Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Inspired by comic books, part 4, the finale by Toi Thomas

"Hellboy" image by Paolo Rivera via Pinterest 
from the My Geekdom board

I’m so thrilled to share with you the fourth, and final, installment of my “Inspired by comic books” series. Today, I’ll be talking a bit about indie comic books. (If you missed part one,  two, and three, please check them out).

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First, I’d like to mention some of the more popular or well-known indie comic book companies; what I often refer to as the Big Indie 3 of Comics: Dark Horse, Valiant, and Image. All of these presses have been around for a while and have had plenty of success, yet have not become as mainstream as D.C. and Marvel, and I’m kind of glad. I think one of the reasons these indie, or lesser known, though highly profitable and successful, presses have done so well, is because they each appeal to a very specific or niche audience or create products that appeal to niche audiences. Because these presses aren’t trying to appeal to the masses, they achieve the one thing all in the publishing industry strive for, hardcore fans.

Dark Horse, for me, was the one indie comic press that seemed a little dangerous as I was growing up. Those were the comics I didn’t want my parents to know I was into, but as an adult, I’ll tell the world, “I like it.” They are probably most known for such series or character titles as Hellboy, Sin City, Tank Girl, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Valiant Comics logo.
Designed by Rian Hughes.
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Valiant Comics, to me, still kind of seems like that underground press that has produced an amazing amount of content and created a layered and complex universe that leaves you wondering, “Why aren’t more people reading this?” I even put myself in that category having recently discovered their Unity series, which combines many of their staple characters into a team-up comic in the vein of Justice League and Avengers. They are probably most known for their Harbinger series and all its spin-offs plus X-O-Manowar, who’s part of the Unity team-up.

Then there’s Image Comics, who’s totally kill’n it in new, edgy, and creative content as of late. Where Dark Horse was dangerous, Image always seems a little naughty. Growing up I never actually read any of their comics, but I wanted to. I especially remember wanting to read a Spawn comic but being too afraid to bumb one from a friend (I wasn’t going to buy one). Today, they are probably most known for The Walking Dead and Saga, though two of my favorites are Paper Girls and Montress (this comic is so beautiful, you almost forget that the story is very violent and a bit twisted).
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Lastly, I’d like to mention a few indie comic presses and or comic titles that I like, to which you are welcome to look up: Ichabod Jones: Monster Hunter from WannaBe Press, AlterLife from Village Comics, and Vessels from Card Shark Comics. If you want to discover indie comic book content, try searching on Facebook or Kickstarter. It’s not ideal, but that’s where I’ve found most of my indie comic book content outside of attending live Cons and vendor events.

Before I conclude this geek-a-thon of comic book praise, I want to point out a few things about indie comic books and how they influence me. As an indie author, I find that I have a lot to learn from indie comic writers and artists. Looking to them for inspiration and insight has helped me be a better salesperson and has helped me learn how to appeal to a specific audience. Indie comic writers and artists have helped me to think outside the “traditional publishing” box to find a way that suits me best. And lastly, indie comics have taught me how to stretch the limits of an idea without being afraid of going too far. Indie comics are a way to tell stories that just aren’t meant to suit everyone; however, they will be amazing for someone in particular. That’s what I’m striving for in my own writing.

Find out more about me, my work, and my inspiration at the following links:

Amazon | Goodreads The ToiBox of Words | YouTube | See a list of my other posts here.