Jeff Burton runs the Canadian Comic Book Alliance and our own Martin Boruta serves as the Canadian Comic Book Alliance administrator. You may wonder, “What is the Canadian Comic Book Alliance?”, I wasn’t sure. Martin was nice enough to bring Jeff into the First Comics News offices to share with our readers everything you ever wanted to know about the Canadian Comic Book Alliance.
Martin Boruta: Rik, thank you so much for the opportunity to discuss this very important project that I am involved with. Allow me to introduce Jeff Burton. While I have always been an advocate for independent comic books and Canadian creators specifically, Jeff is the true heart of the Canadian Comic Book Alliance. I know of very few people that can match Jeff’s passion and enthusiasm towards supporting Canadian comic creators.
Jeff Burton: Thanks to both of you for having me here to talk about the CCBA. I have loved comics as long as I could read and probably before that even. When I started to dig into the history of Canadian comics the world of the independent Canadian comics unfolded before me and I found such amazing books that tapped right into what I love about the medium. That really ignited my passion and enthusiasm and really just flipped a switch in me and I couldn’t get enough of the books being made, and sharing them with everyone, even in my classroom! So when the opportunity came up to become a creator myself I knew the next step was to look at making a network like the CCBA. In the short time since we started the CCBA it has already far exceeded what I hoped it could be!
First Comics News: What is the Canadian Comic Book Alliance?
1st: What does the Canadian Comic Book Alliance do for it members?
Jeff: We try to provide a community of creators to help promote the work happening in Canada, outside of the regular publishers. This enables members to make contacts in areas that they may not have reach to and get their work there as well. Several collaborations have already started springing up through the group.
1st: What are the unique problems Canadian Comics face in the marketplace?
Jeff: Low exposure, indifference by people not aware of the work being done, and limited range because face it, Canada is a darn big place, it’s not always easy to travel in person to places to get books in stores.
Martin: Jeff, if I could chime in here, of course, there are also challenges created by the huge marketing machines of DC Comics, Marvel, and Image. Trying to get an independent book into a reader’s hands is hard enough but with these top three publishers printing nearly 200 different titles a month it can seem almost impossible.
1st: How many members are there in the Canadian Comic Book Alliance?
Jeff: There are 22 members and counting as of Monday the 15th.
1st: Although it is called the Canadian Comic Book Alliance, do you support Canadian superhero projects in other genres?
Jeff: All members are proud to support Canadian projects of all kinds!
1st: How does someone join the Canadian Comic Book Alliance?
Jeff: We are always looking for people working in the industry or related industries that would be a good fit to our group. Members bring forth potential candidates to join and if it’s agreed upon then an offer is made.
1st: What does it cost to be a member of the Canadian Comic Book Alliance?
Martin: At this time there are no fees to being a member. We encourage all of our members to display the CCBA logo on their work. We encourage cross-promotion, reduced advertising rates for members in each other’s projects and if there is a bit of room we have a CCBA ad we love to see in print.
1st: Do you have to be Canadian creator to join?
Martin: As stated above, the CCBA is really about Canadian comic creators helping Canadian comic creators. A few members, such as myself, are more involved in the business side of the creation process but in most cases, membership is typically only offered to folks with active comic book projects being produced in Canada. I’m sure the group would consider any project where the majority of creators were Canadian. We love communicating with fans on all levels but we are not focused on being a fan club.
1st: Does the Canadian Comic Book Alliance primarily work with creators or publishers?
Martin: While many of the members have some connections with publishers the Alliance is about helping creators get their works into the public eye. At this time we have no official affiliation with any of the current mainstream comic book publishers.
1st: What type of social media support does the Canadian Comic Book Alliance provide?
Martin: We have a public Facebook page where we try to interact with the public and share any and all news and updates. We also have an informational website for the community. Each creator also keeps the #CCBA hashtag active through Twitter and Instagram. Of course, we also maintain a presence at comic conventions.
1st: How does the Canadian Comic Book Alliance help comic creators publicize their work?
Jeff: Again it comes down to spreading the word about the work in our own circles of influence. We all have our own fan bases, and not all of them overlap so it helps to extend the reach.
Martin: Much like a small business networking organization our members share information with each other at every opportunity. At meetups whenever possible but we also maintain a private, members only Facebook group to keep our very geographically diverse membership close.
1st: Does the Canadian Comic Book Alliance help support Kickstarters?
Jeff: Yes we do help to promote members crowd funding campaigns in all avenues that we can.
1st: The Canadian Comic Book Alliance is supporting some wonderful projects. Is there a quality control feature, that projects that truly aren’t ready are told “not yet”, or do you support everything regardless of quality?
Jeff: We generally keep tabs on the up and coming work, looking for new members but so far we haven’t yet encountered anyone that we would have to say that too. It’s not to say that it couldn’t happen but hasn’t yet. Typically we look at people that have published already for membership.
Jeff: Help increases the exposure of great Canadian made comic books that are produced outside of the mainstream publishers.
Martin: Fill readers hands with quality, diverse and immensely entertaining Canadian comics books.
1st: Where do the readers find the Canadian Comic Book Alliance on the internet and social media?