There was a lot of shake up in the comic industry in 2018, and a lot of cool experimentation that went on. There were a lot of interesting developments in the industry as a result, though we’re partially only speculating their long term effects. Let’s dive in:
5. Matt Kindt – Matt is the creator of Mind MGMT and this summer he launched a couple of projects which blew the doors off of the creativity of comics and what can be done with the medium. He bought a 2-color Reso Printer, learned the craft of printing and physically making comics himself, and did a comic which made sense in the medium. He made a chick-tract style comic that acted as a recruiting borchure for Mind MGMT with a twist. And finally, and most impressively, he made a “read along record” comic, which the story told in by the narrator was different than what you’d read on the page, and everything came together in a magnificent way. Utilizing comics in a way that pushes the boundaries of what the mediums can do makes Matt Kindt a game changer like few others in the industry.
4. Richard Meyer / Diversity & Comics – Meyer made the transition from Youtube Commentator to creator, and it spurred a summer of incredible crowdfunds from people getting their foot in the door producing their own work. Earlier in the year, it looked like this was going to be a bigger long-term shake in the industry, but a lot of the momentum from the summer tapered off pretty quickly, so the long term effects have yet to be seen. Regardless, Meyer produced his Iron Sights and got it out, and he did shake the industry for a portion of the year.
3. Alterna Comics – Alterna comics has been chugging along for 10 years with their indie press. This year they really hit the map and got big when they came under fire for refusing to denounce a portion of their readers. They sold thousands of books in their online shop. Alterna is using “newsprint” to make comics cheap again, with price points on their books of $1.50 and $1.99 which makes them attractive compared to the big companies. They also have been working on alternative distribution methods and setting up a printer service for indie comic creators.
2. TKO Presents – This group came out of nowhere in recent weeks and had names like Garth Ennis, Joshua Dysart and Elizabeth Bretiweiser working on books for them. They are foregoing the comic shop business model for an experimental model on their website which is a 6 issue limited series — you can buy digitally, as issues, or as a TPB. The first issue is free as a sample and you have to buy the rest. This is a really neat way around the dying-comic shop model and worth watching to see how they succeed.
- Arkhaven Comics / Vox Day. Really the biggest shift and getting people thinking about different business models came from Arkhaven. From day one, Vox has been about setting up online stores, alt-tech and alt-crowdsourcing platforms, making hundreds of thousands of dollars before anyone else decided to try to get in on the action, and continued it — even raising $130K in 2 days after IndieGoGo deplatformed the comic the first time. Akrhaven has been producing books directly to amazon and directly through its own online shop, print on demand so books go straight from the printer to the consumer. No holding stock, no mailing stuff out themselves, it’s revolutionizing the business in way that books were revolutionized years ago by Amazon. And comics are the next logical medium to go this route. They’re doing amazing things and it should be worth noting how they shape new business innovations in the years to come. With literary works like Right Ho, Jeeves adapted by Chuck Dixon, they’re doing more with comics than a lot of other small publishers on the content side as well.