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Comic Culture: Top 3 Publishers I’m Reading

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Every week on the Comic Culture I like to try to touch on many different aspects of the industry, from a consumer as well as a reader’s perspective. Awhile back I posted a list of “The Top 3 Books to Get Adults into Comics” and the reception was great, even more than I could have expected. So, this week I am back with another list, this time focusing more broadly on publishers rather than specific books. Below you will find my personal top 3 publishers I am currently reading, and why I am doing so. For those that read my column every week, or follow me on twitter this list should really come as no surprise. But, enough rambling for now. On with the list!

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Image is killing it. Plain and simple. There are currently 6 ongoing series, and 3 minis on my pull list and 4 of these are Image books (Chew, Black Science, Deadly Class, The Fuse). That doesn’t seem too bad; it’s only about half my pull list right? Well it gets more interesting when you look at my “To Come” list. Spinning mostly out of the Image Expo, that list has yet another 4 Image books on it (Wytches, Low, Genesis, Tales from the Con). So, if you are following along and wish to do the math with me, if I keep my first 4 books and add the new 4, that’s 8 Image books. Yea, what did I say before? Image is killing it. These books are overflowing with creativity and characters you want to latch onto immediately. Add in the fact that the creators are solely in charge of their creations and it’s the icing on the cake for me. At this rate, Image will bankrupt me by the end of the year. Eating is overrated right?

ONI-Logo newI have always been aware of Oni Press (thanks to Greg Rucka’s work with them as well as the modern classic Scott Pilgrim), but until recently haven’t actually read any of their books. Currently reading Charles Soule’s Letter 44 (which is awesome) as well as Joshua Hale Fialkov’s The Bunker (which was converted from solely digital to print and same day digital), Oni Press is putting out some really fantastic books. Oni may not be churning them out left and right like Image, but it seems like what they are putting out is all really solid work and I look forward to seeing what they got up their sleeves in the future.

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Monkeybrain is a VERY new company (only 2 years old), and yet, seem to be making big waves in the digital only market. With a wide variety of books at only 99 cents an issue more and more people are setting their sights on them. Strange Nation by Paul Allor and D4VE by Ryan Ferrier are currently on my pull from Monkeybrain, but I keep a keen eye on all of their new books. Specifically, in the future I will be checking out Cullen Bunn’s The Remains, as well as Ryan K. Lindsay’s Headpsace. In the end, a dollar an issue is a great price point; and no one can argue with that.

Honorable Mentions:
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Some may argue that this is considered “Big Two,” and depending on my mood I may or may not agree with you. Jeff Lemire (you may know of him) is currently one of the DC architects and because of this, he’s sending some of his creator-owned stuff to Vertigo. One of those books is Trillium. In a word, Trillium is beautiful. It’s Lemire at his very best, and creator-owned is definitely where he excels. Also, it was just announced, but Vertigo has a new anthology coming out called CMYK which is right up my alley. I am aware that anthologies don’t really sell that well, and that I am in the minority, but nevertheless I still am a fan of them. They allow creators to experiment, as well as tell great stories (on a smaller scale). Lastly, the concept behind the book just seems really interesting. Each book will showcase one color: cyan, magenta, yellow and black because those are the four colors used in printing. I don’t care who you are, that’s pretty creative! The book is expected to come out quarterly, which is a nice change of pace from the normal monthly comic drawl, so there’s always that as a bonus as well.

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BOOM! Studios gets an honorable mention because of the announcement of it’s new creator-owned BOOM! Box imprint. Launched in December with the mini-series The Midas Flesh by the minds behind the Adventure Time comic, the imprint aims to give creators an outlet to do comics, “for the fun, as well as the love of it.” I haven’t checked out The Midas Flesh, but one book that has definitely caught me eye is James Tynion IV’s The Woods due out in May. Billed as sci-fi horror, centered around a group of high school students, this book has a great set-up and what appears to be an interesting mix of characters. Other than this title, I do anticipate more books in the future from this line and I plan to keep my eyes on them to see if anything fits the bill for me.

Print

These guys seem to be getting a bad rap lately with the oversaturation of their licensed properties, as well as the excessive amount of variant covers they put out for each book. At the moment I am currently reading NO Dynamite books; however, the forthcoming resurgence of the Gold Key characters has definitely caught my attention because of the creators they are snagging for some of the books. Two books specifically have caught my eyes: Doctor Spektor by Mark Waid and Magnus: Robot Fighter by Fred Van Lente. I have no history with these characters and time will tell if I actually check these out, but the solicits, covers and preview art have got me thinking about it, for sure.

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So, in the end, the very glaring thing to take from my list is that there is no DC or Marvel. Both companies are definitely putting out some great mainstream “superhero” content; I’ve just reached the point where it’s not for me anymore. I may come back eventually, but as of right now I don’t see it happening in the near future. It’s ok; you can judge me, but before you do, my fellow readers, I would like to know what are you all reading? Is your list as creator-centric and indie as mine, or are you reading more “Big Two?” Either way, make sure you love what you’re reading; after all it is your money.

Happy reading.

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  • Jon_L

    Thanks for another great column, Robert.

    I still read some big two stuff – plenty actually but Image is the most represented. My pull is around 40 at the moment and half of those are indies (15 are Image).

    I still love superheroes and always envisage having *some* on my pull list. However, double shipping, crossovers and events make me less and less interested and instead opt to include more independent titles.

    • Hey Jon,

      The double-shipping, crossovers and events are definitely a big part of the reason I have left the Big Two behind for now. It becomes spendy and taxing to try and keep up with it all.

      Thanks for your comment!