Mar 09 2009
These are some of the biggest comic book companies. Knowing which publishers are geared towards your style of writing or art will help you decide which publishers to apply to. (Please note that I tried to stay away from publishers that do not accept unsolicited queries, like Marvel and DC Comics).
- Dark Horse. Not nearly as large as Marvel or DC, but it still chalks up about 5% of the market. They work with a wide variety of stories, but not very many traditional superhero stories. DH is one of the only publishers that accepts scripts unaccompanied by art samples. (That’s really useful if you can’t afford to put together an art sample).
- Image. It does a few superhero stories, but they usually have some satire or other spin on the genre. A lot of its stories focus on material that is supernatural, gritty or just plain loopy. Its series are mostly creator-owned.
- Top Cow. Their art tends to be more realistic and dark. Their stories sometimes have a sci-fi, cyberpunk element. They are… ahem… not shy about using sex appeal.
- Zuda Comics. This is DC’s webcomics division. The idea is that webcomics compete against each other and fans pick a winner. The winner gets a contract.
- Boom Studios. They have a very wide range of material, but humor and horror tend to stick out the most.
- IDW. Initially known for horror, but now they also specialize in licensed properties like Transformers and GI Joe.
- Abacus Comics. They only publish ongoing series with at least four issues in the can. Their art tends to be anime-inspired. The colors tend to be bright and lively.
- Avatar. Avatar does a lot of work that is ridiculously dark and “edgy.”
- Oni Press. Its series tend to have a more cartoonish style. It also has some dark, emoish cartoons, like Black Metal. It doesn’t do much in the way of superhero stories.
- Devil’s Due. Very eclectic. Its series include traditional military action (GI Joe, The Corps), wacky investigator stories (ODD Squad, The Lost Squad), horror, and a bit of fantasy. Hardly any superhero stories.
- Tokyopop. They publish manga, not comic books. A typical American comic book will have around 24-32 pages, but manga is much, much longer and uses a less laborious style of art. If you want to publish manga-inspired comic books, do so elsewhere.
- Red 5 Comics. Best-known for Atomic Robo. Their work tends to be offbeat (like a teen angst about the son of a supervillain, or Atomic Robo). It looks like Midknight is also about a superpowered family.
- Bluewater Comics. “With stories that range from classic myths, science fiction and superheroes to Hollywood legends such as William Shatner, Roger Corman [and] Ray Harryhausen… Bluewater is a fresh voice in comic publishing.” Bluewater’s artistic quality seems very uneven. Some of the art is respectable, but some of it makes me want to drive a railroad spike through my eyes.
- Arcana Comics. Canada’s largest comics publisher. Many of its comics have a fantasy, sci-fi or supernatural bent, but it also has a few traditional superhero series. Its webcomics have a wacky, eccentric bent. A few of its series deal with political issues, mostly from a left-liberal angle.
- Viz Media. They do manga and anime.
- Gettosake. Focuses on “urban style animation, comics and illustration.” It looks like most of their characters are African-Americans. Some of their projects relate to African-American history (Nat Turner, the Underground Railroad, etc). The production quality looks fairly high, but the publisher doesn’t look like it has really gotten off the ground yet.
- SLG Comics. Specializes in dark, offbeat humor. Its series are creator-owned. In 2005, it added an imprint (Amaze Ink) that would publish more genre-oriented series. They also do some Disney-licensed series, like Gargoyles.
- Komikwerks. Specializes in webcomics, particularly the kid-friendly World of Quest. It also has some grittier fare, such as a WWII werewolf story and a cop drama.
- Moonstone Books. Focuses on gritty comics about private investigators and the like. Some of their works also have a spooky supernatural bent (werewolves, mummies, etc).
- Top Shelf Productions. “Hip but endearing.” They have a very broad range of stories, from gritty sci-fi (The Surrogates), comics for kids (Johnny Boo), superhero satire (Marshal Law), some historical stuff (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Moving Pictures). Many of TSP’s series look deep and somber.
- Teshkeel Comics. Mostly involved with distributing American comic books in the Middle East. However, they also some original work of their own. As you might imagine, that tends to focus on young characters from around the Islamic world.
- Chimaera Studios. Your guess is as good as mine. They have a few traditional superhero stories, a few horror series, some sci-fi, etc. Some of their works are marketed as humor.
- Digital Webbing. Focuses on superhero stories, supernatural noir and supernatural investigator stories.
- Sweatdrop Studios. They’re a UK outlet that produces English-language manga.
- Dabel Brothers Productions. Focuses on comic book adaptations of novels.
- AK Comics. This Egyptian company has a focus on Middle Eastern stories, but it also prints in English. It doesn’t look very professional, though. They’ve been up for 4 years and don’t have a website in place yet?
- SuperReal Graphics. Its name is a bit of a misnomer… its art is notably bad compared to pretty much any of the other companies listed here. On the plus-side, their titles are all creator-owned and it looks like they’re very welcoming of newcomers.
- Markosia. They have a lot of fetish-looking stuff. They also have grim sci-fi that looks very professional and well-done, but umm, yeah. A lot of fetish stuff.