LA Comics: In defense of the comiciness of LA

L.A. Comics #1 (1971)

New York gets all of the credit. Sure, the comic book industry was born there. Sure, the largest publishers are based there. Sure, hundreds of artists live in and around there. But that doesn’t mean Los Angeles is bupkis.

Not to start a pissing contest (because truthfully, LA would lose this one), but I don’t think LA gets trumpeted enough for its rich comics community. And thanks to a healthy creative spirit (and yes OK, the lure of Hollywood), it’s only getting stronger.

So join me now in a quick survey of

DC Comics is currently moving their now-defunct WildStorm and Zuda imprints to Burbank, and merging them into their new digital comics division. Marvel Studios, the Hollywood arm of Marvel Comics, calls Manhattan Beach their home. One of the largest North American publishers of manga, Tokyopop, has its main headquarters here in the Variety Building on Wilshire. Stan Lee lives here, where he runs POW! Entertainment. Also in town is Boom! Studios, who have partnered with Stan Lee on new comics, and are also publishing Disney comics. It’s definitely worth mentioning the great publisher Archaia Comics, home to Mouse Guard, Tumor, Return of the Dapper Men, and other critically acclaimed reads, which has an office in mid-Wilshire. Down in Gardena is Digital Manga Publishing, which has just released manga like Vampire Hunter D on the Nook (possibly the first to do so). Bongo Comics, publisher of Matt Groening’s Simpsons comics, is in Santa Monica. There’s also Marc Silvestri’s Top Cow Productions, publishers of Witchblade and The Darkness, and the late Michael Turner’s Aspen Comics, produces Fathom. And in West LA is Platinum Studios, they publish Cowboys & Aliens, soon to be a major Hollywood movie.

We’ve also got some fantastic comic book stores in every area of this sprawling city with a great variety of style and approach to retailing: Meltdown Comics on Sunset, Golden Apple on Melrose, The Secret Headquarters in Silver Lake, House of Secrets in Burbank, Hi De Ho in Santa Monica, Earth-2 in Sherman Oaks, The Comic Bug in Manhattan Beach and tons more!

LA is also the home to one of the most important non-profit organizations helping the comics industry today. The Hero Initiative raises money to give back to comic creators who have fallen on hard times. They have provided over $400,000 to comic creators in need.

Because of animation studios like Nickelodeon, there are tons of artists that cross over into comics in this town. There are countless artists, as well as artist studios like Latchkey Studios. And the Comic Art Professional Society (CAPS), a networking organization for creators that meets monthly in Burbank. Seriously, there are too many artists to list, so I’ll just point you to Tom Spurgeon’s massive list of Comics By Local Scene 2010. Scroll down to Los Angeles and be impressed (although I see at least one who no longer lives here, so don’t take it as the bible.)

The newspaper biz isn’t left out either. The Creators Syndicate is one of the largest independent distributors of comic strips, representing B.C., Andy Capp, Archie, Heathcliff, Rugrats, Liberty Meadows, and others.

LA is also pretty well represented in the comics journalism corner of the industry. Comic Book Resources, probably the #1 source for comics and comics-related news today, has their headquarters within spitting distance of Golden Apple. G4 has also been known to cover comics, like on “Fresh Ink Online” and “Attack of the Show”.

We can’t really be beat in the comic convention arena. A 3-hour drive south is all it takes for San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Even closer is the Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con. Even closer still is the new Long Beach Comic Con. And word recently broke of a promising new convention, the Comikaze Expo, scheduled for next November in the LA Convention Center.

And every week there are comics events going on all over the city.

So yeah. Not bad!

And I’m sure there’s plenty more that I’m missing. Please tell me about it in the comments or email me.

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