All comics in this section are copyright
John MacLeod. All rights reserved!
This is my pet area of interest in comics. I've always
believed it's more
important and more fun to make comics than to read
them. My involvement with
self-publishing has always been in the area of small press, so that's
primarily what I'll be
discussing here. For years I've been telling anyone who'll listen,
"Publish your own small
press comic! It's great experience and great fun!" And the ones who
listened, even ones who
had never made a comic before, learned that it was great
experience and great fun!
Blowing My Own Horn (My Small Press Background)
My first small press venture was The Mundane Adventures of
Dishman (usually just
called Dishman) in 1985. The book is perhaps best described as
"slice-of-life character study/superhero satire", I guess.
I've published ten issues of Dishman to date,
and done reasonably well with them.
For all you completists, Dishman has also appeared in the
professional press a few times.
In 1988, [the now-defunct]
Eclipse Comics published an anthology of the first six small
press issues. This rare collector's item is now worth cover price
Dishman appeared in cameos in [the now-defunct]
Onward Comics' Ultra Klutz #29
and [the now-defunct] Tragedy Strikes'
Cheese Heads #5.
[hmmmm, I'm beginning to notice a pattern here....
Also, a full-color six-page Dishman story
appeared as a back-up in [the not-yet-defunct?]
Topps Comics' Satan's Six #3.
For info on some of my other comics,
or if you're interested in buying any of my sutff
please check out my
As you can see, one of the coolest things about small press
is the freedom to do whatever you want,
without being shackled by genre, market considerations, or even your
own past work. Try it, you'll like it!
Small Press Questions
Earlier, I said "everyone should publish their own small press
comic", but I'm the first to admit
that it might not be that simple. Heck, I had no idea where to
start when I wanted to get into
small press: it's only through the patience of Chester Brown and a
couple others that I found out what
I needed to know to get started.
So if any of you think you might be interested in small press
comic publishing, but have questions about it,
you might wanna check out my
Small Press Comics FAQ.
Pretty Big For Small Press
Matt Feazell, best known as the creator of
Cynicalman, is one of small press's most prolific,
popular, successful, famous and influential creators. You can e-mail
if you want to order his books, have questions
about how he does it, how does it feel to be so amazing, etc etc etc
Through the vast small press snailmail network, I set up a
Randy Reynaldo, a name you ought to know. Randy first tried to
break into comics
by publishing the b&w indie comic Rob Hanes a few years ago.
Not a runaway best-seller,
but it caught the eye of a few professionals who were taken by its
Alex Toth look and political-thriller storyline: both stood out from
the garish supermutant pack.
Randy reconsidered his position in the comic market, and happened to
discover small press around
the same time. He continued to publish Hanes adventures in the small
press comic Adventure
Strip Digest for a few years, honing his skills, learning more
about the business,
gaining yet more professionals as fans and admirers, and
winning pretty much every small press award possible in the process.
In late 1994, Randy re-entered the independent publishing field,
and the new shelf-sized
Adventure Strip Digest hit the stores, to somewhat better
industry attention and success this time. And things are just
snowballin' from there! If you're curious
about Randy's work, look no further than
here! Or, if you have questions about how to publish a
"real" comic through "real" distributors into "real" comic
stores, you can e-mail Randy thru the links at that there site, I'm pretty
sure he'll answer ya...
Another Name to Conjure With
I first ran across the work of Mike Sagara in his small
Hey Neeters!, which ran for six or so issues to great acclaim
in the small press world.
And no wonder: Mike is one of the best anthropomorphic artists you'll
ever see! I make no secret
of my envy for Mike's strong clean line, his solid sense of setting,
his ability to make you see
everything with a sensation of great detail while actually using very
few lines, his Roy Crane-ian use of a minimum few gray tones to
whole spectrum of reality. Mike Sagara's art is a powerful
inspiration for me. And I admire his
decision as a storyteller to use the anthropomorphic "medium" to
explore relationship issues
in a "realistic" milieu as opposed to the usual genre work-outs.
Mike then "graduated" to the big press as the artist for
the first issue of the indie book Shanda,
which can be hard to find but is well worth the effort.
Hey, if you didn't feel like checking out my
FAQ, you might still wanna visit
Tool Talk where we get into pens
and bristol and... and, y'know, comics tools. Hey, why not?
John MacLeod --