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Indie comics news: Mark Waid returns to BOOM, SLG turns to GoFundMe, and Diamond

Mark Waid is going home again.

Mark Waid returns to BOOM! Studios!

Since the 1980's, the career path of Mark Waid has taken it's own wide and unique paths, which have included being a writer, editor, creator, and even chief creative officer of various companies throughout the industry. Beginning his career with DC Comics from roughly 1985-1995 as a writer ("The Flash") and editor before setting up shop at Marvel Comics on a variety of series (at the time, "Captain America") with runs on franchises of both of the "big two" into the new century. In 2007, perhaps following a short run on a creator owned series at DC Comics, "Empire", Waid became the editor-in-chief of a newer comic book publisher, BOOM! Studios. He would go on to produce a new creator owned series with them, "Irredeemable", in 2009 as well as its' spin off, "Incorruptible", that same year. A year later Waid was promoted to chief creative officer of BOOM! Studios, although by the end of 2010, Waid would go on to abandon that position to focus on his creator owned and freelance writing work after a mere five months. Both of his series with BOOM! Studios came to lauded and organic conclusions in 2012. He has once again found a home at Marvel Comics with runs on "Amazing Spider-Man", "Hulk" and "Daredevil" - the latter of which earned him an Eisner. Waid also has founded a digital comic site, "Thrillbent", which is also the home of another creator owned series, "Insufferable".

Yesterday, Waid made a video announcement online stating that he would be returning to BOOM! Studios to launch his latest creator owned project. He wouldn't name his collaborative artist or even the name of the series, but noted that he or she is "one of the most revered artists in comics" and that his latest creation is "dangerous" and "not the kind of thing any other comic company would touch". While one could imagine Image Comics would have been willing to "touch" virtually any creator owned series, one assumes Waid's ties with BOOM! are strong, which is why he chose that publisher for his latest unique work. Considering Waid's appeal and success with the company as well as BOOM! Studios, like every "third party publisher", is struggling to compete with a revitalized Image Comics as well as the usual "big two" behemoths every month, this move seems to be a win-win for all parties involves.

Diamond Comic Distributions cancels its' phone number!

Major changes are coming from the direct market's monopoly comic book distributor, Diamond. Many of these changes are due to trim costs from their thin profit margins. Not only have their main offices been closed, but the company announced it would discontinue their toll free telephone number. Starting in August, anyone who calls Diamond's 1-800 number would be directed to a voice message directing them to a different customer services line.

Diamond defended the move as stating that most of the retailers they work with communicate to them via email or other online sources, as well as no longer pay crippling long distance fees for phone lines. Although this will likely effect many smaller shops who have eked out a living in some communities despite lacking a website, the majority of shops should survive this move. However, it will merely make it more difficult to contact Diamond if orders for shops come in late or damaged, which is a frequent problem. Unfortunately, ever since the mid-90's, Diamond gained control over the distribution of comic books in North America, and there is little anyone can do to change that dynamic.

Slave Labor Graphics turns to the internet to stay alive!

Founded in 1986 by Dan Vado, plucky publisher "Slave Labor Graphics" (or "SLG") has been the home of many of the industry's quirkiest creations, mainly by longtime friends of Vado's. These include "Milk & Cheese", "Lenore", and "Johnny the Homicidal Maniac". Towards the end of the 2000's, SLG dipped a toe into some licensed comics such as "Gargoyles" and "Tron". The publisher has sought to adapt to the times via digital comics and targeting different readers, although it has unfortunately fallen on hard times.

Thus, Vado has literally taken to GoFundMe to try to earn enough to maintain the company's operations via donations by concerned fans and citizens. With revenues not enough to pay down debt and maintain normal operations, Vado has chosen to avoid Kickstarter as he is seeking a longer term online campaign to gain a hefty sum - $85,000. There is no way to know now how well this will succeed, but so far the effort to fund SLG online has raked in nearly seven grand in less than a week, so there is some hope.

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