Alterna Comics Gladly Bends Knee to a Demanding Fan Base

Alterna Comics: Because YOU Demanded It! (Campaign Video)

Peter Simeti has been a comics creator since the turn of the century, and started putting out my own comic projects at first as a self-publisher in early 2005, but around 2006 he began shifting more towards becoming a publisher for other comic creators. That’s when Alterna Comics was formed. Since that time, Alterna’s fanbase has grown exponentially, particularly when the company announced a move to newsprint in 2017.
“The readers love newsprint and I love it too!” Simeti says, “It enables us to do a lot of things, and aside from offering comic books that LOOK and FEEL and SMELL like the comics we all grew up with, it allows us to offer comics at an affordable cover price.”
Affordable is right! Most Alterna Comics cover prices are $1.99, which is almost 60% less than most Marvel and DC Comics these days. As recently as this time last year, most of their comics were still selling for $1.50 each, that was before the company announced a slight price increase. Around April or so of this year, Peter made the bold decision to no longer go through Diamond Comic Distributors to ship and distribute Alterna books, and decided to start self distributing to both readers and retailers.
Has that move been profitable? Have they been able to navigate the unexpected pandemic?
“Yep!” affirmed Peter, “We’ve increased our readership by about 20% since that time and it’s allowed for a more direct and flexible relationship with many stores. The pandemic has made it somewhat difficult to maintain proper schedules because it’s had such a massive impact on supply chains, and its affected a few of our creators at different points in time, which also caused a delay on their books — but other than that, everything has been going great. I’m just glad and grateful that our readers have been sticking by us during this time!”
The company is really a grass-roots organization, which has led Simeti to occasionally launch crowdfunding efforts to try out new ideas, like the last couple of Alternaween holiday themed October grab bags. With the pandemic concerns around trick or treating this year, Simeti felt this was a better type of campaign to run instead. The grassroots spirit has inspired this Indiegogo project, “Because You Demanded It…!” Simeti discussed the impetus for this campaign and what they’ve decided to offer.
“Over the years we’d get various emails, messages, etc. from readers that would be asking if it would be possible to have this or that. Maybe get an issue back in stock, maybe a blank variant, or a hoodie, or whatever really.” Simeti continued, “So this campaign is a culmination of our most popular and most frequently requested items from a majority of our readers.  We’ve been really happy with how it’s been going so far and I think we might end up doing something similar like this every year!”
“For $99, we are offering a Fully Loaded Collector Case which starts off with 15 comics, 18 blank variants, 17 front pocket collector case inserts and 34 side pocket collector case inserts so backers can fully customize their case however they’d like. Obviously, it also includes a collector case that’ll hold about 16 comics.” Simeti added “As the campaign progresses though, more issues will be added on at absolutely no extra cost to the backer. So far, five additional comics have been added and there’s ten more that can possibly be added along with an exclusive blank variant IF we reach a secondary goal of $23,000.  This, of course, is in addition to the other bonuses that get unlocked during the campaign. It’s probably the best value being offered on this campaign (and maybe any other campaign on Indiegogo).”
The Indiegogo campaign wraps on October 15th. 
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Chris Braly

I'm one opinionated, based geek. I try to steer this tiny ship and can often be heard monthly on the Comic Book Page Previews Spotlight podcast with several fellow "comic book nerds." Follow me on Twitter @ChrisBraly. My preferred adjectives are brilliant/beautiful.