I freaking love comics. So many comics. Too many to put in one single list. We all like different things. Some of us like big two comics. Other’s may prefer large publisher creator owned work while other’s dig the small press. I like all of that. I’ll cover my favorites from the different corners of comic book publishing over the month of December.
For this week I’ll be covering Small Press, Underground or Alternative comics that I generally cover in Drawing from Below
So this is a very special distinction and group of comics that I’ve been championing since NBC has started. As Cosmo and I discussed on my previous post “indie” doesn’t really mean anything in terms of quality it’s only a factor of how it operates as a business. What is cool about the smaller publishers is that they can do intersting comics that probably aren’t going to attract a large enough audience to go through the larger indie publishers like your Image or Darkhorse comics. But the thing is that at least 70% of the top creative talent now started out doing these types of comics. Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Lark and David Mack all started at a small publisher named Calliber making crime comics. Jeff Lemire and Rick Rememnder’s first comics were self published. Even all time greats like Grant Morrison and Alan Moore started out in small indie zines that were popular in England in the 1970’s. If you like a superhero comic right now there is a pretty good chance the writer started off doing comics like this. Instead of ranking the books I’m going to highlight some personal favorites. Honorable mention to Private Eye, Theremin, It Will All Hurt, Black Church, Blue is The Warmest Color, Rachel Rising and Black Sheep.
One of my best friends is an aspiring screen writer. We’ve often talked about different idea’s we’ve had for movies and on my end comic books. Recently he approached me about writing our own superhero comics and how we would each write our own seperate hero in a shared universe. I was skeptical, the markets proven that most superhero idea’s have been done already. Successful creator owned work has covered a lot of different genre’s over the years but new superhero’s hasn’t really been one of them. We’ve seen Mark Millar spend over a decade trying to create a new superhero universe that rivals the big two to no avail while Brian K Vaughan, Robert Kirkman, Brian Wood and Ed Brubaker have reached unparalleled success doing creator owned comics that had little to nothing in common with traditional superhero comics. Sometimes a revelation appears where you least expect it and whenever your about to say “it can’t be done” it’s almost inevitable that it can and will. So I’m happy to say I was wrong because Battling Boy is a fantastic new Super Hero story from star creator Paul Pope and it’s a comic that rests within the traditional superhero narrative while completely re-configuring it to fit Pope’s unique vision. It is the first time in a very long time that I can remember reading a new traditional super hero story that was as exciting, fresh and well done as the genre can be.