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Books Media The Almighty Buck

Getting Small Press (Comics) To The Masses 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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Getting Small Press (Comics) To The Masses

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  • by lingqi ( 577227 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @08:50AM (#5772610) Journal
    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.
    • 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 thro
    • 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 syn
  • Old line comics (Score:5, Informative)

    by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @08:51AM (#5772611) Homepage
    All my old favorites are here [kingfeatures.com].
    Katzenjammer Kids are still running after over 100 years.
  • by Lachrymite ( 115440 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @08:54AM (#5772620)
    People interested in becoming creators of comics might want to check out Marvel's Epic line [marvel.com], 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.
    • by will_die ( 586523 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @09:06AM (#5772656) Homepage
      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.
      • From Newsarama [newsarama.com]:

        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 [newsarama.com], and there will be more info in Marville #7 (which is probably the only way they can get that partic
    • by fhwang ( 90412 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @09:41AM (#5772815) Homepage
      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.

      • 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.
    • Oh, great. Make new superheroes. The comics readership can't have too many of those, right?
      • 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 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Whigh ( 663324 )
    Of course, there are people [russcon.org] in the web published arena getting their own interests involved.

    Also, isn't Free Comic Book Day [freecomicbookday.com] coming up soon? (May 3)
    Perhaps a Comics Week should be declared?
  • Indy comics/comix (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fudgefactor7 ( 581449 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @08:57AM (#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 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by curtisk ( 191737 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @09:17AM (#5772703) Homepage Journal
      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 mean...it 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 :)

      • What is the "Image" style?
        • 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 (Score:4, Interesting)

        by slaker ( 53818 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @12:57PM (#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.
        • 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...

          • 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...

      • There is a very still info page here [yahoo.com].

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

    • by mrtroy ( 640746 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @09:30AM (#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 comics...it could help that artist's future career. Then, he will get a big budget, better equipment, and wont be indy anymore!
    • the superhero ghetto (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fhwang ( 90412 )

      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

      • 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 Superma
    • 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
      • "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?
      • 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.
        • 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.
          • 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.
            http://www.theabsolute.net/misogyny/sim.ht ml

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

    • 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 th

    • Sturgeon's law: 90% of everything is crap. That's life.
  • by TrollBridge ( 550878 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @08:57AM (#5772631) Homepage Journal
    ...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".

    • by Anonymous Coward
      "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
    • by Anonymous Coward
      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 Interne
  • by jeroenb ( 125404 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @08:59AM (#5772633) Homepage
    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.
    • 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 th
    • 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 [projekt.com] and Young God Records [younggodrecords.com], 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 th
  • anything but concise (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Schlemphfer ( 556732 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @09:11AM (#5772680) Homepage
    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.

  • "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 Ýre... (Score:3, Informative)

    by WegianWarrior ( 649800 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @09:24AM (#5772732) Journal

    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 [karinehaaland.com], Nemi [darkrealm.no], Pondus [opera.com] and EON & Wildlife [bladkompaniet.no] 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 [commanderkitty.com], Fur Will Fly [purrsia.com], House of LSD [keenspace.com] and Kevin & Kell [kevinandkell.com] 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).

  • by Multiple Sanchez ( 16336 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @09:26AM (#5772737)
    serializer.net [serializer.net]. 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 [www.ep.tc] and Chris Onstad. [achewood.com]
  • by unfortunateson ( 527551 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @09:31AM (#5772758) Journal

    ... 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

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

    • 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.
  • Waste of time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RightInTheNeck ( 667426 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @09:34AM (#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.
  • 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 pip
  • 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)

  • dinosaur comics (Score:2, Informative)

    by potaz ( 211754 )
    First, a plug: people interested in small press independent comics might be interested in my dinosaur comics [qwantz.com]. 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
  • by shancock ( 89482 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @10:12AM (#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.

  • by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @10:18AM (#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.
  • Matt B. [mattbcomic.com] 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....
    • 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.
  • 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?
    • 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 hav

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

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

  • I've setup the website ComicsConnector.com [comicsconnector.com] 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!
  • I have been getting mixed results with advertising/marketing my self-published comic project, Touch of Death [touch-of-death.com]. 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
  • How about writing your own?
    StripCreator (the site I'm plugging) is a great little site that helps you do just that.
  • 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, no
  • 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

    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, $4.9

  • "I can't stop talking!"

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/view.php3?date=2001- 06 -22&res=l
  • 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 Mill

  • 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

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