Comics vs back end deals (split topic)
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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb

    Simple fact is, most of the people who are looking for artists cannot afford to pay them because they are not even paying their own bills. They are writers looking to collaborate and in many cases, a back end deal is all that is possible.

    If you are looking for someone to do sequential art for a comic book proposal, well, back end is it. That's all she wrote. End of story. That is how the industry works now. This isn't 1990.

    But I see, time and time again, people getting slammed for offering such backend deals.

    That's wrong.

    In my case I advertised here for a paying gig, out of my pocket (actually, out of my friend's pocket since I had to get a loan because I was flat broke), at rates absolutely lower than GAG, and was FLOODED with offers from artists, 99% of whom had no clue that their work was hopelessly terrible. Hours and hours of my time was spent wading through portfolios that were so bad my eyes started to bleed.

    Thank God a few stood out. Those few artists were extremely talented. One was so talented that before we could agree on a rate he got an offer for a gig at a gaming studio and is now making huge money. And good for him! He deserves the money. Most of the guys who are GOOD don't go unpaid for long. They are seen, snatched up and that is that.

    The gentleman I ended up going with did much more work than I paid him for because we became great friends and believed in each other. One project turned into two. We're talking to publishers now. Hard work is paying off.

    Based on the work he did for me, which he posted (some of) on his Deviant website, he received a lot of concept work. A LOT! He made money based upon his giving his time for free to our project. That does happen, people, if the work you produce is good.

    Also, I found one artist here who I am paying zero dollars based on a back end and it looks like we have found a publisher. We're working out the details now. The deal I offered gives the artist much more of the profits than I will get because he deserves more for taking a chance (and also because it will take him 1.5 days a page).

    Moral of the story is, back ends deals sometimes work if the talent involved is high.

    Don't beat up on people who are chasing a dream. Thank you for you attention.

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  3. #2
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    Matt_Stevens, for every guy like you who is honestly trying their best and working hard to make their dream become a reality, there are 100 guys who are the writing equivilent of those artists that made your eyes bleed. Or talented guys who will grow bored with the project before it completes leaving the artist with nothing to show for their work. Generally speaking, it takes an artist waaaaaay more time to do an issue than a writer. It's a large time investment with a very good chance to be completely screwed.

    Based on the work he did for me, which he posted (some of) on his Deviant website, he received a lot of concept work. A LOT! He made money based upon his giving his time for free to our project.
    I'm going to politely disagree with this. He made money from putting in time on his artwork and showing it. Most likely he would have been as successful working on any project seriously. Now if YOU had been the one promoting his artwork for him, and lining up those jobs then I'd say if was a good deal, but the reality is he did all that work himself, and could have as easily been working on his own projects and get discovered.

    I'm not trying to come down on you specifically. I'm glad you've had some good experiences and are making progress. It sounds like you are one of the few "good ones" to collaborate with, but the simple truth is people like you are few and far between. I'm just trying to address some of the misconceptions, or the vague idea that artists should work for a promise. How willing would YOU be to work on someone elses idea, put in far more time than they do, and do it on faith that it will pay off down the road?

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    Thanks for the response. I appreciate it. Being a writer, I myself have written on spec plenty of times and received nothing in the end. Absolutely nothing. A couple times I did make some relationships that ended up leading to work I was paid for. In the end it was worth it for me. I just had to be picky about what i chose to do. Most work for spec (free up front) jobs I was offered I turned down flat.

    I'm going to politely disagree with this. He made money from putting in time on his artwork and showing it. Most likely he would have been as successful working on any project seriously. Now if YOU had been the one promoting his artwork for him, and lining up those jobs then I'd say if was a good deal, but the reality is he did all that work himself, and could have as easily been working on his own projects and get discovered.
    Well, I have to point out that the pages in question were a collaboration. We worked on them for months. He would thumbnail and I would ask for changes and point out things and we would go back and forth. It was a collaborative process. HE was the artist, yes, but he himself admit his work grew by leaps and bounds in going through our process. The kid was good before, but now he's rockin' mad good.

    Take me out of the equation and it might have taken him longer. And it might not. But fact is, the work we did together resulted in his getting some nice paychecks. That thrills me. I love seeing him have success. He's a monster talent and should be working for Marvel, not slaving away trying to make enough to eat.

    Another artist I worked with who lives overseas is really talented and I brought her work with me to the NY Comic con last month and showed it to anyone I could. Some liked it and asked for her contact info. One Producer I know liked her stuff and is offering a gig. I am thrilled for her.

    It's rare for artists and writers to hit it off and find that balance of work and friendship that prodcues results. When it happpens it is so rewarding.

    By the way, in all cases I asked for test pages. I stated I would ask for them UP FRONT in the advertisement. Thank God I did because some artists who did great splash pages bombed out when they tried sequential art. Many couldn't even finish a page. They found it was much harder than it looked.

    And yes, any artist who tested was given the right to use that test in his portfolio.

    I really want to find another artist to work with, but I am going to wait until two of the projects gets published, that way I can get some better responses. If I could clone the three artists I am working with, I wouldn't need to look around for more.

    Last edited by Matt_Stevens; May 16th, 2008 at 03:39 PM. Reason: Because I cannot spell or type! LOL!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt_Stevens View Post
    Well, I have to point out that the pages in question were a collaboration. We worked on them for months. He would thumbnail and I would ask for changes and point out things and we would go back and forth. It was a collaborative process. HE was the artist, yes, but he himself admit his work grew by leaps and bounds in going through our process. The kid was good before, but now he's rockin' mad good.
    Well, I'll take that part back in your case then. It's rare that an artist gets the kind of feedback needed to make major improvements in their artwork from a writer. I know from past experience that a GOOD art director does indeed push you to improve and step up to the plate, but it's rare.

    I'll stand by most of what I said, but I'll say there are certainly exceptions to every "rule." It won't normally be worthwhile for artists to hope to get someone as serious as you are. You'll get burnt far more often than not most of the time.

    What would I suggest as an alternative to new writers looking to collaborate? Lessen the artist's risk. Offer a little something per page if you can, even 40-50 per page shows that you are serious enough to put your money where your mouth is. It's more to show you are serious and not going to bail out, the money is just a recognition of the effort at that point. Also try a smaller initial commitment from the artist. A handful of character sketches and maybe 4-5 pages of a key story point should be enough to try shopping a story around. You don't need a full finished issue to see if there is interest. When a deal is guaranteed, THEN have the artist start working on the whole story, knowing that the back end WILL happen.

    Anyways, thanks for the discussion from the other side of the fence. It's nice to have someone to talk it through with. Normally we just getting unreasonable demands

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    Hey, it's great to talk with you as well. You know, the artist in question made me a better writer for comic books! His visual sense is exceptional and I found in talking and working with him that my first drafts were not cutting it. The improvement in my craft for that medium is really something and he deserves credit for that. Working with him has been a pleasure.

    Offering "something" per page is important and if possible should be done. But some people get insulted by that. It's tough. One piece of advice I need to give to artists is READ THE ENTIRE ADVERTISEMENT! I make it very clear what I am offering, even going as far as bolding it and yet many still get all angry when they realize I am looking for a back-end deal or offering a low page rate up front. That wouldn't happen if the entire ad had been read.

    For the comic book industry here are the facts: Nearly zero publishers are accepting submissions for original series. Most flat out won't look at your proposal. IMAGE is pretty much THE place to go and if they say no, your options are limited, to say the least.

    95% of the publishers outside of Marvel and DC pay BACK END ROYALTIES with no page rates. That's just the way it goes.

    Most proposals are rejected. Many find they are rejected four or five times before they are accepted on something and 99% of the writers out there are flat broke and unable to take on such expenses.

    The pages shown to editors at Image and elsewhere had better be flat out stunning or they stand no chance of being accepted. Sometimes artists accepting work at a lower page rate or for a back end cut phone the job in and that guarantees failure. Either commit 100% or don't accept the job.

    It's a terrible time for the comic book industry at the moment, but real talent and hard work can lead to a career if one accepts the realities of the situation.


    By the way, I lived in CT most of my life, three years in New Haven (Whooster Square area). Living in Brooklyn right now. I'm on MySpace and will check out your work when I get home tonight.

    Last edited by Matt_Stevens; May 16th, 2008 at 03:37 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt_Stevens View Post
    By the way, I lived in CT most of my life, three years in New Haven (Whooster Square area). Living in Brooklyn right now. I'm on MySpace and will check out your work when I get home tonight.
    Wow, small world, I lived in Wooster Square myself for a while.

    I'm not a comic artist myself, more of an illustrator, but I try to keep informed on a variety of art related fields. I'll grant I may not be 100% informed on all of them, but I keep my eyes and ears open whenever someone is talking about such things.

    The pages shown to editors at Image and elsewhere had better be flat out stunning or they stand no chance of being accepted. Sometimes artists accepting work at a lower page rate or for a back end cut phone the job in and that guarantees failure. Either commit 100% or don't accept the job.
    Well, that's a danger of relying on the artists that are working for (most likely) free. I know it's a catch 22 for the writer, you can't get a good artist without a deal, but can't get a deal without a good artist.

    Anyways, we can continue the discussion through myspace if you like, so we don't clutter the boards with a back and forth conversation.

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    Nice discussion going on here! I agree, the comic industry is not in a great position for a lot of writers to offer much more than a back-end deal. I definitely agree that the right way is just to be up-front about what you can and cannot offer.
    The Dweller is right, there are a lot of people who are not as supportive or committed as you, Matt (you sound delightful to work with ^_^), so we do need to take care that we don't end up sinking a lot of time into nothing.

    That said, I am collaborating with a couple of writers who I met online. I do write my own stuff two, but everyone's different, and I wouldn't have come up with the projects they're writing on my own. I'm working on them because I think they're quality works that I would be glad to have my name attached to, so I'm willing to take a chance on them, and have asked a number of questions and chatted quite a bit with the writers to ascertain that they're sensible, well-spoken and committed - but even so, I think the 5 pages for a submission package is the best place to start. Even if the work gets picked up, it's still not going to make things financially easier while you're making it - but at least it's got the promise of back-end there, so you can be more confident you're not just investing in a huge time-sink.

    The time that one can offer to a project that's not paying the bills, even if it's one you believe in, is going to be limited, especially if you have other projects of your own as well. For all of us, it's a balancing act between what you want to do, and what you can afford to do. What we can't afford to do is waste time, which is what all this talk of rates is about. It's nice to be reminded that the people on the other end of the line aren't all unreasonable ingrates, and in the end it's still going to be incumbent upon the artist to exercise caution and decide what they can and can't do. It's nice to have other people's experiences and advice at hand by way of the forum in case people need them though.

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    Very well said.

    One thing many need to realize is that if you propose to say IMAGE and they give a yes to the project, you now have to deliver AT LEAST three full issues before you can hope to make one red cent! By the time issue #1 is published you need to be working on issue #4. That's three months+ worth of work.

    No writer, outside of someone who is frickin rich, can afford to pay an artist for three month's worth of work, so a writer and his artist must be fully committed to what is to come if a YES is given. They need to be a team and want it BAD.

    Most of the artists who get their start this way are crashing at the home of someone they know and are single, giving them the freedom to take such a risk. I've spoken with a number of guys who have made it as far as getting their work published at IMAGE and man, they were 1,000% committed to getting it done. No sleep. No free time for partying. They went for it, even if it meant near starving and racking up debt.

    I'm willing to do that. Most artists for hire won't be, unless they themselves have an extreme hunger to make it in comic books and a passionate belief in the project.

    Many writers who advertise for artists forget this because they have their heads in the clouds. They haven't a clue. I've starved for my writing craft, so I know what an artist is up against here.

    Everybody have a grand Friday night.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt_Stevens View Post
    Very well said.

    One thing many need to realize is that if you propose to say IMAGE and they give a yes to the project, you now have to deliver AT LEAST three full issues before you can hope to make one red cent! By the time issue #1 is published you need to be working on issue #4. That's three months+ worth of work.

    No writer, outside of someone who is frickin rich, can afford to pay an artist for three month's worth of work, so a writer and his artist must be fully committed to what is to come if a YES is given. They need to be a team and want it BAD.
    Very true, but at least by the time you get that go ahead you KNOW it's not going to be a waste of time. At that point many artists wouldn't care as much about getting a nominal page fee because you've mostly got a sure thing.

    Honestly, EVERY artist has to want it bad to be successful, no matter what field they go into. If you can be happy doing anything else, do it, because it's going to be much easier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt_Stevens View Post
    For the comic book industry here are the facts: Nearly zero publishers are accepting submissions for original series. Most flat out won't look at your proposal. IMAGE is pretty much THE place to go and if they say no, your options are limited, to say the least.

    95% of the publishers outside of Marvel and DC pay BACK END ROYALTIES with no page rates. That's just the way it goes.
    Interesting. I have to say that every single editor I've talked to (at about 5 diff large, established comic companies) have asked me to specifically submit an original pitch to them. This is after having shown a portfolio of sequentials that were not "MYGREATOPUS" but sets of 2-3 page groups showing my range. These were also NOT back-end deals.

    Prehaps your experience is limited to the gigantic names (DC/Marvel) only? They have to go through what you did (99.9% eye-bleed) times 10 thousand, so they can afford to say NO and only work with established people.

    Also, I think I need to mention that artists need writers a lot less than writers need artists. If an artist is a good comic artist, they're already a decent storyteller. EVERYBODY has ideas to tell. They're not always good, but honey they are no worse than the ridiculous amount of BAD I see in start-up scripts all the time. Writer's have it tough. I wouldn't mind doing free work if I could get excited about a good script but it has NEVER HAPPENED. :/

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    I've done some back end published comic work. It's really prevalent now a days. My roommate did work for CB Cebulski that was backend as well, and CB's pretty high up there as far as comics go. So it's not just new writers having to go this route. In my experience go with what you'll enjoy drawing and make sure the writer has a decent track record. It's a lot of work for not a lot of pay so REALLY love the work!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mirana View Post
    Prehaps your experience is limited to the gigantic names (DC/Marvel) only? They have to go through what you did (99.9% eye-bleed) times 10 thousand, so they can afford to say NO and only work with established people.
    Uh, no. Please do not start assuming things. Not a good thing to do. I've had zero experience with Marvel and DC. They wouldn't give me the time of day. If I were them I wouldn't either.

    The vast majority of publishers will not allow submissions for actual projects. Many do, most don't. Here is a not so updated listing...

    http://calebmonroe.com/creator-services/#accept

    Many on that list shown as accepting actually do not any more.

    You are absolutely correct that writers need artists more than artists need writers. No doubt. It sucks to be a writer. Trust me. I know.

    By the way, I met C.B. Cebulski and talked with him in depth. GREAT guy. Extremely helpful. Filled with damn fine advice. I am following some of his advice right now and it looks to be paying off.

    By the way, here is a taste of what the artists I have worked with produced. More links to more pages at the bottom of this post...


    http://wsm.ezsitedesigner.com/share/...2/vengPg02.jpg
    http://wsm.ezsitedesigner.com/share/...ngPg03_let.jpg

    And another project...
    http://wsm.ezsitedesigner.com/share/...g_0203_let.jpg
    http://wsm.ezsitedesigner.com/share/...ing_04_let.jpg

    Enjoy.

    Last edited by Matt_Stevens; May 16th, 2008 at 07:33 PM.
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  19. #13
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    Actually I found her posts very informative, yet it could have been placed in a more appropriate thread....I think this thread is rather rude in and of itself, as a matter of fact.

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    Quote Originally Posted by black_fish View Post
    You are pretty funny. You seem to know so much about the industry, and have sooo many publishers asking for submissions, let me tell you that if you get those offers you should take them, because they are unheard of.
    As are you. Just because your experience is different doesn't mean mine is a lie.

    I went to school for comics and once a yr we would have many of the EiCs and other Editors from top comic houses come in to look at portfolios (This year's list is here). Maybe they were more generous than usual as they were getting to come out for paid vacay to hang out with friends and look at kids who actually got screened and had nothing but foundations and seqa training.

    I also have worked for two different dealers at many major conventions, and dealer badges got me in to talk to editors before the shit-storm hit the floor.

    I've gotten business cards and invites for original subs from both avenues. Some companies--more than once from different editors.

    The funny thing is I was always showing to GET work-for-hire/penciller/inker/colorist jobs! #1 I was in school still during most of these meets. #2 I'm not at a point in my sequentials where I feel comfortable butchering up my own story. I'd rather get some practice working on other titles. #3 For some inexplicable reason I fucking hate writing a script (thumbnailling is how I "write"...). Lame excuses totally, and I realize that. Ironic still.

    Quote Originally Posted by black_fish View Post
    I have never heard of publishers paying advances and then granting full copyright (where would those people make money?).
    Then you are looking in the wrong places or not asking for enough. Not to mention, I said big publishers. I'm sure small publishers don't have the captial to pay up-front and will try to swipe copyright if they can.

    Quote Originally Posted by black_fish View Post
    The publishers I have dealt with are:
    Funny, I've only heard of 4 of those publishers, but as I said I didn't grow up on comics and wasn't a fan until college. I was all about animation when I was kid.

    Quote Originally Posted by black_fish View Post
    I'd love to know where you (or your friends) got those juicy deals (and I'm sure at GAG rates
    My good bud's work is coming out in Nov. It's certainly not your style, but you might flip through it when you see it anyway. As for my own, I'll keep 'em to myself for the moment--whether that makes ya think I'm a liar or not. BooHoo.

    Now, I have an old GAG copy, but their section on comics literally reads something like "Comics are a horrible business and make you no money at all. GET OUT NOW." so I imagine the "GAG rates" are more in line with what you accept to be true.

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    Maybe you should post a list of the publishers you know then. The one your friend is at is Del Rey, which is not an indie comic publisher but a book publisher, which as book publishers do give advances on royalties and keeps a big chunk of the rights. (Cover looks great by the way).
    It seems like Matt and I are talking about one thing (indie publishers on the direct market) and you are talking about another one entirely (major book publishers on the bookstore market expanding into manga style comics). That's 2 completely different things.
    So Matt could be right, and you could be right at the same time, you're just not looking at the same thing.

    And yes I'm funny. Sometimes.

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    I have spoken to book publishers, children's book, magazine, manga, but also direct we-only-do-amer/indie-style-comics publishers. It's mixed bag, but considering I have more an animation style? I can't really throw down for a publisher that wants american comic style or edgy/dark indie style. At least, not without a wee more practice in those areas. So though I've talked to those editors in passing, I don't bother them with my stuff if it's not their company's bag.

    Originally this was a counter-point on the viablity of original story ideas in comics...not type, venue or pay options.

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    Black Fish, you are on Transhuman? That's some strange ass shit. I hope it sells well enough for you to make some decent scrap.

    Mirana, of the publishers Black Fish mentioned, Devil's Due, Image and Top Cow are pretty much as big as Independent publishers get. Only Dark Horse and IDW can compare.

    Silent Devil, Boom, Ape, Catastrophic comics, Studio 407 are all smaller, but they have some quality product. Most will submit to them last since the odds of making money through them are not so good from what I know.

    As Black Fish has stated, nobody outside of Marvel pays a decent living wage page rate. Dark Horse and Virgin have page rates, but they are low. If the book sells, you can get profits and be OK. Simple fact is YOUR experience is insane. It sounds completely impossible to the rest of us.

    I'm not saying it's not true. But you have to realize that for most people it is flat out unheard of.

    By the way, through this thread and another I'm now talking to a very talented artist about a project. This is how relationships are made. It's a great place and I am glad everyone is being mostly civil.

    Last edited by Matt_Stevens; May 21st, 2008 at 09:43 AM.
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    Matt_Stevens congrats on getting in touch with an artist for your project. I think this thread has shown that you are serious and have a good understanding of the comics field, and that alone is more reassurance than most artists ever get for these kinds of deals. I'll say that if I was a comic artist I'd be much more likely to work with you too after seeing this thread. If more writers proved they knew what they were doing and weren't just some clueless hopeful that would ultimately waste our time with a back end deal, then I'm sure more artists would be less wary of them.

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    Thanks much. I still have to log into myspace and get you friended. Need to remind myself to do that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt_Stevens View Post
    Simple fact is YOUR experience is insane. It sounds completely impossible to the rest of us.
    So I'll just c/p this again: Originally this was a counter-point on the viablity of original story ideas in comics...not type, venue or pay options.

    I said nothing on page rate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mirana View Post
    Interesting. I have to say that every single editor I've talked to (at about 5 diff large, established comic companies) have asked me to specifically submit an original pitch to them. This is after having shown a portfolio of sequentials that were not "MYGREATOPUS" but sets of 2-3 page groups showing my range. These were also NOT back-end deals.

    Prehaps your experience is limited to the gigantic names (DC/Marvel) only? They have to go through what you did (99.9% eye-bleed) times 10 thousand, so they can afford to say NO and only work with established people.

    Also, I think I need to mention that artists need writers a lot less than writers need artists. If an artist is a good comic artist, they're already a decent storyteller. EVERYBODY has ideas to tell. They're not always good, but honey they are no worse than the ridiculous amount of BAD I see in start-up scripts all the time. Writer's have it tough. I wouldn't mind doing free work if I could get excited about a good script but it has NEVER HAPPENED. :/
    Mirana: well you mentioned 'NOT back-end deals', so that got everybody going That made for an interesting conversation though where we can see 2 sides of the comic publishing market in the US.

    Matt: yeah Transhuman is selling pretty well, upward of 4000 copies which is pretty rare for Indie comics on the Direct Market.

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  28. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by black_fish View Post
    That made for an interesting conversation though where we can see 2 sides of the comic publishing market in the US.
    Too bad it's all under a completely irrelevant topic header.

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    Let's change the topic header then!

    Black Fish, yeah, most Inde releases cannot hit 3,000 a month and just fade away. From what I see a book needs to have 4,000 per issue or better to survive long term. I don't know myself because the project I have is many many months away from actually hitting the street.

    The titles that do 10,000 or better are super rare, There's only a handful of them (not including the licensed stuff, like Star Wars, Buffy, etc).

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    Actually if a mod could split this thread from the original that would be great, starting from Matt's first post. I think this discussion is a pretty decent one and deserves to be seen by people who are interested in comics.

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    Thanks for the splitting...whichever mod this was (Hyver?)!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt_Stevens View Post
    Let's change the topic header then!

    Black Fish, yeah, most Inde releases cannot hit 3,000 a month and just fade away. From what I see a book needs to have 4,000 per issue or better to survive long term. I don't know myself because the project I have is many many months away from actually hitting the street.

    The titles that do 10,000 or better are super rare, There's only a handful of them (not including the licensed stuff, like Star Wars, Buffy, etc).
    Actually 2500 is seen as a commercial success and money is made on the Trade paperback (collected edition). I don't know of any original concept this side of Mouse Guard that can make 10,000. Even Matt Fraction's Casanova doesn't do more than 6,000. Only exceptions would be stuff like the Walking Dead, Mouse Guard, that kind of thing. Very very rare.

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    You are correct. The top creator owned titles are...

    Walking Dead - 22 to 25,000 a month
    Spawn - 20 to 22k a month
    Withblade - 21 to 22k a month
    Invincible - 14k a month
    Spawn Godslayer - 10 to 12k a month
    Astounding Wolfman, Mice Templar and Grendel both are above 10k a month.
    The Sword is doing nearly 10k.

    Kirkman has three of those books! His name means money.

    When you look at Inde titles, most creator owned titles are doing far less. The above are the exceptions and the creators are cleaning up, making great cash. Shit, the Luna Brothers must be loving life since they split evenly all the money from The Sword. They do that book themselves. Story, script, art, lettering & color.

    If you look at the publishers, pretty much none of the smaller ones are coming close to 3,000 with their titles. You see Image, Dark Horse, IDW, Dynamite over 3,000 and sometimes a few others. The smaller guys like Zenescope and Boom are only scoring with licensed material.

    It is TOUGH for creators. You really need a damn fine hook to get past 3,000 and then move up to bigger numbers. Commerciality is of prime importance. What will appeal to more than a couple thousand dorks?

    Brubaker's Criminal is doing over 15k a month. That's all money for him. Son of a gun is just a well oiled machine. And I will surpass him some day!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mirana View Post
    Thanks for the splitting...whichever mod this was (Hyver?)!
    I'm guilty of the sloppy split (I'm not very good at these mod option thingies.)

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    I was really happy to see this discussion in progress, because it has been weighing heavily on my mind.

    I come from a writing background, and am/was in the same boat as the OP. When I had originally come here, it felt rather arrogant...that writers aren't at the same level as the artists. I guess that is natural, with us being in your neighborhood here .

    Regardless, to me the joy of starting a new line is the collaborative process. I love and respect the artists...some of the stuff I see blows my mind and transforms my words in ways I would never have comprehended. And it feels good to put that blood and sweat and time in together, learn from one another and get it out the door.

    But when I came here, I got many arrogant responses about money from people whose work was clearly amateur. I didn't and can't understand why newbies think that they should be making huge bucks on day one when the writer isn't even making money off of it. He is putting his heart into it in the hopes of getting it somewhere.

    And at the end of the day, the funny-book needs the art and the writing. It is a marriage of necessity. Why should the writer go unpaid and then pay the artist out of his own pocket? There is no risk to the artist at that point. Where is the incentive to keep driving on? I wonder if people are thinking long term.

    Another issue that is difficult are artists asking for samples of the writing to be posted. That is understandable and even more...is fair, since the artists put their stuff up here.

    I think the difficulty with that is the copyright issues and the fear of posting your work in the nether...and then next week seeing a comic come out with your story. It is unprotected. But at the opposite end, you will see writers often offering up pieces of their manuscript privately through email and the like. Take them up on it.

    At the end of the day, your work on this site is spectacular. We come here as writers because we respect your art and who you are and are willing to take that next risky step with you (comic-wise at least). Many of you truly rock!!! It would be nice to get a little respect in return....

    -Josh

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    id4698, I'm sorry some of the tones from artists seemed arrogant, but I can see where it would come across that way. The truth of it is though that the artist in this case is a hired gun. It's your story, your baby, and most people expect that of course you are willing to work on it for free to get it done. You can't expect a hired gun to feel the same way though.

    When we work on our portfolio we don't expect a printer will print us posters for free with the promise that they'll see some money down the road if we sell them. No, the printer wants to get paid regardless, and if there's no money he's pretty much ok working for someone else, or at least not using up his time and resources on a risky venture.

    In a manner of speaking artists have a greater risk on these projects than the writer. It takes more time to do a page of art than a page of text, and that's not even counting the time needed to develope the look for each character, setting, prop, etc, which could take a LOT of time before you even draw page one.

    Another issue that is difficult are artists asking for samples of the writing to be posted. That is understandable and even more...is fair, since the artists put their stuff up here.

    I think the difficulty with that is the copyright issues and the fear of posting your work in the nether...and then next week seeing a comic come out with your story. It is unprotected.
    Artists take the same risk, and our art is almost universally out in that internet nether. Our designs could be stolen/borrowed just as much as a story could be. It's a risk, but we all take it. Besides, you can hold back enough of the plot twists and turns that make your story unique. Most artists will just want to know if the story is interesting enough for them to spend their time on it, especially if there is no promise of payment.

    One thing I was thinking about recently was I rarely hear writers offering up a trade of skills. Ok, so maybe back end deals are the norm, and maybe there isn't a lot of money to pay out of pocket, but surely you have something else of value. Many artists may have pet story ideas, but just not the skill to actually script them or fully develope them. Maybe offering to trade services might be a good route to take with some artists. I'm sure there must be forums more dedicated to comics that has artists looking for writers.

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