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#582347 - 01/14/11 03:05 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Strenuous Teddy]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7073
Originally Posted By: Strenuous Teddy
So what you are saying is that in a collaboration motivated by mutual creative ambitions and respect the creators would have an arrangement that did not necessitate paying rates like in a WFH situation and so the concern Mike raised would be made moot without WFH?

I still occasionally scan the Help Wanted section of Digital Webbing and Penciljack, just to witness how pathetic and sad many of the postings are. Back when I used to participate in those forums, one of my recurring suggestions (for which I usually got into fights) was to say, forget about collaborating over the Internet. If you want to make comics with other people, make them with your real-life friends. The experience will be more rewarding, the pressures will be less stupid, and the end result will be more charming (if perhaps less polished). These "Help Wanted" gigs (especially the non-paying ones) are typically just headaches and heartaches waiting to happen.
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"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
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#582354 - 01/14/11 09:46 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Stephen R Bissette Offline
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Registered: 11/27/98
Posts: 939
Loc: wilmington, VT USA
Re: "I've gone to the websites of a few of these guys, and those are usually in a foreign language. Now, DC of course had their "Filipino wave" back in the early 70's, but I do believe they brought those guys to America, and paid them the same going rates as everybody else. I'm curious as to whether or not this current influx of foreign (especially South American) talent has anything to do with the downsizing trend, if they are being paid a cut rate, etc. Anybody know?"

Yes. Lower page rate (by far), as with most European and Mexican talent in US comics.

Your analogy with the late 1960s-early 1970s influx of Phillippines cartoonists (which instantly resulted in cutting back American artist page rates) is spot on. They, by the way, were initially paid much lower page rates, as page rates across the board were lowered as a result to almost ALL American cartoonists, given what I've been told in the past (by folks like Mike Kaluta, Phil Yeh, etc.). As the market adjusted, competition between some of the Filipino artists grew fierce at times, and DC and Marvel reportedly played fast and loose in a lot of ways with them. It's a shameful period in American comics history, though it remains almost unspoken of, given the lack of any genuine journalism at the time and the fact those involved haven't ever spoken on the public record of their treatment and conditions under which they labored.

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#582364 - 01/14/11 05:02 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Stephen R Bissette]
Stephen R Bissette Offline
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Registered: 11/27/98
Posts: 939
Loc: wilmington, VT USA
Further info, press on digital comics and Archie's lead therein:

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/12/archie-to-go-digital/

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#582377 - 01/15/11 10:47 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Stephen R Bissette]
Defiant1 Offline
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Registered: 03/07/04
Posts: 242
Loc: Atlanta GA
Setting aside the debate about format, it's looking like the availability of printed material in general will be harder to find.

Borders has been placed on Credit hold by Diamond.

http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2011/01/diamond-puts-borders-on-hold/

If the book stores go under, Digital will be the only option anyway. There is a lot of spin placed out there by publishers about how great digital distribution will be, but there are still distribution costs associated with it. $1.7 Million Archie downloads still costs money to host and pay for the bandwidth. Also, how many individual books did it take to get that 1.7 million in year. If it took 40 different titles then they are getting a distribution of 42,000 copies. They still had production costs and how many people returned after their initial download? Digital Comics are a bit of a novelty now. I'm sure there are a certain portion of people just testing out screen clarity and quality at this point.

Regardless of the transition away from paper, this is making publishers market the product to new customers through new methods. If a little effort had been put into seeking out print customers, the print versions might not be struggling.

Defiant1
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#582378 - 01/15/11 11:23 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Defiant1]
Stephen R Bissette Offline
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Registered: 11/27/98
Posts: 939
Loc: wilmington, VT USA
Defiant, thanks for that link; incredible. I fear 2011 will be the year we see the chains finally face major turning points, and that will impact the WHOLE of graphic novel publishing, and especially hit the creators involved HARD (lost royalties, which could impact work for years).

Also note, Archie Comics continues to be on the forefront of the mainstream comics publishers in 2011, with aggressive acceleration into the digital comics realm:

http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/01/12/archie-comics-same-day-digital-interview/

Given Archie's history, this is particularly astonishing. The new proprietors have really shaken the company to the core with great success thus far; alas, they remain strictly work-for-hire (and of the most odious kind), but that is in part what so empowers their moves at this time. OWNING all they publish, lock, stock, and barrel, and knowing absolutely their costs (and no royalties), they can proceed full bore ahead as a model of total corporate ownership.

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#582380 - 01/15/11 11:34 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Stephen R Bissette]
Stephen R Bissette Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/98
Posts: 939
Loc: wilmington, VT USA
PS: Digital: "If the book stores go under, Digital will be the only option..."

Don't mistake the chains for "bookstores" as a total market. The collapse of the chains will only prompt the re-emergence of a hardier, more flexible alternative: independent bookstores. They were here long, long before the chains, and they'll be here and active and viable long after, and distributors like Baker & Taylor and Ingram will also continue to do business.

This, too, is part of the "spin" regarding digital media: the false presumption that where go the chains, there goes entire markets. It isn't true.

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#582389 - 01/15/11 09:32 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Stephen R Bissette]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
Member

Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7073
Originally Posted By: Stephen R Bissette
The new proprietors have really shaken the company to the core with great success thus far; alas, they remain strictly work-for-hire (and of the most odious kind), but that is in part what so empowers their moves at this time.

Well, they aren't really the "new" proprietors, as they're the kids of the old proprietors, but you raise a point I hadn't thougth about previously. Archie is being praised here lately for their newfound open-mindedness, but they still run their operation the same old way. It appears as though their more liberal content is just a draw for their still conservative business practices.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

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#582404 - 01/16/11 10:41 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Stephen R Bissette]
Defiant1 Offline
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Registered: 03/07/04
Posts: 242
Loc: Atlanta GA
Originally Posted By: Stephen R Bissette
PS: Digital: "If the book stores go under, Digital will be the only option..."

Don't mistake the chains for "bookstores" as a total market. The collapse of the chains will only prompt the re-emergence of a hardier, more flexible alternative: independent bookstores. They were here long, long before the chains, and they'll be here and active and viable long after, and distributors like Baker & Taylor and Ingram will also continue to do business.

This, too, is part of the "spin" regarding digital media: the false presumption that where go the chains, there goes entire markets. It isn't true.


I look at the collapse of the big chains as an indicator that there is a much bigger problem. At some point with the larger chains gone, orders will decrease. When orders decrease, profit margins decrease. When profits decrease, the prices have to start creeping upward. Price increases hurt sales even more and that lowers the orders more. It becomes a downward spiral.

The tactile appreciation of a book in the hand is an experience our generation appreciates. Newer generations are not going to create the same associations when everything else they've read was online or on an iPAD. At some point, I think it's safe to say that the closest thing we'll have to a book is electronic paper.

Defiant1
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#582419 - 01/17/11 11:16 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Defiant1]
Stephen R Bissette Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/98
Posts: 939
Loc: wilmington, VT USA
The final two installments of my online MYRANT discussion with Dave Sim covers some of these issues, and I cite this thread (and Defiant1's posts, above) en route. It all ends today: http://srbissette.com/?p=10909a coda post will likely follow, for Dave's final comments.

Note Dave's parting comments about the difficulties of getting anything into the direct market without Diamond carrying your product. That says it all, I think, on that aspect of this topic.

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#582621 - 01/23/11 01:40 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Pr [Re: Stephen R Bissette]
Stephen R Bissette Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/98
Posts: 939
Loc: wilmington, VT USA
Part 1 of my conversation with vet self-publisher (since 1994!) Mark Oakley is up at MYRANT; more info, insights for working and aspiring self-publishers and creators: http://srbissette.com/?p=10973

Mark has been steadily at it since 1994, and has worked the full 16+ years sans outside sources of income. Give his letters a read.

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