In the 1980s, self-publishing creators like Dave Sim and Wendy Pini - not to mention the Turtles guys, and later on, Bone - were highly respected in the industry. They were seen as legitimate, professional cartoonists, won Eisner and Kirby awards, etc.
In contrast, although there are now some self-publishing prose writers making a living from their work (and yay for that), respectability and legitimacy still come from being published by a “professional” publishing house. Even writers who self-publish are seen as more respectable if they’ve also been published “professionally.”
That’s a good point. I hadn’t considered the perspective from inside the industry. Perhaps that’s what the author of the piece was talking about. From a reader perspective, when I was starting to read comics in the early ’90s, I remember running arcross several fans and dealers who looked down on work that didn’t come out of the big two publishers.
Doing a zine is not prohibitively expensive. But publishing a book on paper, or a monthly comic on paper, in sufficient quantities to get Diamond to carry you and to distribute to comic book stores, can be extremely expensive, especially if you work in color. Things like POD and Kickstarter are changing that, but these are relatively new developments.
That’s true that publishing some forms of comics can be prohibitively expensive. If the author of the post had said that I would totally agree. However, she said that self publishing comics is prohibitively expensive, and that’s been far from my experience with my own work.
Comics have been virtually free to make, and not much more expensive to distribute ever since I started doing so in 1991. I love that about comics.