Friday, October 10, 2008

The First Choice: Don't Settle For Second Best (1984 Subscription Ad)

I loved First Comics. I'd read plenty of other "independent" publishers over the years, but I don't know that I ever embraced a line from one like I did with First. The company combined corporate comics sensibilities of the '70s & '80s with the name brand talent that produced them, on more personal and quirky works that didn't alienate mainstream audiences. Attempts at a shared universe never quite clicked, and crossovers were usually as bad there as anywhere. Still, it was nice knowing the work of John Ostrander, Mike Grell, Howard Chaykin, Jim Starlin, and so many others were united as part of a focused push of all their comics, equally. "Mars" was never going to sell like "Jon Sable Freelance," but there they are sharing ad space. "E-Man" and "Starslayer?" "Warp" and "American Flagg!" Best of all, you could actually subscribe to them, out of Evanston, IL, on a monthly basis! Why can't something like this exist anymore, merging passionate creators with a professional environment that allows them to produce and pay their bills at the same time? I love Image Comics, but few creators have the business savvy to work off their model. Dark Horse is too big and diverse to allow for that clarity of vision, and like many others are heavily preoccupied with importing and exporting media properties instead of plain old comics. I guess shops like BOOM! and Devil's Due are the closest, but lack the money and reliability. Sigh. I loved First Comics.

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