Independent Spirit
Contest Winners:

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While the big corporations often get the lion's share of the press and profits, nobody should ever underestimate the underdogs of the comic book publishing world, as that's where many of the most creative ideas are born. The focus of this challenge is the independent/alternative comics scene, so get ready to dazzle us with your favorite indie comic book/strip characters in customized form!

- While there are a number of definitions as to what does, or does not, constitute an independent/alternative comic book, for the sake of simplicity, we're going to define it as anything that isn't owned or published by America's big two, DC and Marvel.

- Any original comic book/strip character, published by an Independent company (Archie, Chaos!, Dark Horse, Eclipse, IDW, Image, Kitchen Sink, Malibu, Mirage Studios, Valiant, Viz, etc.), or self-published by the creator, past or present, is fair game. The following titles are just a handful of the many franchises that you could potentially choose from: Astro City, Bone, Cerebus, Darkchylde, The Darkness, Dawn, Elfquest, Gen13, The Goon, Hellboy, Judge Dredd, Kabuki, Lady Death, Love & Rockets, The Maxx, Pitt, Savage Dragon, Scud: The Disposable Assassin, Shi, Sin City, Spawn, Tarot: Witch of The Black Rose, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Tick, WildC.A.T.s, Witchblade, and Youngblood.

- Comic book adaptations of movies, television shows, toy lines, video games, etc. aren't allowed. Whomever, or whatever, you choose to make has to have originated in the comic book/strip medium. In other words, you can't do any licensed stuff like Aliens, G.I.JOE, Predator, Star Wars, Street Fighter, Terminator, Transformers, etc. for this particular contest, even though they have had, or currently have, comic books.

- Your custom should match the appearance of the character as they appear in the comic artwork, not some other incarnation in a different medium. For example, Spawn should look like he does in the comic books, not like Michael Jai White's portrayal from the 1997 live action Spawn movie.

- While it's not required, if you pick something that's fairly obscure, it's probably a good idea to post a reference image, as part of your entry photos, so that Figure Realm voters who aren't familiar with the character have something to visually compare your custom with.

There are no size/scale limitations and you're free to use whatever parts/materials/tools you can get your hands on. 

What is the contest schedule?
Begins: Contest Closed
Ends: February 15th, 2012 - Last day for submissions. No exceptions! Cut off is at midnight Central Standard Time.
Voting: February 16th - 22nd.

What are the rules of the contest?
  • Please use the form here to submit your custom figure.
  • At least a paragraph description is required with your entry. This paragraph, at a minimum, should answer the following questions:
    • How was this custom customized?
    • How does the custom fit into the contest theme?
  • You may submit up to three different entries for the contest.
  • Please only submit figures that were created for this contest. Do not submit old figures from the Showcase or previous contest entries.
  • Your entry should not be posted on this website, any other website, or anywhere on the internet until the contest is completely over.
  • The pictures for your entry will remain hidden until the contest ends and the voting begins.
  • Your identity will remain hidden until after the voting completes.
  • Do not include names, logos, signatures or anything on the pictures that will give you away as the creator of the custom. We want to keep the customizer's identity a secret until the contest is over.
  • Don't wait until the last day to submit your entries. If your internet is down, or something happens beyond your control, you will miss the contest! Also keep in mind how many customs you can submit in one day. You may not be able to submit all your entries in one day.
  • The contest is purely for fun... well... and bragging rights!
How does the contest voting work?
Anyone can vote for their favorite customs in the contest, you don't even have to submit anything to the contest! You do have to be logged-in to your Figure Realm account though so we can keep track of the votes. Only appointed Figure Realm staff can see the votes, so anonymity is guaranteed. Voting begins once the entry deadline is met and lasts for a week.

It's hard to choose just one custom to vote on when there are tons of great entries, so Figure Realm has a unique voting system where you can vote on ALL the customs! When you click on an entry to view, there's a bar with buttons on it that lets you give the custom anywhere from 1 to 5 Stars. 1 Star means you think they could have done a better job on the custom while 5 Stars means you think they did a perfect job. The votes for each entry are added up when voting is closed and averaged-out to determine the winners. Also, don't abuse the system. Don't give your own custom 5 Stars and then give everyone else 1 Star to boost your rating. Remember, the votes are monitored.

Some points you might consider when casting your vote: Is the figure well-made? Is the paint smooth or crusty? Are there noticeable fingerprints on the sculpted parts? Is it an original custom? Is it accurate to the source-material (comics, photos, description in a book)? Are the pictures clear enough to see the details? Did the creator take the time to include a back-story or recipe? Is the custom so unbelievably awesome that you'd trade your girlfriend for it?

Craftsmanship and creativity are major factors to consider, but ultimately your vote should depend on how much you like the custom, and how well you feel it fits the contest theme.

User Comments
endcity - Thursday, January 19, 2012
Patraw - Friday, January 20, 2012
The Goon is listed, in the rules, as one of the examples of independent comic franchises that you could potentially choose from.
KJL2381 - Wednesday, December 28, 2011
What about G.I. Joe and/or Predator comics? Would these count as independent comics being as they are IDW and Darkhorse etc...
Patraw - Tuesday, January 3, 2012
No G.I.JOE or Predator. As I wrote in the rules, comic-book adaptations of licensed stuff isn't allowed, whatever you choose to make has to have originated in the comic book/strip medium.
KJL2381 - Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Question, can an entry consist of more than one figure? Example, (I know this would not be eligible because it's Marvel), 3 members of the X-men team.
Patraw - Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Yes, you can submit more than one figure as a single contest entry, if you feel that they should go together, or you can split them up into separate entries, it's all up to you (multiple submissions increases your chances of winning a trophy, which is something to consider). Let's say you wanted to submit four customs of Judges Death, Fear, Mortis, and Fire as a single Judge Dredd Dark Judges entry, you could do that.
KJL2381 - Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Fantastic!
Patraw - Monday, December 19, 2011
This stems from a question in the forum's Contest Ideas thread, I thought I'd re-post my reply here, as other people might have the same concerns:

I'm aware that Jim Lee sold Wildstorm to DC, that's one of the reasons why I included the language "past or present" in the rules. If you want to make WildC.A.T.s, or other Wildstorm, characters, simply limit yourself to the comics and characters that were created prior to the sale (so, in other words, if you wanted to make Grifter, make him from the pre-DC era of WildC.A.T.s.) Unfortunately, intellectual properties change hands, over time.

Crossovers are okay IF the character isn't Marvel/DC or a licensed, non-comic book character (I.e., Batman Vs. Judge Dredd is a no-go, no Batman under any circumstances.) Cerebus appearing in Spawn #10, on the other hand, is okay 'cuz they're both Independent characters.
PAINTcustoms - Saturday, December 17, 2011
QUESTION?? I have a friend who has drawn his own comic book. I believe some of the Artwork is on ComicVine. Would I be able to submit a custom figure based on his artwork?(with a provided picture) Or does it have to be a PUBLISHED character? thanks!
Patraw - Monday, December 19, 2011
That's probably stretching things too far, but, I suppose you could look at having it online as being self-published by the creator. I guess as long as you provide some pictoral documentation/proof that the comic/character actually exists, it'll be all right.
Wolverhulk Iron Spideysurfer - Friday, December 16, 2011
Would a character originally from a regular novel be part of the etc. of unqualified adaptations? The first visual appearance is in the graphic novel but the regular book came out first.
Patraw - Saturday, December 17, 2011
Sorry, but if a character originated in printed text form (like Conan: The Barbarian in Robert E. Howard's Weird Tales stories), and not in comics, then it's not a comic book character, and thus, not eligible. Anything you choose to make has to have first appeared in comic book form.
Wolverhulk Iron Spideysurfer - Monday, December 19, 2011
No worries. I'm just doing a Chris Snow from Fear Nothing. Dean Koontz book now a Dynamite comic. Cheers!
KJL2381 - Tuesday, December 27, 2011
What about G.I. Joe and/or Predator comics?
Jarred706 - Thursday, December 15, 2011
Would Webcomics fall under Independent characters?
Patraw - Friday, December 16, 2011
Yeah, I suppose webcomics would be all right, so long as they're not webcomics of Marvel or DC characters.
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