Articles like this expose a fundamental truth about comics: there is no money in the business. Sure, there a few dozen guys who do pretty damned well, but the actual rewards for getting decent at this particular artform are few and far between.
The thing that has always baffled me is that, all things being equal, why aren’t people trying more adventurous material out? I always say that if I’m not getting paid either way, there’s no good reason for me to work on someone else’s project. There’s the big reason every line I’ve ever laid down is owned by me – nobody’s lining up to pay me to do work for them. Looking at this survey, nobody’s hardly getting paid at all. So why do mediocre, rushed work? Why do work-for-hire? Why prop up someone else’s company for $25/page (which is apparently an actual page rate paid out by Boom!, according to this article)? At this point in time, comics ought to be a complete riot of experimenting artists pushing every boundary in sight. For 60% of the people who responded to this survey, they’re making less than $25k a year doing whatever the hell it is that they’re doing. Every dollar earned from one’s art is hard-won, but is that a sufficient pile of dollars to convince people to do what someone else wants them to? There are plenty of ways to earn that much money, and to do one’s art on the side without restrictions (and WITH the ability to retain ownership of the work authored).
If the monetary rewards are so scant, why not rethink the entire thing? Why monthly? Why digital? Why not pour your entire self behind a project that you can be proud to put your name on? The only places that make any real money from the abundance of product are the Mouse and Warner Bros. And they’ll be just fine without my help. Yours, too. So why aren’t more artists revolting? Why aren’t more artists seeing that there is no point and no reward in rehashing the same old things, and gender-swapping characters because no one will create anything new, so the only thing some companies have left is playing Mr. Potato-Head with super-hero genitalia.
The fuck, man?
Can we all just get down to making something new and awesome and riotous and breathtaking? There’s literally no reason not to, not one reason that means anything to anyone.
That the standard I’m holding myself to, and my new comic that’ll be available somehow this fall (San Gwynn #1, more info soon). No excuses. Put everything into it. It comes out when it comes out. And I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to let someone shake a $20 bill in my face to tell me how to make it.