COMICS’ NEW GOLDEN AGE: SPIKE TROTMAN TALKS TAKING DOWN THE GATEKEEPERS [INTERVIEW]
By Juliet Kahn
Spike Trotman is a visionary. She sees possibility where others throw their hands up in defeat. She sees innovation where others see stagnation. She is fundamentally optimistic about the future of comics — and why shouldn’t she be? Trotman has conducted massively successful Kickstarters — plural — organized some of the best talent in comics into anthologies like Smut Peddler and The Sleep of Reason, made money-producing Poorcraft (a comic about not having money), and, all the while, maintained Templar, Arizona, her long-running and beloved webcomic.
Comics have been good to Spike Trotman, but her success is very much the result of hard work and fresh thinking rather than chance — hard work that has left her one of the most interesting people in the industry. So, naturally, ComicsAlliance tracked down her booth at San Diego Comic-Con to talk Kickstarter foibles, “porn for chicks,” and a new golden age for comics.
Spike Trotman: Nowadays, the audience of people who call themselves comics readers… you can be an incredibly avid comics reader and never step foot in a shop. There are no more gatekeepers to that sort of fandom. What you need these days to be an avid comic reader is internet access. Without having to jump through editors who have to be concerned about bottom lines, appealing to the audience they currently have of 45-year-old men who want cape books.
You have these people who can put their stuff online on Tumblr, on Smack Jeeves, and that’s the curb they have to jump, and it’s lower than it’s ever been. And sure that means a lot of really low quality stuff gets online but that also means that some of the stuff that gets online is stuff that would normally not be seen as editorially viable at mainstream places, but has the potential to have a huge audience that’s just never been tapped before. I think about things like Homestuck when I say that, or Questionable Content. These were comics that wouldn’t even get a meeting at DC but you see the way the internet reacts to them and it just goes to show that there are people out there that want to read comics like this, they just haven’t been marketed to. I think that’s awesome, I’m all for what’s happening to comics. I think we’re in a golden age right now. Comics are more exciting now than they’ve ever been.