Archie Comics is still blazing trails in comics.
This time around, they’ve gone to Kickstarter to try to get some comics made. Sure, Top Cow did it with Cyberforce, but that didn’t feel like it was going to last, did it? Not to me. And while it’s still being published, it also doesn’t feel like it’s going to continue much longer.
Top Cow doesn’t have the reach or longevity that Archie Comics has. If Marvel and DC are the top, then Archie is definitely a solid second-tier publisher. They have a core audience with a large base. Top Cow, as a single entity, doesn’t have that. They fall under the Image banner, but broken out by themselves, they aren’t as big as Archie.
Don’t forget that Archie was the first publisher to go day and date with their digital offerings. Marvel and DC followed suit later, but Archie led the way, proving it was “safe.”
And they’re doing it again.
They’re also drawing criticism for it. I don’t get some of the ire that the “little guy” has against having Archie on Kickstarter. They aren’t stealing dollars from anywhere. Archie has a different audience than most of the books individuals are producing and trying to fund on Kickstarter. If there’s going to be any ire at all, it should be against the reward tiers.
From what I can see, all the rewards are stupidly overpriced. Honestly, who’s going to pay $10k to pitch a story and only be credited as an executive producer for their trouble and expense? (What does “executive producer” mean in the sense of comics, anyway?) Who’s going to pay $7k to appear as a character in a single panel? Sure, you also get physical copies of their 75th anniversary books, a KS exclusive comic, a digital download of a comic and a couple more gimme’s, but really, it’s stupid, and anyone who pays that kind of money for that kind of reward can afford to create their own comic and hire me to edit them.
Yes, Archie is forging a path. Hopefully, if Marvel and DC decide to follow in their wake (I hope not), they’ll have a reward system that is much better thought out than this.