Sunday, 7 February 2016

Celebrating independence

If you're here then it is likely that you like them, maybe they speak to you in ways other tawdry things cannot. Maybe they helped you through some times of turmoil. Perhaps, it's none of these things, perhaps it is all of them, there may even be a slight chance that you're one of those people that locks themselves in a room with stacks upon stacks of them and just rub against them gleefully and manically (but hopefully you aren't, I'd hate to have competition).
Comics are becoming an increasingly popular medium, they are inspiring major forms of media outside their format and people are understandably seeking out the source material.
Comic books are everywhere, at least superficially, for those who are uninitiated, but we are not uninitiated are we? We are those blessed to have glimpsed beyond the veil at the vast and eclectic comic universe. If our comic world is an iceberg, then perhaps Marvel and DC are the tip that herald a warning, but just under the surface, so much more is waiting to be found (and sink ships, maybe a slightly unusual metaphor, but there will be ship sinking here).
Like the majority of people I started out with the aforementioned 'big two' but as I matured, well, aged, so did my tastes, I sought out different pleasures and discovered whole realms of independent comics. Which after a slightly convoluted introduction, brings me round to Alterna Comics. I'm sure if you have frequented this page then you may of heard the name once or twice, I've previously reviewed a few of their releases. If you've visited recently then you of heard of their AnniverSERIES releases.
That's because Alterna are currently celebrating their ten year anniversary. The story of how Alterna started is actually quite touching, first though I should say a few words about the founder Peter Simeti. Simeti is one of those annoyingly multi-talented genius level people. I'm not kidding, In fact in ways he is worse, because not only can he do all manner of things, but he is just brilliant at them too. This isn't a jack of all trades and master of none situation, this is a master of all trades situation. He is inordinately talented, like he has tapped into mystical forces and soaked up this talent, so there is precious little left for anyone else. Another annoying fact is that he is quite simply, a nice guy. I started this blog a few months ago, desperate to be more actively involved in the world I loved. I just wanted to absorb everything about comics, to immerse myself in their glory, to write my own, to write about others, to do anything I could. Peter gave me a chance, he gave me the opportunity to do something I truly cared about in a time when I needed it most (my son had just been born, life is instantly transformed). Yet despite all that he puts up with my perpetual bothering on social media and in the e-mail form, taking the team to, not just respond, but answer. Even offering me guidance on occasion.
It speaks volumes that Alterna Comics started humbly, when Simeti published a book under it's banner, never intending to start a company. However when he was inundated with submission ideas, he didn't have the heart to reject them, instead he gave people a chance to voice their stories. Alterna are dedicated to giving a voice to the independent, there are so many stories out there waiting to be told and Alterna are doing their part to give creators the chance to bring us quality stories that otherwise may not of seen the light of day. Every issue, every novel, every collection I've read from Alterna, I have adored, I have enjoyed and I have wanted more. Simeti has created something truly spectacular and I, for one, hope that there are many more years to come from Alterna, I get the sense that their best work is still ahead of them.
Alas, wipe away your tears, this article is drawing to a close, but before I bid you adieu, I will mention the Kickstarter that Simeti/Alterna is currently running. It's amazing, this is the largest candle in their celebratory cake. Alterna are looking to create several books, anthologies, character guides, all with a manner of variant covers. There are so many incentives to backing this Kickstarter that it would just be reductive to list them all here. I will say that you get the chance to help a truly magnificent project, regardless of the amazing rewards offered (I've managed to get books and a sketch card from Simeti, did I mention how talented he was?) you get a chance to help dreams be realised, what's more rewarding than that? 
Follow the link to get involved, there isn't much left to reach the goal as its been running a few days, but I implore you to get involved, even if only a little.

Anyway, congratulations to Alterna Comics, a sentinel and paradigm of independent publishing at its finest. Cheers.

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