The Big List of Indie Comic Books Companies

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The Big List of Indie Comic Books Companies

Thanks for visiting Indie Comics Zone — a site designed to help you get published! Something that comes up all the time is a solid definition of what we mean by indie comic books, which is short for independent comics.


This is more important than ever, as the world of comic books and is growing — don’t believe that it is not. Thanks to the popularity of the superhero genre in movies, television, and in video games, Marvel and DC are making huge profits on their iconic characters. In a way, the current era is a new golden age for comics. While all of that is happening, the traditional Manga-style comics from Japan and South Korea (known as Manhwa) are gaining in popularity all over the world, including the United States and Canada.


So, while it might be difficult to wrap your head around who are the major companies involved in producing independent comics in the U.S. and Canada… and that definition means simply, who is making comics besides DC and Marvel. Since this comes up a whole lot, we wanted to take a stab at creating a list of the companies involved in the indie comic book world:


First of all — YOU. The new creators who are just starting out who are publishing their first book online or in print. It could mean a small group of professionals who are creating their own creator-owned stories. Many of these indie creators are listed on our site — check them out when you have a moment!

Independent Publishers: A-B


Portland-based ABLAZE PUBLISHING was co-founded in 2019 by Rich Young, who is known for his work at Dynamite Entertainment and other publishers.


ABLAZE PUBLISHING says that they will release a variety of titles — in different formats, genres, and age ranges — original material, crowdfunded titles, reprints, art books, including international titles from Europe, Asia, and more.


The mantra of ABLAZE is “quality first.” One of their first titles was “Vampire State Building” which is a story about a soldier who must face an vampire attack on the iconic Empire State Building.



This indie publisher began in 2009, founded by Tony Kittrell and is based on the belief that fans and reader satisfaction is of the utmost importance.


ADVENT COMICS is focused on providing high-quality comics and fan satisfaction. Genres ranging from Action/Adventure, Horror, Romance, Fantasy, Religion, Science Fiction, Crime Noir/Thrillers and of course Superheroes, ADVENT says their fans have “been thoroughly satisfied and remain consistently loyal.”


It’s nearly a whos-who of creators which have contributed to ADVENT COMICS over the years, including Bart Sears, Andy Smith, Andrew Dalhouse, Joe Illidge, Greg LaRocque, Rich Buckler, Chris “Crisscross” Williams, Jimbo Salgado, Allan Goldman, Netho Diaz, Ed Dukeshire and more.


ADVENT COMICS also has a creator-owned imprint called UNBOUND REALMS that has included up-and-coming creators such as Travis Hill, Jonathan Hedrick and longtime industry veteran Mike Baron.



While we were not quite sure what to post here for this publisher — as they famously filed for bankruptcy protection in 2022 — we felt that they ought to be included. Frankly, like soooo many comic book characters, AfterShock looks like they are “still alive” as their site is still posting books for sale.



Antarctic Press is based in San Antonio, Texas, and was founded in 1984 by Ben Dunn. Antarctic is known for publishing titles in different genres, including science fiction, fantasy, horror, and humor. They focus on creator-owned titles, and have helped to launch the careers of many new creators over the years.


Antarctic has a strong commitment to diversity and representation in the comic book industry, and regularly publishes titles featuring characters and perspectives which are often underrepresented in mainstream comics. Antarctic has an open submissions policy, which you can check out here. 


Antarctic Press has also been involved in other media projects, including the development of a feature film based on the “Gold Digger” comic book series. “Gold Digger” is a fantasy and adventure series created by Fred Perry. The series is set in a world where magic and technology coexist, and follows the adventures of Gina Diggers, a young adventurer and treasure hunter. “Gold Digger” has been published in various forms since 1991, and has spawned a number of spin-off titles and crossovers, and has been adapted into a role-playing game.



Believe it or not, Archie Comics has been around since 1939, and they publish a lot more than just the adventures of Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead. Even though they started with those core characters, the Archie “Universe” grew in the 1950s with the addition of spin-off titles like “Josie and the Pussycats,” and the 1960s they added “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” The U.S.-based company also launched several new series, including and “Jughead’s Time Police.”


Through the 1980s and ’90s, Archie Comics faced challenges, as the popularity of superhero comics and other genres began to overshadow traditional teen-focused comics. Into the face of this adversity, the company continued to publish its core titles, and introduced new characters and storylines.


In the 2000s and 2010s, Archie went through a major rebranding, with a renewed focus on contemporary storytelling and art styles. The company launched several new series, including “Life with Archie,” which explored alternate timelines for the characters, and “Afterlife with Archie,” a horror series featuring the characters in a zombie apocalypse.


Now, Archie Comics has found success in other media — like television shows on The CW and Netflix — with series such as “Riverdale” and “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”



AWA Studios (which is short of Artists, Writers, and Artisans), was founded by a group of industry veterans, including Bill Jemas, Axel Alonso, and Jonathan Miller. Jemas had previously worked as Marvel Comics’ president, while Alonso had served as Marvel’s editor-in-chief. The company launched in 2018 aiming to produce comics and graphic novels across multiple genres. They also focus on developing intellectual property that can be adapted into other forms of media, like  TV and movies.


Some of AWA Studios’ first titles were “The Resistance,” a series about a global pandemic, and “Archangel 8,” a supernatural thriller. The company has since released several other titles, including “Old Haunts,” a crime series, and “Year Zero,” a post-apocalyptic series.


AWA Studios has a number of high-profile creators working for them, including J. Michael Straczynski, who has written for Marvel and DC Comics (and also created the cult sci-fi series “Babylon 5”), and artist Frank Cho. Mr. Cho’s “Fight Girls” title is among AWA’s most popular.



Black Mask Studios is a  graphic novel and comic book publishing company formed in 2012 by Brett Gurewitz, Matt Pizzolo, and Steve Niles, whose aim is to support indie creators. A The company was designed to “not meddle” in their creators’ work, and to assist in making their alternative stories possible and accessible to a public which was used to the Marvel/DC duopoly.


Over the years, Black Mask has more than lived up to that design, as they have been an important home for many up-and-coming creators like Kwanza Osajyefo, Holly Interlandi, and our friend Pat Shand. His book, “Destiny, NY,” which was published by Black Mask, was recently picked up by Sony Pictures Television.


Watch our indie comics panel from GalaxyCon Richmond, which features Pat as one of the panelists.



BOOM! Studios is an U.S.-based comic book and graphic novel company, founded in 2005 by Ross Richie and Andrew Cosby. BOOM! was founded with the goal of publishing a wide range of indie comic book titles, with a focus on innovative storytelling and a commitment to creator-owned work.


At the start, BOOM! focused on printing licensed properties, including “Warhammer 40,000,” “Farscape,” and titles from “Disney’s Pixar.” BOOM! Studios gained wide recognition in 2008 with the publication of “Irredeemable,” an acclaimed series about a superhero turned supervillain, written comics veteran by Mark Waid.


After that time, BOOM! published a wide range of titles and in 2013, the company formed a partnership with 20th Century Fox to produce comic book versions of their properties, including “Planet of the Apes,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and “Firefly.”

Independent Publishers: D-I


Dark Horse Comics is comic and graphic novel publisher founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson. During the first few years of publication, Dark Horse published creator-owned titles and licensed properties, including “Star Wars,” “Aliens,” and “Predator.”


In 1992, they released what would soon be their flagship title, “Sin City,” created by Frank Miller — who was famous for his work at Marvel on “Daredevil” and at DC for “The Dark Knight Returns.” Miller’s “Sin City” was a critical and commercial success and helped establish Dark Horse as a major player in the industry.


Dark Horse, which is a U.S.-based company, continued to publish a wide range of titles throughout the 1990s and 2000s, including superhero comics, science fiction, and horror. They also began to expand into other media, including video games, film, and television.


In 2004, Dark Horse took an early lead into the digital realm of comics when they launched, Dark Horse Digital. This platform allowed readers to purchase and read comics online. Now Dark Horse is a part of the Embracer Group, which, according to the Embracer website is an “entrepreneurial businesses developing and publishing PC, console, mobile, and tabletop games and other related media for the global games and entertainment market.”


Dynamite Entertainment is an U.S.-based comic publisher founded in 2004 by Nick Barrucci. The aim of Dynamite was founded with the goal of publishing a wide range of comic book titles, with a focus on licensed properties, including characters from movies, television, and other media. In the beginning, Dynamite primarily focused on publishing titles featuring classic characters from the pulp era, including “The Shadow” and “Doc Savage.”


Dynamite Entertainment gained wider recognition in the late 2000s and 2010s, with the publication of several popular series, including “Red Sonja,” and “Vampirella.” But the publication of “The Boys” changed everything for Dynamite.


The Boys” was written by Garth Ennis and illustrated (for the most part) by Darick Robertson, which is set in a world where superheroes exist and are idolized by the public, but are also corrupt and reckless, causing collateral damage and injuring innocent people in their battles. “The Boys” was first published by DC’s Wildstorm imprint in 2006, but was later moved to Dynamite. The series was critically acclaimed and commercially successful, and was adapted into a TV series for Amazon Prime in 2019.


Recently, Dynamite has been publishing comics based on “Elvira – Mistress of the Dark,” “The Garbage Pail Kids,” and “James Bond.”



Heavy Metal is a magazine and comics publisher which was founded in 1977 by Leonard Mogel, who was also a former publisher of National Lampoon. Heavy Metal published sci-fi and fantasy stories, as well as showcasing the work of European artists, who were not widely known in the U.S. at the time.


The book became widely popular in the 1980s and ’90s, as they regularly showcased the work of many prominent creators, like Moebius, Richard Corben, and Simon Bisley. They’ve also published original graphic novels and other related products, including music compilations and merchandise.



IDW Publishing began publishing comics and graphic novels in 1999, and was founded by Ted Adams, Alex Garner, Kris Oprisko, and Robbie Robbins. At the start of their time in business, IDW focused on licensed properties, including “CSI,” “Star Trek,” and “Transformers.” But in 2004, IDW published their first original title, “30 Days of Night,” created by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith. “30 Days of Night” was a critical and commercial success, and helped establish IDW as a major player in the comic book industry.


Since then, IDW has continued to publish a wide range of titles, including both licensed and creator-owned properties.


In 2014, IDW launched their own line of creator-owned titles, called “IDW Creator-Owned,” which allowed them to publish original titles by independent creators.


IDW continues to find success with their many “Star Trek” titles, and have been creating comics based on the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” franchise, “The Rocketeer,” “Godzilla,” and even “My Little Pony.”



For anyone who was around in 1992 to watch it unfold, the creation of Image Comics was a monumental shift in how people viewed “mainstream comics.” Image was founded by seven artists — Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Erik Larsen, Marc Silvestri, Jim Valentino, and Whilce Portacio. All of these men had found fame through their work at Marvel or DC, but wanted to be able to reap the rewards of their hard work — beyond a simple “work for hire” contract.


At the time of launch, Image focused mainly on superhero titles, including “Spawn,” “WildC.A.T.s,” and “Youngblood.” But since then, Image expanded to include a wide range of genres, including horror, science fiction, and slice-of-life stories. Even as 30 years have passed since the rumble sent across the industry, Image has remained a company where the creators own their properties, which sets them apart from Marvel and DC.



Iron Circus Comics is an indie publisher founded in 2007 by C. Spike Trotman, known for publishing science fiction, fantasy, horror, erotic, and humor comics. They have also made a name for themselves for their focus on sex-positive and LGBT-positive titles.


They stand by their commitment to publishing creator-owned titles, and have launched the careers of many new creators. Among the most popular titles in the Iron Circus library “Poorcraft,” “Cucumber Quest,” and “Smut Peddler.”


“Smut Peddler” features short comics by a variety of artists and writers, with each volume focusing on a different theme or genre within the erotic genre. The series is known for its sex-positive approach to storytelling, and for its focus on promoting diverse and underrepresented voices in the erotic comic book genre. The series has been praised for its high-quality artwork and storytelling, as well as its commitment to diversity and representation. A wide range of creators have put their stamp on the book over the years, including Jess Fink, Blue Delliquanti, E.K. Weaver, Carla Speed, Trudy Cooper, and Doug Bayne.

Independent Publishers: M-Z


Mad Cave Studios was founded in Miami in 2014, and is focused on publishing creator-owned titles in the horror, fantasy, and science fiction genres. They are well-known for the “Mad Cave Talent Search,” an annual contest allowing new and emerging creators to submit their work for consideration.


Mad Cave produced a bunch of several successful titles over the years, including “Wolvenheart,” “Stargazer,” and “Battlecats.” This title — which may or may not be a feature film one day — might be the most popular book produced by Mad Cave. Thanks to the talents of Mark London, Michael Camelo, Tekino, and Miguel Angel Zapata, “Battlecats” series features epic battles, political intrigue, and a richly imagined world filled with interesting characters and creatures.



Portland-based Oni Press is a comic book and graphic novel publisher, founded in 1997 by Joe Nozemack. Like many other companies on this list, they were founded with the mission of publishing creator-owned comics titles that focused on humor, romance, and action.


Oni Press has published quite a few influential titles, including “Blue Monday” by Chynna Clugston-Major, “Scott Pilgrim” by Bryan Lee O’Malley, and “Queen & Country” by Greg Rucka. Fans might note that “Scott Pilgrim” was adapted into a live-action movie, which has now achieved cult status among many.


Oni Press was acquired by Lion Forge Comics, and the two companies merged to form a new publishing entity called “Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group.” Now the Lion Forge Comics moniker appears to have been retired, and Oni Press is the official brand for comics, while Lion Forge is an animation house, which creates projects for companies like Sony and NASCAR.



Scout Comics is a U.S.-based publisher, founded in 2015 by James Haick, so he could create books with a focus on unique and innovative storytelling. Thanks to this mantra, Scout has published several popular titles over the years, including “The Mall,” “Stabbity Bunny,” and “Long Lost.”


Scout expanded into other media, including film, television, and video games. They’ve also launched several imprints over the years, including “Black Caravan,” focusing spefically on horror and supernatural stories, and “Non-Stop,” which publishes action and adventure titles.



Source Point Press was founded in 2012 by Joshua Werner and Travis McIntire, which initially focused on publishing horror and science fiction books, with a mix of creator-owned and licensed properties. Among their library of titles, Source Point can claim that “Monstrous,” “Boston Metaphysical Society,” and “Norah” are among its most popular.


In 2020, Source Point Press merged with Waxwork Comics, a horror-centric comic book company, to form a new entity called Source Point Press: Horror. The company also uses crowdfunding regularly on their projects, and they also have a variety of merchandise available on their website.



Valiant Comics was originally founded in 1989 by former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Jim Shooter and several other industry veterans. Shooter wanted to create a shared universe of superheroes that would be distinct from those of Marvel and DC Comics. Valiant Comics is known for many titles, including “X-O Manowar,” “Harbinger,” and “Bloodshot.”


In the early ’90s, Valiant set sales records with a number of their titles, and in 1994, they were acquired by video game company Acclaim Entertainment. Valiant characters appeared in several video games. But, in Valiant shut down in 2000, because of financial difficulties and declining sales.


Valiant Comics was relaunched in 2011 with new creators, and a new lineup of titles that included updated versions of many of their classic character. This new version of Valiant Comics has been successful, with several of their titles ranking among the best-selling comics of recent years. Their “Bloodshot” character was featured in a major motion picture in 2020, starring actor Vin Diesel.



Vault Comics was founded in 2016 by Damian Wassel, Adrian Wassel, Nathan Gooden, and Tim Daniel. Vault has published several popular titles over the years, including “Heathen,” “Fearscape,” and “Money Shot.”


The company says that their aim is to publish original, creator-owned science fiction, fantasy, and horror comics and graphic novels, from both new and well-known creators.


Recently, they announced their new “Headshell” line, which will focus on comics created by musicians. According to their website, the Headshell project will work with “iconic recording artists to create unique graphic novels that resonate with artists and audiences.” The musicians who are attached to this project are Metallica, Def Leppard, The Beach Boys, Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, and Redman.



Zenescope was founded in 2005 by Joe Brusha and Ralph Tedesco, which is best known for publishing dark and twisted fairy tale retellings, including “Grimm Fairy Tales” and “Return to Wonderland.” They’ve also worked with known IPs, including a comic series “Charmed,” which was based on the popular television show of the same name. Like most of the rest of the companies on this list, Zenescope does publish creator-owned titles.


Since that time, Zenescope says that they have ”become one of the most recognized independent comic book and graphic novel publishers in the world.” Based out of Horsham, Pennsylvania, Zenescope has worked with a number of companies, translating their content into comic book form. Those include The Discovery Channel, History Channel, CBS, Lionsgate TV, Mandalay Vision, New Line Cinema, and Titmouse Studios.


Fans can subscribe to the Zenescope Comics titles (via their website), and can also subscribe to their latest art prints as well.



2000 AD is a British comic book anthology, first published in 1977 by IPC Magazines. The first issue of 2000 AD featured several popular titles, including “Rogue Trooper.” Since that time, 2000 AD has published many popular and influential titles, including “Strontium Dog,” “Nemesis the Warlock,” and “Sláine.” They are known for the distinctive visual style, which is characterized by bold colors, strong lines, and a heavy use of shading.


But, for Americans, 2000 AD is known for one thing — Judge Dredd. The character was created by writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra. Dredd is a law enforcement officer in a dystopian future city known as Mega-City One, which covers most of the eastern United States. Judge Dredd is known for his strict adherence to the law and his unflinching determination to bring criminals to justice, often using extreme methods and violence to do so.


The character has become an iconic figure in the comic book industry, and has been adapted into several movies — first starring Sylvester Stallone and then Karl Urban — television shows, and video games.


Dredd is one of the most recognizable and enduring characters in the comic book industry. He’s even crossed over into the DC Universe to face Batman.

PLEASE NOTE: This list does not constitute any endorsement of products or services. This list is presented for informational purposes, and there is no guarantee or recommendation stated or implied.

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