Alternative Comics is an American independent graphic novel and comic book publisher currently based in Cupertino, California. In addition to publishing creator-owned titles, Alternative Comics is also a noted publisher of anthologies such as 9-11: Emergency Relief, Hi-Horse, Hickee, Rosetta, and True Porn.
Alternative Press was founded in 1993 by Jeff Mason — while he was still a law student at the University of Florida — in order to publish Indy Magazine, a magazine devoted to small-label music and comics. (Indy was published in print form with Founder Dan DeBono from 1993 to 1997 and revived as a digital magazine from 2004 to 2005).
In 1996, Mason made the decision to publish comics, specifically to give up-and-coming creators their first break in the industry. The company changed its name to Alternative Comics and began publishing such cartoonists as Steven Weissman, Ed Brubaker, and Sam Henderson. At this point, the company established its policy of giving creators “complete artistic and legal control of their work.”
In 1999, Alternative Comics published Monica’s Story, by James Kochalka and Tom Hart, which satirized the Starr Report‘s coverage of President Bill Clinton‘s affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Proceeds from Monica’s Story benefitted the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The publisher also received mainstream notice for publishing 2001’s Titans of Finance: True Tales of Money and Business, by R. Walker and Josh Neufeld; and 2002’s 9-11: Emergency Relief, a post-9/11 benefit anthology.
In 2003–2004, the company expanded its offerings, debuting new ongoing titles by such cartoonists as Graham Annable, Scott Campbell, Damon Hurd, Nick Bertozzi, and Josh Neufeld, as well as a number of one-shots and graphic novels. Alternative faced a major financial challenge in 2004 as a result of the 2002 bankruptcy of the distributor LPC. The company scaled back its publication schedule and was forced to cancel a few titles.
Mason operated Alternative Comics from 1993 to 2008, when the company went defunct.
In July 2012, it was announced that Alternative Comics was resuming operations under the new general manager Marc Arsenault, and moving to Cupertino, California.