Anyone who knows me knows I love creator-owned comics. Over the years the creative vision of one (or a few) people with a passion to tell a story who are not beholden to corporate powers, marketing departments, etc. has been a very compelling selling point for me.
There are a lot of different varieties to the creator-owned book.
Published in conjunction with an existing publisher
Image has the best variety of these right now, in my opinion. I get more Image comics right now than any other single publisher, check out my monthly order list.
Self-published & offered via previews
The grand-daddy of this was Dave Sim’s Cerebus, other great examples are Jeff Smith’s Bone & RASL, and Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise, Echo, and Rachel Rising:
Self-Published & distributed via stores/conventions
A lot of these are very locally available. You need to have a store that carries them or visit the creator at a convention. A variation of this is print-on-demand or crowdsourcing campaigns. The problem I have with these is the high cost of postage makes any single issue cost $8-$10 or more which is a bit more than I’m willing to pay for a comic. Living in the Los Angeles area, I’m lucky enough to have a number of shops where I can pick these up. Other great “comics cities” I’ve visited for picking up these kinds of things are San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, and New York. I was out checking out shops just today and picked up the latest couple of issues of Sam Humphries series Sacrifice and Brian Buccelatto’s Foster:
Digital distribution: The great equalizer
Comixology is the 500-lb gorilla of the digital comics world. They’re everywhere (platform-wise) and with their new “Submit” program they’ve made it easier than ever for creators to produce comics. From mainstream creators like Becky Cloonan to (so far) unknowns, the good thing about Comixology is that there isn’t a retailer who decided NOT to carry a book which prevents you as a consumer from ever seeing it. On the other hand, there’s so much material out there that filtering through it becomes the problem.
Outside of Comixology, some creators have decided to cut out the middlemen taking their piece of the pie and go direct to consumers. An excellent digital comic that follows this mold is Private Eye by Brian K. Vaughn & Marcos Martin
I’m just scratching the surface here and will likely revisit this topic in the future. Every comic named & pictured in this Blog entry gets my personal recommendation as top-notch comics entertainment. There’s a lot of good reading out there when you move beyond the corporate-owned books. Nothing wrong with the corporate stuff, but it’s always good to have a balanced diet to your reading and there’s a lot of nutrition to be had in creator-owned comics.
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