At some point during your comic book reading life, you may have begun to gravitate towards specific comic book creators. Itís the same way readers will lean to characters. Maybe itís the way a writer handles flawed characters or how an artist conveys emotion. Youíll begin labeling them as your favorite creators and will keep posted on their upcoming projects. If you are like this, you likely want to see them succeed. Not only is it beneficial for them, but as a reader, youíll have more amazing comics to read. To reach this point, here are some ways to support the industry professionals you admire.
The first, and most obvious, way to support creators you like is to buy their comic books. This goes especially for their creator-owned projects. These donít always get as much attention as theyíre due. Head out to your local shop every Wednesday, or whichever day fits your schedule, and pick up the books you love. Not only are you supporting the creators and books you like, but youíre also supporting your local comic shop and the industry as a whole. This applies to the fans of digital comics as well, minus the comic shop support. Download your comic books from the various digital retailers available.
You may have heard about people downloading comics and think negatively about it. There is nothing wrong with downloading comics. The age of digital comics has ushered in new readers as well as brought lost readers back into the fold. Itís perfect for the fans lacking access to a local shop. They can download their comics weekly and enjoy them when everyone else does. The problem lies with the people downloading them illegally. Doing this hurts everyone in the industry. Creators and publishers are shorted. Retailers, brick & mortar as well as digital, are cut out of the process.
Related to this is spreading the word about whose work you enjoy. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. The various social media platforms have been invaluable for the industry. Mentioning a comic or creator you like on Twitter, Facebook and message boards including our own forums, is a great way to connect. I use Twitter frequently to discuss the comic book industry and have engaged in conversations involving various reading tastes. With a simple conversation, you can inspire friends and strangers alike to check up on an artist or writer youíve followed.
In turn, youíll gain some insight about a book or creator you were either unaware of or of which you possessed little to no knowledge. A personal example is Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite. This mini-series was published by Dark Horse Comics and written by Gerard Way, drawn by Gabriel BŠ, colored by Dave Stewart and lettered by Nate Piekos. It also featured cover art by James Jean. I kept hearing about the series in various places and decided to pick up the trade paperback. It was an instant hit with me and I highly recommend it to anyone.
Another method, specific to artists, is to buy their original comic art. There is a big market for this with numerous websites based around the subject. The best way to score original pieces is purchasing them directly from the artist. This puts the money in their hands. Most, if not all, artists have a website from which you can view and purchases pages of their work. Some artists will have an art dealer who handles that business for them. Also, you can try contacting an artist through one of the many social media outlets.
Outside of the internet, you can shop for art at comic book conventions. Artist alley is one of the most popular sections of conventions because of the direct interaction between fan and creator. You can browse their selection in person and converse with them about their work.
Hopefully this helped you gain a better understanding of the industry in which we all play a role. There are possibly other ways to support who and what you like. Join us in the forums to discuss this topic more.