Re: Allen's comment: "Okay, Steve, you win. Apparently there's no answer. Everybody quit drawing comics and get jobs teaching college. Not enough job openings you say? Okay, the rest of you can curl up and die."
Well, Allen. What to say? You're being a complete prat.
You've misrepresented and dismissed everything I've said in every case of my weighing in.
I've worked professionally since 1976-77. Over the two decades+ I worked in comics, I wrote, drew, edited, packaged, published, and co-published comics and book-format anthologies (TABOO, SHRIEK), eventually working almost every side of the equation; my subsequent years in the video market taught me the ins and outs of retail and dealing with distribution, in a marketplace considerably larger than the comics market. Though I retired from the mainstream American comics industry in 1999, I never stopped working in the book market as an illustrator, writer, and occasional packager. I regularly review current contracts from all venues, between my own projects, overtures from publishers (including recent dealings with Marvel and DC, writing intros for their hardcover collected editions), and contracts my students and our alumni ask me to review. Tomorrow, I'm winding up an ongoing negotiation on an upcoming project with one of the largest mainstream book publishers in North America (hoping for the best); I'm completing work on a print-on-demand book (TEEN ANGELS) this month for publication in February/March, and I post/publish daily, and have for years, so I'm familiar with some aspects of the online potential and realities. I compare notes regularly with peers and pros who do work in multiple venues (including, most recently, Rick Veitch, Steve Murphy, Colleen Doran, and Dave Sim).
I'm not bragging, but hey, quit treating me like some piece of patronizing dogshit you scraped off your boot, could you?
Let's talk about reality, shall we? CAN we?
Here's the latest data (link compliments of Rick Veitch) on what's selling in print in the contemporary comics industry, and what's selling via online/digital/web titles:http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/01/12...omics-and-what/
There's some enlightening info being shared here.
"If you go by the top ten series, the Big Two are responsible for just 30% of ComiXology's units sold. This is a sharp drop from the 77% they control in the Direct Market."
As I've argued for some time, this demonstrates (to my satisfaction, at least) that DC and Marvel are very much the fringe of the comics/graphic novel market now, NOT the mainstream. A redefinition of terms is certainly overdue.
It could be easily argued that the Direct Market share DC and Marvel maintain is due to their almost absolute control of that ever-shrinking market. Sustaining a 77% share of a monopolistic distribution network that both companies essentially have a lock on, but one that no longer accounts for the primary means of distribution for the medium and industry, is hardly a badge of honor, much less a means for sustaining growth. It's a death-grip on an increasingly marginalized niche market, at best.
"Further examination of the Top Ten Series on ComiXology reveals even more interesting data. Creator-owned books are 50% of the list."
This is heartening news; I'd love to know, though, how the money is sifting out and whether livings are being made by these creators, or if they're still struggling to get to the back-end paydays down the road.
"...these sales show that brands work differently online. Marvel and DC are playing second fiddle to companies that they dominate in the Direct Market, and Image is going for the crown."
(An aside: Image may be "going for the crown," but they completely blew me off after seven months of negotiations to work with them on a project they supposedly wanted. It was disappointing, to say the least; I still haven't heard a peep from Image on my terminating the venture. I must say, I have been surprised that a venerable New York publishing house has moved much quicker than Image seemed capable of, which doesn't bode well for their being able to go "for the crown" if it requires quick action or turnaround.)
Of the venerable comics publishers, it definitely looks like Archie Comics is the big winner—and Archie, to touch upon a point being bandied about (in quite convoluted ways, sadly), is a COMPLETELY work-for-hire publisher, with among the most aggressive work-for-hire terms and policies of any comics publisher of the past 30 years.
There's still plenty of working creators laboring under work-for-hire, under terms with precious few perks or benefits; make no mistake, the plantations are alive and working.
And the plantation owners are being amply rewarded in the marketplace.