What’s Wrong With You? Creator Owned Comics

You’re going to think this is one thing, but it’s not. It’s another.

There has long been a drum banging for comic book readers to support creator owned comics. In the last year or two, that banging has become more exuberant. There is nothing wrong with creator owned comics, mind you. It is, in principle, a good thing that the person or persons who created something benefit most from its exploitation. It is right that they should promote their work and the good that it does for the creators involved. Many creators have been quite vocal about making sure readers know they should be supporting creator owned comics. The most vocal of these include Robert Kirkman, Eric Powell, Steve Niles, and many others. As well they should.

But the thing is this. If you’re a comic book consumer, you should really only care about one thing. Are you entertained? That is, after all, largely the point of comic books.

I bristle at the idea of a moral imperative being implanted in my weekly stack. That isn’t to say I don’t like when a creator owned comic succeeds. I do like it very much. But I like for it to succeed on its artistic merits, rather than the fact that customers are buying it out of the same need that has them texting donations to the Red Cross. Simply put, if you want your creator owned comic book to sell very well, you should make it very good, because you’re behind the eight-ball in the comics scene. Something being creator owned shouldn’t be a selling point, and it’s just one more problem with how visible the back end of the direct market is, and how tiny the market is that everyone left buying comics is exposed to the nuts and bolts.

There’s nothing wrong with being an educated consumer, and wanting to support the little guy, obviously. But when it comes to comics, the creative people working on big company books are often from the world of indie comics, and are also very often the best they are at what they do. That’s why they have those actual paying jobs. There aren’t that many livable wages to be had in comics, and by eschewing Marvel and DC comics in favor of creator owned comics is to stop supporting a separate group of people who also love comics and have made them their life. Yes some nickels might get kicked up to Disney, but most than anything, those books are supporting people who are also making a living from making comics. Very few of them are driving Porsches.

It’s a small world, this comics thing, and any comics sold is a good thing.

Now it is time for an ugly truth, and I’m sorry, but it must be said. There are an astonishing amount of terrible indie comics out there. I see a lot of them. Many, many, many of them are just not good. If you’re used to comics produced by highly skilled professionals, they’re often nearly unreadable. This is the gauntlet of the comics creator, and the challenge is high. If you want to stand out, you must, at some point, be incredibly excellent. If you’re an excellent writer, you’d better find an equally excellent artist, or you’re hosed. Then, if you manage to get some great art with your finely crafted story, more likely than not, you’ll dig up some awful colorist who heard the concept of color theory in the background while playing with Photoshop filters. That’s, sadly, most indie comics I’ve seen. So it’s no wonder they’re not flying off the shelves.

Hold on a second, readers. You’re not off the hook yet.

Seriously, what is wrong with you? Stop doing one thing. We’ve been talking about amazing alternatives to DC and Marvel for years. More of you need to try more things out. Not because there’s a moral imperative about it, but rather that many readers are ignoring the good for the familiar. But it’s not a reach to figure out that if you really like Uncanny X-Force, you’re probably going to really like Fear Agent. I’m not saying to buy it because it’s the right thing to do, I’m saying it because you’ll probably really like it, since it suffused with the excellence of creative drive and hunger. I’m never going to recommend that you buy Terry Moore’s books because they’re creator owned. That’s impressive yes, but you should buy them because you really enjoy the creator’s skill, and they entertain you. But most of you don’t. Most of you feel some need to “keep up” and you keep buying comics you’ve always bought, but don’t particularly enjoy. You shouldn’t keep buying a 3 star comic. Just OK is lame. If you’re on this site, and if you’ve watched our videos, or listened to our podcasts, we’ve talked about plenty of stuff to try, and you should try it. You deserve the pleasure of seeing what else there is out there. We’re all guilty of it, myself included, but when you vary the menu, you’ll be glad of it. Out of the shell you! If someone’s making great comics, they should be selling. They should be able to make a living from it, and very often they can’t, because the few remaining readers just won’t try something new, and the retailers make no effort to learn about or inform their customers about what’s out there.

If those comics happen to be creator owned comics, hey, good for the creators. But that’s not why you should buy them.


  1. Josh’s ‘What’s wrong with you?’ posts are my favorite thing on this site now. Nothing gets discussions started better than these. Occasionally, I would like to see them expand into non-comics thoughts ” What’s wrong with you? Fabric softener is for wimps”

    • I am glad you are enjoying it, b/c the tone of these articles is kind of rubbing me the wrong way.

      Plus didn’t we just read this same article last week? I know there is the inclusion of the indie perspective here
      but the message sounds exactly the same.
      Which I think is ironic for someone saying try something new.

      Probably just me.

      Love the new site.

    • @AT (heh) Sorry you’re not digging. Nothing I can do about that. This isn’t the same as last week, but it’s spun out of something I touched on last week, and there are going to be themes that come up repeatedly in what I write because those are the things I feel passionate about.

      You know, like John Wu with the pigeons.

    • haha John Wu pigeons. thats great.

    • John Woo and his doves and bullets and stuff are awesome. He should direct Expendables 2 call me old fashioned.

      I will say, Savage Dragon is one of my favorite comics, but I do feel an extra incentive to always buy it because I see it selling low.

  2. “I’m saying it because you’ll probably really like it, since it suffused with the excellence of creative drive and hunger.”

    I couldn’t agree with this more. It fascinates me (and not in a good way) that someone like Ed Brubaker can get so many people to follow him to any Marvel title he writes and yet struggle to get some of them to pick up Criminal.

    I make it a point to try as many new books as possible. Not because I feel obligated, but because I know there are so many amazing books out there. Comics are a medium, not a genre. I like variety in my stack just as much as I like it in my DVD collection.

  3. Absolutely. And this applies to pretty much indie anything, like movies and music.

  4. The one thing I tend to have a problem with when it comes to indie comics is the art. I’ll actually expand that to comics not published by Marvel, DC or Image. There are some great artists with other companies or in rare cases self-publishing, but for every good artist there are like 20 not so great artists.

    For example:

    The new TMNT book may have had some nice battle scenes due to the fact that turtles fighting look great no matter how you draw them, but when it came to conversation panels (between humans) and the details in the scenery…well, it was obvious that the artist was not going to be working on the Avengers anytime soon.

    I’m not saying artists with lower tier publishers are bad. I’m just saying that the quality of art is higher on the Big Boy’s books.

    • The art on TMNT was my favorite part of the book, and I hope he stays on this book instead of going to Marvel or DC. But I agree with you about marvel/dc has a larger quantity of amazing artists.

    • i have that problem too…and actually for me the lettering/typography and logo designs of a lot of comics..esp indie books often irk me. I’m a professional designer..i’ve gotten into heated arguments with colleagues over which cut of Helvetica is superior, so its something i notice. For me the “is it of professional quality” thing you hear so many editors talk about with art and writing, should apply to the complete package. When i want to jump into a page and Kern the heck out of that title treatment, that zaps me out of the story immediately, and all i can think is “this is amateur hour”.

    • I literally will never read Echo because of Papyrus.

  5. There is little to disagree with here. Buy what you love, love what you buy, try new stuff every now and then or be condemned to a rut.

  6. Super article again Josh. It’s great to see someone call out the dross that is in Indie Comics rather than blindly extol it’s virtues.

    The hypocrisy of certain readers about Marvel/DC creators really pisses me off – my favourite Indie writers are Bendis and Remender!!

  7. My biggest issue is being “preached to” about how bad Marvel and DC are and how I should support creator owned comics. Here’s the thing. If I like a comic, then I’ll support it. I don’t care if it’s created by an up and coming star, someone who is an indy darling or one of the big two. If it’s good, it’s good.

    Would CHEW be considered a creator owned book? Cause if so, I can’t think of a better example of a book I support without being preachy. The story is fun, the characters and hilarious and the creators look like they’re having fun. There’s no hidden message to support them. They just do what they do and I enjoy it.

    I shouldn’t have to feel bad about liking Marvel or DC when picking up my selections. I’m spending MY money. But, I’m not averse to trying new things. I tried CHEW on a whim. While it was put out by DC, I loved The Mighty. Every now and then my budget will allow me to try something different and I do. But when creators get pissy with the “Fans need to go out of their comfort zone” that bothers me. Don’t tell me how to spend my money. If I like what you have to offer then I’ll give it a try, but to get down on me for picking up Marvel and DC as opposed to your book just turns me off to your work even more.

    But, I don’t want to this to be totally negative. When a friend gives me something of Kirkman’s, I usually end up enjoying it (Invincible, Astounding Wolfman, etc) and I’ve gone out of my way to pick up the hardcover of Mignola’s Screw On Head. Warren Ellis on Planetary and Ignition City always got my money and I’m a monthly subscriber to Scott Snyder’s American Vampire.

    So to the creators who are getting on their high horses…calm the fuck down!

  8. I’m just speculating here but I’m of the opinion that Japanese manga currently OWNES the American market for non-superhero comics. When I wan’t to read a superhero book I buy American. When I want to read anything else I head to Mangafox.com, or MangaReader.net and get my fill there.

    That’s a bit of an overstatement; I did read the first G.I. Joe cobra trade, the two Parker books, and Asterios Polyp recently. But thats a drop in the bucket compared to all the Japanese manga and Korean manhwa I read.

    I don’t think it’s such a bad thing. America does superhero comics so well! I wouldn’t read them otherwise.

  9. I don’t think I could agree with this article more. The amount of creator owned or “indie” titles I buy has really shrunk recently. The fact that the people working at Marvel and DC are generally the cream of the crop is a great point. I can expect a certain level of quality from most of the books they publish, from a technical standpoint if nothing else.

    I’ll try a third party book when the concept grabs me or I hear good buzz. But quite frankly, setting aside the quality of the final product, whenever I look at Image, Dark Horse and IDW solicits, there isn’t much there that looks interesting to me. Perhaps there just aren’t many indie creators that share my sensibilities. Outside of Vertigo (which I believe is partially creator owned) the only book that’s truly hooked me recently has been Chew.

    • Could I recommend you try the first volume of The Sixth Gun from Oni Press? It’s as good as Chew and in the creator-owned sphere and has been recommended by the guys quite a bit. I read the first volume recently and was blown away by the level of quality.

    • Thanks, I should definitely check that out. It does sounds like something that would be up my alley.

      I will also add that the distribution method makes it more frustrating to try new stuff. Like most people I have to ask for or preorder the small stuff if I want to try it. Particularly when I was ordering from DCBS, every month I would make a point to order something new and off the beaten path. Eventually I got burned out by disliking more of that new stuff than I liked.

    • I am going to second Sixth Gun. If you’re iffy about it, issue #1 was free on Comixology.

      I don’t know your tastes, but if you like Vertigo stuff, Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse might also be up your alley.

    • @stasisbal: I agree completely. Picking up the trade is the way I seem to go with the more off the beaten path titles.

    • @stasibal and @davidtobin100

      I’m not sure what types of books you both like but I’ve really enjoyed Morning Glories by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma. It’s from Image. I think it may have been POW once or twice. Spencer is putting together a really engrossing mystery and the art is gorgeous. The cover work by Rodin Esquejo has been outstanding from the start as well. That’s what drew me to the book initially.

    • @Firevine – I LOVE Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse. I was pumped when I saw Bingo Night in Valhalla was supposed to come out in July. Guess Templesmith fell behind.

      @ChristopherJohn – I got the first Morning Glories trade. Good art and character work but I found the mystery aspect excessive. Might follow up on it later.

    • @ChristopherJohn: I wanted to like Morning Glories but I felt it was all that was bad about Lost without any of the good. Spencer has been a disappointment in everything I’ve read. His Secret Avengers work in particularwas appallingly neophyte heavy-handed.

      @Stasisbal @Firevine: Could I also recommend Criminal Macabre: A Cal McDonald Mystery as something you’d like? It’s Niles and Templesmith and has just been re-released as a Dark Horse Omnibus for a great price.

  10. Great article. Thanks to iFanboy, I’ve discovered B.P.RD / Hellboy., Hellblazer, Chew, and so much more.

    There are a ton of comics out there and it’s a blast to find new stuff.

    Check out your local library. I am consistantly amazed what you can find and that way you can know it the trade is worth the money.

  11. There are tons of indie and creator owned books I have absolutely loved over the years, but I completely agree that there are tons that are total crud. I hate saying that, in all honesty. I flipped through a Zenescope book the other day, and oh god, the pain it caused. Not everything can be a Fear Agent or Mouse Guard. Bluewater books are kind of a running gag around the shop where I work. Kind of like what my old man told me as a child. ‘Not everyone can be an astronaut, kid. Someone has to be you.”

    • I overlooked it because I was thinking more in terms of stuff I buy in floppies but Mouse Guard is great example of a fantastic creator owned comic.

    • “Mouse Guard” is a great example because it’s a book you can hand to someone who doesn’t normally read comics. I’ve had people who liked it because of the art, because of the “Redwall” style storyline, or just simply because they think the mice are cute. You don’t have to equivocate or apologize for it, like you sometimes do with superhero books. “Yeah, that’s just how the artist draws all female characters but the story is really good, honest!”

  12. awesome article. I really do get bugged by the “grass-root-sy-ness” of the fervent creator owned crowd at times. I appreciate the passion, but lets get real, we’re not talking about elections, or saving abused babies and animals or the rainforrests…its comics.

    All i want is to be entertained. We sure to have access to more business side and inside baseball than other hobbies, which sometimes effects how we experience the stories. I am trying to stay away from it more, and focus on the stories themselves. I like what i like. Josh is totally right, about taking some more risks. I definitely could do that, and it might cure some of my doldrums i’ve been getting from reading the same types of stories over and over.

    I’ll admit being in a store and hearing buzz about an indie book and saying to myself “well its 3 bux and i don’t know what this is, so what if its no good?” so i buy a Big 2 book instead…and its a 3 so its a wash.

    Think i’m going to seek out some Fear Agent…thats been on my list for a long time now and i’ve never pulled the trigger on it.

  13. Great article, and it was maybe one of the few articles that could have been directed at me, since I don’t read any monthly marvel or dc books besides mystery men, which is ending anyway. I just find it hard to muster any excitement over them, while I get really excited over new Image books. Although part of that is a limited budget, and I do read some mainstream trades every now and then, but it doesn’t change the fact I’m caring less and less about marvel or dc comics (although i’m more excited about their movies than any adaptations of other comics). Anyway, thanks Josh, its kind of nice to be on the receiving end of one of your rants for once.

  14. I’m loving this column. Thanks Josh, and keep it up!

  15. I know I get frustrated when I hear folks get angry about “creators giving away their ideas to the Big 2” – (Vince B) because sometimes creators want to write/draw the same characters that they loved since childhood and the opportunity to leave a mark on Spider-Man or Batman is just as rewarding creatively. Good creators can both create their own legacy and be a part of a larger company owned legacy all the same.

    • was listening to an older Bendis Tapes on Word Balloon. He was asked that question, and he basically says that his success comes from working as if every book his name is on is a creator owned book. He wants it to be good, and he doesn’t hold back.

      I really respect that. if your name is on it, do your best work.

  16. Great post Josh. I was brought up on Dave Sim, Terry Moore, Martin Wagner, Colleen Doran and Jeff Smith basically being the champions of creator owned books. Their argument wasn’t so much with the readers as with the companies and the creators. Back in those days the industry was doing well enough that these people could survive and indeed, get rich, on creator owned books. Now it’s a bit more difficult unless you get accepted by Image or someone. Which kind of goes slightly against the whole philosophy of doing it yourself, plus the fact that a lot of the time, when we say creator owned at these companies, we just mean the writer and/or the artist. Not the letterer, the colourist, the inker, etc…Dave Sim would be spinning in his grave (or Glamourpuss as it’s known). But the other thing those self-publishers used to talk about is creative control. I remember Dave Sim talking about how he found out Chris Claremont couldn’t do whatever he wanted with the X-Men and he couldn’t believe it. Bendis and Geoff Johns have a lot of creative control because they have power at their respective companies, but they’re a rarity. For me, creative control is the most important thing. I would also say though, if you really look at these top indie creators when they work for the big two; how many of them have done their best work there on the mainstream titles. Some of Bendis’ Avengers stuff has been great, but it’s no Alias and it’s no Powers. Likewise Jason Aaron hasn’t even approached the levels of his best issues of Scalped on a consistent basis at Marvel. Terry Moore on Runaways compared to Terry Moore on Strangers in Paradise..? I believe they don’t care as much. Obviously Scott Snyder is the big exception!

  17. You know the part up there in the comments where people are recommending good creator owned comics? That’s fantastic.

  18. Nice, with the Wire allusion in those opening sentences.

  19. Great article. Whenever we discuss great creator owned stuff I always have to bang Atomic Robo drum as hard as I can. Great art and fun, smart stories. It’s definitely worth checking out.

    • ooh thats been on my list for a while too. Need to check out the Atomic Robo

    • Just had a look into Atomic Robo, it looks brilliant! Thanks for the tip, will definitely check it out. I’m going to reciprocate with No Time Like the Present by Paul Rainey. 13 issues of lo-fi sci-fi goodness, http://www.pbrainey.com/tntltp.htm

    • Agreed. I picked up Atomic Robo on my iPhone, having heard someone, somewhere extolling it’s virtues.
      I loved it so much that I ordered the trade from Amazon.
      I have since used it as a great “First Comic” ice-breaker for a lot of people.
      My wife loves it. My boss loves it.
      The first few trades also include a bunch of mini-stories by various guest artists that really enhance the whole Robo-verse.
      I hope one day that they get popular enough to produce an oversized, slip-cased hardcover, because then I’d be triple-dipping!
      Robo rules.

    • A hardcover of Atomic Robo might be one of those rare times that I’ll have to buy a story that I already own. I”ve recommended it to a bunch of people who don’t generally read comics as well and they’ve loved it. I’m glad to hear that other people are doing the same!

  20. I just picked up a great little comic called THE MARTIAN CONFEDERACY by Jason McNamara and Paige Braddock. Its great, people should check it out.


  21. Great article, man.

  22. Excellent article. “Read what you want” and “any point is a good jumping on point” are two of the best things iFanboy has taught me over the years.

    Speaking of Warren Ellis, go find Crecy (I think Avatar is creator owned), it’s fantastic.

  23. I’ve been reading comics for 20 years, but I’ve never once collected them. Don’t get me wrong. I have thousands of them, but I hardly have any huge runs. My mentality was to always buy books I enjoyed, and that’s it. When I was a kid, and I felt the X-Men were getting stall, I had no problems dropping books on the spot. Sure, I’d check back in to see if things picked up, but I never felt the need to read every single issue. These things aren’t complete stories. They’ll be going on long after I’m dead.

    All that being said, I was never Mr. Indy. I stuck with things I enjoyed or I thought I may enjoy. My risks were limited to fringe “Indy” books like Hellboy, Savage Dragon, Sin City…etc. This was all well and good, but one of the great things about being a comic reader today, is the amount of information we have as readers. With the expansion of the internet, we have so much information about new books and creators. It’s pretty easy to hear about stuff that may peak your interest. In fact, it’s not so hard to hear from the creators themselves.

    With all this information readily available, I feel it’s our duty to seek out books we may enjoy. Not to kiss butt, but iFanboy has turned me on to plenty of books I never would heard about otherwise. Some were DC. Some were Marvel. Some were by publishers I’ve never even heard of. The fact of the matter is, you should read what you like. I love this article!

  24. Good comics is good comics is good comics. Seriously, broaden your reading. Try more stuff, but read it because you like it and it’s good. Pay attention to writers and artists on big name books. Then find their other stuff.

  25. Is that Marlo Stanfield in the byline?

  26. Interesting article. As always, brought up many good discussion points and once again I do not hew closely to any of the conclusions drawn. So many points I had to break them up:

    The debate over “Independent / Creator Owned” is actually 2 different debates that get muddied together.
    The first is the “means of production / creator rights” and the second is “non-mainstream content” .
    They often go together but are indeed two distinct issues.

    Creator owned (means of production) debate can occur regardless of the content of a book. It’s a debate about who should be rewarded for what risks and how much. All of Kirkman’s books could have easily been published at Marvel or DC and the content & storytelling would not be much out of place. Most of the “Indy” books mentioned are mainstream ideas with conventional storytelling techniques that aim to reach the same audience as the big 2. Ultimately this debate comes down to your concept of Capitalism as either “a mutually beneficial bargaining” or “predatory personal gain” as to whether or not you view a particular artist being victimized.

    It gets murky when you look at the content side of things. As non traditional storytelling and content and art styles often have no other outlet than creator owned self production

  27. Are you entertained? That is, after all, largely the point of comic books.

    This may be true for the majority of readers but it overlooks the comic book as an art form. One does not have to be entertained to be moved. And a comic that advances the boundaries of the art form can excite on a different level than escapist fantasy. Comics would look the same today as 60 years ago if creators did not try to advanced the medium. The most radical of these advancements without a doubt occur in Independent/self published comics. The stoner kids stapling zines who thought it was fine to get rid of panels and gutters inspired the artists who brought them to pages of X-Men.

    It seems to me that the counter argument to your article is the concept of Patronage for the advancement of an art form.

    Disregarding all the “indy” comics that are mainstream comics independently published (since those should be judged against the professional levels of Marvel or DC as they attempt to produce a similar product.) The work of a lone independent artist with minimal experience will not be able to look as “professional” (read as polished and conventional) as a corporate produced and printed book. However, when that artist has an interesting new ideas to advance the medium they should be encouraged to continue as artists are the ones to inspire change. Typically this encouragement comes by buying their self published zine so they can make a better one next time.

  28. One should act as how they want the world to be.

    I’m not sure comics are any more open to the means of production as anything else. Children working in sweatshops to make cheap T-shirts and shoes? Organic food so illegal immigrants picking fruits and vegetables don’t get lung infections from pesticides? Those things are all over the media and our lives. In reality, every purchase you make has a “moral” aspect to it, regardless if your are conscious of it or not. Regardless if you care or not.

    In the end, we get the world we deserve. You want a world where people cut you off on the road. Than cut others off on the road. You want a world where the only comic is the same style of superhero comics that have been published for the last decades, than buy those comics. Everyone who buys comics, whether they want to be or not, is a patron of the comic arts. And every comic that you buy helps in a small way to steer the future of that art form.

    and there i went on a big sappy rant again…damn…i better go to 7-11 now to cleanse my palate

  29. “You shouldn’t keep buying a 3 star comic. Just OK is lame.”

    Man, is that ever the truth. For a long time I bought a lot of comics that I thought were “pretty good.” But at a certain point I realized, if something doesn’t amaze me on a consistent basis, it’s just not worth it.

    As far as fantastic creator-owned comics, I would recommend people check out Adrian Tomine’s work, especially his amazing “Summer Blonde.” Giannis Milonogiannis’ “Old City Blues” is fantastic, and Ed Brisson’s “Murder Book” is consistently great. One of my absolute favorite comics is The Abominable Charles Christopher web comic. And I know “Blacksad” has been extensively praised on this site, but seriously, if you haven’t checked it out you have no idea what you’re missing.

    I’d also like to take a moment to be that annoying guy who recommends his own comic. I’ve written a collection of twelve short comics called Clockwork. They’re all only five pages long, and each is drawn by a different artist, including JM Ken Niimura (“I Kill Giants”), Brett Weldele (“The Surrogates”) and Nikki Cook (“Memoir”). The stories vary in genre from sci-fi to western to slice-of-life and beyond. I like to think of it as a celebration of comics storytelling.

    The whole book is online at http://www.clockworkcomic.com.

    To tie into Josh’s column, I put a lot of time and attention into making sure that Clockwork is a quality product, with solid writing, great art and high production values. So, here’s what I would ask of you: as I said, the stories are only five pages each. That’s a very small commitment. So, consider going to the site and checking out one or two. If you think they’re no good, or even if you think it’s only a three-star product, no problem! You’ve only wasted five minutes on it.

    But if you think it’s great, then maybe you’ll consider reading the rest, and purchasing a hard copy (which I’m selling for $12, for an 80-page square-bound book).

    And even if you don’t check out my comic, I hope you still check out some of the ones I mentioned above!

  30. Man, some people sure are sensitive around here! They don’t like polite suggestions. I rarely read or post in this site, cuz it’s not indie enough for me. Yeah, I look down On it’s readers. But not it’s writers. Also, they have little sense of humor.

  31. When is Fear Agent going to come to Graphicly or Comixology? I’ve been wanting to give it a try, but at the same time I’m trying to move to consuming more bits and less dead trees when it comes to comics. (I’ve only ever read Irredeemable and Incorruptible in digital form, and have moved to digital for Invincible and a few other books. I’m sticking to digital for all the new DC title I try.)

  32. The issue here is one of quality. The top dozen ongoing indie books are better than the top dozen Marvel/ DC books. Scalped, Chew, Sweet Tooth, Goon, Invincible, Walking Dead, American Vampire, Irredeemable, Unwritten, Morning Glories, Sixth Gun, Powers, Fables, Locke & Key (that’s 14!) are: 1) Eisner nominated, 2) ongoing, 3) have easily-accessible collections.

    Now, take the top seven ongoing superhero books from each of the Big Two. #1 and #2 may be able to compete with the above list in quality, but not #3-#7. YET, #7 sells better than all of the above!

    Now, to my knowledge this has never before been true in the history of our beloved medium. Those books deserve to sell better because they ARE BETTER, not because of their ownership status, which I agree should be ignored. The lists and numbers may vary a little from person to person, but the essential truth is there.

    So, cut your Marvel/ DC orders down to the very best and pick up the Vol. I collections of those 14 books at Cheapgrahpicnovels.com/ Instocktrades.com/ Amazon.com. (always check multiple sources, you will be surprised at the price difference).

    • When you talk about the “top” indie books and the “top” Big Two books, do you mean the top ones in quality, or the top sellers? If you mean the top sellers, you may be right (and even there it’s a bit tricky; Daredevil was the #6 selling title in July, according to ICv2, and I would put it up against any creator-owned book out there). If you mean the top in quality, I think that’s a bit more of a horse race (and I would also note that this comparison leaves out a whole world of awesome books that are neither creator-owned nor Big Two).

      And really, I think you’re kind of saying the same thing, except that you’re adding a specific shopping list to the end. In the article, Josh is saying, “buy only the best books out there, and do it regardless of whether they’re corporate-owned or creator-owned.” You’re saying, “buy only the best books out there, and do it regardless of whether they’re corporate-owned or creator-owned, and by the way, when you do that you’ll be cutting your Big Two list way down, and buying the following fourteen titles.”

      Personally, I’d rather just make recommendations and then let people decide on their own. I’ve read every book on your list of 14. I loved most of them, but some I thought weren’t that great, or were just okay, so I stopped reading. Similarly, I’m sure some of my favorite creator-owned books would hold no appeal for you. Such is the awesomeness of the modern-day comics market.

    • Yes by “top” or “better” I mean highest quality and when I am talking about sales I say sales. I agree about Daredevil (see second paragraph, above). I also agree that not everybody is going to love all those 14, but should like/ love most, as said in the third paragraph above.

      I realize I am sort of restating Josh’s point with some specific names and numbers.

      I usually just read and don’t post but I think the thing that sticks in my craw is that the comics marketplace does not seem to function very well compared to other markets. 2-3 star series/ runs outsell 5 star books (the 14 above) by 10 to 1. There is no perfectly functioning market but this one seems more out of whack that most. It just gnaws at my sense of justice.

  33. Good opinion piece. Harsh but true.