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    • CommentTimeMay 6th 2008
    That's why I put, alternative, independent, creator owned stuff. I wasn't exactly sure what he was going for when he said Alternative, with the titles he put out. I'm not sure what an alternative comic is, myself. I think of comics in the concept of independent, creator owned, or mainstream. Independent being self-published, as in Jeff Smith or Cerebus. Creator owned, as in Warren Ellis' stuff at Avatar, or Top Shelf's stuff. Or Mainstream, as in DC or Marvel.
  1.  (2115.22)
    No matter what your definition, I think American Splendor can be considered fairly alternative. I second the recommendation for it wholeheartedly. It's a great comic.

    As for what the actual definition is... eh, search me. I've tried mulling it over, but I honestly don't know enough yet about the history of comics to throw terms like that around. I don't think just saying that it's published by DC or Marvel necessarily makes something not alternative. Some of the Vertigo stuff is hardly mainstream material.
    • CommentTimeMay 6th 2008
    Vertigo isn't part of the DC universe either. It's mostly creator owned stuff nowadays. Such as Young Liars I believe to be David Lapham's.
    • CommentAuthorBMTMTC
    • CommentTimeMay 6th 2008
    Has anyone heard of 'Caliber' from Radical Comics? It's a retelling of the Arthurian tale with Arthur the son of a Texas Ranger instead of a king and Merlin is a Half-Native American Shaman. Oh and Excalibur is a Six-Shooter.
  2.  (2115.25)
    I recommend



    These are fantastic books with both terrific writing and art. Sometimes 'alt' means going back a little...
  3.  (2115.26)
    I was going to post what I thought "alternative" meant nowadays and then stevewallace made that big, long post, saving me the trouble. One thing I will say is that alternative as a concept is dead. Maus was alternative, American Splendor was alternative, Persepolis was alternative. Two have had movies and all three are available in bookstores and bought by a wide (but should be wider) range of general readers. While I don't have any data on their overall sales numbers, their exposure and availability to a general audience is far greater than any second-tier "mainstream" comic starring a Marvel/DC superhero that nobody will remember this time next year.
  4.  (2115.27)
    @ James Cunningham

    Perhaps the descriptive 'Alternative' is used because the word 'Comic' can't seem to shake the stigma of superheroes and/or being just a child's medium. Sure, it's the stand-by term we use, but I'd like to see it change in favor of something that can give the medium a bit more equal footing with other media. I believe even the term 'Manga' has lent a little bit of 'seriousness' to the medium lately , even though there's all types for all ages.
  5.  (2115.28)
    Asking "What alternative comics should I read?" is like asking "What superhero comics should I read?"

    It will yield an unusably broad spectrum of answers. As I imagine you'd noticed.
    • CommentTimeMay 7th 2008
    @Val A Lindsay II

    I definitely recommend those, as well. I've read nice stacks of both Lone Wolf and Samurai Executioner, and they are quite awesome. I've never read Path of the Assassin, but I wouldn't have to think twice about any books created by Koike & Kojima.
    • CommentTimeMay 7th 2008
    I don't think that the word comic has that stigma to it anymore. But perhaps that's only to me, because I've grown up with comics, and it's a question more of genre, then the word comic.
    • CommentTimeMay 7th 2008
    Someone mentioned Drawn & Quarterly which reminded me:

    Check out Adrian Tomine. His most recent collection, "Shortcomings," is pretty good.
    • CommentAuthorDouglas
    • CommentTimeMay 7th 2008 edited
    wow, a lot of responses in a day, with a ton of info to digest. i'll try to do it chronologically. (typing with stitches in my middle finger is irritating)
    " ...I wonder what defines "alt comics" these days..."

    "Actually that's a good question. I assumed from the other stuff he'd posted he wasn't looking for Jim Woodring or Crumb type stuff.

    @Douglas Are you looking for stuff that's non-cape? Or stuff that would 'classically' be considered alt comics.. Jim, R. Crumbs work, other indy press stuff from the 60s-90s..

    Honestly I think with so many creator owned publishers out there now it's hard to consider much stuff 'alt' in the sense it was used 20 years ago."

    I'm not quite sure what I mean. I wasn't alive when the alternative "comix" stuff was going on, or at least not old enough to read. I guess I am looking for off the beaten path books, or under the radar stuff. Creator-owned... I guess even stuff like Criminal would count for the sort of things I am looking for.

    "How has no one mentioned Street Angel yet? And with those interests you mentioned, and some of those artists (O'Malley, Corey Lewis, Brandon Graham) do you read any manga? You'll be up to your man-nipples in possibilities if you open that flood gate."

    I think I have heard of that before. I'll add it to the to-buy list. I've read Lone Wolf and Cub, Ghost in the Shell and the first four volumes or so of Blade of the Immortal.

    Thanks for all of the suggestions.
  6.  (2115.33)
    Val- words mean what we tell them to, and change over time. Take "awesome" for example. It's gone from being a serious word to a TMNT catch-phrase to surfer-dude lingo spoken with a southern California stoner vibe to being almost respectable again. "Comics" is a word and how we use it and enforce its definition for the people we speak it to gives it weight. These 30-ish page pamphlets of words & pictures are comics, while the bigger ones are graphic novels, and the trick is to not let other people's definitions drag them down.

    It doesn't help that some people are hopeless when it comes to thinking anything not already in their head, though. They'll always think of comics as Archie and 60s Batman, but there's fewer and fewer of them all the time.
  7.  (2115.34)
    The stigma still kind of exists, though. I know people who are intellectually brilliant but won't touch comics because... well, I don't know, they think they're too advanced for comics or something. It gets me down, it really does. Of course, people in my school are kind of arrogant by nature...

    Lone Wolf is definitely one that I need to get ahold of. I've heard it's brilliant.

    Yeah, I don't really think the definition means much anymore. Like, does Rock and Roll have much meaning anymore? Everything has been so befuddled and recombined over the years. Comic genres are similar.