The longer I’ve been an indie comic book publisher, the more I became convinced of the very simple rule: Indies should never use superheroes. Never.
Most indies do use comic books. Some think they can do better than Marvel and DC. Some just want to write superheroes but don’t work for The Big Two. And others want to get The Big Two’s attention.
But many indies actually want to create something special, something unique, something artistic.
Well: Superheroes are not the way to do it!
Reason #1: You Will Always Be in the Shadow
Marvel and DC, together, have more than 100 years advantage on you.
Look at superheroes as an environment – a vacuum that can be filled and has been filled by The Big Two: You’ve already got the super strong one, you’ve got the fast one, the invisible one, the stretchy one, the spider one, the octopus one, the vulture one, the cat one, the bat one, the dark one, the funny one, the sad one, the psychopath one, the boy one, the girl one, the dog one, the future one, the past one, and literally thousands more.
DC and Marvel have had decades to fill the ‘vacuum’ in the ‘environment’ – each one has his or her own niche.
Anything you do in a populated environment (overpopulated, actually,) will be just a teeny tiny spec in that environment. You will be a shadow on the wall, if you’re lucky.
Reason #2: You Will Never Be Big
If you look at superhero stories as an environment, you’ll see that all the big spaces are occupied.
You were hoping to carve out a big space for yourself? Well, if you write your own superhero, you won’t get one. The positions have been filled.
Reason #3: You Will Never Own Your Success
In the unlikely event that you become successful with an indie superhero comic book, you will never own your own success.
The ‘superhero’ is not trademarked by The Big Two. But the concept might as well be.
You will always be ‘another superhero’. You will always be a variation on decades of comics, TV, and films that have already been done.
Your success will be The Big Two’s success, as well. And they’ll profit more from it than you will. Any superhero you use, will feed their brand. Because even thought they don’t legally own it, they physically do.
So what’s the solution? How can indies succeed? How can indies become big?
There is a way! Here it is:
The Solution: OWN Your Success!
The solution is to write into an ‘environment’ that’s not over-populalted.
In fact, there are so many genres, so many types of stories that could be explored and created, so many tales to tell – that there are thousands of empty environments for you to choose from!
We are so stuck in our belief that comics should be about superheroes, that we can’t see that ‘superheroes’ are just a miniscule part of what can be done and achieved in comics.
Rather than play in someone else’s enviroment with superheroes that are all-but owned by Marvel and DC, why not carve out your own empire with your original material?
If you write about superheroes, you won’t carve out any empire, not even a small one. You’ll just be a shadow on someone else’s wall.
Sure, it’s hard to do. But did you really think you could become big by doing something easy?
What do YOU think? Let me know in the comments!
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