10 most enduring freelance comic book publishers of all time

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Independent publishers have been part of the comic book industry for decades. While many of these publishers aren’t as well-known as the big two, they often publish work that not only rivals them, but is sometimes better. In today’s market, independent comics are a great place for creators to spread their wings and tell the kinds of stories they want. In the past, they’ve tried to break the Big Two’s grip on the industry or tell stories that weren’t the usual superhero fare.

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With so many great independent comics on the shelves, it’s always nice to go back to the history of independent publishers and look at their accomplishments, to see how many of them have stood up against huge competition.


ten Eclipse Comics is best known for bringing Alan Moore’s Miracleman to America

Miracleman Marvel Neil Gaiman Mark Buckingham

Eclipse Comics began in 1978 and lasted until 1993. Many creators made their debuts at Eclipse, such as Chuck Austen, Chuck Dixon, Tim Truman and Scott McCloud. The publisher has published books by Neil Gaiman as the Magic flute; The Rocket by Dave Stevens; and even adapted The Hobbit. The publisher was known to team up with UK publishers and brought the Miracle man to America.

Miracle man is a classic and the publisher’s best-known book. In its later years, Eclipse faced issues from flooding its home office to divorce from owners, which led to its closure in 1993.

9 IDW Publishing is best known for its licensed titles

IDW Publishing first opened in 1999, and although they don’t have the creative cache of other independent publishers as very few of their books are original titles, they have released many titles familiar to fans of all walks of life. of pop culture. Star Trek, Transformers, ghost hunters, Doctor Who, GI Joe, Sonic the hedgehog, and others have all been released by IDW, as well as the horror classic 30 days of night.

In recent years, Disney and IDW have entered into a publishing deal, with IDW reprinting old Disney comics and obtaining the license to publish. Star wars and Marvel titles for young readers. Readers can always find something great at IDW, especially those who love heritage properties.

8 Gold Key Comics is best known for releasing comics based on the biggest shows of the ’60s.

Gold Key Comics began in 1962 and lasted until 1984. But his greatest successes came in the ’60s when he was the king of licensed comics. If it was on TV that decade, Gold Key would publish a comic book based on it, often using stills from the shows as covers. Of Star Trek To The twilight zone To Dark shadows, if the baby boomers were watching it, Gold Key probably made a comic book of it.

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The publisher also put out Disney, Looney Tunes, and Hanna-Barbera comics, and is behind characters like Turok and Solar that would be bought by Valiant Comics after Gold Key’s demise. Gold Key was an important part of the 60s comic book industry and one of the pioneers of licensed comics.

7 Image Comics is the current champion of the independent market

Image Comics began in 1992, when Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Erik Larson, Marc Silvestri, Whilce Potracio, and Jim Valentino left Marvel and started their own businesses. Since then, Image has published some of the best independent books of all time. The publisher has gone through many changes since its founding, from a company run by artists to one best known for having the greatest comic book authors on board.

Image is the current poster for the independent comedy scene. Almost every major Marvel and DC creator has published a picture book. Some of its properties have also enjoyed mainstream multimedia success, being adapted into films, TV shows, video games, etc.

6 Drawn & Quarterly has long been one of the best independent publishers

Pulled & Quarterly

Founded in 1990, Drawn & Quarterly is essentially the independent comic book company of independent comic book companies, which actually makes a lot more sense than it looks. Having started by publishing underground and alternative comics, it has since expanded to publishing European classics translated for American audiences. Drawn & Quarterly has true independent credit, with creators like Daniel Clowes, Lynda Barry, Yoshihiro Tatsumi and many more working for them.

Not only do they publish comics, Drawn & Quarterly also operates a physical bookstore in Montreal, selling comics, novels, and more. Drawn & Quarterly is indie in its essence, sharing a true passionate love for comics with the world.

5 Dark Horse Comics is one of the most trusted names in the business

As of 1986, Dark Horse Comics has been a titan of independent publishing. Two of his most popular books are Frank Miller City of sin and the various productions of Mike Mignola Hellboy and BPRD comics, but they’ve done so much more. Not only did they release some of the best licensed comics of all time, but they also brought manga from mangaka like Masamune Shiro and Katsuhiro Otomo to America in the 1990s.

In recent years, Dark Horse has been home to Jeff Lemire Black hammer books; Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba’s Umbrella Academy; and the suites of Chuck Palahniuk Struggle club novels. Readers have trusted Dark Horse for nearly forty years, and the company rarely really disappoints its audiences.

4 Fantagraphics is one of the oldest independent films in modern comics.

Locas Amour And Rockets

Publisher Fantagraphics began publishing comics in 1976 and has since released some of the best independent comics. Start by publishing the comic book magazine The comic book review, they found success in 1982 when they started releasing the Hernandez Brother classic Love and rockets, as well as independent classics like Acme News Library, Eight-ball, and To hate.

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Fantagraphics has weathered many storms in the comic book industry and has always managed to pull it off, releasing great independent comics, bringing European books, and also running its own bookstore.

3 Charlton Comics became more popular after his death

Charlton-Comics-The-Atom

Charlton Comics began in 1946 and lasted until 1986. The publisher’s characters are quite familiar to modern readers, as DC has purchased the rights to many – including Blue Beetle, The Question, Captain Atom, and more – and have used these characters in their books for decades. Charlton has always been a little behind the trends, but great designers have worked on it.

Comic book heavyweights like Steve Ditko and Dick Giordano worked on it in the ’60s and although it is now best known for its superheroes, they have released comics from a wide variety of genres over the course of of their forty years of history. Although largely overlooked by the general public during its lifetime, the company has since earned a great deal of well-deserved respect for everything it has contributed to the industry.

2 Dell Comics was once one of the best-selling comic book publishers, independent or not.

Carl_Banks_Uncle_Scrooge_Back_to_the_Klondike

Dell Comics debuted in 1929, originally publishing comic books. Like many publishers of his day, he ended up publishing a wide variety of books of all kinds and claimed in 1953 that he was the largest comic book publisher in the world, with around 26 million copies. per month.

Before closing its doors in 1973, Dell was best known for Four colors, a comic book anthology that spanned thirteen hundred issues, as well as his Walt Disney comics, including the iconic Carl Barks Scrooge comics where the beloved character was first introduced.

1 Archie Comics is one of America’s oldest comic book companies

Everyone calls Marvel and DC the Big Two, but in reality it probably should be the Big Three, as Archie Comics has survived in the industry from the Golden Age as well. Best known for Archie Andrews and his friends and foes in Riverdale, the characters in Archie Comics are just as well known as the Big Two superheroes and have gone on to become a multimedia celebrity over several decades.

Archie Comics is still releasing the Archie Comic Digests which everyone remembers from trips to the grocery store, as well as more standard comics for the direct market. Archie Comics has also released all manner of licensed and superhero books and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon, with the success of The CW’s grainy adaptation. Riverdale help keep Archie’s characters relevant for a whole new generation.

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