There was a point in time when new publishers were popping up all over the place. They’d come, make some sort of splash, and then just quietly fade away.
It’s heartening to see another publisher entering the fray. AfterShock Comics is entering the publishing arena with a host of notable creators such as Garth Ennis and Paul Jenkins. They don’t have a huge roster of books or creators, but the creators they do have are solid.
The last publisher to have a decent splash was Valiant, and that was because they were bringing back a beloved universe and characters. Thankfully, they’re still publishing, and doing it with flourish.
AfterShock, though, hasn’t produced anything just as yet. Getting things all set up takes time. Getting into the monthly game is risky, and in order to play it well, you need money (because everyone needs to be paid, from the creators to the printers) in order to get issues in the can. The issues are coming, though. And they’re doing it smartly. They aren’t coming out shotgun style with a lot of different books. They’re coming out with a roster of creator-owned material that will be grown over time.
This is very much unlike CrossGen Comics, who gave the impression that they were looking for all kinds of creators from all over to create a new universe—only to take established creators and work on a new universe of the owner’s making, and then create a lot of books, most of which didn’t go anywhere.
Creating an integrated universe to rival Marvel and DC takes a lot of doing. Marvel and DC didn’t start out integrated. That came about after years of publishing, and it was organic. Standing up an integrated universe from day one is daunting. That’s why many don’t do it.
I’m very happy that AfterShock comics is here, though, and I’ll be watching them. Not for them to fail, because their failure is just another blow to comics that we don’t really need. Instead, I want to see what they’re doing right in terms of genre and book length (ongoing vs minis). Things we can all learn from.