Alternative Comics (publisher)

Alternative Comics is a U.S. independent graphic novel and comic book publisher currently based in Cupertino, California. In addition to publishing creator-owned titles, Alternative Comics is also a noted publisher of anthologies such as 9-11: Emergency Relief, Hi-Horse, Hickee, Rosetta, and True Porn.

Alternative Comics
AltComics logo
FounderJeff Mason
Country of originU.S.A.
Headquarters locationGainesville, Florida (1993–2012)
Cupertino, California (2012–present)
DistributionConsortium Book Sales and Distribution[1]
Key peopleMarc Arsenault
Publication typesComic books, graphic novels
Fiction genresAlternative
ImprintsSparkplug Books, Manx Media


Alternative Press was founded in 1993 by Jeff Mason — while he was still a law student at the University of Florida[2] — in order to publish Indy Magazine, a magazine devoted to small-label music and comics.[3] (Indy was published in print form with Founder Dan DeBono from 1993–1997 and revived as a digital magazine from 2004–2005).[4]

In 1996, Mason made the decision to publish comics, specifically to give up-and-coming creators their first break in the industry.[5] The company changed its name to Alternative Comics and began publishing such cartoonists as Steven Weissman, Ed Brubaker, and Sam Henderson. At this point, the company established its policy of giving creators "complete artistic and legal control of their work."[6]

In 1999, Alternative Comics published Monica's Story, by James Kochalka and Tom Hart, which satirized the Starr Report's coverage of President Bill Clinton's affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Proceeds from Monica's Story benefitted the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.[7] The publisher also received mainstream notice for publishing 2001's Titans of Finance: True Tales of Money and Business, by R. Walker and Josh Neufeld;[8] and 2002's 9-11: Emergency Relief, a post-9/11 benefit anthology.[9][10][11]

In 2003–2004, the company expanded its offerings, debuting new ongoing titles by such cartoonists as Graham Annable, Scott Campbell, Damon Hurd, Nick Bertozzi, and Josh Neufeld, as well as a number of one-shots and graphic novels. Alternative faced a major financial challenge in 2004 as a result of the 2002 bankruptcy of the distributor LPC. The company scaled back its publication schedule and was forced to cancel a few titles.[5]

Mason operated Alternative Comics from 1993-2008, when the company went defunct.

In July 2012, it was announced that Alternative Comics was resuming operations under the new general manager Marc Arsenault, and moving to Cupertino, California.[12][13]


Cartoonists who have published with Alternative include Graham Annable, Gabrielle Bell, Nick Bertozzi, Brandon Graham, Asaf Hanuka, Tomer Hanuka, Tom Hart, Dean Haspiel, Sam Henderson, James Kochalka, David Lasky, Jon Lewis, Matt Madden, Josh Neufeld, Dash Shaw, Jen Sorensen, and Sara Varon.

The company is also known as a distributor for Xeric Foundation award-winners, such as Leela Corman, Derek Kirk Kim, Neufeld, Bishakh Som, Sorensen, Karl Stevens, Lauren Weinstein, and many others.

Ongoing or limited series

  • Alternative Comics, 2003–2013
  • Bipolar, by Asaf Hanuka, & Tomer Hanuka, 2001–2004
  • Detour, by Ed Brubaker, 1997
  • A Fine Mess, by Matt Madden, 2002–2004
  • Hickee, by Graham Annable, Scott Campbell, Joe White, et al., 2003–2007
  • Injury, by Ted May, et al., 2012-
  • Magic Whistle, by Sam Henderson, 1998–present
  • My Uncle Jeff, written by Damon Hurd & illustrated by Pedro Camello, 2003
  • Peanutbutter & Jeremy, by James Kochalka, 2004 (ISBN 1-891867-46-6)
  • The Power of 6, by Jon Lewis, 2006
  • Reich, by Elijah Brubaker, 2017
  • Rosetta, edited by Ng Suat Tong, 2003–2005
  • Rubbernecker, by Nick Bertozzi, 2002–2004
  • Slowpoke, by Jen Sorensen, 1998–2004
  • A Sort of Homecoming, by Damon Hurd and Pedro Camello, 2003–2007
  • Spectacles, by Jon Lewis, 1997–1998
  • True Stories, by Derf Backderf, 2014–present
  • True Swamp, by Jon Lewis, 2000–2001
  • Urban Hipster, by David Lasky & Greg Stump, 1998–2003
  • The Vagabonds, by Josh Neufeld, 2003-2006
  • Yikes, by Steven Weissman, 1997–1998

Selected titles

  • 9-11: Emergency Relief, by various writers and artists, January 2002, ISBN 1-891867-12-1.
  • Aim to Dazzle, by Dean Haspiel, 2003
  • The Cute Manifesto, by James Kochalka, 2005, ISBN 1-891867-73-3.
  • Fancy Froglin's Sexy Forest, by James Kochalka, 2003, ISBN 1-891867-47-4.
  • Fantastic Butterflies, by James Kochalka, 2002, ISBN 1-891867-18-0.
  • Further Grickle, by Graham Annable, 2003, ISBN 1-891867-55-5.
  • Grickle, by Graham Annable, 2001, ISBN 1-891867-01-6.
  • Monica's Story, by "Anonymous," James Kochalka, and Tom Hart, 1999
  • The Mother's Mouth, by Dash Shaw, 2006, ISBN 1-891867-98-9.
  • Never Ending Summer, by Allison Cole, 2004, ISBN 1-891867-66-0.
  • Opposable Thumbs, by Dean Haspiel, 2001
  • Peanutbutter & Jeremy, by James Kochalka, 2004, ISBN 1-891867-46-6.
  • Pizzeria Kamikaze, written by Etgar Keret & illustrated by Asaf Hanuka, 2006, ISBN 1-891867-90-3.
  • The Placebo Man, by Tomer Hanuka, 2006, ISBN 1-891867-91-1.
  • Quit Your Job, by James Kochalka, 1998, ISBN 1-891867-00-8.
  • RabbitHead, by Rebecca Dart, 2004, ISBN 1-891867-72-5.
  • Red Eye, Black Eye, by K. Thor Jensen, 2007
  • Salmon Doubts, by Adam Sacks, 2004, ISBN 1-891867-71-7.
  • Stickleback, by Graham Annable, 2005, ISBN 1-891867-80-6.
  • A Strange Day, written by Damon Hurd & illustrated by Tatiana Gill, 2005
  • Strum and Drang: Great Moments in Rock 'n' Roll, by Joel Orff, 2003, ISBN 1-891867-27-X.
  • Subway Series, 2002, ISBN 1-891867-14-8.
  • Sweaterweather, by Sara Varon, 2003, ISBN 1-891867-49-0.
  • Titans of Finance, by R. Walker & Josh Neufeld, 2001
  • True Swamp, by Jon Lewis.
  • Waterwise, by Joel Orff, 2004, ISBN 1-891867-82-2.
  • When I'm Old, by Gabrielle Bell, 2003, ISBN 1-891867-43-1.
  • The White Elephant, written by Damon Hurd & illustrated by Chris Steininger, 2005, ISBN 1-891867-64-4.



  1. ^ IDW moves to Penguin Random House for book distribution
  2. ^ Guzzetta, Marli. "Geoffrey Mason, 36, Comic Book Publisher, Attorney. Claim to Fame: He's a Heroic, Underground Publisher of Cool Comic Books," Gainesville Magazine (April/May 2005).
  3. ^ Doherty, Brian. "The embarrassment of riches," Reason 29.4 (Aug./Sep. 1997), pp. 21-27.
  4. ^ Wolk, Douglas. "Lawyer, aka Graphic Novel Publisher," Publishers Weekly 251.11 (Mar. 15, 2004), p. 34.
  5. ^ a b Nadel, Dan. "Financial Woes at Alternative Comics," Publishers Weekly 251.42 (Oct. 18, 2004), p. 10.
  6. ^ MacDonald, Heidi. "Alternative comics offers just that," Publishers Weekly 249.51 (Dec. 23, 2002), p. 30.
  7. ^ Beyette, Beverly. "This Was an Affair to Remember--and Satirize," Los Angeles Times (Feb. 16, 1999).
  8. ^ McGeehan, Patrick. "Dumbed Down on Wall St.: Junk Finance, With Pictures," New York Times (June 3, 2001).
  9. ^ Lew, Julie. "Comics Turning Tragedy Into Tribute," New York Times (Dec 29, 2001).
  10. ^ Rahner, Mark. "Comic books find post-Sept. 11 roles ; Cartoonists' creations help them, others cope with terror's impact," The Seattle Times (Jan. 22, 2002).
  11. ^ Shapiro, Stephanie. "Comic Book Artists Draw Inspiration from Sept. 11," Orlando Sentinel (Jan. 31, 2002), p. E9.
  12. ^ MacDonald, Heidi. "Indie Comics Publisher Alternative Comics to Relaunch," Publishers Weekly (July 25, 2012).
  13. ^ Rongere, Azadeh. "Alternative Comics relocates to Cupertino, adds new GM," Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal (July 31, 2012).

Sources consulted

External links

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Alternative Comics

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Alternative Comics (publisher), a U.S. comic book publisher

alternative comics, a label for a range of comics, when written with extraneous caps

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