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101 Ways YOU can help Indy and Creator-Owned Comics

| February 28, 2011 | 8 Comments

One of the best outcomes of the recent conversation about the importance of supporting creator-owned and indy comics and their creators has been an outpouring of great ideas on just how to do so.  So, without further ado, here’s a big old list of ideas.  (No way I’m making it to 101, though…not without your help, that is.)

1.) Buy indy and creator-owned comics.  (Let’s get the most obvious out of the way now, shall we?)

2.) Pre-order your favorite creator-owned titles from your LCS or online.

3.) Specifically ask your LCS to stock more creator-owned or indy books…

4.) …and to give them decent shelf space…

5.) …and if they already are, thank them for it.

6.) And while you’re at it, ask your local retailers about inviting local/indy/your favorite creators to their store for an event…

7.) …and be sure to attend that event.

8.) Ask your local library to stock graphic novels.

9.) If they already do (like my great local library does), drop off a “wish list” full of creator-owned titles to the person in charge of curating their selection…

10.) …and if they are already stocking great indy books, praise them for it.

11.) Try one new creator-owned title a month…

12.) …and if you dig it, pick up the next one or the trade.

13.) And if you really dig it, tell somebody about it…

14.) …Better yet, tell 5 people.

15.) And if the book really blew your mind, write a positive review about it, for your blog or for a comics review site…

16.) And then take an extra 5 minutes to repost that review in places like Amazon where the book is actually being sold…

17.) …Or Comixology or any of the other digital storefronts.

18.) Give indy books as gifts for birthdays or holidays, especially to non-comics readers.  Consider it a challenge to match the right book to the right friend.

19.) Support the stuff you read for free. (Webcomics, library, <cough> torrents <cough> <cough>)

20.) Fund a comics project on Kickstarter. (As I write this there are currently 11 comics projects looking for funding.)

21.) Take advantage of DC/Vertigo and Image comics $1 first issue programs to sample creator owned fare.  It’s a buck!  What could it hurt?

22.) Comment!  Know that stats show only about 1% if readers comment.  Most creators love to hear you’re out there…be in the 1% club!

23.) Draw fan art of a creator-owned character you love.

24.) Appreciate your favorite creators NOW!  (There’s no time like the present.)

25.) Support the mainstream / Big Two work of creators who also do a lot of creator-owned stuff…

26.) …And convince the superhero fanboys they should also check out their non-Big Two stuff.

27.) Buy one indy/creator-owned book for every corporate book on your next LCS trip.

28.) Spend a little more time (and money) in artist’s alley at your next con.

29.) Ask your favorite Big Two creators when they’re going to do some creator owned work?

30.) Ask everyone “What’s good in indy comics?”

31.) Try out a $2 digital book.

32.) If you find an indy book you like, but you see areas for improvement, send the creator some constructive feedback.

33.)  If you hate something, leave the snark at home.

34.) If you’ve got a great idea (marketing, promotion, etc.) for an indy creator, share it!

35.) If you’ve got an indy book, consider doing an ad exchange with another indy you like…

36.) …Or even a crossover.

37.) Podcasters and bloggers: Interview the indy guys!

38.) Attend small press shows like SPX, APE, Webcomics Weekend, etc.

39.) Take small press creators up on cool premium offers.  For example, I’ve seen some creators offer to include the reader in their book for a sponsorship.  Pretty cool, no?

40.) Join The Front for Diversity in Comics on Facebook.

41.) Read what Steve Niles has been saying about Creator-Owned comics lately. “Create and help instead of destroy and hate.” I like that.

Okay, guys, I’ve stalled out here at 41.  Help me get to 101!  What other ideas do you have to help me build this list?

Check that, here’s 42.

42.) Read The Creator-Owned Zone here at ComixTribe!

Starting this week, we’re adding a new feature focused on highlighting creator-owned and indy comics.  ComixTribe member John Lees will be authoring the COZ, which will primarily be a review and critique column for indy books worth your time and money.

I hope you’ll check that out later this week, and seriously…HELP ME FINISH THIS LIST!

Updated 3/4/2011

43.) Bookmark the new site Comics Vox, which is highlighting creator-owned comics.

44.) Seek out and share great all-ages creator owned books with kids you know.  (I can recommended The Arachnid Kid by Josh Alves, and am really looking forward to Bendis and Oeming’s Takio.)

Updated 4/13/2011 with some great suggestions of how to support creator-owned webcomics courtesy of Arne Schulenberg

Support creator owned webcomics …

45.) Visit their website regulary, at least once a month.

46.) Have a personal website? Put them up in your linklist!

47.) Have a blog? Write reviews about them and / or ask their creators if they would like to do an interview with you.

48.) Have a podcast? Talk about them during your show or invite the creator for an interview.

49.) Post about your favorite webcomics in your favorite forums and invite other members to share their favorites.

50.) Use facebook, twitter etc. to present links of your favorite webcomics to your followers.

51.) Use facebook, twitter etc to follow the webcomic creators you like and retweet/like their posts.

52.) Use reddit, stumble upon etc. and spread the word there, too.

53.) Does the creator have an online store? Order something!

54.) Does the creator have a Paypal donation or flattr button? Send them a little bit of cash!

55.) Does the creator have banners on their website? Click the ones you are interested in and visit their sponsors.

56.) Does the creator use Project Wonderful? Advertise on their website.

57.) Have a webcomic of your own? Create a piece of guest art for creators you like and share links.

***

Tyler James is a comics creator, game designer, and educator residing in Newburyport, MA.  He is the writer and co-creator of EPIC, a superteen action comedy, and Tears of the Dragon, a swords and sorcery fantasy.  His past work includes OVER, a romantic comedy graphic novel, and Super Seed, the story of the world’s first super powered fertility clinic. His work has been published by DC and Arcana comics.

Tyler is the publisher and co-creator of ComixTribe, a new website empowering creators to help each other make better comics.

Contact Tyler via email (tylerjamescomics@gmail.com), visit his website TylerJamesComics.com, follow him on Twitter, or check him out on Facebook

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Category: Comix Counsel

About the Author ()

Tyler James is a comics creator, game designer, educator, and publisher residing in Newburyport, MA. He is the writer and co-creator of THE RED TEN, a superhero murder mystery, EPIC, a superteen action comedy, and TEARS of the DRAGON, a swords and sorcery fantasy. Tyler is the publisher and co-creator of ComixTribe, which is both a new imprint of quality creator owned titles, and an online community where creators help creators make better comics. Follow him on Twitter @tylerjamescomics, or send him an email at tyler.james@comixtribe.com.

Comments (8)

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  1. I come up with three:

    Support your local artist/creator-owned (four creator-owned at my LCS)
    Read/buy all age creator-owned to their children
    Join/Like it creator-owned Facebook page.

    Josh

  2. Matt Sowers says:

    #32? Absolutely not. Do not DO NOT tell someone how much you like something while saying it needs improvement. It sends too much of a mixed message to the creator. “Oh, I like this, but it’d be so much BETTER if you did it my way.”

    Gah.

    Write a review instead, but do not insert your two cents like that. It’s beyond rude.

    • Tyler James says:

      I agree, this one can be tricky, and should be handled delicately.

      However, sometimes I think silence is worse. For example, if I pick up an indy comic at a convention and absolutely love it, both story and art, but the lettering is awful…I’m probably going to let the creator know that I think he should fix that.

      And as a creator, I’d like to hear that feedback.

      • I went through something like this recently.

        I was asked to put my editor cap on, and take a look at a book that’s coming out soon. I liked the artist (I actually want to work with him), and the story was decent, but the lettering kept taking me out of the book.

        I told them (in kind, gentle terms) what I thought was wrong with the book, both storywise and with the lettering. They then said I was the first person to mention a problem with the lettering, but that they’d take a look at it.

        So, it’s not a matter of sandwiching (goodbadgood), and it wasn’t a matter of “my way is better.” It was a matter of “this is what I like, and this is what I’m seeing is an issue.”

        You just have to be clear about what the issue is, and not what you would do to fix it.

        But Tyler’s right. I’d rather have the feedback either way. It at least lets me know that you read it, and motivated you enough to contact me about it.

  3. I went to Sydney Armageddon over the weekend (Sold fifty books, yay me) and bought a few indie comics. I even reviewed one in my comic, Jump On.

    The ones I liked:

    The Sixsmiths (SLG Publishing)
    EEEK! (Black House Comics)
    The Gathering (Gray Haven Comics)
    Circus Infinitus (Storm Publishing)
    Wilhelm Scream (Square Planet)
    Decay (Dark Oz Comics)

  4. Support creator owned webcomics …

    a) Visit their website regulary, at least once a month.

    b) You have a personal website? Put them up in your linklist!

    c) You have a blog? Write reviews about them and / or ask their creators if they would like to do an interview with you.

    d) You create a podcast? Talk about them during your show or invite the creator for an interview.

    e) Post about your favorite webcomics in your favorite forums and invite other members to share their favorites.

    f) Use facebook, twitter etc. to present links of your favorite webcomics to your followers.

    g) Use facebook, twitter etc to follow the webcomic creators you like and retweet/like their posts.

    h) Use reddit, stumble upon etc. and spread the word there, too.

    i) They have an online sho? Order something!

    j) They have a paypal or flattr button? Send them a little bit of cash!

    k) They have banners on their website? Klick the ones you are interested in and visit their sponsors.

    l) They use Project Wonderfull? Advertise on their website.

  5. Oh, I forgot:

    m) You have a webcomic of your own: Create a piece of guest art and share links.

    and of course it should be a “shop” and not a “sho” where you should order something. 😉

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