Independent comics and or creator-owned comics have been around for a while now, and have even become a staple in the industry. There were some independent or underground comics out during the ’80s, but the launch of Image Comics in the early ’90s is what really catapulted creator-owned work and made it a viable way to distribute unique money-making books.
Without independent comics finding new talent in writers, artists, inkers, and so on all the way down to the letterers, the industry would’ve gone stagnant. It needs indie books to challenge the status quo. It needs original ideas pushed out there for the masses. We can only read the same superhero stories so much before it gets boring.
If you’re trying to break into the comic industry but have no connections, this is the perfect time to do so via indie books. Because even if you’re unable to make it into one of the big two, with social media and all the comic conventions now a days, you can still build up a good fan base for yourself through self-published books. And if you build up a big enough following, the big publishers will take notice.
There are many examples of top creators who are household names who got their start through the indie scene. As an up-and-coming creator, you can cut your teeth with the independent work and have something to show when trying to get work elsewhere. And one of the benefits for going this route is, even if the only work you’re doing is your own indie stuff, at least you can still make a profit through comics. Just keep in mind there are no safeguards when printing your own books. Which means no steady paychecks or insurance plans. It can be a risky move so plan ahead. Also, don’t quit your day job unless you really become established.
One of the best things I like about independent comics is the types of stories you can tell. There’s a lot more you can do and get away with that the big name publishers just wouldn’t allow. If there are certain topics you would like to voice, you have more freedom to express those ideas. But if you’re working for a company like Marvel, those ideas wouldn’t fly. They are more likely to say, “Here’s an Avengers book for you to work on, but don’t do anything too radical because it might lower sales.”
I find by going to more conventions and meeting different awesome creators, I’ve been digging the Independent stuff a lot more. And I recommend you give these types of comics a try. Especially if you’re not digging what Marvel or DC have been putting out. We recommend checking out Black Mask Studios to see the work of a successful indie publisher. They have some really unique books out.
Every time I go to a convention I try to find at least one indie creator and pick up their comic or graphic novel (depending on what they have) to help support the scene. If you folks love good comics and want to see more of them, you should do the same.
Thanks for reading. And if you want more, check out these other great comic related articles.