Approbation Comics: An Indie Success Story
August 2nd, 2015 | by Dean Carls II
Indie comics, what does this mean to you? Does it mean creator owned titles, or maybe that the book itself is self-published?
To B. Alex Thompson it meant writing, drawing and lettering all of his stories onto 8.5 x 11 copy paper, then scanning them into the proper format and sequence at a local copy shop, stapling them at the spine, and distributing them yourself. Which, in time, led him to start Approbation Comics.
Although Alex says his love for comics didn’t begin until high school, the relationship with the culture was evident through his entire life. Like most people though, the connection between pop culture and comics wasn’t made immediately. He grew up watching the classic Batman and Spiderman live-action and animated shows and fell in love with everything TMNT; from the cartoons to the action figures. The way Alex got into comics is, in my opinion, the first sign that he was destined to make a splash in the industry.
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I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, so before I could get a job at age 16 I would buy things in bulk (usually snack items like candy or potato chips) and sell them to other students at my high school. I would buy other random things in bulk to sell and one of those times someone was looking to unload a lot of comics and comic related cards at a cheap price. So I bought them and decided to read them before selling them.
A love was born, and from then on he would pick up titles like Sleepwalker, Lobo, Strangers in Paradise, and one of my personal favorties of all-time, The Maxx! Alex would scour bargain bins at his local comics shop and pick up anything and everything that caught a glimpse of his eye.
Alex’s body of work stared in 1992, when he launched Approbation Comics with his title Vampires Unlimited. Unfortunately the mini-series was never brought to a conclusion, due to “Murphy’s Law”.
Recently, Alex has revealed that Vampires Unlimited: Shades of Things to Come is coming soon, along with Vampires Unlimited: Wolves. So it’s nice that the book that started it all is coming back to wrap-up its story lines.
Comics fans who knows of B. Alex Thompson are likely to know his title Chaos Campus; Sorority Girls vs. Zombies, it has become a breakout hit, not only for its humour, but also as a great horror story that stands on its own as a horror story. Fans of the book know that Act 1 did wrap up a while back and we haven’t gotten word on Act 2 yet, and thats kind of been eating away at most of us, hasn’t it?
Well we have great breaking news for you here on ComiConverse; Alex has informed us that Act 2 is on it’s way as we speak. It will include issues #21-40 and will be collected into TPB’s #6-10, so if you haven’t yet, go out and read TPB #1-5 and get caught up, or else be left behind as zombie bait!
If horror comics are your thing, then Alex has the market covered with a wide array of horror titles under the banner The Evil Inside. These heart-pounding, blood-curdling titles include works such as Southern
Hospitality, The Vessel, The Burden, Flesh for the Unborn and quite a few more, check them out, make sure you have a night light though… you’ll need it!
To wrap this up, we’d really to cover Alex’s newest work, Hass. Hass is the more serious side of B. Alex Thompson and his serious side is seriously good.
Hass is being call Romeo and Juliet meets American History X and I would have to say that this is the perfect way to discribe it. Behind every panel, every word bubble, is such a realistic heaviness that it makes is hard to read without having to take breaks to really digest what is happening.
It speaks from such a real place in the heart that any reader can relate and feel a common connection with the characters involved.Alex writes and letters Hass, while Federico Santagati pencils and inks the book. Russell Vincent Yu lays out beautiful colouring from page one and John P. Ward serves as Editor. If there is honestly one work of Alex’s that comes with my highest recommendation it would be Hass, I see this as a pivotal book in not just the comics industry, but in the social structure of pop culture. If you are leary on the book, purchase the digital download at a reduced price, but be warned, once you read this book you will be spending the extra money to get the print edition.
If you find yourself at WizardWorld San Jose, Sept. 4-6, Approbation Comics and Mr. B. Alex Thompson will be making their presence known.
Other possible shows that include C4 Ventura, Long Beach Comic-Con and Bent Con.
Dean Carls is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Catch him on Twitter: @Deanthaghoul