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#479347 - 11/27/01 01:16 AM Re: JeffMason? So how much do funnybook writers and artists make?
Aether Paladin Offline
Member

Registered: 04/20/01
Posts: 79
Loc: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by NatGertler:
That's a misleading comparison, since you're making more than someone who makes $24,000 a year in a salaried position, since that person then has to deduct taxes, retirement money, and possibly some health expenses.QUOTE]

Yes, that meager specifc isn't properly stated, but my actual point is a mid-level comics professional makes about what a mid-to-low level manager or administrator makes at best in almost any other industry. Most of the jobs I mentioned have starting salaries in the mid-30's to low 40's, which is why I chose them. And again, those are starting salaries.

[QUOTE]Living in a big city should be considered a luxury for a freelancer, who should strongly consider living in more affordable areas.


In addition to being just plain silly, this is totally beside the point - the question is "how well do comics creators do finanically?" not "Where Does Nat Gertler Think Comics Creators Should Live?".
Fact is, the idea the job that pays enough as long as you live somewhere cheap isn't exactly a major recommendation.

Quote:
Freedom of location is one of the real advantages of the freelance life (at least in field such as comics, where you can live just about anywhere that FedEx and phone lines reach.).


Sure... as long as you're established. Until then, networking is a vital aspect of getting work, and doing it long-distance isn't easy. You can certainly self-publish until you make a name for yourself from anyplace, but that's just increasing the amount of resources you have to spend until you're making money, and it's not exactly a certain road - there's dozens of talented unknowns still slaving away on their own for every Bendis or Mahfood.

Quote:
On the other hand, the freelancer can have his work spread among multiple publishers, so the collapse of one is not as much of a disaster as for a salaried person whose job disappears.


a) I'm pretty sure most folks would consider losing 30-50% of their income overnight a disaster any way you slice it

b) spreading your work across multiple publishers in no way affects the possibility the title you work on won't be cancelled.

Again, the general point of this thread is to look over how well comics creators do financially. In that regard, it's simply a fact that:

1) On the average, you could do better in nearly any other semi-skilled profession in terms of the qualifications and experience required relative to the salary one can expect - two years of training in nearly any other profession would get you much more than you could expect in five years of work comics, including fast food.

2) The truth is the high end of the scale looks even worse. Do the math and you'll find the absolute superstars of comics can't be making more than $150,000 a year, and the overwhelming majority of those people have 10-15 years of experience before they got to that level. Lawyers, architects and accountants can get to that salary level in half that time and still be considered in a median range. You can learn be a qualified surgeon in the time it took Busiek to hit MARVELS from his first work in the industry and be a lawyer or architect in the time it took Waid to make it, and in all cases, you could expect to much better than 150K before your career is done. With comics, that's the best you can do.

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#479348 - 11/27/01 03:46 AM Re: JeffMason? So how much do funnybook writers and artists make?
NatGertler Offline
Member

Registered: 07/10/99
Posts: 4618
Quote:
In addition to being just plain silly, this is totally beside the point
No, "Aether Paladin", how well one is doing financially is judged in terms not only of income but also in terms of expenses. There are some jobs that effectively require you to live in an expensive area. Getting a job that pays $10,000 more is not a bonus if you have to pay $15,000 more per year rent for a reasonable place. Being a comics creator does not weight you down with that, and that is vital to how one is doing financially.
Quote:
Sure... as long as you're established. Until then, networking is a vital aspect of getting work, and doing it long-distance isn't easy.
And yet, many of today's top creators don't even live in the same country as the publisher where they made it big. Unless you're trying to break in via editorial positions, you don't need to live in reasonable daily commuting distance from any particular place (although it is sometimes handy to live close enough to visit every once in a while.)

Plus, it seems a much larger portion of networking takes place online.

Quote:
a) I'm pretty sure most folks would consider losing 30-50% of their income overnight a disaster any way you slice it
Many of the experienced freelancers I deal with wouldn't. A disappointment, perhaps,but after one has done these things for a while, one can get used to projects coming and going. And certainly it's far less disasterous than losing 100% of one's income.
Quote:
b) spreading your work across multiple publishers in no way affects the possibility the title you work on won't be cancelled.
Any individual title, no... but the odds of them all disappearing at once drops drastically when it takes more than an implosion at a single publisher for it to occur.
Quote:
2) The truth is the high end of the scale looks even worse. Do the math and you'll find the absolute superstars of comics can't be making more than $150,000 a year
Funny, when I do the math, I don't find that limitation at all. Maybe I am better at math than you, but when I look at what Frank Miller is apt to make in 2002, between getting paid for millions of dollars worth of Dark Knight 2 sales on the original issues, the inevitable collection, the foreign rights deals, his cut of the licensing deals, and all the money that continues to come from sales of his backlist, I don't picture him coming in under that $150,000 mark. If he's anywhere near that, it's time to fire his agent. And if he sells his originals...

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#479349 - 11/27/01 09:44 AM Re: JeffMason? So how much do funnybook writers and artists make?
fumetti Offline
Member

Registered: 09/29/99
Posts: 922
ANOTHER FACTOR: The total number of comics jobs which actually pay a page rate are VERY LIMITED.

There are as many teachers in any po-dunk county school system than are regular-assignment pencillers at Marvel, DC, and Image combined.

As for indy creators, maybe 5-10% make enough to justify the time put into their books (meaning it breaks down to minimum wage or better). The rest are putting in upwards of 200 hours per book for--at best-- a dollar or two an hour. Most of those indy solicitations in Diamond BARELY pay the printer (too many don't even earn that much). The only indy-only creators who are making a living are those who got "noticed" before the bust of the mid-90s.

YET ANOTHER FACTOR: Take a look at the list of creators on the page-rate books today. How many have had regular monthly work over the past ten years? How many had ANY work ten years ago? The turnover is HUGE. So even if an aspiring talent did get a regular gig, the odds are devastatingly AGAINST them to have more than a 5-year window in the business.

For MOST comic book talent, comics are just a part time job.

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