Friday, 27 July 2012

So, what's with all the indie books in my buy pile?

So, by the time of writing this I have come to realise that the ratio of my buy pile has taken a severe twist in the last 6 months.
A few years ago, I recall my buy pile consisting of nothing but Marvel titles. Then, along came a couple of unknown titles by this guy Mark Waid. Irredeemable was released followed a few months later by Incorruptible, and thus began my introduction with the more independent books.
Who is Jake Ellis? Well, he's the reason
for my move towards reading indie books.
Since that time, I've picked up an indie book here and there. I've got Greatest Hits by Vertigo in a box somewhere and I started collecting Hellboy in dribs and drabs and the Mass Effect comics whenever they appeared and then, finally, at the tail end of last year I picked up the unbelievably awesome Who is Jake Ellis? which, to be honest was the beginning of where I find myself now.
As of this moment, I have nearly a half dozen books in my buy pile which are not one of the big two. The Activity by Nathan Edmondson and the Massive by Brian Wood are my two ongoing titles while Jonathan Ross' America's Got Powers and new release Punk Rock Jesus are the limited series included. One top of this I have the first issue of Think Tank on pre-order for August 2012 and I've also picked up Jonathan Hickman's the Nightly News on Digital (for which I still don't believe I missed it first time round).
So, I gotta ask myself, what's with all these independent titles which have found their way into my buy pile? How did they manage to topple the big two (though mostly Marvel)?
In truth, there are two reasons for my absolute about-turn regarding the number of indie titles in my list. The first being that, while they are the big two and, as a result, hold the lion's share of the market, for me they both are now getting a bit stagnated and boring, to the point that I'm tending not to care (I wrote about that somewhere else).
However, at the same time, the fundamental truth is that these independent and creator-owned titles are actually really, really good. The books I have myself picking up month after month are not over-hyped by a big corporate marketing ploy like "The New 52" or "Marvel Now!", but are simply released for readers to pick up and judge on their own merits. No hype, no assumptions, just good stories. Not one of my indie books was not recommended to me by my local shops (little swines that they are, I'm poor enough with them peddling more on me). This guy is going to me "alright mate, try this book it's really awesome" and after some umming and arring I crumble (weak willed bastard I am) and pick them up. And you know what, he's right every single time. This books are infinitely more engrossing. I guess the reason for this is these creators, Edmondson, Waid, Wood et al are NOT creating for some corporate entity who will, in the end, have rights over whatever these souls create. These books are THEIRS! Their stories, their thoughts, their feelings and, at the end of the day, shouldn't they deserve the fruits of what their imaginations create.
Regardless of any other reason, my buy pile is full of independent books because they are good. Really good. If this quality is how every indie book is written, and the big two continue to feel as boring as they have been, I'd be more than happy to replace the lot with these books, and provide my coin direct to the creators.

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