There’s no doubt that when most people hear the word comics these days, they think Marvel, but did you know that there are hundreds of comic book publications around the country, and thousands worldwide! While Marvel has Iron Man, The Hulk, Spiderman, The Avengers, and the list goes on and on, the popular DC Comics has created the characters of the Batman and Robin series, Superman, Scooby Doo and hundreds of other timeless and popular titles. These comic giants have spawned massive movie deals, and created an unmatched merchandise dynasty. But what about the smaller, independent comic publishers? Is there still a market for the little guy? And would mainstream draw be welcomed or shunned by the independent comic lover?
What was the first coming you ever read?
The first thing I ever really read was Spiderman. My uncle had brought over a bunch of old Archie and Jughead comics but I really just let them sit around. I wasn’t into comics at the time and it wasn’t until I saw the movie Spiderman and got some of the back story that I started looking into where Spiderman and all of the other great superhero characters came from.
So, would you say you’re a fan of the big comic “empires” like Marvel and DC?
I definitely have an appreciation for the big guys because of the legendary characters they’ve created and the success that they’ve had and the attention that they’ve helped bring to comics and the whole industry. But, the smaller comic houses and those really cool, quirky, twisted characters that are not as main stream are just so badass. There’s something to be said for not being popular.
It’s like Walmart. You need a pair of boots or whatever. Walmart is cool and all because you can go in and get your boots for a really good price, they’ve got like 10 kinds to choose from, and while you’re there getting your boots you can also get your dinner and have your tires rotated or whatever. But, you could also go to Mom’s Boot Shop and you might pay a little more and there’s no portrait studio or whatever inside, but you’re gonna get a really cool pair of boots that not everyone else has.
So what do you think about the mass marketing of the comic’s classic characters into movies and action figures and lunch boxes an all that?
I have no beef with that. If somebody wants Iron man sheets or whatever, more power to them. But if they’re into the characters and the story and not just the dolls or the Halloween costumes or whatever, then I just want people to know that there are so many more out there that are not big Hollywood blockbusters.
What are some of your favorite lesser known comics?
I don’t know that they’re lesser known, I mean I guess they are in the sense that if you’re not a comic fan, and when I say fan I mean more than just Superman or whatever, you might not have ever heard of it. There’s a comic called Axe Cop, which actually has a web series, that is just a great concept. The best part is the idea for the comic was created by a kid. Like a 5 or 6-year-old kid came up with the idea and his older brother started turning his ideas into comics. But that’s a character. The cool thing is that with the ability to create your own web series’ and podcasts and stuff like that, anyone can take anything ‘mainstream’- or at least expose it to a market of people who will appreciate it.
So, you said ‘that’s a character’. Do you have favorite lesser known comics that aren’t base on a specific character or superhero?
There’s just a lot of comic books out there. When you’re talking to people who aren’t big comic book fans, focusing on these monolith character driven stories is hard. Some of my favorite comics that you’ve probably never heard of that you could be reading now… The Invisibles… Anything by (Norwegian cartoonist and coming book author) Jason… Daredevil… Swamp Thing… there’s so many. Actually, and I know you want to give info to your readers but if they just Google best lesser known comic books or something like that. There are whole sites dedicated just to listing the “best” comics that are NOT super mainstream.
So what is it about comics that draws you, over say television or movies or books as a medium?
I do appreciate all of those things, especially those that are based out of a start in comics. It’s just that the comic book is so raw. It’s someone sitting there and gutting it out, writing down every word, drawing and sketching, and it’s like their mind just explodes on to the page. Of course there’s an editing process but it doesn’t go through that massive transformation from its pure state the way some of those other things do. It’s just, art. It’s art and entertainment, and laughter and gore and sex appeal and political satire and humanity and a bunch of badass stuff all rolled into one. It’s awesome.