Given the average age of the posters here I'm not surprised by the showing for First Comics. They were the most successful of the 80s indies commercially. And they had huge hits with American Flagg, Jon Sable, Grimjack, etc. Well deserved.
And they're still comics we frequently talk about, so even though First ended its publication in the early '90s, they still have a pretty large place in the conversation about classic comics (or comics in general, for that matter).
I suspect if we did this poll on CBR, IMage would win running away, with Dark Horse 2nd. Like Slam said, the average age (and perspective) of people here lend itself to the 70s and 80s publishers.
Plus, Shax did specify 'before 2005'. If the poll was what's the best non-big two publisher NOW, Image again would win hands down.
Edit: I see Slam sniped me . I would argue Image had SOME good stuff before 2005 (Stormwatch, Supreme, etc.), but not nearly as much as now.
Agreed. Image is great now, but ten years ago I'd say Dark Horse was better. Dark Horse still maintains a high level of quality today, and has become the preferred home of some former Fantagraphics stars like Peter Bagge, Gilbert Hernandez, and Stan Sakai, as well as Sergio Aragones, but Image has grown into a powerhouse of successful and innovative creator owned series that is hard to compete with when judging as a whole.
Last Edit: Jul 21, 2015 19:09:29 GMT -5 by dupont2005