There are quite a few other publishers that put out top quality comics on a regular basis. While they don't enjoy the same market share as the larger publishers, they put out comics that win awards and top many fan's "favorite comics" lists. Being small is not bad, but these publishers are often overlooked by local comic shop owners when they are placing their monthly comics order, most shop owners order what the "know" will sell (which is a self-fulfilling prophecy since if their customers don't know a comic exists and have never seen it they certainly won't buy it).
There are so many publishers that come and go, we're not necessarily going to list them all, but we'll try our best to have the ones that have been around a long time and those who put out comics we read and review.
Keeping an eye on ComicSpectrum reviews can alert you to comics that you might enjoy.
A fairly young publisher, Action Lab put out their 1st comic "Fracture" in July 2011. They have garnered a lot of attention in a short time, securing 2 Eisner nominations for their all ages series Princeless. The Action Lab crew collectively have over 25 years of comic book creating experience and have sworn to use their powers for a single purpose — to bring the world the most action packed, most thought-provoking, most entertaining comics available. They put out their more mature titles under the "Danger Zone" imprint.
Twitter: Action Lab Ent. @ActionLab
AfterShock is a young company that has put out comics from an impressive array of veteran comics talent like Brian Azzarello, Paul Jenkins, Marguerite Bennett, Mark Waid, Garth Ennis, and more. Well worth checking out, they have garnered a number of very positive reviews from ComicSpectrum.
Twitter: AfterShock Comics @AfterShockComix
Founded in 1984 by Ben Dunn, Antarctic publishes comics primarily in the genres "American-style manga", steampunk, and anthropomorphic comics (featuring animals taking on roughly human form), though they've done a number of series in other genres over the years.
Twitter: Antarctic Press @AntarcticPress
Aspen MLT was created by Michael Turner in 2003, the name is based on the main character of Turner's series "Fathom", Aspen Matthews, and Turner's initials. Fathom has appeared in a number of mini-series, as has Michael Turner's fantasy adventure series Soulfire. The company went through some challenges maintaining a regular publishing schedule after founder Michael Turner passed away in 2008, but seem to have recovered and are putting out a number of action, adventure, sci-fi, and fantasy series. In 2015 Aspen acquired Big Dog Ink and now publishes their titles (initially reprinting titles originally published at Big Dog, like Critter and Legends of Oz: The Wicked West) under Aspen's Big Dog imprint.
Twitter: Aspen Comics @AspenComics
Avatar was founded in 1996 and initially published a lot of "bad girl" comics like Pandora, Hellina, Lookers, Webwitch, and Widow, eventually folding in Lady Death (originally published by Chaos!) and Razor (originally published by London Night). They shifted focus around 2002 when they started doing comics with creators like Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, and Garth Ennis. They have also published quite a few niche horror books that are known for extreme depictions of violence/gore including a number of zombie books based on George A Romero's Night of the Living Dead, a werewolf book (Ferals), and Garth Ennis' Crossed. There are occasional comics that break the stereotype of violence/gore (like 2012's Hero Worship) but many fans who are not into hard action/horror tend to avoid books from Avatar altogether.
Twitter: Avatar Press @Avatarpress
In 2011, a handful of comics creators were inspired by the events of Occupy Wall Street to create a comic book anthology called Occupy Comics that would serve the dual purpose of creating an artistic time capsule of the goals & themes of the movement while also fundraising for the protesters. Since they had to build a pipeline for Occupy Comics, the founders decided to turn it into a company called Black Mask Studios that could support creators making outsider/transgressive/non-traditional comics. With a mandate to find new ways of supporting creators and reaching new audiences, Black Mask is committed to pushing the boundaries of comics, but has been plagued with scheduling problems.
Twitter: Black Mask @blackmaskstudio
Bongo was founded in 1993 primarily to publish comics related to the TV series The Simpsons. The comics publish original material set in the continuity of the show as opposed to providing adaptions of what has been seen on TV. Bongo has expanded over the years to publish books related to Futurama, Spongebob Squarepants, and some original material (like Mylo Xyloto, based on the music of Coldplay). A more complete history of Bongo is available on Wikipedia.
Broadsword was created in 1999 when Jim Balent left mainstream comics (he had done 77 issues of Catwoman at DC) to publish his creator-owned series Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose. Balent runs Broadsword with his wife Holly Golighly (aka Fauve).
Twitter: HOLLY GOLIGHTLY @BroadSwordComic
Comixtribe was created in 2011, trying to make their mark with the series The Red Ten (a super-hero re-imagining of Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians), Scam (described as X-Men meets Ocean's 11) and The Standard (the story of 2 men from different eras who share a common heroic legacy). They have gone on to publish other titles including the 'surf noir' Chum.
Twitter: ComixTribe @ComixTribe
Devil's Due began in 1998 publishing both licensed and original creator-owned properties. It's licensed titles included a number of Dungeons & Dragons comics (in the Dragonlance & Forgotten Realms settings), G.I. Joe, Micronauts, and Voltron. Among their notable creator-owned series were Hack/Slash (which has since moved to Image) and Mercy Sparx. Devil's Due had a restructuring in 2008 and there were subsequent allegations that they had failed to pay creators. They have resumed operations and combined with First Comics, that had been inactive for decades, but was one of the initial wave of indie publishers in the 1980s with titles such as Badger and E-Man that are coming back from 1First today.
Drawn & Quarterly (aka D+Q) strives to be the most influential art and literary comics publishers in North America, if not the whole world. In 1989 D+Q founder Chris Oliveros went in search of artists to contribute to his yet-to-be-published magazine anthology named Drawn & Quarterly. High quality production values coupled with the complete editorial and creative freedom offered to the cartoonists enabled D+Q to make an immediate mark in the world of comics. After several anthologies, comic book series and graphic novels, D+Q has established an elite and varied roster of cartoonists that includes Adrian Tomine, Seth, Chester Brown, Joe Matt, Julie Doucet, and James Sturm, who are considered to be some of the medium's best. Book lovers, who appreciate exceptional quality in literature and design, laud D+Q. The New York Times Book Review, The Globe & Mail, The Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, Print Magazine, Entertainment Weekly and Time have all sung the praises of D+Q.
Twitter: Drawn and Quarterly @DandQ
Fantagraphics was founded in 1976 and publishes the magazine The Comics Journal. They are notable for publishing a number of award-winning alternative comics including Love & Rockets, Acme Novelty Library, and Eightball. They publish a number of collected editions and books about comics and the comics art form. Fantagraphics is also known for publishing comic strip collections such as The Complete Peanuts and Hal Foster's Prince Valiant. Fantagraphics publishes an extensive line of erotic comics under their Eros imprint. A more complete history of Fantagraphics is available on Wikipedia.
Twitter: Fantagraphics Books @fantagraphics
First Second publishes primarily collected editions (as opposed to monthly comics) in the categories of fiction, biographies, personal memoirs, history, visual essays, and comics journalism. They publish a lot of high-quality award winning graphic novels.
Twitter: First Second @01FirstSecond
451 Media Group is a technology-focused intellectual property (IP) development & entertainment company. Their comics seem to serve as trial balloons for development on multiple media platforms, but have a nice mix of genres, including suspense, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.
Twitter: 451 @451official
KenzerCo is primarily a game publisher with a single comic series "Knights of the Dinner Table" that follows the lives of a group of gamers through RPGs in a variety of genres. Each issue combines comics, reviews of games, and RPG content. The comic actually spawned KenzerCo's popular RPG system Hackmaster. A more complete history of KenzerCo is available on Wikipedia.
Twitter: Kenzerco @Kenzerco
NBM (aka Nantier Beall Minoustchine Publishing Inc.) started in 1976 as a publisher of graphic novels and specializes in non-super-hero comic genres. They published their first comic books in 1997. NBM publishes translations of European comics for the English speaking market and also publishes erotic comics under their Eurotica and Amerotica imprints. A more complete history of NBM is available on Wikipedia.
Twitter: NBM Publishing @NBMPUB
Stranger Comics is an incubator and aggregator of content, developing and designing franchises for multi-media platforms. Its constant philosophy is that of quality, that the idea is king and the story is sacred. From the vast and volatile fantasy world of Asunda to the wide-eyed whimsy of Stranger Kids, Stranger strives for excellence in production as well as presentation.
Twitter: Stranger Comics @strangercomics
Th3rd World Studios is a print and digital publishing house specializing in the development of high-quality original and adapted properties and stresses quality over quantity, limiting the total number of titles per year in favor of a very careful and nurturing development process.
Twitter: Th3rd World Studios @Th3rdWorld
Z2 Comics (formerly Zip Comix) wants to spread the gospel of comics to readers young and old by providing quality graphic novels to the public. Three things they care about: Top quality comics. Diversity in storytelling. People *reading* their books.
The quality of their comics so far have impressed the ComicSpectrum staff, we have reviewed several of them!
Twitter: Z2 Comics @z2comics
Zenescope started in 2005 and primarily publishes comics that are takes on classic fantasy/fairy tale characters with the main protagonists generally being a very sexy female. They rarely publish a comic without making multiple variant covers with sexy females in varying states of undress. Their main franchise is Grimm Fairy Tales. They have also done comics putting a sexy twist on other public domain characters and settings like Wonderland, Neverland, and Robyn Hood (taking the Robin Hood character into a modern setting and, of course, making the title character a sexy female).
Twitter: Zenescope @Zenescope