Like many facets of life, the comics industry has been effectively brought to a halt by the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Although the comic book industry’s primary distributor, Diamond Distributors, no longer shipping new books for the foreseeable future and the release of most new print and digital comics canceled, there are still plenty of ways to support the comic book stores and creators that keep the comics industry going.
While comic book superheroes might be at the center of pop culture, many comics creators are feeling the financial strain of these uncertain times. While there are plenty of ways to support comics shops or find new comics, here are a few ways that you may be able to support comics creators directly.
While it may not seem financially feasible for many, purchasing or commissioning original art from artists is one of the most direct ways to support creators. Even if original art from a specific series is prohibitively expensive, there’s never been a better time to see if artists are taking commissions or offering sketches, and as Donny Cates pointed out on Twitter, this is also a great way for creators to support each other.
If shipping has become spotty in your area, some creators may also be offering digital commissions that may also be lighter on the wallet without shipping fees or the cost of supplies.
With the usual summer convention schedule thrown into absolute chaos, fans won’t have quite as many opportunities to get their favorite books signed by their favorite creators as they usually do. However, some creators may still be accepting books for signing at a designated shipping address or P.O. box, and others may be directly offering signed copies for purchase at a designated venue.
While this doesn’t replace the face-to-face interaction that can bring fans and creators together, ordering autographed copies directly from creators or from stores that they’ve signed books for is a way to keep the personal touch, even in a time of social isolation.
Patreon, Ko-Fi and other crowdfunding platforms are always a great way to support the creators who have them. While your monthly support might not seem like much, all of those small contributions add up for the creators they support, many of whom are in the freelance creative community.
While no two crowd-funding campaigns are exactly alike, many creators offer some sort of exclusive or early access to new or behind-the-scenes material through their campaigns. Even in less challenging times, crowd-funding campaigns are a great way to show your consistent support to creators who need it the most.
Since it was established in 2000, The Hero Initiative has provided creators access to medical care or financial support in times of need, and that work continues to this day. While this charitable organization takes donations directly, it also offers some exclusive merchandise in its web store.
Beyond direct support, the Hero Initiative is also one of the partners of the Humble Bundle, which allows fans to buy digital comics, books and games at a deep discount and decide which organization their purchase goes to support. While the Humble Bundle supports many worthwhile causes, the Hero Initiative is usually supported by its comics-specific bundles.
Even if you don’t have the financial means to help out creators right now, there are still plenty of other ways to show them support. A kind word or a re-post of their work with credits could give them a signal boost that could put more eyeballs on their work. While the Internet may not be known for its positivity, this is a moment when fans can lift creators up. For those without the financial means to support creators, a simple “thank you” can make a hard day a little bit better. Every comic book fan has stories, pages and panels that mean something to them, and reminding people of their positive influence in a time where all seem powerless is an act that can go a long way.
Since every creator finds themselves in a unique situation in the face of the pandemic, the best way to find out how to support specific creators is to see what they’re asking fans to do on social media.
While new comics may have stopped for the time being, there are still plenty of ways for comics fans to support their favorite creators.