Friday, December 7, 2007

Lost In Translation

I know there's art in the community. I see it all the time. Every few years, when one of the BIG two is looking for the next BIG thing, some neighborhood or group of artists loses one of their own to further pad the pockets of Hollywood's next summer blockbuster franchise.

But where's the community in art?

Why is there not a bigger and more powerful voice in the underground art scene?

Now... there are exceptions to the thoughts/feelings you're about to read. But they are just that... exceptions.

1) Jim Mahfood and his posse which includes; Mike Huddleston, Dave Crosland, Jose Garibaldi, Scott Morse and a few other cats whose pin-ups you'll always find in the back pages of some unknown comic are a huge exception. There is no end to what they've given back to the artform.

2) Kazu Kibuishi, Scott McCloud (McLeod) and pretty much everyone you'll ever find inbetween the covers of a Flight comic are other such exceptions.


There are even some publishers like; AdHouse, Dark Horse, Top Shelf and Oni pouring money into anthologies I see piling up on comic book shop shelves.

But where is the community?

And why are there any copies of those anthologies left on the shelves?!

Where are the comic book 'news' websites truly dedicated to promoting the indie scene?

Where are the comic book 'news' magazines cutting out a big chunk of their publication to promote the little guys/gals responsible, in large part, for giving them something to write about?

Where are the interviews in which a spotlighted artist points the interviewer in the direction of other artists and books in his/her community?

*If I read another S'Yo interview in which he talks about himself and the 'street' in his work rather than the community responsible for introducing to him to 'street art' and talking him up to the talent scouts who put him on the map, I may put my head through a wall.

**If I see another mainstream comic book cover featuring the art of an ever-morphing art style which morphs with whatever hot new trend is making big noise, I may light fire to my head after putting it through said wall.

***If I see another step in the right direction take 20 steps back for profit, just chop my bruised and charred head off and put me outta my misery.

Are all of the *'s above parts of the community too? Of course they are... but only one small part... although you can't tell, looking at the numbers.

Why isn't James Kochalka one of the most beloved AND celebrated creators in modern comics history?

Why is anthology such a taboo word in the comics field... unless Batman... or Spider-Man... or a famous artist's work is featured on the cover?

Why is self-publishing a last option for so many up-and-coming-and-talented creators?

Why would anyone rather sell their soul for glossy stock than enrich/fortify another human being's spirit with their own blood, sweat and tears?

I'm so happy groups like Drink'n'Draw Social Club, International Cartoonist Conspiracy and the like have been 'arriving' on the scene lately.

I'm glad there are places like AICN/Indie Jones and BadLit out there. And I hope spots like IndiePulp will pick up the pace and really reach for the outer edges of the indie scene.

So... how does it get better?

You wanna change and fortify the community?

Start by changing and supporting the artist and/or fan within.

1) Check out your local comic book shop's shelves for indie titles. They probably have a section ALL THE WAY IN THE BACK OF THE STORE dedicated to indie books.

2) Check out your local comics creators FIRST.

3) Go to places like and scour for comics they print

4) If you're Google inclined... surf for indie books.

5) Support indie artists in Artist Alley... ALL THE WAY IN THE BACK OF THE CONVENTION. Don't just walk by looking for books with a mainstream look... CHECK OUT THE BOOKS, TALK TO THE CREATORS... SPEND SOME OF THAT ACTION FIGURE MONEY.

6) Post about things/books/creators you find in your pursuit of higher learning. Word-of-mouth is still the most effective act of marketing.

7) Have fun with it. They're comics, afterall.

Happy reading.