Comic book veteran David Campiti, the co-author of the on-going crowdfunded graphic novel Ascendant, recently discussed what he thinks is going right and what is going wrong with the current state of the comic book industry.
Campiti spoke with Ascendant creator Alexander Macris and his interview was shared to Ascendant’s IndieGoGo crowdfund campaign as an update.
As part of the interview, Campiti first shared his long history in the industry saying, “I’ve done nearly every job in the biz except actually draw. Wrote, edited, art directed, published, inked, colored, designed, did layouts, created series. I’ve even voiced and produced cartoons.”
He continued, “I’ve written for Superman, Beauty and the Beast, Dark Shadows, Lost in Space, Pandora’s Blogs, Exposure, lots more. I’ve two graphic novel series, Goddess Girls and Heroes in Training, showing up in bookstores this month from Simon & Schuster.”
“I’ve written 10 of those graphic novels so far! I also have six graphic novels about Greek Mythology rolling out from Abdo Books later this year. I even got the chance to help write a chapter in Ascendant, so that’s really cool to be a part of that,” Campiti concluded.
Next, Campiti detailed what is going right and what is going wrong in the industry. First, he relayed what he believes is going right, “What’s going right is that new publishers are still popping up.”
Then he revealed what’s going wrong, “What’s wrong is the direction it’s all going in. In the ’60s comics were cheap and everywhere, easy for kids to find.”
“Comics in the ’90s had something like 8,700 comics shops to sell through plus some newsstands, but now it’s shrunk down to more like 1,200 shops…a real niche market. Comics should be HUGE because of the comics-movie base literally making billions,” he added.
Campiti would also point to the content of a lot of comics as well, “What’s more, so many of today’s comics seem to feel as though the fun, the joy has been sucked out of them.”
He’s trying to change that though saying, “So I still try to write FUN comics.”
Campiti would also reveal that a lot of artists don’t actually put in the real work. When asked about what advice he would give to aspiring artists he answered, “Do the work.”
He further detailed, “You’d be surprised at how many artists say they want to draw comics — in other words, sequential stories — but all they submit are pin-ups and character sketches.”
“What’s more, so many focus on one overmuscled character pummeling another, skipping genuine backgrounds or real expressions and character performance,” he elaborated. “I literally wrote the book on how to do it — Stan Lee’s How To Draw Comics. Plus I have a blog at davidcampiti.com.”
He concluded, “It’s all about teaching artists so they don’t make the mistakes other artists have made trying to break in.”
The IndieGoGo campaign for Ascendant: Star-Spangled Squadron has currently raised $38,984 from 374 backers.
The official description for the book reads, “When firefighter Bill Goddard raced into a blazing building to rescue trapped children, he expected to die. Instead he became something more than human – the nation’s first ascendant.”
“Now known as American Eagle, Bill must assemble a team of other ascended heroes to defend the country from villainous forces intent on wreaking chaos and destruction. But the process of ascension is fraught with peril, and not everyone emerges with their mind and morality unscathed,” it continues.
The description concludes, “In America’s hour of need, who will answer his call? And can they do what it takes to protect the nation without sacrificing the values they’ve sworn to uphold?”
What do you make of Campiti’s assessment of the current state of the comic book industry? What do you make of his criticism of artists trying to break into the business? Do you plan on checking out Ascendant?