Joshua Hale Fialkov

Purveyor of sheer awesomeness.

Joshua Hale Fialkov is the Harvey, Eisner, and Emmy Award nominated writer of graphic novels, animation, video games, film, and television, including:

THE LIFE AFTER, THE BUNKER, PUNKS, ELK'S RUN, TUMOR, ECHOES, KING, PACIFIC RIM, THE ULTIMATES, I, VAMPIRE, and JEFF STEINBERG CHAMPION OF EARTH. He's also written for NBC's CHICAGO MED and SYFY's upcoming INCORPORATED.

Photograph by Heidi Ryder

Comics Advocacy

Not a lot of people read anymore. Even fewer people read comics. Independent comics? Even less. Estimates had the complete comic market (meaning people who go to a local comic shop) somewhere around 350k a few years ago. Then, if you look at the percentages of market via Diamond, you realize that just about every publisher not named Marvel or DC combined barely equals one of those two companies sales. In other words, not a lot of people.

That puts you in a peculiar position as a comics fan, and as an independent comics fan specifically. You more or less have to shout from rooftops about every book you love. And that's fucking exhausting.

When I first started in comics, I came to it from this idea of being an advocate. I would scream and shout and harangue people to read the really cool drastically under ordered books that I was a fan of. Hell, I even did it as a weekly columnist for Broken Frontier.

Then, I transitioned to being a publisher and creator. Say what you will about my business, the one thing we did right was get the word out. But, it didn't translate into sales. Probably my favorite stat is that while Elk's Run was busy getting an A review from Entertainment Weekly it was barely selling 900 copies per issue.

I'm not what you'd call a positive person. I'm ultra-critical, to a fault, and, as anyone who's ever spent more than a few minutes with me knows you say the magic words and I turn into a pit bull of rage and anger. But, when it comes to comics advocacy in a public setting, I just can't do that. Instead of dwelling on whatever multi-part crossover is irritatingly selling thousands of times more than any of my books do, I instead scream the praises of Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth, Moon and Ba's Daytrippers, Mark Waid's Brave and the Bold, Darwyn Cooke's Parker novels, etc.

So, look, the point of this ramble is that it breaks my heart to see reviewers and readers harp on books they don't like, reviewing each individual part of a 200 issue crossover rather than saying, "Fuck it, let's read something new."

With TUMOR on it's way to stores in the next few weeks, this idea of comics advocacy is high in my mind. I've had dozens of people come back after reading the digital version or the advance copies from C2E2 tell me how much they love the book, and, I tell each of them the same thing. If you love it, go online. Twitter it, Facebook it. Go to Goodreads and write a review. Amazon reviews. Write it up on your blog.

You have to assume that if you like this book you're the only person in the world with the ability to get your friends and family to read it, because frankly, you are.

So, rather than griping about which Marvel characters are getting their minds wiped or which DC character is rising from the dead, tell people about your favorite independent comic.

Especially if it's Tumor.