In absolutely fantastic news it seems that Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s Lazarus comic’s second issue has sold out of its print run of 35 000. This is in addition to the first issue selling out of its print run of 50 000, which made it #34 in the June list of comics sold and one of the only comics in the top 50 that was not published by DC or Marvel. It was also the highest selling debut comic produced by Image for 2013 (so far. But while there are some great new books coming out from Image in the next few months I reckon Lazarus will retain this position. Perhaps this just means my Rucka bias is showing ?!)
So why do I think this is such a big deal ?
I think it’s a big deal as I see this as a harbinger of things to come, a glimpse of the future of comics as more and more creators decide to move away from merely charting the stories of the well-established characters of “The Big Two” (Marvel and DC) and work on their own creations. Greg Rucka and Michael Lark worked together on the genre-busting “Gotham Central” for DC comics in 2003, and have built an impressive following due to their deft skills. In recent years Greg Rucka has been at the forefront of the “creator owned” movement, by urging others to secure their future by working on characters and concepts they own (rather than work on Marvel/DC characters which are owned by corporations) and acting on these words by creating his own webcomic and launching Lazarus.
The popularity of Lazarus tells me that this was a great move on Greg Rucka’s part (as does the successful Kickstarter campaign for the Lady Sabre collection). It shows me that there are enough fans of Rucka’s work that he can take the risk of creating something new and it will pay off for him. This means he can spend more time on his own characters like Lady Sabre, Lazarus Carlysle and Tara Chace (from Queen & Country) safe in the knowledge he will be making a living.
Ultimately then, the success of Lazarus means that we will see more original work from Greg Rucka. This by itself is enough for me, but it it also means other great creators will see that they can make a living creating their own characters and stories. Viva la revolucion !
PS: I am aware that others have done what Greg Rucka has before he did it, with creators doing their own thing and making money from it since the 1970s. I am also aware that Robert Kirkman is the current poster boy for what creators can achieve with his success on The Walking Dead. I do not in any way want to downplay their achievements, but celebrate the success that one of my favourite writer’s has recently had. Apologies for any offence given.