Image's Eric Stephenson celebrated creativity and independence in his speech to the gathered retailers.
“Creativity starts with people,” Stephenson said. “The reckless spirits who can't stand still, the fearless minds who refuse to play it safe. At Image Comics, we believe in creative people. For 20 years, we've made a home for them. A place where they can be creative — on their own terms.”
He said Image's safe harbor for creativity on its own terms should resonate with the direct market, where each independent store celebrates creativity on its own terms as well.
Mike Richardson of Dark Horse talked about embracing change as an industry, and recounted his own history with the ever-changing world of comic books in his keynote address.
“If we want to grow our industry, we need to take some chances,” Richardson said.
One of those chances that need to be taken is publishing a wider variety of comics, Richardson said.
“Publishers need to create new titles that will stand the test of time,” he said.
Thomas Gaul of Corner Store Comics and Beach Ball Comics in Anaheim, Calif., was elected to the board of directors of ComicsPRO at the meeting. Gaul will replace Brian Hibbs of Comix Experience in San Francisco, a founding member of the board.
ComicsPRO President Joe Field, of Flying Colors Comics in Concord, Calif., said the tenor of the meeting pointed toward a bright 2012.
“The ComicsPRO annual meeting is perhaps the best barometer of the entire business of comics — and this year it looks like the sun is shining brightly for our members,” he said.