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Wednesday, August 24, 2016 

Why independent creations are finding more audience than mainstream today

Publisher's Weekly wrote about companies for printing creator-owned products, which are surely a better source of escapism at this moment than mainstream. But they won't stress the most challenging reasons why:
“Self-published comics are as popular as they’ve ever been—at an all-time high,” says Anthony Composto, an assistant editor and writer at the pop culture site Monkeys Fighting Robots. “People are gravitating to smaller, underground works ahead of the mainstream comics. It’s on an incline and I see that continuing.”

There are a few reasons behind the rising interest in self-published comics. To an extent it has to do with increasing receptiveness to indie publishing in general, and the fact that social media has connected authors with readers more than ever before.“Readers seem to be moving towards a greater acceptance of self-published titles and a greater appreciation for work that is personal, creative, and the result of a more singular vision,” says Amy Edelman, the founder and president of IndieReader. “It is also easier these days for authors to share their work.”
And of course there's plenty of creator-owned products out there worth reading. But why don't they explain the exact reasons why anybody could be turning to these independent creations instead of superhero books? The answer they won't give is that all the obsessive political leftist madness now consuming the mainstream is turning people off. And movie studios who own comic properties wonder why the zygotes aren't selling? If they don't tell the publishers to cut it out and remove some of the worst managers from their posts, they shouldn't be shocked if everybody's money ends up going to self-published products instead.

And this article's also got something rather ambiguous diversity:
Taneka Stotts, the publisher, editor, and founder of Beyond Press, also uses self-publishing to challenge the frequent lack of diversity and representation in mainstream comics. “My current project, [the anthology] Elements: Fire, was born from the notion that the comics industry doesn’t feel so inviting to creators of color,” Stotts says.

“Librarians, publishers, and authors are listening, but in comics it’s still not enough. I found 32 people to answer my submission call, and from that 22 amazing stories were created for the book, [which focuses] on creators of color telling their own stories and leading their own narratives.”

Indie comic creators love the mainstream superheroes and the legacies they have spawned, and want to merge those legacies with other kinds of protagonists. Dennis Liu, for instance, self-published Raising Dion, illustrated by Jason Piperberg, to tell the story of a single African-American woman raising a son with superpowers.

“Raising Dion was about helping diversify comics with a strong female protagonist that was a person of color, while also telling a superhero story from the point of view of a parent, and not the superhero,” Liu says. “It also dives into the ethics of gene manipulation and racial perception.”
Now the premise of the above book is clever, and could serve as an interesting template for mainstream to build variations on. But if they're saying mainstream superhero comics aren't offering "diversity", that's been very inaccurate for a few years now, as Marvel/DC have sought to replace established white heroes in their costumes with characters of different racial background and such.

On the other hand, if they're saying the publishers aren't hiring people of color, that's where they may be more accurate. No doubt, even now, they're not hiring as many writers/artists/editors of different racial backgrounds as we might think, and those they do are chosen based on their politics. But to be sure, there's plenty of decent folks out there of different racial background who'd rather not work for them at this point anyway, because there isn't much creative freedom, if at all, if you take the crossovers into consideration, and besides, if a black writer wanted to write Spider-Man with the white cast, including Mary Jane Watson, and keep the marriage canon, he/she would be rejected for the assignment.

Looked upon in that context, that's how the industry isn't very inviting to people of color.

There's also an eyebrow-raising revelation about Diamond, as a distributor:
“Diamond is the only nationwide distribution platform that exists in the comic book world and it’s notoriously hard to get into,” Kralowec says. “Many comic creators don’t even bother trying.”
What if that's because the mainstream publishers do their damndest to keep them out? At the same time, if these independents are sticking to the same old monthly serial format, I think that's another drawback. If they'd just think of publishing the stories in trade paperbacks direct, not only could they get them into the bookstores and have a chance of finding new audience more easily, they could save money that way too.

The article's interesting, but there's still a lot of questions that go unanswered, and a lot of potential that wasn't realized.

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If the main publishers did not abandon the direct market they could have a better chance. They eliminated their way of getting new readers by removing the books from their view. The industry is making bad mistakes almost every day, and to top it off they let political hacks preach in the books turning off another large segment of readers.

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