Was looking through the On The Chopping Block thread and a question popped into my mind that I'd figure I would throw out to everyone:
As new companies pop up and new books are created by these companies, how likely are you to try one of their books? With comic budgets fairly normal here (from what I've read), we all have our favorites from Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, that we will always read. I will always read Spider-Man from Marvel, although I did stop shortly after they resurrected Norman Osborn. I do, however, always look for concepts that might interest me and try the books.
How likely are you? And what do you look for in a book that might nudge you to try it?
Looking forward to hearing some of your answers!
When it comes to the smaller companies like Dark Horse, IDW and Dynamite, I'm usually get interested by a writer or artist whose work I enjoy like Mark Waid or John Byrne or a familar character like the Bionic Man, Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan or Zorro. The continuing adventures of Star Trek, Planet of the Apes and Godzilla and Company are a surefire way to get my attention as well.
I try to leave myself open to trying new things in comics. It just gets harder to do with the rising cost, and buying this things on faith alone. I'm liable to give something from Drawn & Quarterly or Oni a shot than some random company I've never heard of.
That is one reason I like going to comic book conventions, Then I can can at least flip through something, and perhaps to talk to the creator(s) to get a better feel of what the book is about.
Also, the guy who runs my LCS reads a lot of indy titles, and I use him as a guide as well.
I'm ALWAYS looking for something "new". And frankly, you're just not gonna find it at Marvel or DC.
My current favorite book is JANE'S WORLD by Paige Braddock. FUNNY stuff!!!
I've gotten more into the "new" stuff for me than I have the old reliable stuff. New things I've really enjoyed:
Of course, now I'm tradewaiting about half of those!
With budgets as tight as they are, I'm more likely to find "new" stuff by digging into the quarter/half-dollar/dollar bin and finding back issues cheap, and if I come across something that's intriguing, go look for more. That's how I discovered Fables, Desperadoes, Birds of Prey, Jane's World, Eagle (a manga series about a Japanese-American senator running for the presidency), Tramps Like Us (a manga series about a young woman who takes in a younger homeless man who acts like, and lets her treat him like, a pet, and all the complications that ensue), Supernatural Law, PvP, and more.
Speaking of Supernatural Law and PvP, it's a daily habit for me to look for new installments on their respective websites.
Supernatural Law: www.webcomicsnation.com/supernaturallaw/
Jane's World: http://www.gocomics.com/janesworld
I used to browse the bottom rack at the Comicrypt in Oaklyn. That's where all the "oddball" books tended to be. I found all kinds of cool stuff there over the years. The manager, Fred Marcus, kept suggesting I should look thru PREVIEWS so I could order stuff in advance, that way I wouldn't miss anything.
When Fred QUIT his job in the mid-90's to open his own store in Glendora, and I decided to travel 3 times the distance (because at one point I coud no longer stand a guy who was managing the store since he left), I was pretty much FORCED to start ordering thru PREVIEWS, because Fred's customer base was SO SMALL, there was no way he could order stuff on spec anymore. If you wanted some offbeat item, you HAD to flip the the catalog (which I got down to a science at about 45 minutes a month) and trust the teeny tiny little ads as to whether something was worth giving a shot or not.
There was almost never a month where I didn't buy at least ONE offbeat item I'd never seen before. And HALF my monthly orders were almost always NOT Marvel or DC.
I read the solicitations for each of the mid-majors (Dark Horse, Dynamite, IDW and Image) with an eye out towards anything new. If something piques my interest, I'll pick up a shelf copy or, occasionally, place a pre-order. It helps if I'm already familiar with one of the creators from another work. In recent months, I've tried new projects Thief of Thieves, Fatale, Memorial, Saga, Manhattan Projects and Near Death. A few of them didn't match my tastes and I didn't bother with a second issue but I'm looking.
Speaking of strange comics store managers, when I went to grad school at Indiana U, there was a comic shop that was underground downtown, and the guy behind the counter looked exactly like Alan Moore. And he acted very similarly to the way I would expect Alan Moore to behave.
Wasn't it called The 25th Century Five and Dime or something like that?
Since I don't regularly read superheroes, I'm free to cast a pretty wide net. I'll check out anything Vertigo puts out. And while I'm not much into Marvel, the creator-owned Icon imprint has featured some of my favorite comics of the last few years (Criminal & Casanova). I'd echo Chris' mid-major list (especially Dark Horse & Image), and would add Oni Press. Smaller art publishers like Top Shelf and Fantagraphics often put out stuff that interests me, although lots of it doesn't.
I was just thinking about this (in a round about way) at lunch today ....
I prefer to experiment and pay full price on the smaller companies and then pick up Marvel and DC in the discount bins or dirt cheap in an auction/Amazon.com.
That's why I'm spending money on smaller companies (Image, Dynamite, Boom!, Moonstone, Ardden, Kaboom) for obscurer titles ... Shinku, RoboCop, Dejah Thoris, Sheena, Buckaroo Banzai, Domino Lady, Flash Gordon, Snarked, Smurfs.
I know that I will always be able to read a sSuperman comic. I'm not so sure I'll be able to pick up an issue of "The Bionic Man."
Smaller companies thrive on being innovative. Large, conglomerate-run comic-book factories can't/won't allow interesting things to happen to their characters. They have too much to protect -- to much to loose -- to really surprise you.
Even the most of the titles I list above are still corporate entities, but they are overseen much more loosely than those at Marvel and DC.
Another point is that my interest in Marvel and DC declined quite rapidly when it became obvious to me that neither company gave a hoot about their continuity. To me it mattered. Now that they (mostly) don't pay attention to it any more, I have no vested interest in the characters and stories they want me to purchase.