Independent Comic Book Creators and Publishers for Independence Day

Posted on 6/28/2022

Celebrate independents this July 4th by checking out some of the many independent comic book creators and publishers on the shelves today!

While the superheroes at Marvel and DC Comics receive a lot of attention, independent comics are a great place to discover new creators telling exciting and non-traditional stories. Some creators use the small press as a springboard to larger publishers, but many prefer the creative control of independent publishers. It was for this reason in 1992 that seven superstar creators left Marvel and DC to create their own independent and creator-owned studio, known as Image Comics.

Today, there are plenty of terrific comics published by independent studios, such as Antarctic Press, Oni Press, Fantagraphics, Boom! Studios, Dark Horse Comics and many more. These independent comic book publishers have also become a fertile source for new film and television projects on platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Below are just a few of the many terrific independent books you should check out!

Cerebus the Aardvark

Created by cartoonist Dave Sim, Cerberus the Aardvark is one of the longest-running independent comics, published in 300 issues from 1977 until 2004. The comic began as a parody of sword and sorcery comics and evolved to explore a variety of other topics, including politics, religion and gender issues. As the series progressed, it increasingly became a platform for Sim's controversial beliefs. Wizard Magazine rated Cerebus the 63rd-greatest comic book character, while Empire Magazine rated him as the 38th.


Created by Mike Mignola, Hellboy first debuted in a series of promotional comics before making his official entry in Dark Horse Comics’ Next Men #21, in 1993. The story centers around a half-demon who was summoned to earth as a baby by Nazis but was raised and trained to fight against paranormal threats with the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD). The comics have a wonderfully Lovecraftian feel due to Mignola’s unique art style. With his signature half-horns and large right hand of doom, Hellboy has been featured in three major films and multiple video games.


Created by Brian K. Vaughan, Saga #1 was first published by Image Comics in 2012. A story of epic fantasy inspired by Star Wars and Game of Thrones, Saga involves a husband and wife who are from long-warring extraterrestrial races and flee authorities on both sides of a galactic war to take care of their daughter, Hazel. The series has received praise for its depictions of ethnicity, sexuality and gender social roles, as well as its discussion of war. It has earned several awards including 12 Eisner and 17 Harvey Awards, and the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story.

Strangers in Paradise

Created by Terry Moore, Strangers in Paradise premiered with three issues at Antarctic Press in 1993, and was later published by Abstract Studios and Image Comics before ending in 2007. The story primarily concerns the difficult relationship between Francine and Katchoo, and their friend David. Francine considers Katchoo her best friend; Katchoo is in love with Francine and David is in love with Katchoo. The series received the Eisner Award for Best Serialized Story in 1996, as well as the GLAAD Award for Best Comic Book in 2001 and the National Cartoonists Society Reuben Award for Best Comic Book in 2003. In 2018, Moore returned to the series for its 25th anniversary, with Strangers in Paradise XXV.


Created by Art Spiegelman, Maus began as a series of serialized stories in the 1980s and was later collected at Pantheon Books in 1991. Maus tells the story of a Nazi concentration camp, depicting Jewish people as mice and Germans as cats. Spiegelman's mother died by suicide when he was 20, and much of the plot revolves around his troubled relationship with his father. Maus was one of the first books in graphic novel format to receive significant academic attention in the English-speaking world. In 1992, it became the first (and, so far, only) graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Something is Killing the Children

Created by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell'Edera, Something is Killing the Children was first published by Boom! Studios in 2019. The terrifying story is about the children of Archer's Peak who have gone missing, and the few who return have terrible stories of creatures that live in the shadows. Only Erica Slaughter believes the children. She claims to see what they can see, and she has come to help kill the monster. In June of 2020, the series earned Tynion his first Eisner Award nomination for Best New Series. A Netflix series is also in development.

Liberty Meadows

Originally published as a series of comic strips appearing in his college newspaper in 1997, Liberty Meadows was nationally syndicated until 2001, when creator Frank Cho ended the popular comic strip and published a collected edition comic book at Insight Studios. Notable for Cho’s depiction of character Brandy Carter, the story relates the comedic activities of the staff and denizens of the Liberty Meadows animal sanctuary/rehabilitation clinic. In 2006, the series was moved to Image Comics until Cho announced its end in 2012.

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