Comics

6 Alternative Comics Publishers You Need to Know — And Read

Goat graffiti don't lie.
Goat graffiti don't lie. Art by Liz Suburbia/Courtesy of Silver Sprocket

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click to enlarge Sandoval's surreal artwork chronicles his own true-to-life journey of border hopping from Mexico to Arizona in Rendez-Vous in Phoenix - ART BY TONY SANDOVAL/COURTESY OF THE MAGNETIC COLLECTION
Sandoval's surreal artwork chronicles his own true-to-life journey of border hopping from Mexico to Arizona in Rendez-Vous in Phoenix
Art by Tony Sandoval/Courtesy of the Magnetic Collection
Magnetic Collection
Formerly known as Magnetic Press, the newly christened imprint was acquired by Lion Forge Comics after a few years of publishing outstanding material from international cartoonists. Mike Kennedy, who spent years plying his trade at Dark Horse Comics, started the company with his wife, Elizabeth, as a small operation in Chicago focused on bringing great foreign-language comics to the direct market as well as some U.S.-based works.

Translating most of the titles himself, Kennedy and Magnetic published works from Mexican cartoonist Tony Sandoval and French artist Bengal (who did character designs for the game Overwatch), some of which were nominated for Eisner Awards. Magnetic also published comics projects from Tom DeLonge of Blink-182 as well as a children book from actor Rob Schneider.

And the standard of quality of a Magnetic book goes beyond what’s printed on the page, all the way to how the book comes together. Thick paper stock, strong binding, and striking hardcovers are staples of nearly all of their offerings, making them a beautiful addition to any bookshelf.

Your Black Friend is a comic you should read, if only so you don't sound like an asshole whenever you try to talk about race. - ART BY BEN PASSMORE/COURTESY OF SILVER SPROCKET
Your Black Friend is a comic you should read, if only so you don't sound like an asshole whenever you try to talk about race.
Art by Ben Passmore/Courtesy of Silver Sprocket
Silver Sprocket
When it comes to punk-rock publishers, few embody that pervasive, DIY-attitude quite like Silver Sprocket, run out of a basement in San Francisco. With comics anthologies from punk musicians, zines from a diverse range of artists, and comics from Tumblr masters like Benjamin Passmore, Silver Sprocket has carved a niche for itself on the indie scene.


You can find them easily at most conventions where they table, especially at San Diego Comic-Con where they stand out with a bunkbed set up in their booth. But their comics are readily available online for an affordable rate.

Last year, Silver Sprocket published Passmore’s sometimes funny, always poignant mini comic called Goodbye, a touching look at internal struggle, personal ethics, and group sex. They also republished a colorized version Passmore’s comic Your Black Friend, which is especially relevant in this country’s current culture.

click to enlarge For a few Strong Female Characters, look no further than Beaton's wonderfully biting comic strips. - ART BY KATE BEATON/COURTESY OF DRAWN & QUARTERLY
For a few Strong Female Characters, look no further than Beaton's wonderfully biting comic strips.
Art by Kate Beaton/Courtesy of Drawn & Quarterly
Drawn & Quarterly
Some of the greatest cartoonists in the history of the medium have published works with Montreal-based publisher Drawn & Quarterly, including renowned creators like Seth, Chester Brown, and Daniel Clowes. And they continue to stay relevant by publishing the work of Kate Beaton, collecting her Hark! A Vagrant! comic strips in multiple volumes.

They also publish works from Lisa Hanawalt, the hilarious character designer of Bojack Horseman, in comic collections like Hot Dog Taste Test and My Dirty Dumb Eyes.

Last year, the company published the acclaimed work from Michael DeForge called Big Kids as well as Mooncop by Tom Gauld. They also acquired the rights to reprint the seminal work Blankets from cartoonist Craig Thompson. Drawn & Quarterly is probably home to your favorite cartoonist’s favorite cartoonist.

Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version.
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Joseph Schmidt
Contact: Joseph Schmidt