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31 Comments

Indy Comics vs. Mainstream

And some talk about dreams and doing what you love.

 Scud's an all-time fav. It's a daring indy, but you won't find anybody calling it inaccessible. 
We've got some more questions from the thread I've set up. As I've said, you ask me anything comics-related there (within reason) and I'll eventually answer it here. 

U R Sofa King We Todd Did: Preference of "indie" comics or "mainstream" comics? Differences in art, quality, restrictions, etc.  

These distinctions really need to be re-defined. I don't think of comics like SCUD THE DISPOSABLE ASSASSIN, MARTHA WASHINGTON or METABARONS as analogous to esoteric art house flicks, yet they still get lumped into the "indy" category. What we're really talking about here is superheroes vs. every other genre. Myself? I like everything, even though there are pluses and minuses on each side. With superheroes, you get reliability - - both in production quality and plotting. Indy comics can be more of a roll of a dice - - they can be a lot more frustrating or a lot more rewarding, but that's part of the fun of discovery.
 
I do wish readers would be more willing to step outside the ol' comfort zone and try comics that don't necessary fall under the umbrella of the familiar. Especially they''ve been complaining about an established title they've been reading since they were 14, but haven't been enjoying for years. You're really better off breaking your habit and trying something new.  
 
Still, whether they're willing to admit it or not, most indy creators' interest in the medium began with mainstream titles. 90% of the "shop talk" vocabulary's going to be informed by them - - and there's a reason for that. Which brings us to the next question... == TEASER ==

The Dark Huntress:  If you were told that you could write any book you wanted from either DC or Marvel, what would you choose?

Hands down, I’d love to do a story about Noh-Varr. The Marvel Knights MARVEL BOY mini hit when I was 14 and, to me, it was like rock personified in a comic. You could simultaneously update the Captain Marvel legacy and make a lot of the Kree's well-established mythos feel like a fresh, far-out cosmology. He's adventuring with the Avengers, right now, but I could easily see some insane Steranko-esque "untold tale" pitting this conquering braggart against an horde of bizarre revamps of the Sentries and Dire Wraiths.  

And I'd love to do a spin on the 80s incarnation of DOOM PATROL. There's just some endlessly intriguing about putting this blue collar Robotman into aggressively-abstract scenarios he can't even begin to grasp. I'm a huge fan of Morrison's earlier work,if you hadn't guessed...  
 
CATMANEXE asked something similar to this and, since we’re talking about dreams, I figure this next question's especially fitting for Thanksgiving weekend…   

CATMANEXE: How has doing what you love now changed the quality of your own life and outlook?

I'm definitely very grateful to be in the position I'm in, right now. Having gone through  a period questioning how much time and involvement I've put into this stuff (and  figuring it might've all been of waste of time) it does feel tremendously validating. Actually, I'd say it's gotten me to keep everything in life in the proper perspective; realizing that, as long you're in touch with who you are and what you want, all obstacles will look small and insignificant when you're eventually past them.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of  HYBRID BASTARDS!  &  UNIMAGINABLE . Order them on Amazon   here  &   here .  Follow him on Twitter:  @tompinchuk 

31 Comments
Posted by Primmaster64

Invincible!

Posted by MatKrenz

Sadly I am not reading any "indie" comics.The reason for it is because I can't find any that really interest's.
Posted by welshguy

I left the comfort zone of mainstream movies once and watched Orlando starring Tilda Swinton... never again. Scarred me for life and gave me a phobia about indie stuff

Posted by rouder

"indie" was recently missused so many times it lost it's meaning. Especially teenagers who hates on everything popular just to look interesting got used to lable normal things with atm cool words like "indie" or "obscure"

Posted by Eyz

I love Scud! XD
 
I guess Indie comics now are defined by everything that isn't Marvel/DC/Image/Dark Horse and not either superheroes...
Yeah, not really indie, but many titles fall into that categorie nowadays for just that.

Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir

Kids today, don't know the meaning of "obscure". I try to branch out when it comes to my comic reading.

Posted by U R Sofa King We Todd Did

WOO HOOOO!!!! 

Posted by ArtisticNeedham

My own comic is more mainstream, I think in style and story, but its Independent because I lack the money and fame.
 
Would the Tick be considered Indy?  Madman?

Posted by UrmanitaRules

As much as I love mainstream comics and a huge fan as well, I can't stand the huge massive company crossovers Marvel and DC are having. That's why I've been reading all of Dynamite's Green Hornet material.

Posted by NexusOfLight
Edited by longbowhunter

I love any comic that is good. Mainstream or "indie", I dont put to much stock in it. Just last night I ordered the Complete Essex County Tales and Locke & Key: Head Games.
Posted by Oldmancomicfan

I'd probably read more "indy" stuff but sometimes hard to find good reviews on them. My local comic shop has quite a few different titles, just haven't looked at them yet.

Posted by aztek_the_lost

I think their needs to be a third category between indie and mainstream...because I'm not sure I read either and yet I read a lot of comics...mainstream I think of as the popular books that are consistently in say the Top 50 or Top 100 comics on Diamond's monthly lists...when I think of indie, I think of comics that don't even make the list at all, I usually read comics in the 101-300 area of the list and I don't know what to refer to those as

Moderator
Edited by skaarason
@Primmaster64 said:

" Invincible! "

is he really indie any more ? 
 
invincible is at the top of my list every month as a must have !!! 
everyone should be buying it !!!
Posted by Primmaster64
@skaarason: I'm not sure...
Posted by Shimmy

See, when I think indie, what I'm really picturing is creator-owned.  
 
I mean, Scud is indie, right? And it was published by Image; just so with Hellboy at Dark Horse or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen at America's Best. And what about Sam & Max or Bone or the Goon? Are not these all "indie" in some respect? They fall outside of the "big two" and most of them have moved around between at least two publishers or more, so shouldn't that qualify as independent? 
 
Take Madman, for example. Started at Tundra, then went to Dark Horse, then Oni Press and finally Image. Allred takes it where he wants to take it; popularity has little to do with whether or not you would call it "indie."
Posted by Michiel76

I would go even futher, i'd wish you americans would try more european made comic-strips. I usually enjoy these much more than the average superhero comic, which to me most of the times feels like a dragonball Z episode, not enough storytelling and a lot of fighting.  
 
downsides are: they are not even close to a monthly series, often not even once a year, prices are a lot higher and most are in a foreign language.
 
i do realise that european comics are hard to get in the usa, but if demand would be higher i am sure more will be translated into english.
 
If you would try this european comic Storm by Don Lawrence i promise you wont be dissapointed.
I know for a fact it has been translated into english and you should be able to order it online, it has incredible art and even better a great story.
check it out if you have the chance.
 

Posted by I-Force

Seems like mainstream is likelier to have better production values and dependable publishing because they've been doing it for so long and have vast resources, but that is certainly not an absolute.  Some of the Indy efforts put some mainstream efforts to shame. Like a previous poster seems to infer, a comic book is a comic book is a comic book, and likeability is based on the effort and success of the team creating it, not which venue it emerges from.  I think this will be a growing perspective as time goes on.

Posted by Om1kron
@rouder said:
" "indie" was recently missused so many times it lost it's meaning. Especially teenagers who hates on everything popular just to look interesting got used to lable normal things with atm cool words like "indie" or "obscure" "
Blame it on the Hipsters. I spent a good half hour if not an hour itself browsing through Meltdown comics, they have a rack of comics in the store people write, draw, and print themselves in little sketch booklets, I thought that was super neat and would love to check some of those out sometimes. The problem with a lot of people who want to break into comics is they want to either draw the mainstream book they feel they could make better.  
 
Reality is that's not happening until you put in YEARS of work.  
 
Second is people who think they have the next big comic on their hands but want to have their work received by the masses and validate themselves by publishing it through Marvel, DC, or Vertigo, and whatever big names are still left. (DC I think owns Vertigo now, they try to buy any of their competition lol)  
 
Whats great about independent publishing is people are getting to do what they want right from the get go, and in the process they meet other creators and collaborate with them in a real network under a legit banner or non mainstream network which leaves doors of opportunity open if you're willing to open them.  
 
They have definitely piqued my interest in trying to get some work published.  
 
I'm glad that comics are still living a healthy life even past my time of religiously collecting them. This is definitely a breath of fresh air from mainstream comics. 
Posted by J1ml33
@Om1kron said:
" @rouder said:
" "indie" was recently missused so many times it lost it's meaning. Especially teenagers who hates on everything popular just to look interesting got used to lable normal things with atm cool words like "indie" or "obscure" "
Blame it on the Hipsters. I spent a good half hour if not an hour itself browsing through Meltdown comics, they have a rack of comics in the store people write, draw, and print themselves in little sketch booklets, I thought that was super neat and would love to check some of those out sometimes. The problem with a lot of people who want to break into comics is they want to either draw the mainstream book they feel they could make better.   Reality is that's not happening until you put in YEARS of work.   Second is people who think they have the next big comic on their hands but want to have their work received by the masses and validate themselves by publishing it through Marvel, DC, or Vertigo, and whatever big names are still left. (DC I think owns Vertigo now, they try to buy any of their competition lol)   Whats great about independent publishing is people are getting to do what they want right from the get go, and in the process they meet other creators and collaborate with them in a real network under a legit banner or non mainstream network which leaves doors of opportunity open if you're willing to open them.   They have definitely piqued my interest in trying to get some work published.   I'm glad that comics are still living a healthy life even past my time of religiously collecting them. This is definitely a breath of fresh air from mainstream comics.  "
masterfully well said I has inspired me even more ..thanks .
Posted by MikeDanger

Darkwing Duck! and of course Walking Dead are the best indy's right now. I miss Madman and Wanted was a good mini-series, Spawn has to come back to his original roots they're getting lazy with him imo.
Posted by Kid_Zombie
@J1ml33 said:
" I read everything (indie , web comics, mainstream ) even foreign titles from time to time so I am never really comfortable or in a zone ,but agree no body agrees with me on comic vine so they could kiss my @$$ if they do not like it . and that's all I got to say  ... "
I LIKE IT!!
 I love All books. But people should be giving Indy a chance, I'm sure 90% of people who come to this site want to work in comics in some shape or form, and if people only stick to mainstream stuff then your work will never get read and you will never work for the big companies if no ones buying your stuff. Support the community so the community will support you! 
 Plus some of the best comics are not "superhero" based. Y the last man, The Nobody, Walking Dead, Sweet Tooth, Chew, pride of baghdad, criminal are just a few off the top of my head that are all amazing books and are not "mainstream superhero stuff." Give any of these books a try and you will not be disapointed. 
 
@longbowhunter said:
" I love any comic that is good. Mainstream or "indie", I dont put to much stock in it. Just last night I ordered the Complete Essex County Tales and Locke & Key: Head Games. "

GREAT BOOKS!! Glad you are supporting Jeff lemire, a great Canadian writer.
Posted by Manchine

I read more INDY comics then I do from the two big guys (Indy 6 titles, Marvel 5 and DC 5).
Posted by Silkcuts

You nailed it with this Tom!
 "I do wish readers would be more willing to step outside the ol' comfort zone and try comics that don't necessary fall under the umbrella of the familiar. Especially they''ve been complaining about an established title they've been reading since they were 14, but haven't been enjoying for years. You're really better off breaking your habit and trying something new." 
 
 The Culture of Comics would be stronger if more people understood the medium instead of just following characters. Some of the best comics, "mainstream" fans will never read because it is not in their comfort zone.  Only by Branching out can you understand the medium better.  I thank my wide reading as one of the reasons I am enjoying Morrison's Batman.  Comics are more then just pictures and words, the medium can be something plan books and movies can never do.  This is why I feel Watchmen still is on filmable, because the movie was only one layer of the book, the most accessible layer.  Where is the "Lex verse Superman layer"? or "the good of the masses out way the good of the few layer" for example.  The movie was catered to Rorschach fans.
 
Grant Morrison's Batman is completely unfilmable, because the occult symbols and cryptic messages just don't translate into screen.
 
Indie comics are more experimental most of the time, when Superheroes can be cookie cutter like Bendis' Avengers that is still selling boat loads, and every month people are complaining.

Posted by Virus_Warning

Personally, I'll read just about anything that looks interesting or I've heard is good from someone I trust.  I have a lot more "mainstream" stuff but that's because I know it, not necessarily because it's better.  Even when I ready mainstream, though, I read the lesser known titles, usually.  Or I like the lesser liked characters.
I read "indy" too, though.  Especially The Uniques.  I think I may like that series as much as X-Factor which is my big thing.  It's even superheroes.
-Virus

Posted by JonesDeini

Indy for me. When mainstream comics produces works as thought provoking and daring as Watchmen, V For Vendetta, Preacher, Sandman, Asterios Polyp, Y The Last Man, Walking Dead, or the Unwritten...then we'll talk. 

Posted by comicbikerscott

both for me i love it all so its all good and thought provoing and entertaining
Posted by goldenkey

What is considered indy and what is not?  Is it anything that is not from the BIG 2??  Is it a book that doesn't have a super hero in it.  I'm not even sure where that label fits.   Wouldn't an else worlds type book from one of the BIG 2 somewhat be considered an indy.  There are a lot of readers on here that only read those, how do they view themselves as a reader?  Maybe there should be indy reviews as a way to support the indy books on here.  I've personally picked up a lot of titles on here simply because I read a good review and it seems that's one of the biggest points of this site.   Every week I click on the "new comics" icon and read almost every little paragraph describing  what came out and once in a while it makes me want to check out what's going on in those books.

Posted by cbishop

These articles are so much better than when you repeat forum topics.  Excellent read.

Posted by longbowhunter
@Kid_Zombie: 

The thing I like most about Lemire is his choice to use rural settings. What essentially should be a boring location like a farm or small town becomes a great under utilized back drop. So many of my favorite comics are set in New York or a make believe city. But I've never been to New York. Where I have been is western Kentucky and southern Indiana most of my life. Jeff Lemire is a good change of pace.    
Posted by karrob

Could care less as long as its good