The size of the talent pool in comics is relatively stable. The reason for this is because it’s damned hard to make a living doing comics.
A lot of creators come through, find out that this isn’t for them, and then they leave. The true story of comics isn’t in the published work, but in the broken dreams of those who tried but didn’t try quite hard enough.
Newbies come and they make the same mistakes that the newbies before them made, as well as the newbies before them… High hopes of coming in and not having to put in the hard work before getting a paying gig somewhere. Not necessarily Marvel or DC, but maybe getting a book out through Image or something.
If they do any homework at all, they become discouraged because of the amount of work and the expense involved in just creating a comic. If they don’t do any homework, they get smacked in the face with reality as the costs associated with producing just one comic hits them.
It can be sobering. It can be depressing.
Those that make it through that, that persevere and want to make as many comics as they can…these are the ones who will put out a few comics before they get tired of putting the money in and not breaking even.
As you can see, it goes in waves, with the final wave being those that actually make a career in comics. These are the ones who measure success more realistically, not by trying to get into Marvel and DC, but by understanding that comics is a long game. The longer you’re in it, doing the work, the better the chances of being recognized are.
When I started my current job, one of my co-workers said that he made it a point not to remember the names of the new people because most wouldn’t make it through training or probation. My job has a high turnover rate, with a lot of those being hired either not making it through training or not making it through probation. “Whatever happened to so-and-so?” “Oh, that was Georgia, and she quit a couple of weeks ago.” This is a common question and response. And it’s very much analogous with comics.
This is why the pool of actual talent is small, despite the influx of creators. The question you have to ask yourself is simple:
Which wave are you?