Ken wants you to support your small press comics!
What's your favorite small press title? And I mean SMALL. Not "indie," which seems to be a catchall for anybody but DC and Marvel. Image, Dark Horse, et. al. are fine publishers, but they're not what I'm talking about here. What's your favorite comic book put out by some guy or gal who works on it during his lunch break and pays for printing by illegally giving plasma at 3 different blood banks across town once a month? (And not a book that you publish yourself. This column is about being a fan.)
Dig what I'm asking for?
Well I want you to stop reading this column and post about your favorite small press comic in the comment section below. With a link and a brief paragraph about why its your favorite. It's OK. I understand if it's not Nix Comics Quarterly.
Do it? Good.
Congratulations. You have just taken the first step from being a customer towards being a true fan.
Step two is to start doing that sort of thing without prodding from some desperate creator goon like me. You wanna be a fan, right? Fan is short for fanatic, isn't it? There are a lot of types of fanatics in the world, from religious nut bars to that guy whose favorite band ever is The Hooters for some reason. (Hooters? They were an 80s band that were nominally "new wave" but inoffensive and bland enough for the radio and MTV) The one thing that fanatics have in common is that they never ever shut up on their own. True fans spew and spew and spew about the object of their obsession until some listener on the edge of sanity snaps, ties them down and gags the fan out of frustration.
Am I really asking you to be That Guy? Well, I guess I'd feel a twinge of regret if you were actually bound and gagged because of some advice I dished out. Moreover, if you're too annoying you're likely to repel new fans more than attract them. Decide for yourself how far you want to take the fan thing.... But keep one thing in mind:If you want your favorite small press comic to keep being published, you need to do more than a buy a copy. You need to put your mouth where your money is. Tell your friends that you like this book. Tell them why you like the book. Tell them where they can get a copy themselves. Be it a marathon or a sprint, every single small press creator is in a race against their own wallet and they need all the help they can get.
Oh, and hey, those of you fans who run "Indie Friendly Stores," the that mouth where your money is goes double for you. Its one thing to take a couple copies of somebody's book on consignment and its another to actually support them. When you take some copies of a local product, give it the rockstar treatment. Products you order through Previews have advertising backing them, the indie guy is relying on you. You have websites, facebook pages and twitter accounts. Use 'em! The day is coming when Diamond's giant monoculture crop is going to fail, so start cultivating something that's local and sustainable.
Not into talking about your favorite small press comic?
Hey, I'm a Gen X Guy. Believe you me, I get antipathy and ambivalence. In fact, I spent my twenties forgetting more about being arrogantly blase than you'll ever know about whatever-the-hell-it-is-you-do. You square.
Of course, perfecting indifference had its price. While I was busy acting all cooler-than-thou in the 80s and 90s, an effective moderate President was replaced by W and a bunch of Nixon cronies, the last bastions of good country music like Dwight Yoakam and Steve Earle were pushed aside for Achey-Breaky pop nonsense (which, I might add, in turn inflicted Miley Cyrus on us all) and people started to believe that there was such a thing as a "boneless wing."
I'm not saying that for sure I could have stopped any of that from happening, but I sure wouldn't want to be called out on 'what did you do to make a difference?" The answer would include both "not enough" and "I wish I had done more."
Written or Contributed by: Ken Eppstein, Outhouse Contributor