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Results 1 - 25 of 215
1. Panel Syndicate Quietly Releases New Series “Barrier” from Vaughan, Martin, Vicente

barrier_coverPanel Syndicate quietly releases new series 'Barrier" from Vaughan, Martin, and Vicente and you should pick it up!

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2. Comic Arts Brooklyn Debuts Part 2: From Mai to Stvr Wrs – UPDATED!

More Amazing books and LESS money in your pocket. MORE TO COME.   Fanfare/Ponent Mon Available via Knockabout Comics Ponent Mon has been quietly rebuilding its backlist whilst preparing new material for 2016. So at the show Kiriko Nananan’s ‘Blue’ and Jiro Taniguchi’s ‘The Quest for the Missing Girl’ will both be available again after […]

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3. CAB (Comic Arts Brooklyn) programming announced with Clowes, Derf, more

Holy Crap, CAB is in two weeks! Just enough time to save up some dosh for the last bite at the apple of indie comics amazement. As can not be stressed enough, this ear’s show will consist of TWO days with SEPARATE ACTIVITIES, ON Saturday, November 7th there will be a ONE DAY expo of […]

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4. Crowd Watch: Muscle Temple an all star wrestling anthology!

The wrestling/comics connection has always been strong, from their shared roots in carnival strongmen singlets to former grappler CM Punk's writing comics career. And here's a new one: Muscle Temple, an indie comics anthology spotlighting the squared circle that is currently being crowdfunded. Frank Gibson of Tiny Kitten Teeth is leading the rumble. which will include work by Maddy Flores, Sam Alden, Box Brown, Amanda Meadows, Zac Gorman. According to Gibson:

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5. 24 Hours of Halloween: Sabin Cauldron’s MALEFICIUM

In addition to having the most Halloween-like name ever, cartoonist Sabin Cauldron is an up and comer who will have the third issue of his comic MALEFICIUM available at CAB next weekend. Described as the story of a “lesbian separatist witch coven in 1969 San Francisco” the first issue can be purchased at Gumroad.

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6. Comic Arts Brooklyn Debuts Part 1: punks, witches, cats, 3D Jim Woodring, more

This weekend it's Comic Arts Brooklyn in Williamsburg and here's a look at the books that will be debuting. Thanks to all the contributing publishers and cartoonists for supplying the info and lightening our wallets. Because there were so many new and exciting books I'm splitting this into two parts. Look for part two tomorrow!

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7. Fall Preview: Merry Misadventures in Julia Wertz’s Drinking at the Movies

Continuing our look at this fall’s top graphic novels, Koyama Press is reissuing Julia Wertz’s Drinking at the Movies, originally published by Three RIvers press but here reissued with all new material and an intro by Janeane Garaofolo. Wertz’s comic strips are autobiographical, but fearless in their honesty, and forgiving in bringing a light touch to […]

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8. SPX adds international guests: Frederik Peeters, Dylan Horrocks and Brecht Vandenbroucke

Although this year’s Small Press Expo’s theme is “Cartoonists of the 21st Century,” they are allowing cartoonists older than 30 to be guests as well. Just announced, the international slate, which consists of Frederik Peeters, Dylan Horrocks and Brecht Vandenbroucke —with more to come. And peep the Gemma Correll drawn poster above. This will be […]

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9. Nice Art: Welcome to Showside by Ian McGinty and friends

We’ve been telling you about the big plans from new publisher Z2 Comics for a while now, including their launch of a line of periodical comics. The flagship title is Ian McGinty’s Welcome to Showside, a charming all-ages tale about Kit, a friendly little demon, and his pals and Kit’s desire to escape from the […]

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10. Weekend con reports: Antony Esmond and Warren Ellis on Safari Comics Festival

In the world of social media, no one does in depth con reports any more. Well, not quite true, Down the Tubes Antony Esmond has a quite detailed report on the Safari Festival 2015, the show organised by Breakdown Press and other forward looking UK comics types. Edmond’s report complete with reviews and photos (Such […]

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11. Preview: Alex Robinson is back with Our Expanding Universe

Cartoonist Alex Robinson is a charter member of the pioneering :”indie comic graphic novel club” with Box Office Poison, an award-winning ensemble slice of life that covers the kind of Brooklyn life that existed before gentrification followed the Kale Trail out east. Originally published in serial form by Antarctic Press, Top Shelf published the collected […]

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12. Glenn Head Talks About Revealing Something Disturbing in “Chicago”

Cartoonist Glenn Head talks about life on the streets of Chicago and what his next memoirs will be about.

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13. Lionsgate bringing Double Take’s Z-men to the screen

A lot of newish comics companies have launched of late—Double Take, Aftershock, Z2—and I’m guessing they would all like to have films made from their comics. Well, Double Take, the branch of gaming company Take Two that is run by former Marvel to exec Bill James, has hit that brass ring. Lions gate has signed […]

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14. INTERVIEW: Maggie Thrash on HONOR GIRL, Queer Invisibility, and the Crush that Could Have Been a Scandal

by Alex Dueben For the past few years Maggie Thrash has been writing fiction and nonfiction at the acclaimed Rookie Magazine. Her first book, Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir, details a single summer at camp which Thrash described as the most important few months of her life because she comes out as queer while nursing […]

1 Comments on INTERVIEW: Maggie Thrash on HONOR GIRL, Queer Invisibility, and the Crush that Could Have Been a Scandal, last added: 10/16/2015
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15. MATT CHATS: Tyler James on the ComixTribal Magic

Independent publisher ComixTribe has been steadily growing their presence in the direct market, on Kickstarter and especially on the web. ComixTribe.com is a site that’s used not just to promote their products but also to give advice to inspiring and up-and-coming creators. I spoke to Tyler James, the publisher of ComixTribe, about building a reputation in the industry, getting sales and the publisher’s latest Kickstarter campaign for graphic novel The Standard.

How’s the experience been so far Kickstarting The Standard?

The Standard Ultimate Collection Kickstarter is going great!

It’s a tremendous feeling to launch a Kickstarter, send an email, and then 36 hours later, get the printing for an expensive hardcover fully funded… and to do so without any major media coverage or heavy advertising.


Art by Jonathan Rector

That’s a testament to what ComixTribe has been building over the past four years and where we’re headed. And it’s validation for the extraordinary work of writer John Lees, artist Jonathan Rector, and the rest of THE STANDARD team.

This is not my first Kickstarter rodeo, rather it’s the sixth Kickstarter campaign I’ve actively managed. While the platform continues to change and evolve and add new features and wrinkles, the core of what works and what doesn’t hasn’t changed since our first successful campaign in 2012.

I hear a lot of creators talk about how stressful and nerve-wracking Kickstarters are… and they certainly can be. But I prefer to look at them like a month-long online comic book convention and an opportunity to build a deeper relationships with new and long-time fans. When you frame it like that, the stress melts away and you can have fun with it.

The Standard bears, at least on a surface level, a lot of resemblance to Mark Waid’s Thrillbent comic Insufferable. Was that a concern as you plunged into this Kickstarter campaign?

No disrespect to Mr. Waid, who is one of my favorite writers in all of comics, but when John and Jon first started working on THE STANDARD, he still had his comic book collection! So, any resemblance to Insufferable can be chalked up to coincidence and pulling from the same ideaspace that lifelong superhero fans such as Mark and John will draw on.

The fact that his has been a project long in the making is one of the things that’s so rewarding about this process.  While some people (Lees included) were shocked at how fast we were able to get THE STANDARD funded, that 36 hours was really six long years in the making.

Marvel and DC, with their double shipping and weekly series, and the direct market in general, which is built on a monthly release schedule, shape the expectations of readers to think that comics take only a few weeks to make.

And while that may be true for well-compensated professionals working for fully-staffed companies that have been around for seventy years, it’s just not feasible in the indie world.

THE STANDARD was John Lees’ very first comic book… he was literally learning how to write comics as he wrote the series.

As John says in his Kickstarter video, when he first got started on this project, he wasn’t thinking about whether he had a marketable high concept, or whether it was going to sell, or whether there were other books out there like it. At that time, he didn’t know enough about the industry to even think if he should be thinking about that stuff!

Rather, John was thinking that this might very well be the only comic he’d ever make… so why not tell the one story he wanted to tell more than anything else in the world? And why not fill it up with everything he loves about comics – heroism, horror, mystery, romance, heartbreak, innocence lost, and yes, just the right amount of superhero cheese.

Josh Fialkov (The Bunker, Echoes) was gracious enough to write the foreword for AND THEN EMILY WAS GONE, John’s break out horror series from last year. In it, he talked (lovingly) about picking up EMILY #1 and “wanting to punch John in the face” for seemingly coming out of nowhere being so damn good.

What’s great about John’s work and THE STANDARD in particular is that it’s really not trading on a super original, ironic, hip high-concept. There have been plenty of meta superhero deconstruction tales before THE STANDARD and there will be many more to come. You mentioned Insufferable, but I’d actually point to Waid’s Kingdom Come as being a little closer thematically to THE STANDARD.

But it’s not about theme or high-concept. To paraphrase True Detective, “It’s all one story, man. Light and Dark.” What’s brilliant about THE STANDARD is its execution. There’s craft and love for the medium of comics gushing out of every page.

John is going to need a bodyguard when Fialkov realizes this was the first comic John ever wrote!

So, no, to your question. We had a few concerns about launching the Kickstarter, but none of them were about the content itself. This series is rock solid.

My main concern was juggling both the Kickstarter and also at the same time promoting the direct market launch of OXYMORON: The Loveliest Nightmare, our next series launching in August.

I don’t want to ask too many questions about crowdfunding, because you cover the subject so well on ComixTribe.com, but I have to ask a couple. One is: what’s a Kickstarter that impressed you recently, and how did it impress you?

That’s a great question, and I’m always trying to study successful campaigns so I can later model things they do well on the ones I run.

Last month’s Archie Kickstarter campaign was a big story, and many people looked at that campaign scoffing at the lofty sum of $350,000 they were trying to raise for new projects as way too much money and a ridiculous, some might say “greedy”, goal.

Meanwhile, at the same time on Kickstarter,  Tim Buckley “quietly” blew past the $350K mark for a reprint of his webcomic CTRL+ALT+DEL in just a few days, later going on to raise more than $665K.

So what continues to impress me about Kickstarter is that, of all platforms available to creators – the direct market, Comixology, Amazon, conventions — Kickstarter is easily the most level playing field.

Individual creators can be more successful than 70 year old publishers on Kickstarter.

While the big numbers of some of these crazy campaigns do catch my eye, the thing I love most about the platform and what impresses me most are the guys and girls going out there and launching their first campaign and succeeding.

Guys like Bill Walko who now gets to make a quality trade collection of his great webcomic Hero Business, or Kristi McDowell whose very first comic Gamer Girl & Vixen got funded.

The numbers don’t matter. I guarantee you, Tim Buckley was no more excited (and perhaps less so) by his $666K than Kristi was about her $7K.

So, yeah, I’m impressed by people who do their homework, run great campaigns, and then fulfill them.

As a side note, the most impressive Kickstarter I’ve ever backed was John August’s Writer Emergency Pack Kickstarter… because of its massive success and because he had his act together, John was able to get rewards out to backers a few weeks after the campaign ended, months earlier than promised.  THAT was impressive, and one of the biggest tips I have for creators going to Kickstarter is under promise and over deliver.

What kinds of new lessons are you still learning with each crowdfunding campaign?

So much! The platform is ever evolving. Back in 2012, not only did you have to sell your product, but you had to sell the concept of the platform of Kickstarter itself, and educate potential backers on how it all works.  It’s nice not to have to do so much of that anymore, as Kickstarter has slipped more into the mainstream consciousness.

But there are still things I’m learning and working on.  “Cracking the code” of the “Kickstarter Deadzone”… that period in the middle of a campaign where pledges and momentum stalls after a big open and before a huge close… that’s something I’m still working on.

Another thing I’m excited about is a new podcast I’ll be debuting next month called ComixLaunch: Crowdfunding Your Comics and Graphic Novels on Kickstarter…and Beyond! I get asked about Kickstarter more than just about anything else, and the articles on Kickstarter are the most read things on ComixTribe.com.  So, I’m hoping to dive deeper with a weekly podcast laser focused on this stuff, and hopefully provide a lot of value.

Right now, more than half of all comic book Kickstarter projects fail. I know how much ink, sweat, and tears goes into creating comics and then running a campaign, so those stats are gutting to me.

But I’m very optimistic that ComixLaunch can help improve those numbers. I’ve had dozens of creators personally thank me for the Kickstarter resources I’ve posted on ComixTribe.com, and I’ll be able to go even more in-depth on the pod. Also worth noting, backers of THE STANDARD Kickstarter will be treated to an advanced listen of the first episode of the podcast.

On a practical level, is the purpose of the ComixTribe website, which features as much new content as most comics news websites, primarily to drive sales of your comics?

One of my favorite quotes is by Zig Zigler, who famously said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” Success in business (and life) is directly correlated to the amount of value you bring to the world. So I get up every day trying to think about how I can best serve the comics community. The natural by-product of that is growth for ComixTribe. It is the epitome of a win win.

Now, when Steve Forbes (affable curmudgeon and ComixTribe Editor-In-Chief) and I first started ComixTribe on 1-1-2011, we didn’t have any comics to sell! We were both writing content for other people’s sites and decided to join forces and launch our own. We both have the heart (and in my case, the background and expensive degrees) of a teacher, and really do love helping other creators make better comics.

In fact, THE STANDARD is a true ComixTribe success story, as it was Steven Forbes who helped John Lees shape his rough concept into the polished gem it is today.  Let that be a lesson to all you new writers out there… if you want to increase the odds that your first comic book project is publishable, HIRE AN EDITOR!

After you figure out the basics of this comics game, every creator and every small publisher should devote considerable effort into picking their edges. By that I mean figuring out what makes them unique? Why should anyone give a damn?  What do they want to be known for?

Opening the ComixTribe kimono, so to speak, and being transparent about our successes, lessons learned, struggles and triumphs in the form of articles on ComixTribe.com has definitely helped distinguish us from other small comics publishers out there.

At the same time, as we’ve grown, and really expanded our titles, it’s been tough to balance serving both creators who are interested in our advice and readers who love our books.  While there is certainly some overlap between the two audiences, and our peers are also some of our biggest supporters, it is a challenge to be viewed as both an imprint and a web resource.

But my purpose in life is to educate and to entertain, so I’ll likely always have a toe in both pools.

Have you considered adding revenue streams like advertising or sponsorships?

Adding revenue streams has been a core focus of ComixTribe over the past few years, and is certainly one of my primary focuses this year.

Here’s a little infographic showing where the ComixTribe revenue comes from, and when we’ve added those streams to our business, and relatively how important those streams are to our business right now.

ComixTribe Revenue Streams 2015(1)

If we had to rely on any one of those streams, we’d be dead in the water.  The magic is in diversification.

Over the past couple months, I’ve been making a concerted effort to look for new partnerships, whether that be advertising, sponsorships, or affiliates that can bring value to our readers.

I spend at least ten minutes every day thinking of at least ten new ideas… ideas on everything from ways to sell more comics, to creators I want to work with, to things I love about my wife, to ideas for new lists of ideas… the list itself isn’t so important. The important thing is exorcising that idea muscle.

That practice is training me to see connections and solve problems more instinctively than before… granted most of the ideas I come up with are ridiculous and wrong for me. But it only takes a couple gems to make a significant difference in life and business.

So, yes, we’re adding new revenue streams and always looking for new potential partners, and you’ll see some of those come to life in the near future.

What are your other priorities?

Right now, ComixTribe’s top focus is readership growth.

That means increasing our direct connection with readers and the best way to do that is to get our books into readers’ hands.


Free Comic Book Day 2015 was a huge win for us.  We increased our reader email subscribers by about 50% thanks to the 50,000 copies of AND THEN EMILY WAS GONE #0 that were given out.

And everyone who subscribes to our list gets hooked up with the first issue of our five top titles, so that’s really our single best play to turn strangers into raving fans.

But readers aren’t enough… increasing the number of retailers carrying our books is also one of my top priorities.


Art by Alex Cormack

I’ve set a goal to double our direct market sales for our next series OXYMORON: The Loveliest Nightmare from our previous best seller.  And I’ve already committed to a print run that’s double what we printed for EMILY #1, even prior to getting our Diamond orders… so the boats have been burned, there’s no turning back, now!

Most of the comics put out by ComixTribe are about superheroes. Do you think that will change given that And Then Emily Was Gone, arguably Comixtribe’s biggest success, wasn’t?

It’s true that the first four titles we introduced to the market were all superhero books, or at least twists on the superhero genre. Joe Mulvey’s SCAM for example, is a capes books where the capes were replaced with conman capers.

But I think it’s important not to confuse where ComixTribe chose to start, with where we’re going.  Let’s remember that Image Comics, widely regarded as one of the most diverse and respected publishers today, started exclusively with superhero books.

And there’s a reason for that, right? Most creators were initially drawn to the medium by superheroes. Tracing cool panels featuring Spider-man at eight years old was my gateway into drawing my own comics.

When I first approached artist Cesar Feliciano about collaborating, I pitched him five different concepts… but he was most interested in doing THE RED TEN, a team superhero book, something he’d always dreamed of doing. (And that was the one I was hoping he’d dig as well.)

One of the great things about ComixTribe is that all the books we publish are, first and foremost, books we ourselves want to read.

And  at 36 years old, I’m still not ashamed to say I love a good superhero yarn.

That said, I haven’t greenlit a new superhero project under the ComixTribe banner in a couple years now, and would have to have my socks blown off by a pitch to do so.

The new OXYMORON series actually takes the character who debuted in THE RED TEN, and strips away any and all superhero trappings.  The high concept for the series that’s been generating a lot of buzz is asking readers to “Imagine The Joker came to a Gotham WITHOUT Batman.”  So, this series is more police procedural and cerebral horror thriller than anything else.


Art by Alex Cormack

Likewise, we’ve got EXIT GENERATION from Sam Read and Caio Oliveira, a previously self-published gem from the UK, which is an all-ages sci-fi book with a punk rock ethos coming out later this fall.


Art by Caio Oliveira

Joe Mulvey’s next series, CounterTERROR, which we are soft-launching at the 2015 Boston Comic Con, is a political thriller mashed up with a paranormal action popcorn flick.  Think “What if Jack Bauer was a Ghostbuster?” 


Art by Joe Mulvey

And I fully expect Ryan K Lindsay (Negative Space, Headspace) and Sami Kivelä’s unannounced new surf noir book to raise the bar for ComixTribe again in 2016.

We also have a couple new anthology projects I’m very excited about coming up that take us into new exciting new genres.

In short, we unabashedly love superhero comics at ComixTribe, but we’re about a lot more than spandex.  

Do you have aspirations to work with publishers other than ComixTribe?

I think most people who make comics would be lying if they told you they didn’t want the opportunity to work on the icons and make a contribution to the great comic book universes that they grew up loving.

Every creator has a Spidey story, or a Batman story, or I don’t know, a Howard the Duck tale, they’d love the opportunity to tell.

For me, it was Image Comics that really ignited my passion for creating comics, so having a book with an Image “i” on the cover has long been a goal for me. (You can listen to me fanboy gush over Erik Larsen when he was a guest on the Final Issue Podcast.)

So, sure, if given the right opportunity, I’d jump at the chance to work with legendary publishers.

But that’s not the endgame for me.

It’s an interesting time in comics.  Marvel and DC, they have great talent working for them, sure. But the absolute best talent in comics are no longer found there… or at least no longer found EXCLUSIVELY there. Millar, BKV, Staples, Kirkman, Adlard, Ottley, Brubaker, Phillips… the cream of the crop all realized that the ceiling at the Big Two was far too low for their talents.

And that’s a great thing, I think, for the industry, and for comics in general.

How do you plan on continuing to grow ComixTribe?

One reader, shop, and creator at a time.

I sold my first comic at age 14 out of my backpack in school. (9 copies sold at a $1 a piece!)

Since then, ComixTribe has managed to get more than 200,000 copies of books printed and out there into the world. (Sorry, trees!) And as crazy as that number is to me, it still means we’re just a guppy in the comics industry ocean.

Still, ComixTribe has doubled its revenue every year for the past four years.

We are poised to double again this year, as long as we continue to execute.

It’s been a long, hard road to get here… a barely profitable, low six-figure business, that reinvests 100% of profits back into itself.

But it’s still early days for us.  We’re maybe on mile two of our comics marathon.

And I see the roadmap…

I know exactly what we need to do to take ComixTribe to a somewhat profitable seven-figure business, and beyond.

(This is the part where I knock on wood… and remind myself of the danger of “best laid plans” and that I could be hit by a bus or a falling anvil at any moment.)

But it’s not rocket science. And it’s not all that complicated…

The closest thing I have to a success formula goes something like this: P + A + I + N + T = S

Passion + Action + Integrity + a Network + Talent = Success.

I firmly believe that if you have all of those ingredients, the only variable in your success is TIME.

Because the truth is, those ingredients, even when found in copious amounts, do take a while to cook.

And if you’re not currently as successful as you want to be… you may be lacking one or more of those elements, and that is where you should be putting your focus.

We need a new name for it because “The Golden Age” is taken… but these are the halcyon days for being a comic book creator.   

Over the next few years, we’re going to get a million ComixTribe comics into readers’ hands.

We’re going to continue to add tremendous value to the comic creator community, through continuing the awesome free content on ComixTribe.com, and through podcasts and other educational products and ventures.

And we’re going to work directly with at least one hundred creators, and help a bunch of them break into the direct market for the first time.

How is ComixTribe going to do all this?

Well, I’ve got a plan, but I’m nimble, and will be figuring it out as I go along.

And you can be sure I’ll be doing it transparently and in plain sight, as I’ve done from ComixTribe’s inception…

So, just watch.

MATT CHATS is a weekly interview series with a person of prominence and/or value in the comic book industry. Find its author, Matt O’Keefe, on Twitter and Tumblr. Email him with questions, comments, complaints and/or suggestions praise at matt@mattwritesstuff.com.

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16. HeroesCon Interview with Michel Fiffe Part 2: The Possibility of Digital, Comparisons to Cerebus, and What’s to Come in COPRA



Continuing on from our first entry this past Friday, here is the second part of my HeroesCon interview with Michel Fiffe, creator of the self-published and much lauded action-adventure comic, COPRA.

It’s funny, the way I discovered your work actually came through a friend of mine at first, as a word of mouth sort of thing. Then I firmly jumped in when Oliver Sava starting writing about it on the A.V. Club, and you ended making a ton of these “Best of 2014″ lists, which is pretty exciting right? That sort of vindication has to be rewarding.

It’s nice, it’s nice that people like it, absolutely. Oliver’s a great supporter.

Everyone wants to make a superlative list at some point, right?

Yeah, that means a lot to me personally, and it actually translates into more readers. I think word of mouth has really worked a lot on COPRA, without any huge marketing muscle behind it. That’s been the primary thing, people are just excited about it, and that’s super flattering. To like it so much – in today’s aggressive marketplace – that they spread the word out of genuine enthusiasm… what more could you want?

That’s literally what’s happening, though the only hurdle is, of course, availability.

That’s the only hurdle right now. Bergen Street Press has been working hard for a couple of years now to get over it. We don’t want to make it super exclusive, this isn’t a super limited boutique item by any means, but it’s also not as simple as pushing a magic button for  books to suddenly appear. Others have that magic button.


When you made the collections, which have obviously been a great way to pull in readers, you went with Bergen Street Press, and that’s Tucker Stone’s outfit right?

Yeah, that’s Tom Adams and Tucker Stone, they’re co-owners of the store, Bergen Street Comics and they started publishing and putting out “compendium” collections of the issues early on because I started selling out of the issues. So they met that demand, they helped me meet that initial burst of enthusiasm. I was too caught up creating the next issue. My financial model is that one issue pays for the next, there’s no room for reprints, that’s not within my budget. Bergen really helped make it more available and more accessible to people. The compendiums led to an official collection, the current “Rounds” as they’re called, which collects six issues at a time. That’s the kind of thing that we’re trying to get into all the comic shops across the country.

It’s showing up in stores in Atlanta, and I even think I saw copies in the UK over Gosh Comics perhaps.

Yeah, we get a lot of orders from all over the world.

Did you just have a relationship with Tucker and Tom, is that why you went with them as the distributor and publisher and go-to guys?

I trust them and respect them, and I couldn’t happier with that specific team of players. Their point of view and their involvement with the comics industry is something I can get behind.

In regards to availability though, is digital not in the cards?

It’s not NOT in the cards, it’s just something I still have to manage and deal with. There are just so many issues with it, the platform, the way it looks, the time to get everything in order. I’m still dealing with the print issues, that’s a huge thing for me, just getting one of these out every four to six weeks. I barely have any time to do anything else BUT this issue. When it comes to digital, I want to be as hands-on as possible, and that’s a time sucker. I wouldn’t rule digital out, but at the moment it’s not a primary concern. Having said that, I don’t want to exclude anyone from reading it, I understand there’s a large portion of the readership that’s gone digital because its more convenient, but personally I haven’t related to that model. So, it’s not a priority. I don’t feel like it’s something that’s burning in me to address anytime soon.

copra physical

But there is an argument you made yesterday (on a panel with Klaus Janson) about the visual of the comic as a physical object. When you go digital, you do lose that. I mean, you can put everyone of those pages, including the back cover and back matter into a digital copy, but it’s not the same.

It’s not the same, and I want to be clear that I don’t want to impose my fetish of the newsprint comic on anyone. But readers do have the option to buy the issues or NOT to buy them, and that’s the risk I take. I’m not forcing people nor am I trying to change the industry “back to the glory that it was”. I’m just doing this because it’s a model that I’m familiar with and I aesthetically like. It’s a much more intimate thing. I just don’t read that many digital comics. That’s not how I absorb this stuff. I would feel weird putting it out in the world if I’m not sure of it myself.


The comparison has been made, and COPRA has been compared very favorably to works like Cerebus, and that’s a comparison that I find to be really quite apt in that you’ve taken an analogous set of characters, like Dave Sim did with Conan the Barbarian, but by Round Three, you’ve expanded that world and its character set in a way not dissimilar from his work in “High Society”. Is that a comparison that you find interesting?

It is, mostly because Dave and I were born on the same day.


Yeah, so it just means we’re both stubborn and hard headed, and we’re gonna do what we want no matter what. But the COPRA/Cerebus thing… I imagine it’s more accurate than I’d like to think, but the main difference is that Cerebus started out as a parody. And my book…well, I personally fucking hate parody comics of that nature. I like Cerebus, but  I especially mean modern indie takes on this sort of stuff. It’s low hanging fruit. You’re going to make fun of superheroes, good job, you’re wasting your precious time on earth doing that. Who cares? You’re not gonna outdo Marshal Law. I love that comic to death. There was a lot of anger behind that book, but it didn’t look down at anyone. Now, you either like superheroes or you don’t, and it’s perfectly fine to dislike it. In fact, you probably shouldn’t. I have zero interest in making fun of this stuff. From the first page of COPRA, it was serious business to me, serious business while fully realizing and basking in the absurd nature of this material.

That’s a difficult balance to achieve – seriousness without being overtly grim.

I just don’t want to wink at readers. I respect the readership too much to be winking at them – like, hey get the joke? Isn’t this DUMB? It’s like, fuck that joke, it’s a terrible joke. And I think Dave Sim wised up to it early on, because he was parodying Conan and the goofy barbarian genre, but then it took on a different identity all together.

Copra WirAnd I feel like that’s where you’re headed too. Round 3 is stunning, and I think when it hits a collected edition, I think there’s going to be a lot of talk. I don’t know how else to put it. I don’t want to speak too highly here, but I think that’s going to be when – people already notice it, but I mean, my god, that chapter when Wir goes back home…

Yeah, that’s a favorite. I was worried about making that one too because it’s so bizarre, even within the norms of COPRA, you know?

It was so touching and so raw. It struck nerves for me. And then Gracie in Miami, and you’re working out some of your own feelings about the city and you even say as much on the back end.

Yeah. Every issue pretty much has at least one autobiographical component in it. And I find that interesting when I read older comics too, whether they meant it or not, I think it comes through. Especially for the older creators who really had no other option but to express themselves through The Brave and the Bold or something. But for me to actually write this stuff, I have to put some sort of personal experience in it. So every issue, there’s something there that’s really personal. But I also don’t want it to be too obvious, though.

COPRA-22-page-674x1024Let’s talk about Round Four or the presumed Round Four, about what’s coming up, what’s being developed. Spoiler alert: Dutch got it at the end of the latest issue. And clearly there’s another team that’s sort of gaining up on the COPRA side of things. At least that’s what it seems like. There’s an organized group of evil doers. What can we expect in the next couple of issues; I think there are two left in this round?

I have two left. And then I’m going to have a 25th issue anniversary-sized thing, that’s going to stand apart from the narrative, the main arc. And then starting with issue 26 that starts another arc all together. I’m going to work in six issue chunks, but there are going to be main storylines in that. I think I’m going to go up to fifty issues, so 25 will be an anniversary issue, as well as the halfway point.

So there will be an endpoint that’s set in stone?

Yes, I do have an ending set, I’ve mapped it out that far. I’m so excited for it.  Knowing that it’s going to end and that everything is building up towards it makes every step of the way that much more fun for me, much richer.

So what can you tell me that we can expect in just very general terms, without spoiling anything, for the next two issues? Is it going to be a battle between the team and this group of guys that are coming after them?

It’s going to be COPRA vs COPRA. That’s all I’m going to say.


You’ve got two other narratives occurring in these books, you’ve got Dieter VDO’s back cover story for Man-Head…

Which is non-canonical.

Let me ask you how that got arranged first. Are you and Dieter friends?

Oh, I’m a big fan of his work. He did a Savage Dragon story for this collection of back ups I edited. This was ages ago. Anyway, Dieter… I like spreading the word on him. I think he’s great, one of my favorite cartoonists. I wanted to have unique back matter for this current arc and he was the first person I thought of to do something. Instead of pin ups, though, I wanted a serialized narrative. Thankfully he was on board. His own weird version of COPRA? Who wouldn’t want to see that?

So what is going on between your narrative and his narrative in these orange and white pages? There’s something appearing in the sky…?

Oh, that. Well, that’s a subplot that has to do with Rax’s dimension. It’ll all make sense once you read it together, there IS a point to it; it’s not as arbitrary as it seems. I’ve been playing it quietly because if I show too much, it’ll spoil things.

When can we expect the next issue to hit?

Maybe 4 weeks, a month? After the show I’ve to get back to drawing it. I’m not really ahead, schedule-wise. As soon as the issue is done, it’s practically in the readers’ hands.

You can purchase recent issues of COPRA at Michel Fiffe and Kat Roberts’ Etsy store. While Bergen Street Press is currently sold out of both collected editions of the series, you can purchase the first collection at InStockTrades.

1 Comments on HeroesCon Interview with Michel Fiffe Part 2: The Possibility of Digital, Comparisons to Cerebus, and What’s to Come in COPRA, last added: 6/28/2015
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17. Anti-Bullying Comics Anthology RISE to Release Third Volume

by Melanie Burke

Images courtesy of Northwest Press

“It’s like an after school special but it’s a good one,” says Adam Pruett of the anti-bullying comics anthology RISE. “I’m not just saying that because it’s my book and I want to promote it—I actually believe in the material.”

Born from a frustration with caustic attitudes and gatekeeper mentalities within the comics community, RISE is the collaborative effort of editors Joey Esposito, Adam Pruett, Erica Schultz and Kristopher White. With hundreds of different contributors from all over the globe, the book currently has two issues out with Northwest Press and a third is slated for digital release this summer.


“Out of that [frustration] came this idea, ‘Let’s do an anthology of celebrating being yourself’ and if there’s any place where that should be acceptable it’s the comics community,” says Esposito of the book’s initial inception.

The editorial team began working together in 2010 and approached Northwest Press several years later, launching a Kickstarter to fund printing costs in October of 2014. The Kickstarter platform, in addition to the for-sale issues on the Northwest Press website, made it possible to fund a book that is largely given away for free.

In addition to being available for free download at risecomics.org, RISE is distributed at all-ages events and school tours by Stand for the Silent and Prism Comics.

“It feels like we’re contributing to society,” says Esposito. “In a small but important way.”


Part of the goal for the editorial team was to approach the issue of bullying from all sides—hence the power of an anthology that delivers such a diverse voice and wide range of art styles. The individual narratives range from tales of redemption and forgiveness between reformed bullies and their former targets to frustrated scientists with singing plants to aliens admonishing their peers for participating in late-night cow tipping.

“It’s not us and them, it’s not good guys and bad guys,” says publisher Charles “Zan” Christensen.“I think that the stories do a good job of showing that it’s not just there are bad people who do bad things, but that people sometimes do bad things.People can change, people can learn and do the right thing in the future.”

Tackling such a sensitive subject in a grand-scale way produced its own unique challenges—like coordinating such a large group of contributors.


“We’re working on four different time zones, two or three continents, god knows how many countries,” says Schultz.“You’ll send an email off [and it] will be the end of the night, and then the next person who gets it is replying the equivalent of 2am for me.”

“It’s like herding cats,” says Esposito, laughing.

Additionally, the team had to make decisions regarding language and content for a young audience, without sacrificing the sometimes brutal realities depicted within the anthologies.

“That process was really illuminating,” says Christenson.“It was good to have those discussions and figure out how to strike that balance.”

Schultz says that the trade off to the chaos is “being introduced to creators who I wasn’t familiar with. And not just comic creators but people who work in different mediums as well coming on to write comics. That’s always great, getting to meet new people, getting exposed to different styles.”


For Esposito, the excitement from contributors helped fuel the process. “[Seeing] the enthusiasm from everybody but seeing these really established creators come on board—donating their time and artistic talent to do something like this—was really exciting for me.”

The third and last issue of RISE will release sometime late June or early July of this year. After that, the team hopes to see the project continue in any variety of ways—potentially a once-a-year anthology.

“I hope it takes on a life of its own,” says Schultz.

0 Comments on Anti-Bullying Comics Anthology RISE to Release Third Volume as of 6/29/2015 6:04:00 PM
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18. Darby Pop teams with Magnetic Press

side-kicked.jpgIt’s team up time. Magnetic Press, best known as publisher of a bunch of award-winning and magnificent French comics in the US, has partnered with Darby Pop, a comics studio founded by writer/producer Jeff Kline. Darby Pop’s line of graphic novels will be published as an imprint of Magnetic, starting with October’s SIDE-KICKED by writer Russell Brettholtz and artist Miguel Mendonca.

“In the current marketplace, it’s hard to get attention for any new titles, especially those not based on pre-existing brands,” Kline said in a statement. “But, in just their first year of existence, Magnetic Press seems to have found a recipe for connecting to a rabid fan base that both trusts their taste, and appreciates their commitment to the form. Originally, Mike Kennedy and I were just grabbing the occasional beer and sharing ‘war stories.’ But, at some point, it dawned on us that we shared so many of the same passions — and goals — that a partnership only made sense. ”

“Jeff has a proven track record for spotting and cultivating the most entertaining stories,” added Magnetic Press president Mike Kennedy. “The Darby Pop line promises that same engaging, animated audience experience with a whole new set of properties. We’re excited to support those debuts in the coming year!”

Sidekicks is a 96 page collection about a group of superhero sidekicks seeking the spotlight. Darby POp’s Kline is a multiple Emmy Award winner and wrote such comics as Transformers Prime, G.I. Joe: Renegades, and Jackie Chan Adventures. The line itself was first an imprint of IDW, where they published nearly 40 individual issues and trade paperbacks including CITY: THE MIND IN THE MACHINE by novelist/screenwriter Eric Garcia (Matchstick Men, Repo Men),THE 7TH SWORD by screenwriter John Raffo (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, The Relic), DOBERMAN by movie/TV writers Scott Marder, Rob Rosell, and Jack Lambert (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Unsupervised), DEAD SQUAD by multi-hyphenates Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia (Jericho, Warehouse 13, Human Target), and INDESTRUCTIBLE by Kline himself.

Magnetic Press has certainly established itself as one of the top new companies in recent years, and while the Darby POp material is a little far afield from their French material, safety in numbers!


sidekicked1.jpg sidekicked2.jpg sidekicked3.jpg sidekicked4.jpg


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19. Z2 Comics launches Modern Prometheus production company

Z2 Comics is on a roll, having announced a new line of graphics novels, a line of periodical comics and now a productions company, Modern Prometheus, which got inked in THR.

1 Comments on Z2 Comics launches Modern Prometheus production company, last added: 7/27/2015
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20. Small Press show/CAF news briefs: APE, TopatoCon, CXC

A lot of information on small press, indie. CAF evets have piled up in my inbox. Here’s some of the news: • The newly revamped APE (Alternative Press Expo) in San Jose has put out a call for programming— The Alternative Press Expo (APE), taking place in San Jose’s Convention Center on October 3 and […]

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21. Koyama Press Fall Preview: Lose #7 — now in color

It’s time to get back to what’s best in life: COMICS. The fall publishing season has been announced (and Spring ’16 is coming soon) so here’s some previews of what’s coming starting with Koyama Press . Next month will see the publication of Michael DeForge’s acclaimed series Lose with issues #7, now for the first time […]

1 Comments on Koyama Press Fall Preview: Lose #7 — now in color, last added: 8/4/2015
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22. SPX and Nickelodeon team for Call For Submissions for animation

 Here’s a on offer that many people might just get excited about: The Small Press Expo and Nickelodeon are teaming for a Call for Submissions where cartoonists can pitch ideas for an animated short. One person will be selected and get a cartoon made, working with the Nickelodeon animation staff. The offer is open to exhibitors […]

1 Comments on SPX and Nickelodeon team for Call For Submissions for animation, last added: 8/6/2015
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23. Fall Preview: Dean Haspiel’s Beef With Tomato sparks a “conversational flame”

Rolling along with the Fall line-up for comics, here’s another September release, Hang Dai Studios has teamed with Alternative Comics to release their fall schedule, which includes three titles Beef with Tomato by Dean Haspiel, Smoke by Gregory Benton, and Schmuck by Seth Kushner and an all-star line-up of cartoonists. It’s a powerhouse line-up of talent, each book with its […]

2 Comments on Fall Preview: Dean Haspiel’s Beef With Tomato sparks a “conversational flame”, last added: 8/6/2015
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24. HELP WANTED: Sales charts, reviews

Once again, The Beat is looking for a sales chart analyst to take over the monthly Indie Sales charts. Kate Reynolds has done yeoman service but she's moving on to other frontiers and vistas. (Including hopefully some more writing for The Beat.)

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25. This Weekend: Autoptic in Minneapolis

This weekend’s premiere comics event is Autoptic, the Minneapolis stop on the ongoing indie comics festival tour. Guests include Josh Bayer, Gabrielle Bell, Charles Burns, Ines Estrada, Edie Fake, Sammy Harkham, Aidan Koch, Laura Park Jillian Tamaki, and the exhibitor list is impressive, so it’s A-list all the way. The show has a few previews […]

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