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Strange New Worlds... Or Comics That Won't Get Filmed
Here goes,

I remember that when I was young I had first read a steady diet of Marvel comics. Actually I read some of the heavier DC as well when I was a preteen/teenager. Later my age and mounting expenses keeping me from collecting comics led me to buy more Vertigo. I got my hands on some Alan Moore earlier in my life and thought he was a genius which probably is why I veered more towards Vertigo. Alan is truly one of my idols.
Okay so flashback to when I was 18 or 20 or so. I got one of the most recent trade paperbacks I bought of "Preacher". About a few years later Mike (Me) is in his DIY, corporate anarchism, eating snake-meat in a shanty in the mountains phase. It was at this point after my interest in comics slowed because I couldn't afford as many with mounting expenses. A friend and barista at a favorite coffee shop of mine was doing an independent comic that was very bizarre, funny in a crazy way like Monty Python jacked Hunter S. Thompson's stash of uppers downers psychedelics barbiturates tequila et al and put on a performance. And it had loose literary inspirations from the hilarious offbeat religious sensibilities of "Bob and the Church of the Subgenius" (That's probably the fifth or sixth literary reference and first outside of comics so far- I don't know - but I'll give you kudos if you're counting.). His comic renewed more of the interest in comics I'd neglected.
Now the owner of this coffee shop was a very cool kinda Ferlinghetti type of guy. He had a very awesome creative spontaneous vibe coming out of him and put a lot into the coffee shop and its events with that. He helped the barista get an audience, because of the kind of guy he was and because the barista was independtly publishing his own comic.
What I'm trying to say is- Aren't Marvel and DC given way too much credit? And what about independent publishers? Or even just mainstream publishers that are a little more edgy? Of course the major problem comes with publishers that try to have a niche market- Like say Tekno Comics- the scifi comic-book publisher- The problems come when an audience branches out or finds something new or a larger market comes around and then the niche books get suffocated. They implode on their own markets. The good thing though is these "specialized publishers" are very radical and it gives way to ingenuity. Why I bring this up is because even though some of these niche publishers may die out by not branching out into other genres the originality makes them. It's inspiration is a blessing to other books that would otherwise not have the originality to draw from.
And that's why I think even like DARK HORSE would be a great place to start for other names and plots and characters and parts of the industry to get known. It's just like Marvel or DC - though I like a lot of their work - are treated like the "Starbucks of the Comic World"- In the Newspeak Dictionary of the Comic Tradition there is only Marvel and DC- when there should be other competition on an equal level from these other rad publishers and their publications.... What are some of your opinions?

[Admin: Thought this was better suited to be in Stan's Soapbox as it's not a poll Wink Fine first post though.]
Be Cool....
Firstly Mike, welcome aboard. It's always great to see new members posting and what a post!

I agree that Marvel/DC are not the be all and end all of the comic publishing industry it is unfortunately the nature of the business that it seems to favour the larger companies as they by definition should have economies of scale that afford to dip them the leeway their toes in new markets, e.g Marvel's Mangaverse to attract some of the burgeoning manga fanbase.

Of the big two my experience has been that Marvel is the more willing to take risks or was in the past but I may have been spoiled as the Marvel UK arm was initially run fairly independently of the main company meaning we got a lot of weird and wonderful stories in the early days.

I also know I speak for a few on this site who did try something new and followed a lot of Crossgen output before they went under. Crossgen's scifi/fantasy base with a loosely shared universe and iconography between the majority of their early books was something fairly fresh at the time. Their decision to produce digest versions of their books (such as Edge which allowed the reader to sample issues from several different comics for less than the price of the individual comis). Even though they stopped producing these digests in later times, their comic output was still innovative (Sojourn, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, El Cazador, Abadazad, Route 666). Unfortunately these innovations were not enough to prevent poor management from running the company into the ground leaving us the fans wanting.

I know there are some great small press books out there but unless they advertise their wares more or get better distribution then that allows the big boys to snap up the ideas and muscle them out. Even if it's a matter of striking up a deal with your local comic book stores, get out there and do promotions and signings, the fan base isn't going to come to you all by itself but when it does it will usually stay with you to the bitter end.

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