Current Comic Book Publishers from Z-A – entry #29

Two more days until THE END!!! Don’t panic! I’m not referring to the Apocalypse, the Day of Reckoning, the Final Judgment, Ragnarök, the Rapture nor whatever you want to call it. Inching ever so closer to year’s end!! We’ve arrived at the very first letter of our English alphabet. Need I point that out? ;-P It’s the most popular letter too since I’m breaking down the massive list into three parts.

There are forty publishers currently listed in the monthly PREVIEWS catalog. For those of you following this daily countdown since the get-go, all the comic book companies have dealings with Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. As usual, I’ve done my utmost best to be as thorough as possible. Some of these enterprises have ‘guarded secrets’ or have not yet caught up to the Internet Era. No matter! Scroll down for your amusement J

Aardvark-Vanaheim logo

Established: 1977

Official Name: Aardvark-Vanaheim

Place of Origin: Kitchener, Ontario, CANADA

Distinction: Canadian independent comic book publisher best known for publishing Dave Sim’s Cerebus.[1]

In 1977 the concept of creator-owned comics was in its infancy. If you had an idea for a comic and wanted it published, then you went to one of the existing companies (like Marvel, DC or Archie) and gave up ownership of your characters to them. About the only companies (that I am aware of) at that time who even entertained the notion of creators retaining the ownership of characters were Pacific and Charlton (in the case of some of Steve Ditko’s creations and E-Man)[2].

Dave Sim was (and is) a Canadian writer and artist. A year earlier he had drawn his girlfriend a mascot character for a fanzine which never got published, naming the character Cerebus after the dog which guarded Hades, the Greek underworld (they soon realised they had mis-spelt Cerebrus, btw, but kept the spelling they had come up with). Deciding to use the character to allow him to emulate and pay homage to Barry Windsor-Smith’s artwork on Conan, Sim looked at the options and took the risky step of self-publishing. His girlfriend’s two siblings suggested possible names for the company he was setting up – Aardvark and Vanaheim; Sim opted to use them both[3].

For a brief time, the company also published other titles, sometimes under the name Aardvark One International. This was mainly in the early 1980s, and most of these titles moved to Renegade Press. Since the 1980s the majority of titles published by the company were related to Cerebus, although since the final issue of Cerebus was published, A-V has gone on to publish other works by Sim, including glamourpuss.[4]

David Victor Sim (born 17 May 1956) is a Canadian cartoonist and publisher, best known for his comic book Cerebus, his artistic experimentation, his advocacy of self-publishing and creator’s rights, and his controversial political, philosophical and religious beliefs[5].

Sim co-founded the small press publisher Aardvark-Vanaheim with his wife-to-be, Deni Loubert, in 1977; most of the titles it published moved to Loubert’s Renegade Press after their divorce in the mid-1980s. The publishing company was later co-owned by Sim’s creative partner, Gerhard, who dissolved their partnership and sold his stake in the company to Sim in 2007.[6]

Sim is a pioneer and advocate of self-publishing as an ideal, and was one of the key figures in the creation of the Creator’s Bill of Rights in 1988. His relationship with his readers, colleagues and friends has often been strained, sometimes by the content of his work, and often by his expressed opinions and personal interactions. He has criticized the use of copyright to restrict creators, and has made arrangements for his body of work to fall into the public domain following his death[7].

Operations: Dave Sim (Founder, Publisher, Creator), Deni Loubert (Ex-Founder)

Output: Cerebus the Aardvark; glamourpuss; Judenhass; Strange Brew

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?pl=Aardvark-Vanaheim

Reprints: Cerebus vol. 4: Church & State II; Cerebus vol. 5: Jaka’s Story

Future Reprints: Cerebus vol. 6: Melmoth; Cerebus vol. 7: Flight

Social Media: @cerebusonline ; @MomentOfCerebus (unofficial fan account) ; Facebook

Multi-Media: @CerebusTV

Aazurn Publishing logo Established: 2008

Official Name: Aazurn Publishing

Place of Origin: Muskegon, MI

Distinction: Aazurn Publishing is an indy comic book company that is redefining heroes — and comic books themselves — with comics like Indie Comics Magazine and done-in-one mini graphic novels like “Number One”, “The Envy”, and “Mercenary Pig.”[8]

Xeric Grant Recipient Gary Scott Beatty read his first comic book, a beat up old Tin Tin hardcover, in his grade school library some time before the ’60s Batman craze. The first alternative comic he produced (They were called “underground” then) was on his high school’s mimeograph machine, after hours, without permission. Decades later the tools and format have changed, but Gary is still producing printed pieces that communicate and entertain[9].

His last Aazurn Publishing publication, “Number One”, with “Adventures of Aaron” artist Aaron Warner, was one of the best indie comics of 2014 (Shawn Perry, Bleeding Cool News). Other books include Xeric Grant Winner “Jazz: Cool Birth”, “Seductions” with Oz artist Bill Bryan and “Adam Among the Gods” with James Lyle. Through his Indie Comics Magazine, Gary publishes promising newcomers and veteran independent creators, introducing them to a wider audience through worldwide distribution[10].

Operations: Gary Scott Beatty (Founder, Publisher, Writer, Colorist, Letterer)

Output: Adam Among the Gods; The Envy; Indie Comics Horror; Mercenary Pig; Number One; Tales of Fear

Current Titles: Indie Comics Magazine

Branches: N/A

Social Media: @garyscottbeatty ; Facebook [Aazurn Publishing, Indie Comics Magazine, Gary Scott Beatty] ; YouTube [Gary Scott Beatty]

Multi-Media: Instructional videos on how to color and letter. http://www.garyscottbeatty.com/

Abrams ComicArts logo Established: 1949 (Abrams Books)

Official Name: Abrams ComicArts

Place of Origin: New York, NY

Distinction: Abrams ComicArts publishes high quality, contemporary, ground-breaking illustrated books about the legends and history of comics art, animation, and cartoon-based material, as well as new graphic novels[11].

Operations: Harry N. Abrams (Founder, Abrams Books), Michael Jacobs (President, CEO, Abrams Books)

Output: http://www.abramsbooks.com/imprints/abramscomicarts/

Current Titles: The Age of Selfishness: Ayn Rand, Morality and the Financial Crisis; Ghetto Klown; Only What’s Necessary: Charles M. Schultz and the Art of Peanuts; Trashed; Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel

Branches: Imprint of Abrams Books.

Social Media: @AbramsComicArts ; Facebook ; Tumblr ; YouTube

Multi-Media: N/A

Abstract Studio logo Established: 1994

Official Name: Abstract Studio

Place of Origin: Houston, TX

Distinction: Terry Moore is an American cartoonist, known for the series Strangers in Paradise and the founding of Homage Comics[12].

Following the examples of independent comic creators such as Dave Sim and Jeff Smith, Terry Moore decided to publish Strangers in Paradise himself through his own Houston-based “Abstract Studios” imprint, and has frequently mentioned a desire to do a syndicated cartoon strip in the authors notes at the back of the Strangers in Paradise collection books. He has also mentioned his greatest career influence is Peanuts’ Charles Schulz. Some of Moore’s strip work can additionally be found in his Paradise, Too! publications[13].

Operations: Terry Moore (Founder, Publisher, Creator, Writer, Artist)

Output: Echo; Hot Girls Cold Feet; Strangers in Paradise; Terry Moore’s How to Draw

Current Titles: Rachel Rising; SIP Kids

Branches: http://www.strangersinparadise.com/store.html

Social Media: @TerryMooreArt ; DeviantArt ; Facebook ; Instagram ; Tumblr [all Terry Moore]

Multi-Media: N/A

AC Comics logo Established: 1982

Official Name: AC Comics

Place of Origin: Plymouth, FL

Distinction: Evolving in 1982 out of Bill Black’s Paragon Publications, AC Comics® (Americomics in its first year of existence only, AC since 1984) was one of the initial quartet of independent color comics companies who pioneered the direct sales phenomenon in the early ’80’s. The others were Pacific, First and Eclipse Comics — all long defunct by now, yet AC runs on, headed for its third decade of creating comic book fun[14].

Within the framework of the four hundred-plus books AC has released, multitalented publishing maverick Bill Black has introduced us to a plethora of his own fascinating characters. From his new-wave super-hero universe of the companies’ early years (when costumed defenders like Captain Paragon, Commando D, The Scarlet Scorpion and Bolt gave readers an alternative to Marvel and DC fare) grew AC’s best known feature — The Femforce. Comicdom’s first and only successful all-female super-team book. In 1997, Femforce became the 229th comic book ever to pass the one hundred issue mark, and spawned an ever-increasing circle of spin-offs, support books and licensed merchandise[15].

Under Black’s creative guidance, many of the industries’ artistic “heavy hitters” cut their professional eyeteeth at AC. Names like Erik Larsen, Jerry Ordway, Tom Lyle, Paul Ryan, Tim Townsend and dozens more first came to prominence working in the AC freelance stable, gaining valuable early experience and an opportunity to work at a professional level, before moving on to other publishers[16].

Always a man with respect and appreciation for what has come before, Bill’s fascination with comics history led him to make classic reprints and historical research into the comics of the 1940’s and ’50’s a big part of AC’s publishing endeavors as well[17].

A unique, eclectic and personal blend of tastes and influences have led publisher Bill Black to construct an engrossing matrix of fun and interesting comics and related publications. We invite you to read on, but be warned — AC Comics® can be addictive![18]

Operations: Bill Black (Founder, Editor Emeritus), Mark G. Heike (Publisher, EIC), Stephanie S. Heike (Executive Editor)

Output: http://www.accomics.com/acs-online-store/

Current Titles: Big Bang Universe; Crypt of Horror; Femforce; Men of Mystery Comics

Branches: N/A

Social Media: Facebook (Bill Black)

Multi-Media: Bill Black has made his own movies: http://www.cultretro.com/

Accent UK logo Established: 2000

Official Name: Accent UK

Place of Origin: Manchester, England, UK

Distinction: Owners Colin Mathieson and Dave West collect the talents of the UK Independent Comic publishing community, along with guests from overseas, producing an annual themed anthology, as well as now releasing shorter books, one-shots and graphic novels. Andy Bloor joined Accent UK in 2007 as art director overseeing all aspects of design and production for the books.

Operations: Dave West, Colin Mathieson (Founders, Owners), Andy Bloor (Art Director)

Output: Fall of the Wolfmen; The Man of Glass; Predators; Robots; Stephenson’s Robot; Strange Times; WESTERNoir; Zombies

Current Titles: The Troll

Current Titles: Victoriana; Zulu: Water Cart Rescue

Branches: N/A

Social Media: @AccentUK ; Facebook

Multi-Media: N/A

Acme Ink logo

Established: Unknown

Official Name: Acme Ink

Place of Origin: Martinez, CA

Distinction: Will Eisner Award in 2007  “Best Publication For A Younger Audience” for Gumby

Operations: Mel Smith (Founder, Owner)

Output: 7 Lives of Dr. Phibes; Creepy Kofy Movie Time Comic; Dead Ahead; Feed America’s Children; Gumby

Current Titles: Rock and Roll Biographies

Branches: N/A

Social Media: Facebook (Mel Smith)

Multi-Media: N/A

Action Lab logo

Established: 2010

Official Name: Action Lab Entertainment

Place of Origin: Pittsburgh, PA

Distinction: The Action Lab is a group of mad scientists who collectively have over 25 years of comic book creating experience.  After slaving in obscurity and alone for lo, these many years, these quasi-evil geniuses have now gathered together from around the globe to form a secret research and development collective devoted to world domination through the purification of the comic book art form.  The Action Lab has sworn to use its powers for a single purpose — to bring the world the most action packed, most thought-provoking, most entertaining comics available, thereby ushering in a new age of world peace under the dominating yet benign control of the Action Lab[19].

Their first major release, FRACTURE, was released in July 2011 followed by the now two-time Eisner nominated and five-time Glyph nominated PRINCELESS in October 2011. Action Lab continues to publish genre spanning comics from the all-ages MONSTERS ARE JUST LIKE US, and mature reader books like SNOWED IN and DOUBLE JUMPERS.[20]

Action Lab Entertainment is the public front for all the activities of the Action Lab and its members.  Although most of the Action Lab’s activities remain classified, Action Lab Entertainment can disclose that two of its many functions are the marketing of comic books through various sales outlets, and the expansion of their domination into other mediums[21].

Operations: Bryan Seaton (Publisher – Action Lab), Dave Dwonch (President/Creative Director – Action Lab/Danger Zone), Jason Martin (Publisher – Danger Zone), Shawn Gabborin (EIC), Kevin Freeman (Senior Editor – Action Lab), Jamal Igle (Marketing Director)

Output: http://www.actionlabcomics.com/comics-2/

Current Titles: Archon; Awake; Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman; Cyrus Perkins and the Haunted Taxi Cab; The F1rst Hero: Fight for Your Life; Hero Cats: Midnight over Stellar City; Just Another Sheep; Nutmeg; Princeless: Raven, the Pirate Princess; Venture

Upcoming Titles: The Cask of Amontillado; The House of Montresor; I, Mage

Branches: Danger Zone (imprint, mature titles)

Social Media: @ActionLab ; Facebook

Multi-Media: N/A

Adaptive Books logo Established: 2012

Official Name: Adaptive Books

Place of Origin: Culver City, CA

Distinction: We create high-quality content across a range of media platforms from previously abandoned intellectual property. Hollywood-vetted sources such as studios, agencies, management companies, production companies, content/media libraries and estates. We have the experience, expertise and relationships to identify superior content and select premium partnerships to bring our stories to life[22].

We are storytellers, and we love the stories we tell. Adaptive Studios is a first of its kind content creator, acquiring abandoned intellectual property and repurposing it for engagement across a range of evolving traditional and digital entertainment platforms[23].

Our mission is to find the best way to deliver engaging, reimagined content to our audiences[24].

Abandoned IP doesn’t imply inferior quality material. Adaptive partners with Hollywood studios to cheaply and efficiently go through their libraries, pulling out projects that can be restored on digital outlets and marketed to audiences through reimagined, franchise-worthy material including films, television series, novels, graphic novels, web series, branded properties, and more[25].

Securing the orphaned content from feature film studios, award-winning playwrights and bestselling authors, Adaptive works to create new value in these revitalized projects while allowing our studio partners to significantly participate in our success and reformat for a more traditional, film/TV version[26].

Adaptive Studios utilizes digital outlets as a distribution medium and platform to build alternative form audiences and create buzz throughout strategically-targeted communities[27].

Operations: Perrin Chiles (CEO, Founding Partner), Grady Gamble (COO, CFO), Jordan Hamessley (Editorial Director), Stephen Christensen (Creative Executive)

Output: http://www.adaptivestudios.com/projects/

Branches: Imprint of Adaptive Studios.

Social Media: @AdaptiveBooks ; @AdaptiveStudios ; Facebook ; Instagram ; LinkedIn ; YouTube [all for Adaptive Studios]

Multi-Media: Films. Television. Books. Graphic Novels. Digital Series. Social Media Storytelling. Whichever platform best fits the story[28].

 AdHouse Books logo - original

Established: 2002

Official Name: AdHouse Books

Place of Origin: Richmond, VA

Distinction: AdHouse Books LLC has been a boutique publishing juggernaut since the year of 2002. Over the years, they have won and been nominated for awards within the comic profession (Ignatz, Harvey, Eisner) and the design world (AIGA, Communication Arts, Domtar Paper). Their library of publications is an eclectic mix of sequential and illustrative arts[29].

Adhouse is known primarily as a publisher of graphic novels, beginning with 2002’s Pulpatoon: Pilgrimage, and continuing with books like Salamander Dream, and Mort Grim. This output includes the Project series of themed anthologies: Project Telstar, Project Superior, and Project Romantic. In 2004, AdHouse announced that it was expanding to include the traditional comic book format. The AdHouse line now includes several ongoing comic book series, such as Skyscrapers of the Midwest. In 2005, Adhouse began to publish art books, with James Jean’s Process Recess, and a forthcoming PulpHope: The Art of Paul Pope[30].

Operations: Chris Pitzer (Founder)

Output: http://www.adhousebooks.com/books/books.html

Current Titles: http://www.adhousebooks.com/comics/comics.html

Branches: http://www.adhousebooks.com/misc/misc.html

Social Media: @adhousebooks ; Facebook

Multi-Media: N/A

Afterburn logo Established: 2004(?)

Official Name: Afterburn Press

Place of Origin: Florence, KY

Distinction: With over 25+ years of manufacturing and publishing history, Robert W. Hickey, along with his brother Mike and co-creator Bill Nichols, has started AFTERBURN, a publishing arm that offers comics, graphic novels and special items to stores in print and digital formats[31].

Robert is the co-founder of Blue Line Art, the original manufacturer of professional comic book art boards. Blue Line has supplied thousands of artists over the years with quality art boards. Blue Line, the first to package and offer art boards to retail outlets with over 30 different products that support comic creators[32].

Robert created and published Sketch Magazine with Bill Nichols as the current senior editor, offering comic creators their own magazine to learn and share tips and creative techniques of the industry[33].

Robert is the founding force for his SkyStorm Studio where he has created comics for over 20 years. He has created top-selling comic for distribution into mainstream outlets such as Wal-Mart and Toys R Us[34].

AFTERBURN is pulling together new and established talents such as Tom & Mary Bierbaum (Legion of Superheroes, Legionnaires), Greg Land (Iron Man, Avengers), Beau Smith (Guy Gardner, Wildcat from DC) and Chris Dreier just to name a few to create quality and entertaining stories[35].

Operations: Robert W. Hickey, Mike Hickey, Bill Nichols (Founders)

Output: http://afterburnpress.com/shop/?product_cat=comic-books

http://afterburnpress.com/previews/afterburn-preview-2015-springsummer/

Current Titles: Best of Sketch Magazine; Parts Unknown; Skystorm: Origins; StormQuest; Tempered Steele

Branches: http://afterburnpress.com/shop/

Social Media: @AfterburnPress ; Facebook ; Instagram ; Pinterest ; Tumblr ; YouTube

Multi-Media: N/A

AfterShock logo

Established: 2015

Official Name: AfterShock Comics, LLC

Place of Origin: Los Angeles, CA

Distinction: AfterShock Comics is a comic book company that combines the creative edge of an independent comic book publisher with the strengths and experience of a traditional powerhouse[36].

Operations: Mike Marts (Founder, EIC), Joe Pruett (Publisher), Michael Richter (CCO), Jon Kramer (CEO), Lee Kramer (President), Jawad Qureshi (Senior VP), Lisa Y. Wu (Social Media Coordinator)

Current Titles: Dreaming Eaggles; inSEXts; Replica; Super Zer0

Upcoming Titles: American Monster; Second Sight; Strayer

Branches: N/A

Social Media: @AfterShockComix ; Facebook

Multi-Media: N/A

Airship Entertainment logo Established: 1994

Official Name: Airship Entertainment

Place of Origin: Seattle, WA

Distinction: The “Professori” Foglio are writers, painters, cartoonists, occasional performers, and great big hams. They are the creators of the Hugo Award-winning webcomic Girl Genius. [37]

Philip “Phil” Foglio (born May 1, 1956) is an American cartoonist and comic book artist best known for his humorous science fiction and fantasy art. Foglio initiated his long-running character Buck Godot for the publication Just Imagine, published by Denny Misinger. Basing the humorous science-fiction detective on a real-life friend, John Buckley, Foglio “did a couple of those in the black-and-whites and then Donning said they wanted Buck Godot graphic novels”, two of which followed. In the 1990s, Foglio met and married his wife, Kaja. The two contributed art to the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering, from Wizards of the Coast, and resurrected the comic strip What’s New with Phil & Dixie for that company’s Duelist magazine. The Foglios later founded Studio Foglio and began to produce the steampunk-fantasy series Girl Genius. In April 2005, the Foglios abandoned publishing periodical-style comic books and began publishing Girl Genius online as a free webcomic, updated three times a week. Foglio told an interviewer that as of November 2005, “We’ve quadrupled our number of readers, and tripled our sales” of traditional comics and related merchandise[38].

Kaja Foglio (born January 12, 1970) is a Seattle-based writer, artist, and publisher. Foglio co-won the first Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story in 2009 for Girl Genius, Volume 8: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones, and has continued to co-win two Hugo Awards the following years. After graduating from UW, she married Phil Foglio and they founded Studio Foglio, LLC in 1995. The studio became the venue for her art prints; many which have been produced as cards for Magic: The Gathering, as well as a publishing house. Kaja Foglio co-writes and illustrates the webcomic Girl Genius with Phil Foglio. She also serves as the chief graphic designer and webmaster for the Studio Foglio and Airship Entertainment websites. Foglio also contributes to other projects, including providing the illustrations Barry Hughart’s anthology of The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox. In 2009 the Foglios and their colorist, Cheyenne Wright, won the first Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story, for Girl Genius, Volume 8: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones. In 2010 and 2011 the three again won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story. Having won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story all three of its first three years, Kaja, Phil, and Cheyenne announced that, in order to show that the category was a “viable award” (with quality competitors besides themselves), they were refusing nomination for the following year (2012).[39]

Operations: Phil & Kaja Foglio (Founders)

Output: Buck Godot; Girl Genius; Myth Adventures; What’s New

http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/shop.php http://www.cafepress.com/airship/255416

Reprints: Agatha H and the Voice of the Castle: a Girl Genius Novel

Future Reprint: Girl Genius vol. 1: Agatha Awakens

Branches: Imprint of Studio Foglio.

https://www.topatoco.com/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=TO&Category_Code=GEN

Social Media: @girl genius ; Facebook (Girl Genius, Kaja Foglio, Phil Foglio, Kaja & Phil Foglio, Studio Foglio)

Multi-Media: N/A

Alterna logo

Established: 2006

Official Name: Alterna Comics Inc.

Place of Origin: Unknown

Distinction: Alterna Comics titles are distributed worldwide in print and digital formats and in several languages.  A creator-owned comic book publisher, Alterna creators own the licensing and merchandising rights to their creations. Alterna Comics titles are distributed by Diamond Comics Distributors and Partners Publishers Group and can be found wherever books are sold[40].

Operations: Peter Simeti (President & Publisher)

Output: http://www.alternacomics.com/#!graphic-novels/r8j9b

Current Titles: The Actual Roger; Alterna AnniverSERIES; Billy the Pyro; The Black Hand; Bleen; The Chair Special Edition; IF Anthology; Last West; Spring-Heeled Jack

Current Titles: All My Ghosts; Cannons in the Clouds

Branches: FUBAR Press (imprint)

https://www.etsy.com/shop/alternacomics

Social Media: @ALTERNACOMICS ; Facebook ; YouTube

Multi-Media: N/A

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aardvark-Vanaheim

[2] http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/a/aardvana.htm

[3] Ibid

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aardvark-Vanaheim

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Sim

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] https://www.facebook.com/aazurnpublishing/info/?tab=page_info

[9] http://www.garyscottbeatty.com/

[10] Ibid

[11] http://abramscomicarts.com/

[12] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Moore_%28cartoonist%29

[13] Ibid

[14] http://www.accomics.com/history/

[15] Ibid

[16] Ibid

[17] Ibid

[18] Ibid

[19] http://www.actionlabcomics.com/action-lab/

[20] Ibid

[21] Ibid

[22] http://www.adaptivestudios.com/about-us/

[23] https://www.facebook.com/adaptivestudios/info/?tab=page_info

[24] Ibid

[25] Ibid

[26] Ibid

[27] Ibid

[28] http://www.adaptivestudios.com/about-us/

[29] http://www.adhousebooks.com/about.html

[30] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AdHouse_Books

[31] http://afterburnpress.com/about/

[32] Ibid

[33] Ibid

[34] Ibid

[35] Ibid

[36] http://aftershock.world/about.html

[37] https://www.facebook.com/Kaja-Phil-Foglio-196305144555/info/?tab=page_info

[38] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Foglio

[39] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaja_Foglio

[40] http://www.alternacomics.com/#!contact/c24vq

Amble over to this establishment:

Gotham Central ad 2015 feat. Deadpool