The comic industry is ruled by the iron giant, one single entity that stipulates the rules of engagement.
Being a new man to the field, I suppose I lack the experience to really comment in full, but I can see hints of it through conversations with creators, editors and publishers. You play by the rules, or you lose the game.
A recent change in the Diamond ordering model is a slow, crushing stroke to the independent publishers. Some of these smaller publishers lived on small print runs, keeping their overhead prices down and relying on sales to meet their costs as a means of sharing stories with the world.
Diamond doesn't want stories. It wants money.
This is a fact of life, and begs the question: Well, what can be done?
In a world where one corporation could sink the largest comic company (Marvel) by refusal to distribute, how can the power be shifted down to the lowliest peon - the creator?
There are options. There are magnificently creative people with a passion to share stories to the greater community. Believe it or not, they can do so without selling their ideas or lining the coffers of the almighty fatcat. Banded together, these tiny, inconsequential people can create, package and distribute whatever it is they desire and put it in the hands of those who want to read honest, thoughtful and sometimes entertaining fare.
Lofty, sure. But entirely possible, goddamnit.
It was a telephone conversation with fellow creator and Snow Angel collaborator, Tyler Jenkins, where after a short gripe session we realized that for the last year we had been producing other people's ideas. We were spending so much time trying to attain approval for what other people wanted, we had lost sight of what it is we as creators wanted to spend our time on.
It started with comic shorts, 5 page contained stories as a way to work on projects that were entirely our own. Beyond that, it was also an exercise, a reminder of the potential on the horizon after we slogged through the long work list of "another project I do not own."
Then came the revelation.
Why are we frustrating ourselves and complaining about the lack of personal content in our creative form, rather than stepping up and finding an outlet.
Or rather, making an outlet.
That's right. Making one, goddamnit.
You'll see it, readers. Soon. A creator owned magazine with short stories, short comics, illustrations, and design. Made by people who just want to create whatever it is they can think of. No holds barred.
And I'm proud to say, it's all about the vanity.