Independent Comics History
Independent comics have changed in content and price since their introduction.
When I started reading comic books there were basically 3 types available: Marvel, DC, and Underground. Marvel and DC comics have gone through a lot of changes in the last 30 years or so, and somehow those 'forbidden' Underground comics have become known as Independent comics. The early 4 color comics were quite entertaining, and not too hard on the budget, but the cost keeps rising so Marvel and DC were forced to change the old story lines to include almost soap opera type interaction between characters in order to maintain the interest of readers who were growing more mature and less satisfied with the simplistic 'catch the bad guy' stories formerly favored by a (then) younger audience.
I suppose the REAL revolution in comics came when the so called Underground comics gained new respectability and a new name: Independents.
Independent comics have been a source of entertainment since the late 1970's when two aspiring talents from New York decided that Marvel did NOT know best and went out on their own to form Warp Graphics, the first 'legitimate' Independent comic. Collectors soon found that black and white comics didn't HAVE to be 'dirty' to be worth buying. In fact, the current boom in Independent comics can be traced directly back to Warp Graphics and ElfQuest. Until that time the majority of black and white (Underground) comics had focused on either sex, drugs, or both.
With the advent of Independent comics Marvel and DC were both forced to realize that their proprietary contracts would have to be changed or they would lose the talented writers and artists they had working for them to the growing trend of Creator owned properties.
By changing their internal policies, with regard to ownership of new characters, and allowing writers to explore more mature stories Marvel and DC have been able to keep on top of the comic business, but each year several new Independent companies put their bid in for your entertainment dollars. Let's face it, it's no longer the late 1960's or the early 1970's and comic book prices just keep rising. Gone forever are the days when I could head down to 7-11 with a dollar, get 2 comics, a candy bar, AND a soda...not to mention change.
With the inevitable rise in the cost of comics more and more of those BUYING comics are of the 18 and older persuasion. To keep these older readers buying DC introduced their Vertigo line of comics, specializing in more mature stories. Marvel briefly flirted with their own mature comics in the Epic line, although they seem to have adopted a policy wherein their 'regular' comics have much more mature overtones.
And now we come to the turn of a new Century and comic prices have risen to two dollars or more apiece! So while I must admit that there still are comic books written for kids I am ALSO forced to admit that more and more comics are being written for a more mature audience.