comic conventions [like] Emerald City Con and Jet City Con, but we offer space to smaller self-publishers who make their books in smaller batches and often by hand.” a storefront in Georgetown. While filled with comics from floor to ceiling, the store functions as not only a mecca for independent-comic fans but also as a gallery and venue.
“[The store] hosts several events every month, many of which are intended to promote local artists and their books,” Reynolds said. “Our store manager, Larry Reid, is very actively involved…and goes out of his way to schedule programming that promotes the local scene as much as Fantagraphics.”
While not involved in Short Run directly, Reynolds said that many Fantagraphics employees attend or are actively involved with the event. A Short Run after-party was even held in the store.
“We’ve been proud to make the store something of a hub for the scene,” Reynolds said.
Fantagraphics has proven that there is a market for independent comics from a variety of genres, with an adult demographic.
“We tend to pride ourselves on not specializing in — or particularly looking for — a genre of work,” Reynolds said. “Our goal is to publish the best work from the entire spectrum of cartooning, regardless of the genre.”
Independent publishing gives artists the space to explore any genre imaginable, in any manner they please. Artists agree that this is the main incentive of staying independent and underground.
“You retain a lot of control over what you’re putting out,” said Colleen Borst, one half of Tacoma’s Mend My Dress Press and a Short Run participant. “You lose hardly any creative control, and you’re able to work with people in the DIY community.”
The drawback? Establishing a small press or printing comics costs some money, and going independent is one of the only ways an artist can get their work into the public eye.
“Most of the cartoonists I associate with self-publish their comics because it’s the only way they can afford to,” Froh said.
“I’m not a rich kid, so I have to put all of my own money into it,” Palm said. “I’m not trying to make money on it, so I just want to make my money back, if possible.”
Fantagraphics is also no stranger to financial struggles.
“It’s always been a business with slim margins, that results in some lean years,” Reynolds said. Fantagraphics almost folded several times, with its worst threat occurring in 2003. “The industry itself seems constantly in flux these days, which is always a
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