Each comic book has its superstar, the main character, the top dog that stands tall over the rest of the characters as its primary focus. These characters like Captain America, Batman, and Green Arrow are the main thing that drives the storylines along. These heroes are the ones in the spotlight and take on the heavy lifting, but they are often not alone. The sidekick was created to accompany these heroes and provide an added layer of complexity to their already full lives. Check out more in this list of Top Comic Book Sidekicks.
Image Copyright Marvel
It is always interesting to see the kinds of comic books that come out from the smaller publishers. While I would say the top and more memorable characters are still in The Big Two, it is these small press companies that I think are coming out with the better stories as a whole. I am very enamored with the creator owned concept and love to see that singular voice coming through a project.
Action Lab Comics is that kind of small comic book publisher. They hit it big with their highly acclaimed series Princeless and have many other comic books in their stable. One such recent acquisition is Skyward, by Jeremy Dale. I got a chance to review the first in the series as they are relaunching the once self-published comic book. Take a look at my review and see what memories it drug up for this long time fantasy fan.
I also got a chance to review the Adventure Time Annual #1. It was a pretty cool read with some interesting takes on the Adventure Time universe.
Whenever I get the chance to attend a comic book convention, I'm always on the lookout for talent and things that are new to the comic book industry. New publishers, creators, companies, you name it, I love seeing new stuff. When I went to Wizard World: Portland, I ran into a group of guys from Hound Comics, a young comic book publisher that had a lot of different products and some interesting characters to boot. I spoke with CEO and ex professional wrestler Brimstone for a bit and took home some items from their booth.
Hound Comics is the sort of place a lot of independent publishers should take note of as they embody the spirit of the entrepreneur like none I've seen recently. Not only do they have a line of comics based off of his wrestling persona, but also a other creator owned comic books, a food line, apparel, and a slate of other products. I got the chance to interview Hound Comics and got some insight into the mind behind the publishing company and was excited to peek behind the veil and see how things tick at Hound Comics. Check out the interview with Brimstone, CEO of Hound Entertainment Group.
Image Copyright Hound Comics
It would seem a lot of creators are turning to Image Comics to get their visions out into the hands of comic book fans. I have seen a bevy of high profile creator owned series coming out of Image and it is really great to see. Joe's Comics has restarted and their first comic book out is Ten Grand, written by Straczynski himself and illustrated by Ben Templesmith. The duo really hit the mark for me and I thoroughly enjoyed what looks to be the first in a good slate of comic books coming out of this new Image imprint. Another comic I got a chance to sink my teeth into was Chin Music by Steve Niles and Tony Harris. It was very interesting to see two comic books combining the whole occult/crime thing and the two took very divergent paths. I enjoyed them both and look forward to the comic books Image will be putting out.
Image Copyright Image Comics
Did you know that the website Kickstarter.com is the second largest graphic novel publisher in the U.S. according to Publishers Weekly? It beats out DC in terms of revenue off of these graphic novels and is only just behind Marvel. The term "publisher" is a bit loose here in that the company isn't directly responsible for the final product, but the proof that so many comics are created now through Kickstarter is astounding and awesome!
I've been able to talk to a couple of creators about the Kickstarting process in The Only Living Boy and Rumpus on the Run and the whole concept is exhilarating to think about the avenues that are open for creators to make comic books nowadays. Apparently the process isn't that new as according to Kickstarter, even the likes of Beethoven used a form of crowdsourcing to fund his works. Check out if Kickstarter is right for you and how you can take advantage of this great new concept.
Kickstarter is such an interesting new avenue for creators. With the right idea, pitch, and networking you can fund just about anything. Order Of The Stick funded a republishing drive and raised over 1.5 million dollars. Penny Arcade raised funds to remove advertising from their website and received over 500 thousand dollars. Now most campaigns are much smaller and won't bring in this kind of money, but for a small press comic book, not a lot can be needed. I got a chance to sit with a creator that has been on the Kickstarting ride with his latest endeavor Rumpus On The Run and right now his project is funded for the softcover version of the book, but Jess Smart Smiley also has dreams to bring his book to hardcover status. There is just a few days to go so be sure to head over this his Kickstarter Campaign first, then over the interview I did with Smiley about the process, his latest work, and kicsktarting comics.
Image Copyright Jess Smart Smiley
I was really glad I got the chance to go to the Wizard World Portland Comic Con. It was the first time the con was conducted in Stumptown, my hometown of Portland, Oregon. That's Or-e-gun all smoothed together in one go and not Or-ee-gone as out of towners like to say. Although there were some things I found concerning, overall it was a smashing success that this town truly embraced. Take a look at a review of Wizard World Portland to see what was great and what could use some work on for next year. If you are interested in going next year, and I would recommend it, Wizard is doing a special promotion that will work until Monday Feb 25th at Noon. Use the code Portland2013 to get a special discount on next year's entrance to Wizard World Portland Comic Con.
Image Copyright Aaron Albert
The Wizard World Portland Comic Con was in full effect today in Portland, Oregon and the convention floor was hopping with fans, creators, and celebrities. It is odd that this hasn't happened sooner as Portland is actually one of the largest comics town in the USA. Many creators such as Bendis and Busiek make their home in this area and there are many publishers like Dark Horse, Top Shelf, and Oni here as well. Don't forget that the statue company Bowen Designs resides were to!. This is a great place for comic books and has a great indy convention in the Stumptown Comics Fest, but Wizard World is going for a large scale feel and I think they have a good start. It was interesting that there was a lack of publishers showcasing here and it might be that the Emerald City Comic Con is next weekend in Seattle, WA. Either way I had a good time and met some new people. More to come.
Image Copyright Aaron Albert
Well it looks like I will be able to attend Wizard World Portland this year and will be heading down for a couple of days of fun at the Oregon Convention Center. I am curious to see what happens as there is something of a duel happening in Portland between Wizard World and Rose City Comic-Con. Wizard World has had something of a bad rap at times and Rose City is partnering with Emerald City Comic Con to partner in running their convention. I hope to see how they handle Portland and if the convention can be the kind of convention this city could use. I will report back with my findings and see just what it has in store.
Image Copyright Wizard World
Comic book charities are a very cool thing in my mind as they merge something that we love with a good cause. There are many great comic book charities out there right now and one of them is Superheroes for Hospice. This event is a mini-convention where fans can come and get comic books on the cheap. All the profits go to the hospice and help those in need in the New Jersey area. This gives comic collectors another way to get rid of unwanted comic books as the donations they use to stock the event are tax deductible. I got a chance to interview the man behind the curtains, Spiro Ballas, who gave me the skinny on what the hospice does and how you can help others through comic books.