IPB
MORE @ COMIC RELATED: NEWS COLUMNS REVIEWS PODCASTS BLOGS

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

 
Reply to this topicStart new topic
The state of independent comics in 2012?
MasonEasley
post Feb 18 2012, 01:39 PM
Post #1


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 517
Joined: 4-June 09
Member No.: 15,679



I've admittedly been out of the loop over the last few months. The only thing I've really been working on are commissions, pin ups, and contracted work. I'm not really seeing many indie publishers at the conventions I visit, and I haven't really heard of anything major coming down the pipe. I remember in earlier years there was big things like Platinum, and a pretty powerful showing from the guys who created Webcomics.com. Now everything just seems kind of "quiet", with nothing really major coming out from the independent scene, or something new blowing people's socks off. I'm also looking at the studio pages on this forum and others, and some threads haven't been responded to in months if not years! I really hope the indie scene isn't dying off, but that's really the only conclusion I can gather. I'll be happy to be proven wrong though.

With that said, what's the current state of the independent comic industry? Is it in good condition, stable condition, or in poor condition?

Thanks for helping out guys. smile.gif

This post has been edited by MasonEasley: Feb 18 2012, 01:41 PM


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Cary
post Feb 19 2012, 01:52 PM
Post #2


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 1,620
Joined: 2-March 09
From: Austin, Texas
Member No.: 2,957



I'm not sure what conventions you hit, but from what I've seen in the just the four shows I was able to hit last year, the state of the union is GOOD. Now certainly you've seen companies like Devil's due, Platinum, and other mid range indy companies fall off, because of their business model. They tried to print color floppy comics regardless of genre, with the big boys. They tried to go through Diamond, meet those minimums, and failed.

Now look at the guys who haven't failed. Arcana moves mostly full length graphic novels, and dabbles in high quality formats and paper, like hard covers and such. They do a BOOMING business at conventions, have a great creator turnout to support their books, and they've grown. APE has altered focus quite a bit to take a stab at the children's market, and had some excellent success, which seems to put the lie to the idea that kids don't read comics any more. I know APE is doing well enough that they just moved into brand new offices, and they're taking on new books. There are a couple of others, and of course there's Image, though semantics may or may not allow you to include them as an Indy publisher. I think for the most part you're seeing a drift into small studio operations and more self publishing all the time. The advent of digital across multiple platforms, formats and delivery systems means you don't have to sell your soul to the man to make comics any more, and if you dig into the scene just a bit you'll see a lot of that.

I do agree we haven't seen a big huge splash thing from Indy creators in a while, but I believe that's part of the general shift in attitude and focus among the people making the books. If you look back at it you didn't see that type of thing really start off till the 90s, when everything was about the "next big thing down the pipe". These days, at least from what I'm hearing and seeing, creators are putting their noses back into their work, doing what they want to do, and moving on from there without worrying overly much about the circus. That's how books like Cerberus an d Elfquest made their mark, and those properties endure. It feels like the wind is shifting back into a true Indy feel for our sector of the market, and I call that a great thing.


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Greg G.
post Feb 20 2012, 01:51 AM
Post #3


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 466
Joined: 13-March 11
From: Northeast, OH
Member No.: 19,808



Going to agree with Cary here.

I hit Mid Ohio Con every year and there is no shortage of independent titles to be found. It's pretty much a creator's show. Went to Fan Expo, and outside of it being a huge disorganized mess; there were a fair share of indy creators there too. Unfortunately the show was so packed and creators rarely at their seats that I just spent the rest of the con exploring Toronto.

The larger issue may just be comics is a rough business to be in, and in a tough economy folks need day jobs more than risks.

Indy creators and books have always been drowned out by the 800lb. gorillas in the industry, and I think it's only getting worse as Marvel / DC are in a never ending cycle of events, reboots, and hot new things that steal so much of the lime light.

Heck, the Extreme re-launch is a smashing success by all reports. Prophet and Glory are both being received incredibly well with their new directions. That came out of left field.

This post has been edited by Greg G.: Feb 20 2012, 01:55 AM


--------------------
You know, life is funny.
If you don't repeat the actions of your own success
You won't be successful
You gotta know your own formula, your own ingredients
What made you, YOU.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
MasonEasley
post Feb 20 2012, 11:48 AM
Post #4


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 517
Joined: 4-June 09
Member No.: 15,679



Thanks for the responses guys. I was getting a bit worried, but its good to see that the industry is just evolving instead of dying off. I intend to stop doing the crazy level of fanart I've been doing, and finally finish my creator owned comic this year, and start a new concept early in 2013. Its good to hear that things are still moving along.

Quick question; Would it be better to seek a publisher, or keep going the self-published route?

This post has been edited by MasonEasley: Feb 20 2012, 11:48 AM


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Greg G.
post Feb 20 2012, 12:50 PM
Post #5


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 466
Joined: 13-March 11
From: Northeast, OH
Member No.: 19,808



QUOTE (MasonEasley @ Feb 20 2012, 12:48 PM) *
Thanks for the responses guys. I was getting a bit worried, but its good to see that the industry is just evolving instead of dying off. I intend to stop doing the crazy level of fanart I've been doing, and finally finish my creator owned comic this year, and start a new concept early in 2013. Its good to hear that things are still moving along.

Quick question; Would it be better to seek a publisher, or keep going the self-published route?


Unless you're independently wealthy, I'd do it online. Format it for ipad standard resolution. Set up a Paypal donation account. Maybe sell some merchandise on the side.

Once you've completed the run, then look into getting a print copy made for fans to purchase.

Printing a comic in this market is dangerous and a lot of creators seemingly just do it for the sake of vanity ("I have a comic in print.") or tradition, not business sense.

This post has been edited by Greg G.: Feb 20 2012, 12:51 PM


--------------------
You know, life is funny.
If you don't repeat the actions of your own success
You won't be successful
You gotta know your own formula, your own ingredients
What made you, YOU.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Cary
post Feb 20 2012, 01:01 PM
Post #6


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 1,620
Joined: 2-March 09
From: Austin, Texas
Member No.: 2,957



Greg makes excellent sense without a doubt. Take a look at what Kablam has to offer. You can set up with them via their Indyplanet system and sell digital, POD, and do small convention print runs very reasonably without needing to be Richie Rich to get it done. The last 3 months I've seen a huge rise in digital sales, and I sell several copies every week that way, which is a nice little steady stream coming in.

As far as a publisher vs. self publishing, you really gotta ask yourself where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Are you a salesman? do you have a ton of extra time to spend tweaking websites, dealing with orders, and generally handling the business end of the operation? If that's a yes, then don't even consider getting a publisher. You don't need them. But if you're more focused on the creative side of things and really hate trying to sell people on your book every five minutes, publishers do have a valuable service to offer you. Just remember that service comes at a price, and it's usually a portion of the rights to your work.


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
MasonEasley
post Feb 20 2012, 02:56 PM
Post #7


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 517
Joined: 4-June 09
Member No.: 15,679



Yeah I've already have a set up over at indyplanet and sold a few books. What caused me to step away from self publishing in the first place was the unstable nature of the market, and the ridiculous amount of self promoting you needed to do just to get noticed by the crowd. Meanwhile, I could just put together a cool picture of wolverine and get lots of attention. Also all the extra self promoting stuff you need to do, like you were talking about carey. Its all just a huge pain in the rear, especially when you're handling the art and writing chores like I was on PSK.

That said, I may do as you suggested and just work with someone to handle the business side of things so that I can concentrate on the art and writing. That may yeild a better result than my previous experience.

This post has been edited by MasonEasley: Feb 20 2012, 02:58 PM


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
wwi3313
post Feb 20 2012, 04:49 PM
Post #8


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 327
Joined: 8-May 09
From: Columbus, OH
Member No.: 3,055



Dude, I hope the Indy scene isn't dying because I've basically bet the farm on making the whole thing pop! And while I agree with a lot of what Greg and Cary have already said, my stake is a little bit different. Since going full-time with it, my outlook has been been wider -- obviously the hours are longer, but it doesn't bother me NEARLY as bad as if this was a simply desk job. I LOVE the feeling of creating SOMETHING and when you start to get just a little return on it, it can you usually keep you boosted until that next wave hits.

What I think is going to be the mark of the next big thing is the guy(s)/gal(s) that bring a new readership to the comic game. Things are changing and no one seems to have nailed that NEW PLAN that everyone else will be following for the next 20yrs (I'm certainly working on it, but it hasn't picked up enough steam yet!!). But definitely bring it back, Mason -- with all the fan-art you've been doing, you can DEFINITELY parlay that into a solid fan-following of your other work!


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Cary
post Feb 20 2012, 10:02 PM
Post #9


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 1,620
Joined: 2-March 09
From: Austin, Texas
Member No.: 2,957



QUOTE (wwi3313 @ Feb 20 2012, 05:49 PM) *
Dude, I hope the Indy scene isn't dying because I've basically bet the farm on making the whole thing pop! And while I agree with a lot of what Greg and Cary have already said, my stake is a little bit different. Since going full-time with it, my outlook has been been wider -- obviously the hours are longer, but it doesn't bother me NEARLY as bad as if this was a simply desk job. I LOVE the feeling of creating SOMETHING and when you start to get just a little return on it, it can you usually keep you boosted until that next wave hits.

What I think is going to be the mark of the next big thing is the guy(s)/gal(s) that bring a new readership to the comic game. Things are changing and no one seems to have nailed that NEW PLAN that everyone else will be following for the next 20yrs (I'm certainly working on it, but it hasn't picked up enough steam yet!!). But definitely bring it back, Mason -- with all the fan-art you've been doing, you can DEFINITELY parlay that into a solid fan-following of your other work!


Victor, I just want to say to you sir that I think your whole teaching kids to make comics thing that you've done at some of the conventions is pretty awesome. Not only is it an excellent transitional tool to wrangle kids into comics to begin with, I think it's also an excellent reading and creative outreach as well. Congrats on that, it rocks!


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
MasonEasley
post Feb 21 2012, 11:03 AM
Post #10


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 517
Joined: 4-June 09
Member No.: 15,679



QUOTE (wwi3313 @ Feb 20 2012, 05:49 PM) *
But definitely bring it back, Mason -- with all the fan-art you've been doing, you can DEFINITELY parlay that into a solid fan-following of your other work!


Thinking about it Victor. Its just hard to justify spending money printing comics, when you can spend money on prints and sell them for twice as much money for half the cost, and half the effort. dry.gif

BTW, what's going on with the Columbus meetups at Easton?

This post has been edited by MasonEasley: Feb 21 2012, 01:02 PM


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Greg G.
post Feb 22 2012, 12:56 AM
Post #11


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 466
Joined: 13-March 11
From: Northeast, OH
Member No.: 19,808



QUOTE (MasonEasley @ Feb 21 2012, 12:03 PM) *
Thinking about it Victor. Its just hard to justify spending money printing comics, when you can spend money on prints and sell them for twice as much money for half the cost, and half the effort. dry.gif


I don't see the problem here.

If you can supply to the demand, then do it.

There's a great interview with Todd McFarlane on Newsarama about the 20th anniversary of Image Comics and he states something that I think a lot of artists out there miss:

QUOTE
And the thing is, as a creative person, I always knew when I was working for those companies, that everything I did, they owned. But I knew that. And I was OK with that, because to me, it was just a stepping-stone toward moving to a better place, which in 1992 ended up being Image Comics books.

In my case, and I'm not saying this is the case for everyone, but I felt that I was kind of using Marvel as much as they were using me. I was able to draw a popular character, Spider-Man, and gain a lot of notoriety. All of the sudden there was a lot of attention because I was drawing an iconic character, and it helped to build my career, but then I took advantage of that and went to a new company, Image, with a new character, Spawn, I could take a lot of that momentum over to it. So I was able to take some value. Not copyrights, obviously, of the characters I drew over there, but I was able to take inertia and value of that crowd over to the new gig. And a lot of them came. And then I was able to "cash in" on that second chess move.


There is a wealth of information out there and marketing via social media is not impossible if you just want to go the hard way.

Swallow your pride and do what sells, build a name for yourself, then do what you want once you're recognizable. People want to skip right to the success part without the busting their hump to be there.

KRS-One puts it to music pretty eloquently.

QUOTE
Let me tell you right now what you supposed to do
While they floss with the chi-ching and all the rings
You stay focused, keep doin your thing
You cannot get the diamond ring, if you can't really sing
Or if you haven't got a skill, that you ready to fling
What you bringin to the table if you not really able
Tryin to get to the top, like the Tower of Babel


--------------------
You know, life is funny.
If you don't repeat the actions of your own success
You won't be successful
You gotta know your own formula, your own ingredients
What made you, YOU.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
wwi3313
post Feb 23 2012, 07:15 AM
Post #12


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 327
Joined: 8-May 09
From: Columbus, OH
Member No.: 3,055



Thanks Cary -- my position has been that kids who make comics will read comics, so I'm trying get them in the door by basically giving them the keys to the car...well, at least the spare key! Lol. There are so many kids out there who KNOW who Batman is, who KNOW who Spider-man is, but how many of them feel any connection to creating something like them? That's how I got into the comic game all those years ago - not just reading them, but having someone say, "Hey, we can make some of our own!"

Mason -- Greg has a GREAT POINT! Treat this like a business plan -- give yourself a certain amount of time to raise a particular amount of capital/recognition -- start using your fan art as promo for PSK. For the love of all things right in the world, rip my idea and have a bunch of "sketchcards" printed that promote PSK on one side and have space for you to do your commissions on the other. Two birds that sh*t!! Lol!

As for the meetings, Chad had car trouble in Jan and we haven't gotten around to scheduling a new one...I think that's gonna change soon though, so I'll keep you posted.


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Greg G.
post Feb 23 2012, 11:53 PM
Post #13


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 466
Joined: 13-March 11
From: Northeast, OH
Member No.: 19,808



There is also the Dave Sim approach. If somebody would ask him to draw a popular character, he would draw Cerebus as that character. Go to ComicArtfans.com, search Dave Sim, filter by Art Type > Commission.

There's a wealth of knowledge out there online from people who have walked the walk. Listen to interviews with creators on Word Balloon and Sidebar podcasts. Read interviews, etc.

You do not need to re-invent the wheel.


--------------------
You know, life is funny.
If you don't repeat the actions of your own success
You won't be successful
You gotta know your own formula, your own ingredients
What made you, YOU.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Greg G.
post Mar 14 2012, 08:56 PM
Post #14


Advanced Member
***

Group: Members
Posts: 466
Joined: 13-March 11
From: Northeast, OH
Member No.: 19,808



Ron Marz speaks on the challenges of creating independent books in today's market on the latest Word Balloon.


--------------------
You know, life is funny.
If you don't repeat the actions of your own success
You won't be successful
You gotta know your own formula, your own ingredients
What made you, YOU.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

Reply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 

RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 21st September 2014 - 12:07 PM