Comics Publishers
April 27, 2004 2:47 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have any suggestions about self-publishing comics, or possibly publishers who might be interested in submissions? [more inside...]

At age 44 7/8 I'm finally making progress on a lifelong wish; making a comic book. I've always wanted to do this, but could never find a story that I wanted (or could manage to) tell.

Well, I've finally found a (somewhat self-absorbed) story to tell. I'm writing about my recent experience of having eye surgery for a detached retina, and talking about the fear and images of doom that go through one's head when one experiences this (well, in my head, anyway...)

I'm up to page 5 on art, and have about 12 pages of plot outlines.

My question is, is there a place to submit a first-person story like this, or should I just self-publish? Also, If I self-publish, what are good options for short run color output of digital files to print?

posted by jpburns to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I know this is not quite what you were looking for, but my pal Steve is a published comic artist and he has a web page with advice to newer comic artists. You might enjoy what he has to say about showing your portfolio at conventions [if you're shopping it to publishers], learning the craft of comics, and how to study storytelling. I know that he and his wife Sara self-published a small comic called Me and Edith Head to fairly good ends, though both of them were known in the comics/publishing world before they tried it. I don't personally know anything about comics publishing besides having friends who have tried it, and people have good and bad things to say about publishing on the web. Dave law has a good starter page [don't know how old] to publisher pages that accept submissions and have their guidelines online. So You Wanna has a nice, simple 1,2,3 set of steps for being a comic book artist online as well. The answer to "should I self-publish?" depends on how good you are, how much money you can spend on it, how much tolerance for rejection you have, and what your timeline looks like.
posted by jessamyn at 4:18 PM on April 27, 2004

I don't know how the process works, but Young American Comics publishes some selfmade stuff. I really don't know if they accept unsolicited submissions, but there is contact info on the contact page and it might be worth a shot... At the very least they might be willing to give you some advice.

In terms of self-publishing, there is always kinkos. You can do a lot with a copy card and a little imagination.
posted by shotsy at 4:21 PM on April 27, 2004

Dave Sim's Notes on How to Become a Self-Publisher (about halfway down the page) The king of self-publishing gives advice, largely free of his notorious political stances.

True Facts, a guide by Larry Young, of AiT-Planet Lar.

Xeric Foundation gives grants to beginning self-publishers.

Re: A Guide to Reproduction (at the bottom of the page) by indy comics juggernauts Jordan Crane, Ron Rege Jr, David Choe and Brian Ralph.
posted by samh23 at 4:29 PM on April 27, 2004

You might cruise old threads at the Warren Ellis Forum. It's dead now (displacing teeming hordes of faux-angry, uber-hip youth), but there are some excellent old threads, often with comments from people in the industry. (I think Delphi is down at the moment, but maybe try it later.)
(jessamyn, did you hang at Ellis's place? Suddenly your username sounds more familiar.)

I think the big two comic companies currently do not accept unsolicited submissions.

I'm dropping e-mails to a couple of Mefites who have been involved with comics, asking them if they want to comment here.

Good luck, jp! My life won't be complete either until I've done comics. At its best, it is a purely magical artform.
posted by Shane at 9:21 AM on April 28, 2004

It's not a clearinghouse of information, but a site I run has a forum for people who publish their own material (self-link). It's geared toward both comics and games, but there are a few active users who have had their own comics published. Good luck!
posted by mkultra at 11:52 AM on April 28, 2004

Brenner Printing is the printer we used to print all of our comics. They'll do a run as small as 3000 I think. They may do smaller runs now that the distribution chain is almost nonexistent. Gene Brenner owns the joint and has been working with comic people for a long, long time.

We were very happy with the quality of work we got from them. The one time that an issue was misprinted...they cut off the tops of the pages...we contacted them and they had replacements drop shipped to meet us at the convention we were attending. At our peak, we were running 6 titles on a monthly basis, and only once was there a printing error, and considering that our covers were 4 color, that's excellent.

All that said, the market for non-mainstream comics is pretty low. It's very difficult to get distribution, Diamond pretty much owns the entire non-porn channel now that they've bought everyone else out. We couldn't get distributed because our books were considered "adult"...but we weren't adult enough to get carried by the same channels that carry the porn comics like Cherry.

Your best bet is may be to try and pitch your idea to a publisher who has work in a similar genre as what you want to create. There are some good small publishers out there, but keep in mind that it's a hard way to make a's like being a out of ten thousand will strike it rich. But the audience is still out there, and many of them are really tired of the comic industry only marketing to 14 year old if you've got something different, by all means, try to get it in the stores. :)

Best of luck!
posted by dejah420 at 5:35 PM on April 28, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for all the good advice.
posted by jpburns at 9:19 AM on April 29, 2004

Very nice, De!

Someone forwarded me another vote for Larry Young's site. And another person who probably won't mind me quoting him said: "Catch me at a con sometime and there is a good chance you'll get a rant from me about the flaws in the entire comics industry. Having run my own publishing house and written several comics, the whole system is fucked..." And another person who just suffered a minor rejection, who shall remain nameless, said something about the industry smelling of ferret piss... ;-)

You know, a very good discussion for AskMe sometime would be how the comicbook industry willingly got themselves out of the conveneince store and grocery store spinner racks and into a specialty-store only market, why comics average $3 apiece these days (they were .25 when I was a kid) when many magazines make so much from advertising that they can give subscriptions away, and why we're stuck with Diamond Distributors having a virtual monopoly on distribution... there are reasons for these things, but they all really do add up to the industry being totally screwed.

That said, I still comics, despite how few new ones I buy these days.
posted by Shane at 9:20 AM on April 29, 2004

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