6 Great Resources For Lovers Of Comic Books
When many people think of comic books, images of Superman, Captain America, and Black Widow likely come to mind. However, the medium encompasses a much wider range of stories and characters, from LGBTQ-themed narratives to graphic novels that explore societal issues. Here, in no particular order, are groups dedicated to shining a spotlight on this diverse storytelling form.
At #1 is LDComics, a women-led comics forum in the United Kingdom. The volunteer organization is comprised of artists who host comic-related events worldwide, while providing a platform for creators to test new works and ideas and share their unique perspectives. Meetings are held in cities including New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Birmingham, London, and Bristol, and feature academics, publishers, and fans.
In 2016, the group released the Hometown Comic Anthology, which highlights stories about members and their hometowns. LDComics is also featured as a chapter in The Inking Woman, edited by LDC co-founder Nicola Streeten and Cath Tate. The book spotlights the history of female cartoonists from the eighteenth century to the present day, and includes examples of their work as well as commentary.
In the #2 spot is the Small Press Expo, a nonprofit created in 1994 to promote producers of independent comics. Its annual festival in Bethesda, Maryland, the largest of its kind in the US, provides a forum for artists, writers, and publishers to present comic art to the public that is not accessible through normal commercial channels. The convention includes formal panel discussions and such offsite events as academic seminars, book signings, and school outreach programs.
SPX runs the Small Press Expo Graphic Novel Gift Program, which is targeted at public and academic library systems in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. This program focuses on promoting learning and literacy through graphic novels and comics. Publishers contributing to the initiative include Adhouse Books, Drawn & Quarterly, Fantagraphics, Koyama Press, and Top Shelf.
Entering the list at #3 is the Pop Insider, a source for news on collectibles, toys, games, and entertainment. The site covers the latest updates on the DC Comics, Marvel, Disney, and Star Wars franchises, including movie release dates, merchandise, and special events. In addition, it features reviews of graphic novels and books about the comics industry.
Through its We Be Geeks Podcast Collective Weekly Roundup, the Pop Insider showcases a curated selection of podcasts across such varied interests as classic science fiction, music, and pop culture. Special guests include creators and talent like Street Fighter actor Miguel A. Nunez and author Gail Simone, known for writing the Birds of Prey series. Members of the site's editorial team regularly make appearances on the program, as well.
Showing up at #4 is Prism Comics, a leading non-profit, all-volunteer organization supporting LGBTQ-friendly comic books. Founded in 2003, it has exhibited and presented panels at conventions around the country, including Comikaze, MoCCA Art Festival, and the Alternative Press Expo. Visitors to its website can explore creator profiles, which feature photo galleries, status updates, and real-time notifications for various events and activities.
The group's ALPHABET anthology features artists who apply for the Prism Comics Queer Press Grant, an award helping creators publish and promote their graphic novels, zines, and other work. This compilation also showcases the creations of industry veterans and newcomers. Meanwhile, the organization's pop-up shop boasts a special selection of autographed books and comics, including The Complete Wendel by Howard Cruse and Aquaman: Tempest, signed by Phil Jimenez.
Coming in at #5 is Uncivilized Books, a boutique comics publishing house based in Minneapolis. It specializes in graphic novels, zines, books, and Critical Cartoons, a series that explores the history of the genre. Among the artists on its roster are Sophia Foster-Dimino, M.S. Harkness, and Jon Lewis.
ODOD Books, the company's young reader imprint, features such titles as It Never Happened Again, That Night, a Monster, and the acclaimed Musnet series, which was nominated for a Prix Angouleme. Other accolades for the company include Best Mini Comic in the 2019 DiNKy Awards and the prestigious Ping Prize. Uncivilized Books is also known for Craig Thompson's Ginseng Roots series, classified as a combination of memoir, travelogue, and essay.
Wrapping up the list at #6 is ComicConnect, which claims to be the world's premier online auctioneer of vintage comic books, original art, and pop culture memorabilia. The company offers complimentary appraisals, comic book grading, and estate services. Founders Stephen Fishler and Vincent Zurzolo have appeared in multiple media outlets including Forbes, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, and Time Magazine.
ComicConnect holds monthly auctions featuring such classic works as Batman, Black Panther, and Daredevil. Other popular items include pulp magazine titles like Fantastic Adventures, The Shadow, and Amazing Stories. In partnership with its sister site, Metropolis Collectibles, the company regularly attends conventions across the globe at places such as New York Comic Con and Lucca Comics & Games.