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#479327 - 11/16/01 07:52 AM Re: JeffMason? So how much do funnybook writers and artists make?
ghostdog Offline
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Registered: 09/05/01
Posts: 41
Loc: England
$40k a year for a freelancer is nothing...here in Britain, if you earn around the 30k - 40k mark you're really no better off than someone in the 12k -15K mark...why? Well for a start the percentage on your tax doubles, so you may earn twice as much but heck you most definately pay twice as much...you only really start earning a decent wage when you reach the 60k - 100K mark...the rest is just getting by.


Like someone said, feasts and famines...aint that the truth?
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#479328 - 11/16/01 09:20 AM Re: JeffMason? So how much do funnybook writers and artists make?
Elayne Riggs Offline
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Registered: 01/29/99
Posts: 2983
Loc: Bronx, NY, USA
Scott and Elin and everyone else who pointed out that "$40K isn't really $40K" are right on the mark. Let alone that $40K is not a living wage if you actually want to live in a city like NYC (where you really need two incomes), Zeus is also assuming there are a lot of writers doing two books a month. The competition for comic book writing jobs at the Big Two is much greater than for art jobs; dozens of wonderful, experienced writers can't even get one monthly, let alone two. This is a good example of what I meant when I said that the people who are making a viable living from comics (particularly from writing comics) are the exceptions, not the rule. With art, you can't add up "x-amount times 12" all the time anyway because very few pencillers wind up doing 12 books in a row in a given 12-month period. There are all kinds of variables you can't figure in with freelancers to make the numbers come out even the way you would with people drawing a steady salary. So it's silly to even try this kind of extrapolation.

- Elayne
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#479329 - 11/16/01 05:39 PM Re: JeffMason? So how much do funnybook writers and artists make?
Chris Knowles Offline
Member

Registered: 01/23/99
Posts: 875
Loc: USA
And the moral of this story is except for a relative handful of guys, Comics is a lousy way to make a living. And the worst part about it is trying to find work outside of comics when that's all you've done for 20 years, especially when your editor has watched Logan's Run one too many times.

Advice to aspiring cartoonists--diversify.

XOX for Elin

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#479330 - 11/16/01 09:08 PM Re: JeffMason? So how much do funnybook writers and artists make?
Zeus Thrillkill Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/31/01
Posts: 17
Still this sounds far from the McDonalds fry cook wages I was seeing in my mind for writers and artists (at least with the big two).
You might not be able to support a family of four on 40K a year, but a lot of families these days are two income families. Gone are the days of one breadwinner per family.
Taxes are high for everybody. Sure self-employed people take a hit, but so do married people.
Now, I was very interested in hearing the independent wages, and yes I agree that working for an independent ain't going to support anybody who isn't willing to get by on a steady diet of dog food.
Working for an independent pretty much has to be considered a part-time second job. Shame of the whole thing is when I posed my question about lack of new ideas and new talent in the industry, the biggest argument against my statement was just take a look at this assorted list of independents. The very creators out there that are considered the new innovators in the industry are having to struggle by on scraps. While a handful of writers and artists put out most of the books by the big two. What can be done? Is it up for the big two to bring in new creators? Or is it up to the fan to start buying the independents and make the big two take notice?
One more follow up question:
Does anyone know how Image pays? Do their creators make a decent wage or is more like the independents?
Zeus

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#479331 - 11/16/01 10:51 PM Re: JeffMason? So how much do funnybook writers and artists make?
NatGertler Offline
Member

Registered: 07/10/99
Posts: 4618
Quote:
Originally posted by Zeus Thrillkill:
Working for an independent pretty much has to be considered a part-time second job.

There are some people who do very well off of independent comics. The Jeff Smiths and Terry Moores of this world can make a nice little living.
Quote:
Does anyone know how Image pays? Do their creators make a decent wage or is more like the independents?
Folks who do books for Image Central don't get paid for their work, really. Rather, they pay Image to publish the book, and get to keep everything above certain set costs. As such, income is reall dependent on sales.

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#479332 - 11/17/01 12:50 AM Re: JeffMason? So how much do funnybook writers and artists make?
Zeus Thrillkill Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/31/01
Posts: 17
They pay Image to publish their books! Wow! Didn't know that. Any idea how they make out. How much does it cost to publish a book with Image? (know it depends on the print run, but let's say the minimum run). Will they take just anybody with the cash to pay for it or is there still a submission process etc.? Does this mean most creators lose money when they publish through image or do they get to take home a larger part of the profits and make out better than if they were publishing with the big two?
Zeus

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#479333 - 11/17/01 06:35 AM Re: JeffMason? So how much do funnybook writers and artists make?
United Comics Offline
Member

Registered: 08/08/99
Posts: 202
Loc: Milford, CT, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Zeus Thrillkill:
They pay Image to publish their books! Wow! Didn't know that. Any idea how they make out. How much does it cost to publish a book with Image? (know it depends on the print run, but let's say the minimum run). Will they take just anybody with the cash to pay for it or is there still a submission process etc.? Does this mean most creators lose money when they publish through Image...


OK, this is my understanding...Image up fronts the money (yes, there IS a submission process, you go through Image Central because the individual studios no longer look at outside projects), but charges a per issue fee (approx. $2000 was what I was told) which covers solicitation and an ad in Previews. Beyond whatever costs are fronted by Image and their fee, the creator gets the rest (plus he/she retains all rights to the property, Image owns nothing but their logo). How do creators do? Some do better with the higher Image visibility, some don't since the profit margin has to exceed the $2000 fee.

One reason we started United Comics (similar model, except we don't front costs and our fee is a fraction of Image's) was to help those with a good project that might benefit from lower fees (and editorial/production experience). It's a tough market (thank God, it's getting better).

How much does it cost to publish? From a practical standpoint (meaning not the rock bottom cost, but a working average), $1200 an issue is a good minimum point (basic b&w and not counting fees) on up to $10-15,000.

TC at
United Comics http://www.unitedcomicworks.com
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#479334 - 11/17/01 07:58 AM Re: JeffMason? So how much do funnybook writers and artists make?
jason_maranto Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 135
Loc: Tampa,Fl - USA
Boy, I'd love to see 40K sometime in my life... I'm lucky to see 10K a year and it's usually more like 6-8K every year. I've been working in comics for 4 years now.

But on the bright side alot of stuff is tax deductible and given that I don't make much and I have a fair amount of expenses I don't really have to pay much in taxes.

Moral of the story? - live in an area that has a low cost of living and keep your receipts if you want to work in comics [img]/resources/ubb/wink.gif[/img]

Jason.

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#479335 - 11/17/01 08:17 AM Re: JeffMason? So how much do funnybook writers and artists make?
Stephen R Bissette Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/98
Posts: 939
Loc: wilmington, VT USA
Using the somewhat arbitrary $40K figure that was established a couple of posts in -- a figure assuming (a) you're a writer able to score a couple of monthly titles a month, and (b) that you can keep 'em, which is in itself a stretch for all but a handful of active creators today -- has immediately established a completely false premise for this entire thread.

Look at it this way: the checks, when they do come, arrive without any real frequency... and HOW, pray tell, will you pay the rent, keep food on the table, keep on top of car (much less health) insurance, electric, gas, etc. bills, and cover your taxes when you haven't a clue, however steadily you work, when the checks will arrive?

In many cases, how could you AFFORD to "hold out" for a job you'd jumped through multiple hoops for sans any pay? How could you avoid getting into taking on too many commitments when you were scamming one job to finance another? By the time some long-overdue check did arrive, it was all due out. And most discouraging of all, when I did have a regular gig, the publisher (DC) would too often play games with the mailing of the checks.

The total income sometimes averaged out into something like a living (with only four of those 24 years truly comfortable, financially: the year of the "1963" project, which was financed in part by my day-job, and the three years on TYRANT pre-distribution collapse), but it was awfully hard getting a family through the stretches of sometimes MONTHS when however much work you had and were doing, there was simply no income. I was owed money constantly, but you can't pay the rent with that. Feast or famine, indeed; I used to pay ahead on rent whenever sizable checks did arrive... and we simply couldn't keep health insurance as we couldn't meet the monthly payments in the best of times.

This was the greatest challenge of freelancing, whether I was working steadily or sporadically throughout my 24 years in the industry. Self-publishing was the most stable period of income I ever had, in large part due to the fact it was payment based on clear standards (product shipped=check in 30-60 days)... until it all was down to a single distributor, and it was time to bail.

[This message has been edited by Stephen R Bissette (edited 11-17-2001).]

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#479336 - 11/17/01 01:44 PM Re: JeffMason? So how much do funnybook writers and artists make?
JeffMason Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/00
Posts: 591
Loc: Gainesville, Florida, USA
The per page rate really varies a lot based on the creator, company, and project. Most smaller companies don't do page rates, but make payments based on a royalty structure depending on how well a book sells.

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Publisher
Alternative Comics
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