Part 5: Creating Your Graphic Fiction RT: Part 5

Research Task: Comic Submission Guidelines

I spent time looking at the submission guidelines and examples of work produced by each of the comic book publishing companies listed.

Action Lab Comics – this website currently has a holding page due to a redesign. It asks comic creators to send an email to a supplied address, but no guidelines are listed.

I looked at some examples of the comics that are published by Action Lab Comics on Comixology. The example that most appealed to me can be seen below. As a result, I found the artist, Alex Ogle, whose graphic, bold style I was quite drawn to.

Hero Cat comic. Source: Comixology

Aftershock Comics: the current guidelines for this company, at the time of writing, for submitting artwork can be see below:

Submission guidelines for Aftershock Comics

The themes for the comics/books published by Aftershock comics seem to be quite dark and apocalyptic. I noticed there seemed to be a mixture of male and female writers/artists, which was encouraging and the representation of women was more realistic than some of the examples I have come across during this unit.

A few examples of the cover designs that caught my attention can be seen below.

The artist for the first example, Juan Doe, particularly appealed to me and I looked at his portfolio website,. He appears to like the colour red and has a bold, graphic style.

The Normals comic. Source: Comixology.
Knock Em Dead comic. Source: Comixology.
You Are Obsolete comic. Source: Comixology.
Orphan Age comic. Source: Comixology.

Alterna Comics: the submissions requirements for this publisher were quite in depth and informative.

Submission guidelines for Alterna Comics.

After looking through the examples of comics published, I decided that none of them really appealed to me in terms of style or story. I felt the covers had too much visual information them for my personal taste.

Avatar Press: the submission guidelines for this independent publisher can be seen below.

Submission guidelines for Avatar Press

As previously, I looked through the examples of comics published by this company and none of them particularly appealed to me. The genre is mostly horror and the style of visuals was not one I am keen on.

Dark Horse Comics: the submission guidelines for artwork for this company were quite succinct.

Submission guidelines for Dark Horse Comics.

I really enjoyed looking through the examples of comics offered by this company. There appeared to be a wide range of genres and styles compared to the other I had looked at so far. I narrowed down some of those that appealed to me in terms of visual style and narrative.

2 Sisters comic. Source: Comixology.
Cuphead comic. Source: Comixology.
Emily the Strange comic. Source: Comixology.
Glister comic. Source: Comixology.
Grip comic. Source: Comixology.
Lady Snowblood comic. Source: Comixology.
Lady Killer comic. Source: Comixology.
Monsters! and Other Stories comic. Source: Comixology.
Notes on a Case of Melancholia, or: A Little Death comic. Source: Comixology.
Skeleton Key comic. Source: Comixology.
Tree Mail comic. Source: Comixology.

Drawn & Quarterly: the submission guidelines for this publisher was condensed to a single sentence.

Submission guidelines for Drawn & Quarterly

As with Dark Horse Comics, there was quite a range of comics published by this company. I actually recognised a few of the artists/authors, which was quite heartening, such as Chris Ware, Seth and Tove Janssen. The titles appeared to be fairly alternative, thoughtful and intellectual in terms of content and style, i.e. I did not come across any covers that were blood-splattered, zombified or sexualised!

A few examples of those that I found most intriguing can be seen below. I was pleased to find that the styles included very simplified line drawings, with limited colour use.

Fictional Father comic. Source: Comixology
It’s A Good Life If You Don’t Weaken comic. Source: Comixology.
Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea comic. Source: Comixology.
Step Aside, Pops. Source: Comixology.
The Hospital Suite. Source: Comixology.

Fantagraphics Books: the submission guidelines for this publishing company were quite detailed and I noted that they only accept physical submissions and they only reply to those that are ‘brilliant’. Although I liked the fact that they ‘do not publish mainstream genres’, I found the examples not really to my taste.

Submission guidelines for Fantagraphics Books.

Image Comics: the submission guidelines for this publisher can be seen below.

Submission guidelines for Image Comics.

I found a handful of examples that interested me, which can be seen below, but the majority of the covers looked similar and quite generic to me.

Batula comic. Source: Comixology.
Camp Midnight comic. Source: Comixology.
Memoirs of a Very Stable Genius comic. Source: Comixology.
Revival comic. Source: Comixology.

As a side note, if I had the artistic ability, the above cover art by Jenny Frison is similar in style and content (although minus the bloody hands and with a red hoodie) to what I would like to have created for my cover art in Assignment 4…

Iron Circus Comics: I liked the way this company included humour in their clear, concise submission guidelines. I also noted that they accept unsolicited submissions.

Submission guidelines for Iron Circus Comics.

When I looked at examples of the comics published by this company, it was encouraging to find diversity and quirkiness. However, I could not see myself creating work that would fit in with the selection and, unfortunately, at a glance, not many of them really interested me enough to want to read them.

Mad Magazine: at the time of writing, this publisher had the following note on its Contact page.

From what I have seen during research throughout this unit, Mad Magazine seems to have a range of styles of artwork within its pages. I was not able to easily find many examples of inside pages, only the covers, but I certainly like the humour and style. I also admire the ways the former is used in such a way that it is able to convey a serious, valid point at the same time, whether that be political or social in nature.

Mad #540, August 2016. Cover art by Mark Frederick. Source: Google Image Search.

Nobrow (UK): the submission guidelines for this publisher were clear and approachable. I also noted that it states that, although it make take some time, they respond to all submissions whether successful or not.

Submission guidelines for Nobrow Press

The selection of comics on offer appeared to be diverse in their content, which appealed to me. I really liked some of the examples, a selection of which can be seen below. I felt there was a lean towards cartoony, yet refined and non-complicated designs, some of them reminded me of the ‘clear line’ style associated with Tintin. Additionally, I noted with interest that the majority of those I looked at had restricted colour use within the pages.

Overall, I felt this publisher had piqued my interest the most so far.

How To Pick a Fight comic. Source: Nobrow Press.
Pantheon comic. Source: Nobrow Press.
Lost Property comic. Source: Nobrow Press.
(In A Sense) Lost and Found comic. Source: Nobrow Press.
Marx comic. Source: Nobrow Press.

Titan Comics (UK): I was unable to locate any submission guidelines on the website and the link provided in the exercise did not work. From the examples I found on the website, the majority of titles seemed to be science-fiction or action-based (along with the occasional oddity, such The Simpsons!). I could not really see my artwork being suitable for this publisher.

TOON Books: Again, I could not find any submission guidelines for this company on their website. I liked the concept of this publisher in that it is creating educational comic books for children from a very young age. I would certainly be interested in creating work aimed a younger audience, however, I would not say that any of the ones on offer via this publisher particularly appealed to me in terms of the style and I could not see myself producing work that would be well-suited.


The three publishing companies that most interested me with the comics being produced were Dark Horse Comics, Draw & Quarterly and Nobrow.

In terms of both visual and narrative content these three companies offered a diverse range styles and themes. I also liked that they produced non-fiction titles along with fiction, as I feel visual story-telling is an excellent, productive form of communicating historical figures and events in a comprehensible manner. Many of the titles were also suitable, if not aimed at, young readers, which is an area I am keen to explore.

The visual aspects that drew me to many of the titles included the use of uncomplicated covers/inner pages/character design, with the use of restrictive colour palettes. Some of those I selected were simply line drawings and I deemed them to be very effective.

There was a wide range of topics covered in the narrative of the titles, some of which were very current issues such as identity, and it seemed the comic creators had a great deal of individual freedom.

If I had to narrow my choice down to one publisher, I think it would be Nobrow as I could imagine wanting to produce work that would fit in with those on offer (although not for some time as I need to improve my skills!) and I felt the ethos of the company was most attractive.


Action Lab Comics, (n.d.). Action Lab Comics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 January 2022].

AfterShock Comics, (n.d.). AfterShock Comics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 January 2022].

Alterna Comics, (n.d.). Alterna Comics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 January 2022].

Avatar Press, (n.d.). Avatar Press. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 January 2022].

Comixology, (n.d.). Comixology. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 January 2022].

Dark Horse Comics, (n.d.). Dark Horse Comics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 January 2022].

Doe, J. (n.d.). Juan Doe – Writer & Artist. [online] Juan Doe. Available at: [Accessed 22 January 2022].

Drawn & Quarterly, (n.d.). Drawn & Quarterly. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 January 2022].

Fantagraphics, (n.d.). Fantagraphics. [online] available at: [ 22 January 2022Accessed].

Image Comics, (n.d.). Image Comics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 January 2022].

Iron Circus Comics, (n.d.). Iron Circus Comics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 January 2022].

Mad Magazine, (n.d.). Mad Magazine. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 January 2022].

Nobrow Press, (n.d.). Nobrow Press. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 January 2022].

Ogle, A. (n.d.). Art of Alex Ogle. [online] Alex Ogle. Available at: [Accessed 22 January 2022].

Titan Comics, (n.d.). Titan Comics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 January 2022].

TOON Books, (n.d.). TOON Books. [online] available at: [Accessed 22 January 2022].

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