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Getting Small Press (Comics) To The Masses

Hemos posted more than 11 years ago | from the true-across-the-board dept.

Books 105

Comicguy456 writes "At the recent Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo, a panel was held to discuss how to get the masses to check out indy comics. In this transcript, experts including Sean McKeever (The Waiting Place) and Max Ink (Amoeba Adventures) talk extensively about creating, selling, and marketing such books, as well as the small press industry in general. Manga is covered as well. " In many ways, the same advice here applies to people trying to get word about out bands/books/games etc etc.

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It's easy... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5772600)

...just put tits on the covers!

Re:It's easy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5777215)

Only inciteful post gets modded down.

Sex sells, people. Well, the female sex to be specific. When I think of all the potentially great artwork, story lines, and creative ability being held back because some aspiring artist didn't say "I'll give myself a break by drawing tits", I fear for the future of American porn.

the masses? (0, Interesting)

igottheloot (573080) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772608)

comics, especially independent comics is a dying medium. give up on getting joe wal-mart to read.

Re:the masses? (4, Interesting)

Lachrymite (115440) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772676)

While it's true comics went on a steady decline, the comic book industry is very cyclical and is starting another upswing. Just look at all the comic book movies coming down the pipe for evidence... X-Men 1 & 2, Spider-Man 1 & 2, Daredevil, Bulletproof Monk, The Hulk, League of Extraordinary Gentleman (As LXG for the movie or something dumb like that), The Punisher, and about five more that are scheduled to begin production within the next two to three years.

What we saw a few years ago was a massive reduction in popularity because comics started catering more to hardcore collectors than casual fans, with the whole six different covers by the hottest new artist for every issue craze and the focus on flash rather than substance, largely brought about by a wealth of artists but a dry spell for great writers. Now with people like Ellis, Millar, Bendis, etc., comics are starting to get more appeal to the casual fan again.

This is especially true with recent pushes toward trade paperback sales rather than individual issues, and the creation of the more Manga-esque Tsunami line by Marvel, which is an attempt to capture the rather large Manga fan base in the United States right now, including a female demographic that's not as well represented in traditional American comics.

Re:the masses? (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 11 years ago | (#5773230)

Don't forget some of the smaller comic lines that became moves such as 'Road to Perdition' and 'From Hell'.
Hopfully League will do well, I would love to see alot more of Moores work done as movies.

Re:the masses? (1)

Lachrymite (115440) | more than 11 years ago | (#5773282)

I would love to see League be a hit, but it looks like they're butchering it already... I don't have very high hopes. I vaguely remember hearing they added somebody (Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn I think?) as a character in order to appeal to American audiences. I'm not a total purist by any means (Hell, I liked the organic web shooters in Spider-Man), but I've just got a baaaad feeling about this one.

wasn't this the whole point of E-books? (5, Insightful)

lingqi (577227) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772610)

availability, portability, ease of distribution, (add a few more benefits that we'll never see because of the crippling restrictions placed on e-books by adobe and a slew of others).

Heh, considering a large percentage of newspaper people thinks that there will only be electronic news a few years down the line (see previous /. story), - well, I guess everyone can infer their own conclusions.

Re:wasn't this the whole point of E-books? (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 11 years ago | (#5773078)

Maybe, but, you just can't beat the portability of actual paper-based comics. Somehow, I just can't get any kind of attachment to a file on a computer, but actually holding a comic, smelling the paper, feeling the texture of the paper adds a certain ambiance to the entire comic-book (or any book, for that matter) experience. Just as I buy my reference manuals in dead-tree format because I actively dislike "online" documentation (it has it's uses, yes), I like my comics printed on paper and running it through my laser printer just doesn't cut it.

Re:wasn't this the whole point of E-books? (1)

Evil Adrian (253301) | more than 11 years ago | (#5776212)

But it's a lot harder to get the pages of your e-book stuck together...

There's more than that: (2, Insightful)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 11 years ago | (#5773220)

They have to stop sucking.

If you look at the comics from 30 years ago, you'll see complete stories in one comic - or possibly two at the most. Also, characters where recognizable even if they, say, changed clothes.

Today, both of these things have changed. To get a complete story, you've got to buy 10 or 15 comics. And this isn't only because the stories are longer and more complicated - todays comics seem to have more advertising instead of storyline. This is also prompting what I call "soap opera syndrome" - the comics are becoming WAY to melodramatic to try keep you interested between stories so that you'll buy the next one.
Also, a lot of the drawing is done so hastily (note that I'm not saying that the artists are bad), that the only way you can recognize the characters is because they have the same clothing from one frame to the next. Their facial features/size/build keeps changing.

Two things would make me buy comic books again (note that I wasn't alive 30 years ago, but I used to buy old comic books because they where good).
1) Enough with the cliffhangers! They suck! If you need more story, make a longer comic and charge more!
2) Draw well!

Old line comics (5, Informative)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772611)

All my old favorites are here [] .
Katzenjammer Kids are still running after over 100 years.

Marvel's new Epic line. (4, Informative)

Lachrymite (115440) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772620)

People interested in becoming creators of comics might want to check out Marvel's Epic line [] , which is accepting submissions from newcomers to the business. If your work is accepted they guide you through the process of basically getting the entire book together yourself, and then they publish it. Because they only have to worry about publishing and you do pretty much everything on the creative end of things, books don't have to sell incredibly well and they can remain viable entities, unlike Marvel's normal titles with are pretty much all top 100 sellers.

I believe it pays $8k to be split up among the creators as they see fit. The big drawback is that they gain ownership of any new characters you create if I remember correctly, but to people trying to break into the business this may be a great opportunity.

Just so they don't get slashdotted. (4, Informative)

will_die (586523) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772656)

Did not see anything about the $8000.
Basicly the process is that you send in some sample work, if Marvel likes what they see they contract out to you(you need to fill in the appropriate IRS forms) to do a comic based on what you sent them. Marvel sends you $500 as payment for the contracted work. Marvel may or may not print your stuff in the Marvel Epic Line of comics.
Since you are a contractor working for Marvel, Marvel ownes the work you do. However you can use Marvel owned characters in your comic, just no other trademarked characters.

Re:Just so they don't get slashdotted. (2, Informative)

Lachrymite (115440) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772724)

From Newsarama [] :

According to comments made by Marvel President Bill Jemas, when a creative team submits a comic book they receive an $8,000 budget to produce it. Marvel then covers the cost of publishing, marketing and distribution, and pays bonuses to the team, based upon sales. If the book sells well, the creators could earn a number of bonuses at different tiers.

There's also a lot more information here [] , and there will be more info in Marville #7 (which is probably the only way they can get that particular comic to sell, it it not popular).

why ownership matters (3, Insightful)

fhwang (90412) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772815)

If you're trying to break into superheroes, then, yes, this sort of contest is a pretty good break. However, you should be prepared to submit a character you have no emotional investment in. Marvel's ownership of your character isn't simply a financial matter; it has very real creative ramifications. If some high-up editor decides you need to do lots of crossover with other characters you think are stupid, or to do attention-grabbing stories (The Death of the Origin of the Marriage of Superman, etc.) just for the sake of a small spike in sales, remember that you will have little-to-no ability to say no. And if you don't like it, they can fire you at a moment's notice; after all, there are a hundred people waiting behind you. And you already signed away the only leverage you had -- ownership.

So, yeah, it's a good opportunity, but take it with a grain of salt.

Re:why ownership matters (1)

Lachrymite (115440) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772841)

That's why by far the smartest thing to do in this situation is use already existing Marvel characters. I wouldn't create any new characters I cared about very much in the process of doing this. The best chance of success while minimizing risk, I think, would be the try to focus on some aspect of a pre-existing character that was never really fleshed out before. There's already an installed fan base, and you're not risking losing anything.

Re:Marvel's new Epic line. (1)

afree87 (102803) | more than 11 years ago | (#5777986)

Oh, great. Make new superheroes. The comics readership can't have too many of those, right?

Re:Marvel's new Epic line. (1)

Lachrymite (115440) | more than 11 years ago | (#5779472)

Err, actually, no.

Epic is not superhero focused.

The first major book being put out by them to get the line going is by Mark Millar, a well known superhero book writer... but it's a romance book aimed at teenage girls.

Independence (2, Interesting)

Whigh (663324) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772628)

Of course, there are people [] in the web published arena getting their own interests involved.

Also, isn't Free Comic Book Day [] coming up soon? (May 3)
Perhaps a Comics Week should be declared?

Re:Independence (1)

icis_machine (163747) | more than 11 years ago | (#5777006)

i think this is clearly a marketing tie-in.

of course i plan on going to slave labor [] to get my free comic.

Indy comics/comix (4, Insightful)

fudgefactor7 (581449) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772629)

The problem with the indy comic (or sometimes called comix) are that there is a huge amount of shit. This casts a bad light on the whole scene. Out of the gazillion indy comics that came out in the 1980's the only one still standing is TMNT, and that's because it was a cross-over to kids' fare. (The original TMNT were not like they are now.) And for a while, any moron could get published--people were buying them by the cartload just in case one gem was among them--what they ended up with was the equivelent of toilet paper. The industry now needs better, more insightful, and intelligent comics, not a new flood of crap. It damn near killed the whole indy industry last time--we don't want or need a repeat.

Re:Indy comics/comix (4, Interesting)

curtisk (191737) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772703)

Give this man a cigar!

Not only was there a boatload of crap in the indy scene but even more so in the "mainstream" lines as well.

God, when Image and Valiant were the companies with the "buzz" soooooooooo much crap came out, and it seemed that overnight practicallly everyone started drawing in the "Image" style, you know what I really was sad at the time, and then since they were all "creator owned" the prices went up and up and up, quality went down and down and down (unless variant foil cover # 8 special edition equals quality to you :p )

TMNT, that used to be a gritty book, I was thrilled when a year or so ago, I think John Woo(?) was looking to do an "original" TMNT movie, haven't heard anything since.....

Theres some great ones out there today, but you need hip-waders to get through all the crap, I'm all for them trying new distribution types, but it may be tough to find the "gems" and as always one mans crap could be anothers gem....

its better to have more selection than none at all I suppose :)

Re:Indy comics/comix (1)

johnnyb (4816) | more than 11 years ago | (#5773526)

What is the "Image" style?

Re:Indy comics/comix (1)

curtisk (191737) | more than 11 years ago | (#5773634)

the "Image" style I refer to is the severe overabundance of Jim Lee and Todd McFarlane-ish style drawing adopted by every label, some less than others, but that was suddenly the "hot" style, and since the Image guys were celebs and owned their own characters and were making mad $$$ then we should draw like them too.

I'm talking around 1993-1996 area, back then thats what the style was referred to as...."image-ized"

Re:Indy comics/comix (3, Interesting)

slaker (53818) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774058)

To be fair, Image *did* make some good comics. 1963 - which was simply stunning, the Alan Moore run on Supreme, the Maxx and IMO Spawn were all great. Image made some real crap, too, but I'm perfectly willing to dump all that on Liefeld (Supreme prior to Moore practically defines the term "god-awful", Youngblood, Brigade etc.). Everything else seemed pretty much middle of the road.

Valiant I'm less familar with, but I do have some fond memories of Archer and Armstrong, which really wasn't a flashy title.

I don't think you can paint either company with a uniform brush.

My cousin owns a comic shop, and from time to time he'd drop off a longbox of poor-selling old titles for my brother and me. As a result, I read a lot of different comics growing up, including some things that would never show up on a spin-rack. All in all I can say this: an average comic in the silver age was MANY steps below an average comic from the 80s or 90s. I probably read through thousands of issues of whatever my cousin couldn't sell (Late Silver Age DC apparently didn't move well in the early 80s). Comics in the 80s and 90s might've been pure artist or writer driven garbage, but they also dealt with complex emotional issues, consequences of actions, and in general, even in the really mediocre mainstream titles got a lot better in every way.

If the basis for comparison is "Watchmen" or "MircleMan" or "Astro City", man, nothing else is going to look good. If you're reading circa 1970 "Legion of Super Heroes", there's no place to go but up.

I can't see paying $3 for 32 pages any more, but I do try to keep up with graphic novels. None of the local shops keep a good selection, unfortunately.

Re:Indy comics/comix (1)

curtisk (191737) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774223)

can't see paying $3 for 32 pages any more, but I do try to keep up with graphic novels.

Thats the safest bet anymore....Valiant was actually very "old style" but they slowly merged into an "image-esque" style.

Rob Liefeld!!!! How could I have forgotten that name, yes, you're right on the mark there thats a perfect example of "Image" style as I mentioned it...Spawn was good up until a point, I lost all interest around issue 50, and it was waning before then, Maxx was interesting though...

Re:Indy comics/comix (1)

slaker (53818) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774859)

You probably forgot Liefeld's name in much the same way I did, by ramming a white-hot butter knife up my nose until the pain went away.

Unfortunately, there's such a thing as google, which remembers things I've forgotten, and my officemate is still using the butter knife...

New TMNT Movie (1)

henele (574362) | more than 11 years ago | (#5776971)

There is a very still info page here [] .

Considering how long it has been dead I guess it isn't going to happen :/

Re:Indy comics/comix (3, Insightful)

mrtroy (640746) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772752)

"The problem with the indy comic (or sometimes called comix) are that there is a huge amount of shit."

Besides being very elegantly stated, that statement is accurate, but false. There is always a huge amount of shit in indy products...and there is always just a few gems among them. I would not, however, say this is the problem with comix.

The whole idea of having an indy comics is that they are just that. They are likely going to lack, in majority, professionalism that big budgets and higher quality printing can bring across. But despite all that, if people start enjoying the could help that artist's future career. Then, he will get a big budget, better equipment, and wont be indy anymore!

Re:Indy comics/comix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5772809)

I don't see how this is insightful. There is a huge amount of shit in every popular story medium. And the US still has a ways to go before it gets anywhere near the amount of shitty comics in Japan. We gotta try harder. :)

There is plenty of room for more comics!

Re:Indy comics/comix (1)

fudgefactor7 (581449) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772831)

I will admit that Japan has some wacky stuff. I mean, only there will you find a comic called Rape Man. Try that one here--yeah, like that would go over.

Also, keep in mind that there are an aweful lot of shitty mainstream comics as well--like for instance most of the Image stuff, or everything DC makes that isn't Vertigo. I still think if the mess is cleaned up, and the "Big Two" can stop flooding the market with mainstream crap, and the indy stuff was just better written (the art, actually is secondary) we'd actually have a better marketplace.

the superhero ghetto (2, Interesting)

fhwang (90412) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772852)

The problem with the indy comic (or sometimes called comix) are that there is a huge amount of shit.

As opposed to the world of mainstream comics, full of pandering fanboys, artists with no understanding of form & anatomy, writers with no interest in human motivation, and publishers who treat their customers with contempt?

Comics in general have quality problems. People who've grown up in the superhero world (i.e. most Slashdotters) don't realize exactly how narrow of a genre superhero comics are, but it's got its own blind spots, just like the indies. It's not the sort of thing that's easy to get started in.

The recent upsurge in superhero movies don't change things very much; if anything, how they change their storylines to suit a mainstream audience should be quite instructive to comics fans. Look at the first X-Men movie and how streamlined the narrative was, compared to the dense soap-operatic narratives of the actual books. If you need to draw charts to explain crossover chronology you're never going to break out of the ghetto.

Quality problems are everywhere. But me, I'll take Acme Novelty Library over the Death of Superman any day.

Re:the superhero ghetto (2, Insightful)

fudgefactor7 (581449) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772916)

On the whole, crossovers in my opinon have always only served one purpose: sell other non-profitable titles. "Gee, Spider-Man is kicking ass, but the Human Fly is not, so let's place Spidey in that and see if it floats!" But the writers (I think) use them to confuse the storyline so that you don't discover that they're hacks.

Calling it the ghetto is very appropriate. Good call. The Death of Superman was a monster hit, since nobody expected it to be a big deal--they were always talking about killing Superman, but it was assumed they didn't have the balls to do it. (surprise!)

I never bought that issue--never collected Superman--still don't. What really hurt my local store was the rebirth of Superman (the opaque white wrapping) and he assumed (fool!) that it would sell nearly as well as the Death did...he's still stuck with about 2000 issues of that. Can't give that crap away.

Re:Indy comics/comix (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 11 years ago | (#5773102)

There's also a lot of shit in the indy music world. And the indy publishing world. And in the indy-software world. Just because it's produced by a big business doesn't automatically mean "crappy mainstream" and just because it's independent doesn't immediately connotate "great quality" or whatever. The point is, you still have to wade through an incredible amount of crap to find the gems in the hay-stack, so to speak, and that goes for "mainstream" and "independent" works.

Cerebus the Aardvark is one of my favorite independents and predates "TMNT" by a long shot.

Re:Indy comics/comix (1)

fudgefactor7 (581449) | more than 11 years ago | (#5773338)

"Cerebus the Aardvark is one of my favorite independents and predates "TMNT" by a long shot."

True, but Sim and Gerhard have been at it for so long that they're damn-near mainstream! ... When will they finish, anyways?

Re:Indy comics/comix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5773413)

Dave Sim has long pointed out that Cerebus will end with issue 300. Since he's up past something like #280, Cerebus will finish sometime in 2004 or 2005.

Re:Indy comics/comix (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774461)

Issue 300. Not very far away. :(

Re:Indy comics/comix (1)

L0rdJagged (634436) | more than 11 years ago | (#5775290)

Dave Sim is a mysogynist, he completly lost me as a potential buyer of his works because I read his little piece about women. He's not going to be getting any money from me.

Re:Indy comics/comix (1)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | more than 11 years ago | (#5777806)

You didn't get it. He was referring to a woman's influence specifically in the microcosmic world of the creative male (complete with counterexamples I might add). Go back and read it again. Those points were damn near impossible to refute, especially from the knee-jerk feminist circles who were FAR more interested in labels than debate. Some of the best contemperary literature I've ever read.

Re:Indy comics/comix (1)

L0rdJagged (634436) | more than 11 years ago | (#5778757)

No, he was talking about women in general, the "female void" leaching off the "male light". It is very very very mysogynistic stuff. If you are not uncomfortable with the idea of being a mysogynist that is your problem, I myself see no need to support this kind of thinking. Here's some quotes and writings for anybody who is curious what we are even talking about. ml

If you don't think that this stuff is mysogyny then go look up mysogyny.

Re:Indy comics/comix (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 11 years ago | (#5779923)

Don't be such a misandrist.

Re:Indy comics/comix (1)

L0rdJagged (634436) | more than 11 years ago | (#5780740)

Do you have a point?

Re:Indy comics/comix (1)

kid zeus (563146) | more than 11 years ago | (#5773473)

Puh-LEEEZE. There's a lot of shit among indie comics? Not even remotely like there is among the juvenile, stunted sexual fantasies of so-called mainstream comics in the US. How the term 'mainstream' can be applied to the ridiculously narrow superhero genre is beyond me, but as someone formerly involved in running the finest comics show in the US (and no, it's not the abortion that is San Diego). I will assert that comics taken as a whole consistently outproduce the garbage-pit that is Marvel. Yes, there is a fair amount of crap, a surprising percentage which just attempts to recreate Marvel drek at an even cruder level. But there is a hell of a lot of material of differing mastery that goes far beyond anything Marvel or it's ilk has ever attempted to publish. It's stuff that actually attempts to qualify as Art, regardless of the level of finish applied. As for stuff still standing from the eighties, hmm, let's see... Cerebus ring any bells? Also, how about Love & Rockets? How about Eightball which produced a little something called Ghsotworld? If you include alternative press comics, as one should, then how about everything Fantagraphics and Top Shelf produce? And that's just the tip of the iceburg. Are you even familiar with indie comix? TMNT wasn't indie the moment is was purchased by mega TV/toy concerns. The wave you refer to was the garbage wave of Image and chromium/variant covers and the death of Superman and all the other shit. Indie comics won't kill the industry, the professional companies have already pretty much accomplished that. If you want to see what's actually worthwhile in comics in this country, attend the Small Press Expo [] in DC and check out MOCCA [] in New York.

Re:Indy comics/comix (1)

fudgefactor7 (581449) | more than 11 years ago | (#5773747)

First, you say there's not shit in indi comics ("Puh-LEEEZE. There's a lot of shit among indie comics?"), then later you admit to agreeing with me ("Yes, there is a fair amount of crap, a surprising percentage which just attempts to recreate Marvel drek at an even cruder level.") You seem confused on the issue. Then you mention Cerebus. As I stated nearly 10 minutes before you reposnded: "True, but Sim and Gerhard have been at it for so long that they're damn-near mainstream!" So, I did acknowledge them--I never said I liked them. Which I don't, my perogative.

You also state "I will assert that comics taken as a whole consistently outproduce the garbage-pit that is Marvel." Outproduction is not equated with quality.

"But there is a hell of a lot of material of differing mastery that goes far beyond anything Marvel or it's ilk has ever attempted to publish. It's stuff that actually attempts to qualify as Art, regardless of the level of finish applied." Uh. No. There's a lot of shit that thinks it's art. Anyone can throw paint at a canvas and say "It's art!" But that doesn't make it good.

"TMNT wasn't indie the moment is was purchased by mega TV/toy concerns." They stopped being indie when they were picked up, but not before.

And no, I'm not about to travel 1000 miles just to see more shit that pukes itself onto the stands. Out of 1000 titles, one will be worthy of my dollar. The industry has too much crap as it is, beit Marvel, DC, or otherwise. What the place needs is a good ol' house cleaning.

Re:Indy comics/comix (1)

kid zeus (563146) | more than 11 years ago | (#5776328)

There's no confusion on my part.

Fair amount of crap can translate as many things, but when it's aplied to a small pool, it's equates to a small amount in the end. If you want to talk percentage, a smaller percentage of indie comics are worthless than so-called mainstream.

As for outproduce, I should have been more specific. I meant 'produce better quality,' not more quantity.

As for the art argument, once again when you have a pool attempting to be art and one that attempts to be jevenile/soft-porn stuff, the former is inherently more noble and will invariably turn out more examples that actually achieve the mark of art than the latter.

Finally, in regards to TMNT, do you even have a point or are you just jerking off? I said that the moment it was purchased it ceased being indie. Of course that means not before. By definition, ferchrissakes. TMNT hasn't been an indie phenomenon for almost fifteen years. It's irrelevant to any discussion of indie stuff today.

And if you don't feel like travelling to take a look one of the only relevant forms of visual media in the world today, that's your choice and your loss. Why bother expanding one's horizons when there's so much nonchallenging product to fall asleep to, right?

Oh, so that's what TMNT stands for... (1)

writertype (541679) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774591)

Yeah, there's the solution: instead of making these things more accessible to the masses, let's make them more arcane by talking about the acronyms. This isn't a troll, seriously. The more "leet" you make an indy comic, the smaller the audience, and the less money the creator pulls in. At some point costs overrun potential profits, and the creator/publisher pulls the plug. Poof! No more comic.

Why not release the "origin" editions of an indy comic on the Web? Sure, they may be prized by collectors, but the value goes up if 6 million people have heard of 'em, not just 60.

Re:Indy comics/comix (1)

Bohnanza (523456) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774872)

Sturgeon's law: 90% of everything is crap. That's life.

Re:Indy comics/comix (1)

fudgefactor7 (581449) | more than 11 years ago | (#5776065)

I prefer Spider Robinson's Law: 99% of everything is crap.

I hate to say it... (4, Insightful)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772631)

...but in today's marketing world, the only way to get something to "the masses" is advertising.

And something tells me that "Small Press Comics" don't have the kind of money to put into serious ad campaigns.

Now I suppose some of the more successful ones like UserFriendly are an exception to this, but unless these comics get a lot of free press/exposure, they will remain "Small Press".

Re:I hate to say it... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5772767)

"And something tells me that "Small Press Comics" don't have the kind of money to put into serious ad campaigns."

What about non-serious ad campaigns? Immature ad campaigns, if you will.

So you can't buy TV or radio ads because they're too expensive. When was the last time you saw a TV or radio ad for comics? (Sans X-Men movies, of course - movies != comics anyhow.)

Advertising on the internet is so cheap, it's practically free. Banner ads are about the most expensive thing you're looking at. It costs nothing to convince people to add a blurb in their .sig files.

Print t-shirts. Hand them out in RL. Stickers. Posters. Et cetera. Free introductory copies. Blah di blah. ...Will all this be effective as a corporate-backed shock and advertising campaign? Of course not.

But I'd argue that All Your Base got out to the masses pretty quickly. If unconventional advertising can work for CATS, it can work elsewhere.

Internet Business Development (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5772784)

No, UserFriendly has taken the opposite approach. That is a strip which fits easily in a small space, and on a VGA screen. They produced the product and made it available, with word of mouth and online advertising growing the audience.

So UserFriendly had a good-sized audience before publishing on paper. Publishing first and then trying to sell is a different problem -- and you don't know how successful you are until after you have spent some money on printing.

The paper approach can also use the Internet for indy work. Make some comics, use a copy shop to print a few copies (color or black & white), like 10-20. Put them up on Amazon, Half (those two if you registered in a way which gives you an ISBN/ISSN), and eBay. Have a home page with info. Buy some ads and get in comic indexes. See how long it takes to sell those few copies -- if you made a profit, you at least got your money back and can reinvest by making at least the same number of copies.

Strangely enough... (4, Insightful)

jeroenb (125404) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772633)

independent comics are actually much more known to the average comics readers than independent music is to the typical music listener (everybody?) The reason I'm saying this is because nearly every comicbook store I know has quite a lot of the indy stuff, as opposed to the couple of music stores I know that carry indy music (especially since the amount of comic stores : music stores is like 10:1 at least!)

I'm not quite sure why this is, perhaps the market for comics is not as highly populated by mainstream stuff, leaving a lot of space for indy works, or perhaps the taste of comicbook fans is generally much more diverse? Who knows.

It's pretty weird though to read about independents not getting a lot of attention when you can walk into a comicbook store somewhere in Europe where they need to import everything and see independent comics lying all over the place.

Uhm, that 1:10 ofcourse :) DOH! (1)

jeroenb (125404) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772642)


Re:Strangely enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5772747)

Stand up to man.

Don't be a music consumer.

No Music. Free Thought.

Revolution is all fine and well... (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 11 years ago | (#5777641)

..until it gets between me and my phish cds or my cowboy be-bop dvds.

Re:Strangely enough... (1)

Turing Machine (144300) | more than 11 years ago | (#5773099)

I'm not quite sure why this is, perhaps the market for comics is not as highly populated by mainstream stuff, leaving a lot of space for indy works, or perhaps the taste of comicbook fans is generally much more diverse? Who knows.

I would guess that one of the historical reasons behind this is that every podunk town has several printers, while few of them had record pressing plants. Musicians had no choice but to deal with the big boys in California or New York, but the comics guys could just go down to the local mom and pop print shop.

With recordable CDs and first-rate PC audio editing software this has changed, of course.

Distribution is a whole different kettle of fish. The Internet will change that, if only the artists can figure out how to make a living using it. :-)

Re:Strangely enough... (1)

Caoch93 (611965) | more than 11 years ago | (#5773392)

I think that the music market is actually becoming increasingly independent, though. Part of the reason why is because there are now independent labels and redistributors who are creating enough unity in their base of artists to actually have some voice. I think some good examples of these are Projekt [] and Young God Records [] , both of which cater to goth, ambient, ethereal, industrial, and avant-garde artists. The Projekt model, AFAIK, is to provide marketing and redistribution aid to artists who work in their genres, whereas Young God is a more traditional label that provides aid in production as well as in distribution.

Point being, though, that Projekt CDs are easily available at most Borders stores and I've been able to find Young God products in Virgin Megastores, Borders, and other places. The tide is starting to turn somewhat in favor of indie labels; however, you may never see them in mass retail distribution because of the costs involved in retail store distribution in the music industry. Newsletters from Projekt spell it out- the reason they're not in more stores is because, generally, they rarely make money going that route (in fact, they tend to lose money per unit that way). The only function of selling through traditional retail venues for them is to get their foot in the door with consumers. The hope is that, once you have a CD by a Projekt artist, you'll like it enough to shop the website. Coincidentally, that's why the CDs from that label that are arguably the most available in stores are compilation CDs.

Honestly, I think the biggest reason for there being more diversity in comic books vs music has to do with the economics of the situation. I am not a comic book artist, so someone might be able to speak about the costs there, but I am a musician and I'm working on independently producing my first album. I expect that, by the time I'm ready to begin recording, I'll have already spent $2,500, not counting the cost of time from myself, my guitarist, my vocalist, or my instrumentalists, who are all volunteering for the love of the art. Granted, a lot of this money is inital outlays I won't have to make again, but there can be a serious barrier to entry in this respect. I'm lucky enough to have so many musicians around me who don't demand payment. I shudder to think at the financial hit many other indie artists take.

Assuming I get my work complete, distribution will be a perpetual uphill fight, and my best hope is to end up at an indie label with a good distribution model already in place. I'll never be able to count on sales in retail stores (except possibly deals I make locally). Most music stores are franchises or chains and have a formula for profitability. The costs of distribution through these channels are easy for major labels to accept, and if a band's got good placement already, there's a lower risk to the store and thus lower costs of using the store as a distribution channel. As an indie artist with comparatively little market presence, I'm a high risk and, as I don't have deep pockets, I probably won't be able to afford the costs stores will put on me. Labels with a good online model, though, care less. Their risk is mostly the cost of putting together a couple of webpages and having a copy or two of my CD on hand. Thus, indie music is more heavily sold online through genre-focused channels. This makes perfect sense, given the genre orientation music consumption tends to follow.

Again, I'm not nearly as savvy with comics, but I can safely say that I have never once in my life shopped at a franchised comic book store. I'm sure such a concept exists...I've just never seen it. Every comic book store I've ever been to was privately owned by a couple of local businessmen. Because of this, they have tended to not have formulas of success and the decision to carry an indie comic tends to be based more on the quality of the comic and the owner's feelings about the comic. I think this leads to a lot more indie comics having retail distribution, though it's difficult to get really wide distribution. Also, the economics of purchase from the consumer's perspective are different. When I last bought comic books, they cost a couple of bucks at most. CDs cost a consumer an average of $15. So, I can grab seven (or more) comic books for the cost of a CD. That makes me, as a consumer, more likely to see the cover art and make an impulse buy and try out a new comic book. Not so with music- a CD is much more expensive, so I'm less likely to say "What the hell? I see how this sounds." Many stores are getting out of offering listening stations where you can hear the CD before you buy (most listening stations now offer the latest pop, but not the opportunity to see if you like a certain CD you picked out first). Result? People stick to their guns and stick to what they know, and there's less consumer experimentation, and there's less desire for independent music. This is one reason why indie labels frequently push themselves to have a strong presence on MP3 sites ( and Amazon, for example), as it puts consumer exploration back in the equation, leading to an increased demand for indie music through that channel.

Anyway...those are just some of my thoughts on why you might see more diversity in comic books compared to music...

anything but concise (3, Interesting)

Schlemphfer (556732) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772680)

In many ways, the same advice here applies to people trying to get word about out bands/books/games etc etc.

Sort of interesting to see a bunch of comments moderated 5 already, just fifteen minutes after the article was posted. I started reading this article, since I had a small press publish my first (nonfiction) book, and I intend to publish my own stuff next year. After getting about halfway through, I decided the material wasn't worth my time. There are no doubt some good points here, but despite the claim from the submitter, this stuff is really mostly applicable to smalltime comicbook authors. And it's an incredibly lengthy piece considering the small amount of advice presented. It clocks in at nearly 10,000 words (for reference, books start at about 50,000 words), and I suspect the main advice in this piece could be extracted to make a new article barely 1000 words long.

Easy Solution... Repetition (1)

telstar (236404) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772716)

"In many ways, the same advice here applies to people trying to get word about out bands/books/games etc etc."
  • Just have one of the mods post it on Slashdot. It's sure to be reposted a few more times over the next couple weeks...

My 14,6 re... (2, Informative)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772732)

It has been ages since I bought an indy-comic. Partly because there nearest decent comic-store is an hour or so from here - and that seems to cater mainly to the young, inmature section of the market (more tits than in a porno-rag), partly because much of the mainstream norwegian comics are very good (karine haaland [] , Nemi [] , Pondus [] and EON & Wildlife [] to mention a few), and partly because the web provides me with more under- and overground comics than a sane man can read (Comander Kitty [] , Fur Will Fly [] , House of LSD [] and Kevin & Kell [] to take the first four on my list of bookmarks).

I don't think that indy-comics printed on dead trees has the importance they had for say, oh, ten to fifteen years ago. The ones that are good will find their way into mainstream magasines (at least this holds true for Norway), the ones that ain't good will die out. That, and the World Wide Wait is the underground printingpress of today; both for comics as well as for writing, art and music.

But as the subject says, that just my 2 cents (by the exchange rate anyway).

My favorite webcomix site at the moment is (2, Informative)

Multiple Sanchez (16336) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772737) [] . They strike a tone that finds that sweet spot between art, commercialism, and the necessary self-awareness of a frontier market/nascent medium. Also, they've got exclusive comix by two of my favorite artists, Ethan Persoff [] and Chris Onstad. []

How quickly they fade (3, Informative)

unfortunateson (527551) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772758)

... and I don't mean the colors on cheap newsprint either.

Aside from the Sturgeon's Law factor (95% of everything is crap), one of the main reasons why I don't buy many new indy comix is because anything I'm likely to enjoy has a high probability of just plain disappearing:

  • companies fold (big examples include Fireman, Comico, even First!, Pacific, Eclipse if you're old enough)
  • artists can't be kept to schedules when they're doing it themselves (THB anyone?)
  • or they get "hot" and snatched up by the majors (example: Kelly Jones' early work on Chrome -- I want to know where that story was going)

Trade papers are the evidence of success: if it's good enough to get 4-8 issues collected, grab it!

Prime examples: "Bronze Age" by Eric Shanower, and "Girl Genius" by the manic Phil and Kaja Foglio

Re:How quickly they fade (1)

mrtroy (640746) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772787)

Chrome == elite That story line was sweet...too bad it just suddenly disappeared!

Re:How quickly they fade (1)

Caoch93 (611965) | more than 11 years ago | (#5775072)

Don't forget Continuity Comics, too! Blaze of brief glory in the 80's, marginal success in converting "Bucky O'Hare" to cartoon format, and then a fade to obscurity.

I kinda miss Continuity Comics.

Why they fade (1)

No Such Agency (136681) | more than 11 years ago | (#5775148)

Hmm, perhaps they don't last b/c people don't buy them... assuming they won't last?

WRT trade paperbacks, comics go on my bookshelf, being books and all. I'm not a collector, with bags and acid-free backing boards and all that jazz. I like the trade pb editions because they are more durable - I can READ them without causing appreciable damage.

fp? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5772765)

The page filenames look like my PGP key...

Waste of time (3, Insightful)

RightInTheNeck (667426) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772774)

The people who read that kinda stuff probably see the material being so non-mainstream,underground, not well known,hard to find and get as part of the interest in it in the first place. This is definetly not a marketing problem. The people who want it know exactly where to get it.

Re:Waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5772975)

Yeah, a lot of this stuff is crap too. The only appeal is the elitism that you get by reading them. You feel like a part of a special club. Not to say that there aren't good indie comics, but a lot of the appeal comes from the "non-mainstream" feeling.

I have found the way... (2, Funny)

Etymological Coward (667304) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772833)

I propose that, in order to more effectively get comics to the masses (washed or unwashed), that we construct a giant worldwide network of these devices called "computers". These so-called computers would route data over a network - through satellites, over fields, and possibly even through thin air (we could call the last one 'Ethernet' - how funny would that be!).

This "network" of "computers" would be used by comic artists to publish their work at practically no cost. Each frame of their art would be piped into the homes of its comsumers over an ordinary phone line; they'd be compensated by overgrown conglomerates with too much VC money, who would pretend to their shareholders that this altruism was actually advertising.

I'd call this invention THE INTERNET. I'll file it right next to my patent application for the flying car - which is up for "review" next week, by the way.

Re:I have found the way... (0, Flamebait)

Etymological Coward (667304) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772914)

Oh God! I've been moderated down. My ego is shattered, having been rejected by those classy, popular "moderators" (read: kids with severe social and emotional disorders) over at Slashdot. I'm not sure how I can ever go on living in the same way, knowing full well that I'll never be accepted into the bastion of journalistic integrity that is Slashdot.

The only thing I can do now... is to try to move on.

Re:I have found the way... (0, Flamebait)

exhilaration (587191) | more than 11 years ago | (#5776336)

Mr. Gore???? I didn't realize you read Slashdot!

Mega Tokyo (1)

bace (628761) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772839)

Have you people forgot megatokyo, Fred has released MT episode 1.

Or would he be classed as small to medium with regards to production(no disrespect to Fred)

Re:Mega Tokyo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5777709)

Good to see another MT fan!

This example speaks to the benefit of releasing material (visual, audio, etc) online to build up a fanbase and then providing hard copies (books, cd's) that collate existing material and add in a couple extras to make the purchase worth it.

Of course this model won't work for those looking for quick $$, and it's not a lucrative business. Here you actually need to produce something of quality that people are willing to pay for. However, successful comics can provide enough compensation through books, merchandise, advertising and fan donations to pay the bandwidth bills and provide a living for the artist.

Re:Mega Tokyo (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 11 years ago | (#5779936)

This comic falls neatly within the "crap" part of "99% of everything is crap".

dinosaur comics (2, Informative)

potaz (211754) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772863)

First, a plug: people interested in small press independent comics might be interested in my dinosaur comics [] . They are a study in genre and form!!

About getting comics to the masses: all I'm intending to do is self-publish and sell over my web site (and in a few comic book stores locally). When the price of self-publishing is so small, and you can distribute so easily, I don't see the real allure of professional printing. You can even get things professionally bound for a couple of dollars at your local copy shop.

Re:dinosaur comics (0)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772915)

I just have one thing to say concerning your dinosaur comics...


The masses don't go to comic book stores (3, Insightful)

shancock (89482) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772961)

If you self publish and want to reach the masses, you must find a distributor or sales agent. The masses go to bookstores. Bookstores hate buying, dealing with single or few title authors directly. If your product is good and the market is there, the books will probably sell.

Find a distributor or salesagent who deals in other independent publishers. These people have relationships established with distributors and stores. They can get your books (maybe) into stores.

You will still have to market and advertise on your own but it will mean zero if you don't already have the comics/books on the shelves in the stores.

Comics are putting themselves out of business (3, Interesting)

Kagato (116051) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772990)

The number one selling comics are those dumb ass archie dealies at the check out line. Comics decline is tied closely with the decline of the news stand. The publishers have choosen to go the safe route.

When you go to the supermarket news stand you're incure a risk. Every issue that doesn't get sold you have to refund back to the retailer. And it's not like you get product back. All you get is the cover back.

"Successful" comics of today sell at rates that would be considered failures 15-20 years ago. Marvel and DC are in the position of being more and more dependant on merchandising monies.

And it's not like the industry doesn't know this. The simple fact is it's too late. Comics are painted into a corner. You need capital to reinvent the distribution chain. And even if you were to get the capital you'd piss off the existing chain (comic book stores). And if you manage to reinvent the chain, it would mean the deal of the comic book store. Blah!

So when you ask about these small indie lables trying to be big, you have to ask yourself "why"?
Being big means being leveraged up the wazoo to investors and banks. Being big means have to suck up to hollywood to get some movie money.

Re:Comics are putting themselves out of business (2, Interesting)

Caoch93 (611965) | more than 11 years ago | (#5775102)

Marvel and DC are in the position of being more and more dependant on merchandising monies.

I think I recall hearing an interview on NPR where one of the muckety-mucks at Marvel said that they actually lose money on the comic books, but they use them to test the market. If a comic sells, they will hustle the merchandise and movie deals that actually make them money.

Re:Comics are putting themselves out of business (1)

Kagato (116051) | more than 11 years ago | (#5775232)

To quote Mel Brooks from SpaceBalls "Merchandising! That's where the real money is!"

Selling comics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5777103)

Marvel and DC should find big-ass 20 screen movie theatres in areas where there are no comic book stores for miles around. Then put in a small test stall in the area of the theatre where you play video games. One greasy ring-nosed punk to staff the counter. If it takes off, pull out and spin some small businessman a loan to open up in the area, or cut a deal with the threatre chain for a bigger chunk of space. If not, screw it.

This could pay off because a lot of the merchandise is cross over. They could sell movie spinnoffs too.

Matt B! (1)

xtermz (234073) | more than 11 years ago | (#5773213)

Matt B. [] is one of the best indy comic i've found yet. Although some may not "get" it, if you're a single guy living near a big city, it will all make sense....

Re:Matt B! (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 11 years ago | (#5779956)

Gosh, another unfunny comic that provides a white man with a release valve for his lefitst politics. Never seen THAT before in an indy comic.

*BSD is dying (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5773725)

It is official; Netcraft now confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

Wanted: Kids' comics (1)

Kludge (13653) | more than 11 years ago | (#5773858)

My son loves comics and is just starting to read. Unfortunately I've found little in the way of nonviolent, easy to read, not too cutesy, but fun comics. Recommendations?

Re:Wanted: Kids' comics (1)

Caoch93 (611965) | more than 11 years ago | (#5775166)

Two comics I have enjoyed, though their distribution might be limited, are Hopeless Savages and Gloom Cookie. Neither has been violent or all that hard to read, though Gloom Cookie gets a bit spooky at times. My local comic book store has The Simpons comic books...surely that might work for your child, too.

Failing that, why not try manga? There are lots of choices in manga out there that have a low violence quotient and are aimed at children. Pokemon is available in manga format. In fact, you may have an easier time finding manga fitting your requirements, as manga tends to be, in my experience, available for a wider audience.

Oh, and many regular bookstores sell comic book formats of children's literature, literary classics, and The Bible. Don't forget about that option.

BTW, kudos on allowing your child to read comics. To quote an ad I once saw in a comic book...

"Attention Parents! This is a quick reminder that your children don't read television, but they do read comic books. In fact, comic books may be the only literature your children buy with their own money."

Re:Wanted: Kids' comics (1)

Celshader (667578) | more than 11 years ago | (#5776439)

I strongly recommend a copy of Pam Bliss' Dog & Pony Show [] trade paperback -- a collection of her cool short stories.

Your son might also like Mark Crilley's Akiko [] series.

Alterego? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774048)

Does Max Ink have an alterego? That name sounds soooooooooo made up. It HAS to be a cover for his alterego, superhero Large Condom. He wanders the streets at night, looking for cheap hookers to fuck. (1)

Indomitus (578) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774124)

I've setup the website [] for specifically this purpose. Comics Connector is an online catalog devoted to independent comics. In addition to the catalog, we have a Features section with interviews, our exclusive Interview Yourself! feature and articles about comics. Check it out!

Getting comics into the hands of the people (1)

bkirsten (667500) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774376)

I have been getting mixed results with advertising/marketing my self-published comic project, Touch of Death [] . I initally started with the Overture/Google route, paying for people to come to my site and whatnot. But that didn't get any sort of results. I have ended up going to sites dedicated to comics and buying ad space there, with better results. The internet is great for the small publisher, there is very little money up front and you have a ton of control. For my money though the best response has been through a convention we did called Megacon in Orlando. It's a yearly convention (around the end of Feb) that nearly got 20,000 comic fans this year. I was able to sell a bunch of comics and nearly more importantly I met a large group of retailers who (if it weren't for our being there) became interested in the book.

Screw reading comics........ (1)

HughJampton (659996) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774401)

How about writing your own?
StripCreator (the site I'm plugging) is a great little site that helps you do just that.

Some things that work, some that don't (2, Informative)

WillASeattle (661188) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774426)

A friend of mine, Roberta Gregory, has travelled around the world promoting her comix ("Bitchy Bitch" is one of them) and been able to get by doing that. She also has found that some weeklies have been good for a partial income stream, as well as doing small shows at various restaurants and coffee shops and bookstores.

I guess the main thing is realizing, as with any art, that half of your job is promotion and sales, and adjusting your life accordingly.

The other thing is doing stuff people want to buy, not necessarily the fun things you want to do - if people want you to do comix with young women with large breasts and unicorns, then you spend part of your time doing that - it pays the bills.

But, overall, it's a hard business to make much money at - usually you have to have a second job.

Include samplers to indy comic elsewhere (2, Insightful)

Ra5pu7in (603513) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774483)

The "masses" don't read comic books, anyway. The "masses" of comic book readers, IMHO, don't walk into a store and walk out with a bunch of unknowns. They walk in knowing their favorites and looking for specific issues. The only way to attract the "masses" to an unknown is to get it known.

Sci-fi mags half a century ago had the right idea. They had a well-known author write a short story that could have sold the mag entirely on its own merit. The rest of the mag could be a number of shorts by unknown authors. Each reader then found the authors that appealed to them.

One good way of introducing indy comics is to include a short sample at the back of a popular comic at no extra cost to the reader. Including several would be an optimal way to expose the "masses" to a variety of indy comics they may find interesting.

Online comics is another good way of exposing indy comics to the "masses", though the crowd is a little different, so this must be nurtured carefully. (Too many people get used to their free online content and won't pay for the same content.)

DjVu plug. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774810)

A bit of a plug for a neglected format.

DjVu [] is very useful (open-source) to people who want to put out quality without all the bloat, while giving the readers a user-friendly experience.

  1. Downloads faster.
    Displays and renders faster.
    Looks nicer on screen.
    Consumes less client resources.
    Can be OCRd and indexed.

There are plugins for all the majour platforms. Give it a try with some of the examples [] , and maybe consider using it for your next online comic or trade paperback?

Form and presentation matter as much as content (2, Interesting)

Lazlo Nibble (32560) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774842)

  1. Many adults have better things to do than amass huge boxes of pamphlets in their closets. Trade collections sell better to the general audience.
  2. Local retailers are often unreliable; few people have easy access to a quality shop (Golden Apple, Comic Relief, et al.). Good luck following an indie series if your supplier can't be bothered to stock it properly.
  3. Manga are finally a significant force in the US, giving kids a great introduction to the medium. But when they outgrow Shonen Jump (300+ pages, $4.95/month) the average indie title (24-32 pages, $2.95/month) is going to be a really hard sell.
I would love to see indie comics publishers start up monthly "phonebook" anthologies to dump into the mainstream retail distribution network. Unfortunately the costs are likely prohibitive if you don't have eight hours a day of free advertising courtesy of Kid's WB and Cartoon Network. Meanwhile I'll keep going to Comic Relief every now and then and picking up all the trade collections that've been released since my last visit.

Re:Form and presentation matter as much as content (0, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 11 years ago | (#5779965)

Great. By changing the number of pages in a comic from 32 to 300, ten times as many trees can die for each issue! Perfect!

Penny Arcade had some insightful comments (1)

Illserve (56215) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774936)

"I can't stop talking!" 06 -22&res=l

when price became worth more than reading/sharing/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5775478)

when i was little, we would buy a comic book at 7-11 for 55 cents. we would all read each others
comics and trade them. we would even look at all the advertising, sucking each page dry for everything it was worth. (damn stamp ad ruined my credit rating at 14 :-/ ). the comics would get damaged, destroyed, saved in a stack, read multiple times, etc... but one thing we did not thinking about was how much it was worth.

alot of the people in the comic market right now are the ones who milked the market dry. using every dirty trick to make money off kids.

you want to be to an artist and still care about profit... something wrong with that notion.

thank you Mr. Barks, bob burden, steranko, miller, and all the rest who make such good comics...

ask me, the best way is to make the comic and give them to people who might like them. like kids.

difficulty finding (1)

chloroquine (642737) | more than 11 years ago | (#5776552)

I've decided to devote the next few years of my life to delving into the kind of stuff that when I was a bit younger I associated with teenaged guys. (No, not pr0n.)

I'm a chick. I didn't know about comics or manga or anime when I was younger, and now that I'm older (oh the grey hairs.), few of my friends (or enemies) are interested in these things. I've tried the simple technique of going to different comicbook selling sites and going to the local university library. I've seen a lot of Moore, and Miller and Gaiman, but I haven't been able to branch out further than that. The university library has an interesting selection of French comics - Baru and so on. I've been able to get all nostalgic about tintin and asterix, but I know I'm missing out of this whole crazy world out there.

So, after a long spew of babble, I just wanted to say that I'm happy to see this particular string talking about places to find good stuff. Thanks guys.

A dying breed (1)

Malacca (598693) | more than 11 years ago | (#5777566)

Something that hasn't been mentioned is the demographic of the comic reader. I've been going to comic shops and finding that the patrons are getting older and older. Where are the young comic readers?

I'll tell you. They're playing PS2/XBOX/console games, fragging each other online or queuing up for the latest hottest movie. Times have changed. There are that many more choices for a teenager's disposable income. Comics just can't cut it anymore.

The way I see it, comics will get progressively more and more ghetto-ized. It's a real pity (me being a comic fan). I still think that comics have a place; nothing else combines elements of film and the written word and when done well, the results are sublime. But realistically, comics as a medium is dying.

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