This was a fun panel to attend. It reminded me a lot of Art School. A lot of time was spent trying to decide just what “Underground” meant. Is it the quality of a book? Is it the amount of money backing a book? Is it anything not Marvel or DC? Is it an aesthetic? Is it Do It Yourself or can it still be underground if printed through a publisher? All very interesting questions and the conversation that ensued was great. It’s such a gray area, much like the question, “What is art?” Something I think about quite often.
Jason Leivian, owner of Floating World Comics, arguably the BEST comics store
ever, came up with the topic. The focus was on underground comics
becoming the new mainstream. On one hand many underground artists and
writers are now working for Marvel and DC, giving them an underground
feel. Also, as Jason was proposing, there are so many “underground”
comics in the market today that it may be becoming the new “mainstream”
as underground gains popularity and more people are starting to explore
comics outside the big publishers.
I would love to see the underground share of the market overtake the
mainstream. It would be nice to see the majority of comics take on a
more personal air and not just be two big publishers duking it out in
spandex. I think this would help bring in an even more diverse audience.
been doing this in Japan for decades! Last I heard 30% of everything
published in Japan was comics. They have comics about everything you can
think of; housewives, school, business, and of course demons and
robots. Nearly everyone in Japan reads comics.
of the big companies is driven by the money flowing in from
advertisements. They dictate what can and can’t be shown and will
demolish anything they fear is cutting into their profits, even firing
people that speak out against them. Underground, you don’t have to
answer to anyone. You can express yourself more freely. Of course, even
underground comics can get you in trouble with Johnny Law, but there
tends to be more freedom of expression and a more DIY attitude which I