The Collector Club is a new digital publishing platform for indie comic books, graphic novels and art journals
The curated site hand-picks comics by independent creators, celebrating self-publishing and aiming to virtually recreate the appeal of browsing a comic book shop.
- Jenny Brewer
- 16 June 2020
While there are a few digital publishing platforms for comics, The Collector Club’s founder Imi Read feels there is a big gap in the market for a curated site for independent artists to self-publish. The new platform launched this week does just that – allows illustrators, graphic artists, in fact, any type of creative with a vision for a comic-style publication, to submit their work and potentially be published on its growing online library. Unlike its competitors, Read (herself a freelance illustrator and art director) says The Collector Club’s main focus isn’t only its readers, but its creators as well.
“There are a few digital publishing platforms for comics,” Read tells It’s Nice That. “The market’s top dog is Comixology, acquired by Amazon in 2013. There are a few others targeted at independent creators rather than franchises, such as Webtoon and Tapas. We’re the only digital independent comics publisher that offers a curated experience. We’re not looking for fast growth. So many publishing sites are saturated with comics from all skill levels and genres that curation goes out the window. Most brands focus on the audience that will bring them a direct profit, the consumer, but we’re doing things a bit differently.”
Part of The Collector Club’s remit is to curate the readers’ experience by reviewing all the comics submitted and selecting which are published, choosing “quality over quantity”. “Through this, we’re able to offer the authentic experience you get when entering a comic shop,” Read says. Readers can browse the online library and buy individual comics to add to their own digital collection. Creators can submit their comic to be published, through an online guide. “Every comic should make readers feel completely in awe of the creativity behind it and be organised in a way that’s clear to navigate and simple to buy. To ensure this consistency in curation and quality, we hand-pick and publish comics ourselves. This doesn't mean we rule out emerging creators. In fact, we champion them. We want to support both the established and emerging creators, creating a platform that showcases them equally.”
Read hopes the platform will be home to a new generation of comics creators, making it easier to self-publish and therefore taking down a barrier to entry for new artists and those from various disciplines. “Comics are underpinned by the values of visual storytelling, so it’s not just traditional comic creators who can utilise the medium, but photographers, illustrators, fine artists and designers. You also don’t have it to go it alone. Some of the largest comics franchises are made possible by huge teams. So if you’re a comedian who loves writing, perhaps you can link up with an illustrator to bring your comedic comic to life? It’s all about collaboration, and we’re all for the unconventional.”
In its first three months of business, The Collector Club is donating 100 per cent of publishing fees to organisations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. In March, Read put together the Collective Colouring Book – 70 pages of line-drawn artworks by the likes of Genie Espinosa, Raman Djafari and Alex Gamsu Jenkins, as a means of bringing the creative community together at the start of lockdown.