writing as diversely as I can, and there are many other writers leading the way in the prose world – Seanan McGuire, Ann Leckie, Kameron Hurley, Max Gladstone, N.K. Jemisin, Saladin Ahmed, and many many more.

Whether these efforts succeed or fail will be decided by creators and consumers both. So let’s Push Comics (and Books) Forward.

I’ve talked before about the Content Wars in media – the fight for exclusive content, of capturing, holding, and monetizing attention with subscription models, walled garden marketplaces, and so on.

It behooves writers, readers, and all media consumers/producers to stay abreast of what’s going on in the broader business landscape for creatives.

Which is why I wanted to point out this Tumblr article by musician Zoe Keating.

The music industry is not the publishing industry, so I’m not saying this precise model will be replicated in publishing with services like Kindle Unlimited, Oyster, Scribd, etc.

But among other things, it’s a good reminder to be aware of the partnerships you’re making, and that aggregators, distributors, and retailers (Google, YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Kobo) are not your friends. They are businesses looking out for their own best interests. And if you are beholden to any one of them for too much of your business/reach/content, it can and often does end poorly.

#FourComics

Last week on Twitter, Comics creator Jim Zub (who is awesome, btw – go read his SkullKickers or his Japanese contemporary fantasy Wayward) called for creators and comics fans to share #FourComics that influenced them growing up. I shared my four on the hashtag, but thought I’d take some time to unpack these picks and talk a bit about…

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Comics Love – January 2015

After attending Baltimore Comic-Con, I’ve drastically increased my comics consumption because 1) I love comics and 2) I’m keeping abreast of what’s going on in the industry, since 3) I’m getting into writing comics. I talk about what I’m reading a fair bit on Twitter, but here’s a collection of some issues and volumes I’ve enjoyed…

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ConFusion 2015

This weekend, I’ll be joining some of my favorite authors and hundreds of cool fans at ConFusion, an excellent SF/F convention in Michigan. Here’s my schedule: Friday, January 16th 8:00 PM (Southfield) — Urban Fantasy Authors Interview Jackie Morgan interviews Courtney Allison Moulton, Susan Dennard, Michael R. Underwood, and Diana Rowland 10:00 PM (Model T…

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Tsu Kid on the Block

Every so often, a new social media pops up, makes some noise, and then, most of the time, fades away after a couple of months. The newest contender is Tsu. As far as names go, it ranks pretty high on punability, which is fun.   What’s Tsu? Tsu, at the moment, looks like a mix…

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Goals for 2015

2014 was a big year for my writing career, and I’m hoping that 2015 will be even bigger. Here’s how I’m planning on making that happen. Going Hybrid I’m planning on joining the growing ranks of authors who publish both traditionally and on their own, aka ‘Hybrid Authors.’ I’ve got a couple of options on…

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The Content Wars Come to Publishing – KU and Subscriptions

or Veteran of a Thousand Content Wars  (with apologies to Hawkwind) We’re well and properly in the era of The Content Wars in the US entertainment industry – internet music subscription services like Spotify and Pandora, but also into TV/film with start-ups like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon moving into the content-generation business, all-you-can-watch services that…

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