Among many mainstream comic book vendors at Hamilton Comic Con sits an oasis of independent artists and publishers. The convention offers comic book fans and those who love nerd culture a chance to expand their interests. The event also offers independent comic book artists, writers, and publishers the chance to promote their work.
Independent comic book publishers often operate quite differently from the mainstream giants like Marvel and DC Comics. Indie publishers don’t have the same resources or aims as larger publications.
“Comic book creators have different goals, and different ways to create their comics,” explained Alfonso Espinos, the chief editor of Nightspike. “That is what makes [comics], especially indie comics, so rich in variety.”
Independent artists don’t always have the luxury of working within one style, either. Michael Derrah, the artist behind Our War, said the comic took him out of his comfort zone. He explained that his typical style is often inspired by science fiction, whereas, Our War has a grittier tone.
“I had to try to make my artwork fit that story so I had to make it a little bit darker, a little more grounded,” said Derrah. “It was actually very difficult for me to do.” He explained that he had to find inspiration in other artists who have a style similar to what he was aiming for.
Often indie artists are new to the scene and face particular challenges because if it. Chris MacDonald, co-creator of Warbats, explained that Warbats is his first comic. He said while he made the comic he learned to work page-by-page to get it done.
“If you try and rush it, it’s just going to take even longer because you’ll make mistakes along the way,” said MacDonald. However, making these comics is not all trials and tribulations. MacDonald explained that he was happy when he finished because so many people had told him how hard it is to finish a comic.
“We’re just doing this because we enjoy comic books,” said Derrah. “We enjoy the culture around it and we like hanging out with people.”
He explained that making comics is more of a hobby for him as he has a full-time job in film. He said he might always remain a small indie artist and that it makes his work “like an Easter egg, … a gem you can discover.”