Nestled inside downtown Puyallup is a comic store called Comic Evolution, and inside its doors the owner and some writing friends have been stirring up ideas for a local revolution all their own.
Enter Creator's Edge Press, created by Chuck Messinger, owner of Comic Evolution. He and seven others formed a writing group that met at the store and are now making it so that they do not have to rely on big comics companies to get their work into readers' hands.
In terms of the industry here in Washington, there is hardly anything in existence in the way of comic book publishing.
"There's very little publishing represented in Washington for industry, and ours stems from a writers group in the comic book store. The members are people who've submitted ideas through the industry, each having experienced rejection, and a light bulb went off in that we have pretty amazing material. We own properties but want to create a venue for local artists, go to conventions, and use grassroots methods to get them published and get them exposure in the industry," Messinger stated.
The members of Creator's Edge Press are: Messingner, (marketing director), Josh Cantrell (publishing director), Josh Inman (editor in chief), Travis Bundy (art director), Shawn Gates (technical director), Quenton Shaw (distribution manager), Ashley Mearns (administrative) and Sage Howerton (finances). Bundy is the only artist in the group as of now.
According to Cantrell, their press is taking a step away from the current trends in comics. "We have no superhero comics, but rather fantasy, horror and adventure. Travis, (artist) has a style of his own, I couldn't even think of a name to compare him to. His book is more of a science fiction comedy."
The press will have three books available for readers at the Emerald City ComicCon, in addition to three that Cantrell had created previously as part of his "Nightmares of the Macabre" series, which are currently available in local comic stores. "Breakfast with Rob" is written by Messinger, with artist Thiago F. Castro of Brazil, who will be flying up for ECC to debut the comic; the second is "Nightmares of the Macabre: the Improbable Apocalypse," which is a part of Cantrell's anthology, created by Cantrell, written by Mearns and illustrated by Thiago, and the third is "X Dementia" created and written by Cantrell, illustrated by Thiago.
Messinger and his colleagues are taking up a total grassroots effort in starting out their press by raising all their funds themselves and working with other artists on an initial donation basis. "We basically put in our own money to start it up and we're having a few bigger named artists give us art to sell at conventions to raise money for publications, all on a voluntary basis. We didn't expect it to take off as good as it has, but it's coming along well as far as the grassroots aspect is concerned," Cantrell stated.
The local comic writers and artist feel that they set themselves apart from others putting out comics now because they work off nostalgia for times past and the way things used to be in terms of comics, Messinger affirmed. "We want comics to be affordable, we're presenting at conventions and trade shows rather than relying on the digital age. We're thinking of industry the way it was when we were kids. We're offering something fresh, as it's become a spandex-oriented market, and we're providing a fresh take on every other genre that's been drowned out by spandex."
Though Creator's Edge Press is fully stocked right now in terms of member writers, the comics outfit notes that it is always on the lookout for new artists to join the group, as currently Bundy is the only one of the bunch.
Creator's Edge Press are already on the road to getting their brand and publishing company on the market by setting themselves up as sponsors of major comic and publishing events in area, such as the upcoming Emerald City ComicCon, (March 13-14 in Seattle), the Spokane ComicCon, Stumptown Comics Festival in Portland and every major comic event taking place in Washington and Oregon.
Find more information on releases, submissions and event appearances by visiting www.creatorsedgepress.com. Any questions or comments can be directed to Messinger via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.