FairPageRates is a website that has been collecting the page rates offered to comic book creators – writers, pencillers, inkers, colourists, letterers, and collecting and comparing them from one publisher to another. It intends this as a long term effort, which will inform, educate, encourage debate and be a resource for all. And they have just published their Year In Review for 2015.
How much people get paid for creating comics is a question that fans and wannabe creators are the keenest to ask but which professionals have been the most noninclined to answer. Some feel that answering such a question may be a breach of trust from their employer, make them the subject of scrutiny, and affect how other creators may see them. And, of course, there are no unions, and no sign of any being recognised soon. Though I know the WGA have been circling…
But if it’s all anonymous…
The results will be shocking to some. Talking to some comic book publishers and creators tonight, the feeling is that the responders to the survey have, so far, been on the lower paid side, or don’t take into account other revenue streams.
I applaud the effort of transparency @FairPageRates, but mixing licenced rates with creator owned work is VERY misleading.
— Declan Shalvey (@declanshalvey) January 10, 2016
— Caitlin DiMotta (@ComicsLawyer) January 10, 2016
People realize that "fair page rates" nonsense is based only on the people surveyed? I personally can contradict almost every quote.
— Frank J. Barbiere (@atlasincognita) January 9, 2016
Zander Cannon: This post about page rates at the top comic book publishers is being passed around a fair bit, and some of it confirms what I know to be true (or to have been true 5 or 6 years ago), but when my current publisher, Oni Press, comes in dead last for page rates, I have to step in and point something out. That figure, though correct, is for advances on creator-owned work, not work-for-hire. Writing and drawing one’s own work and getting any page rate at all is extremely rare in the comics world, and if you find a publisher that does it, pays on time, gives you a wide berth creatively, and generally treats you with the respect a professional deserves, god damn it, you hold on to them tight.
It may be that those on better rates don’t see the need or reason to share that information, however anonymously.
The site claims 60 respondents so far, and state that the survey is still open. So if you are a comic creator, why not take part in the survey?. Especially if you are on the higher end of the scale and may not currently be represented adequately. It only becomes more accurate with your participation….
I know myself, that my rates for writing for certain publishers are higher than the highest received so far. So you know what? I’m going to add those in. But I know that most, you know, actual proper comics creators will have higher rates than mine.
And of course, these only measure page rates, and miss out royalties and advances. They only ask someone’s highest or lowest page rates offered that year, rather than getting a more representative range. So if someone’s highest page rate was for DC, while Boom was close, only the DC rate will be reported. I expect this kind of thing will come. But for now this is a good start – for information, for conversation, or comparison – and greater participation will only make it better.