THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS DISTURBING, GRAPHIC, AND INAPPROPRIATE IMAGES. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. There is an age-old question in the comicbook community that sparked debates and confrontations. What is an indie comicbook? Many people had claimed that it is a comicbook published by neither DC nor Marvel. Some said that it is that type of comicbook which explores diverse genres, weird art, and weirder story lines. It defies all standards set by mainstream comicbooks, it caters to people who are looking for something different, something exotic, and something “original.” But all of these merely describes what an Indie comicbook is, but it does not necessarily define what it really is.
So here’s the thing, I am not as well educated as my co-gladiators are in the realm of the comicverse. I know you people have heard and read this before, but what is it really? What makes it different? Is it the art, the story, the weirdness? Does it have to do with movie adaptations, does it count that Marvel has more movie offerings than, let’s say, Image Comics or Dark Horse? Does familiarity with the characters count? So many questions, but still no definite and concrete answers.
So, for scientific reasons, I decided to do a little research on Indie comics, and here’s what I found out. According to wikipedia (because we trust wikipedia), Indie or Alternative comics, covers a wide range of comicbooks which appeared in the 1980s. It was originally an underground movement, which serves as an alternative to mainstream superhero comics. It has a wide range of genres, artistic styles, and subjects. As we can see, Indie comics served as an option or a choice, it revolutionized and diversified our tastes in comicbooks, it shattered the monotony that was superhero stories. Let’s be clear here, I am not claiming that Indie is better than the mainstream comics, Marvel introduced us to Captain America, the X-men and the whole Avengers team, DC brought us Batman, Superman and the Justice League. On the other hand, Vertigo created Leonidas and his brave 300, V, and Mad Max, Image served us Lazarus, Spawn, and Walking Dead. Some, if not most, of the characters were not born with superhuman powers, neither were they exposed to radioactive spiders nor gamma rays. However, some of them were born with a weird condition, like that girl in Sex Criminals, or that other girl in They’re Not Like Us, or that alien girl from Saga (I’m not being sexist/feminist here), but somehow they end up being heroes, well sort of. Story-wise, Indie comics offers a wide array of genres, you can say it’s like a box of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, you’ll never know what you’ll get. At one point you’ll read something about the last man on earth and his monkey companion, or that story about Apocalypse’s four horsemen, make that three horsemen, since Death decided to fall in love and father a child, or that spooky house full of rooms with different keys and the family living in it. As to its art, well just refer to the images here, and you’ll see that it’s not as bad as some people think. After all that’s been said and done, here is my take on what Indie comics really is. It is a revolution that breaks all the boundaries set by superhero stories, it is a defiant child seeking attention and doing it loudly. It is a conglomeration of different genres that is fierce, colorful and exciting. It does not have to live behind the shadow of its mainstream counter part, it is not an alternative to superhero stories anymore, it became sui generis, a class on its own. We may have different tastes in comicbooks, we may have different opinions about what genre is the best, we may fight over the pros and cons of Indie and Mainstream, but at the end of the day, we could all agree that reading comicbooks, in all its cliches and glorified weirdness, takes us to that magical world, that is our imagination, and that makes us extremely happy. _________________________________________________________________________________ Phoebe is a lawyer wannabe and moonlights as Gladiator’s all around girl. She usually dabbles in arts and crafts, and loves writing about the dark side of the moon. #Awesome