We’ve had a few different successes in comicsgate now that it’s actually becoming a full on subset of the industry, not just a couple of guys with flukes. This is very positive, and I hope we continue toward this trend. I’m personally cutting back my DC Comics purchases (which ranges from about ($12-20 per month in books) in order to make sure I can keep funding these awesome indie projects and move the needle.
The movement started with Alt-Hero. People came from the sci-fi book world and political realm to back this project which made over $225,000 in its run — not even on one of the major crowdfund sites, but on the alt-tech Freestartr website. This shook the industry both from the comicsgate side and as a whole. It received no media attention. The comics industry tried the “if we ignore it, it’ll go away” tactic, and yet it was wildly successful. Vox Day launched an entire publishing company on the heels of this that continues to crank out comics. And moreover, the books have been going to #1 on amazon upon release. Alt-Hero has continued to reshape the industry, and as Vox is continuing to release comics monthly, it should for a long time to come.
The second experiment was Jawbreakers, by Richard Meyer and John Malin. This has gone crazy to date, over $350,000 in its indiegogo sales, helped by the fact that people in the industry actively tried to make sure this book never showed up in comic stores. Readers spoke, and they really disliked the gatekeeping.
But as they say, two can still be a fluke, three becomes a pattern. Ethan Van Sciver went to bat next with his Cyberfrog project, which is still going on indiegogo and is at $430,000 as of this morning. His unbelievable success is because of his charming youtube videos and following, and being a well known DC Comics artist who does extremely good work. With his success, it’s shown that this movement is really something that will continue on repeat.
But there’s a lot of smaller projects that aren’t getting as much attention. They’ve been successes in bypassing the gatekeepers of the comic industry as well and show this is a very healthy and vibrant market.
Chuck Dixon released not just one, but TWO jungle themed books on indiegogo over the last month. Ravage: Kill All Men, and Jungle Comics. Between the two, the books have made close to $40,000, and these are for individual issues not full graphic novels.
Mitch Breitweiser, another former DC artist, also recently put his superhero concept, Red Rooster up a few days ago. As of this writing this is fast approaching $70,000 for a 60 page book featuring the character.
Richard Meyer put out a second comic crowdfund for his book Iron Sights, a black and white book which has to date reached close to $50,000.
What can we learn from this? The comic book companies keep telling us we’re “not the market”. “These books aren’t for you.” “The industry is changing, deal with it”. While trying to force SJW political stories down our throats. The thing is — this very clearly IS the market. People are going out of their way and spending a lot of money supporting these projects that are standing up to that, without big brands to attach to. People want good story, good art, and a certain feel from their comics. It’s insane that the industry won’t listen.
But if this keeps going as it does, they’ll have to listen. This is a substantive amount of the market share that’s getting peeled off. If people are like me and stopping buying Marvel/DC to allocate their funds to buy these, we’ll see a rapid industry change over the next few years. We just have to keep this ball rolling and keep this fun spirit of comics alive. Join me in supporting indie creators and moving the needle for this next generation of comics.
I’ll be putting out my own crowdfund at the end of the month for my superhero book, Flying Sparks. It’s got great art, and a fun storyline with a lot of personal tension. “The kind of stuff that reminds me of early marvel comics,” said Comic Book Resources on the book. I hope you’ll check it out when it launches July 23rd.