Alvaro "Lance Danger" Cortes Jr here. Just thought I'd give my thoughts on the indie comics I've read and why I read indie comics.
When I got into comics, I was like four years old. My father barely knew any English, enough to get by which was good enough I guess. My parents really wan't me to have a grasp on both English and Spanish. My father would buy comics and storybooks that were in English, and he'd read them to me. I learned how to read before I started kindergarten because of that.
One time I was exploring our home when I was about 5 and randomly found all these small mini comics in Spanish, translations into Spanish of Little Lulu comics and other hispanic mini comics. They belonged to my mom from when she was young, and turns out she was an Archie fan.
So, I began reading Archie.
I know he's more well known that most comics out there and is basically an American institution, but I still consider them to be "indie", so I was practically raised on indie comics.
When I was a teenager, that's when I started getting interested in Batman, when Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle were the creative team. It also happened to be when Image formed and exploded. My favorite of the bunch at the time was Cyberforce because I LOVED Marc Silvestri's art on that book and thought it was the best art of his career at the time. I also loved Todd McFarlane's Spawn, which to me had the best coloring of the Image titles and the coolest looking art. Shadow Hawk was another huge favorite of mine, of course, followed by WildCATS, Savage Dragon, and Youngblood.
That kind of opened the door for indies to get more attention and acceptance. I started reading stuff like Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise, Terri S Wood's Wandering Star, Trent Kanugua's Creed, I've always been very open to indie comics because I pretty much started by reading indie comics.
To me, reading indie comics is a personal experience. Sure, there are OUTSTANDING and personal stories that can be done with Batman, Spider-Man, X-Men, but, indie comics it feels like the stakes are higher because the characters are beholden to their creators and not a corporation. It's not the same reading Aquaman losing his hand and getting it replaced by a harpoon than reading Rick Grimes losing his hand in The Walking Dead. With one it's like "well, that happened, cool. Status quo will return later on, but that was something cool." With the other, it's "HOLY S*****!!!!!!???!??!?!?! WHAT THE &^&%**()!!!?!?!? HE JUST LOST HIS HAND IN THE ^*&@*))@&*#^#*^ MIDDLE OF THE ^(@^(@&(@& MIDDLE OF A !&(@^*@^(*@^ ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!!!!!"
Over the years I've still maintained a healthy dose of indie and mainstream comics reading, because as a creative myself, I draw inspiration and good things from both. I always found it to be short sighted to be a mainstream or an indie zombie. Sometimes to grow and expand your mind, you have to take in both worlds and that way you can build your own.
Also, mainstream comics help give birth to great indie creators and titles, and can take indie creators and elevate them to a new audience. Humberto Ramos is a great example.
Going from DC, Marvel, then one of the most influential comics on a personal level to me, Crimson. Crimson, along with Joe Quesada's Ash, simply formed and shaped my own creations like The Mighty Warlord. Humberto Ramos is in a status right now that he's considered a legendary Spider-Man artist, but can also do the smaller, creator owned comics and be successful as well. And they have fun with it.
And I think in the end, that's what's important to me. To just have fun and be lost in these 20-22 pages worlds for a little bit, and then go on to create my own, and if I can have fun doing that, too, then I know I am creatively fortunate.