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Thread: Scott Shaw! And The Hundred Dollar Page Rate

  1. #1
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    Default Scott Shaw! And The Hundred Dollar Page Rate

    Last week, Scott Shaw! posted quite the diatribe on Facebook.
    If you think that comic book creators are enjoying a new Golden Age of fair treatment, guess again. Here's an example of the scumbaggery that's passing for industry standards these days. KaBoom!'s line of licensed kids' comics is not only work-for-hire, creators are given a work-for-hire agreement to sign AFTER they've created the work. And the page rates? A whopping $100 a page for finished artwork and $200 for covers. But that's not enough for KaBoom!'s owners. After only about a year of publication, their ADVENTURE TIME funnybook has spawned ADVENTURE TIME: COVER SHOWCASE 1, a $3.99 "comic" that reprints all of AT's cover variations, a publication that cost KaBoom! almost nothing to produce, since all of the covers had already been paid for at an insanely low rate. And these rock-bottom rates and terms aren't specific to Boom!/KaBoom! A LOT of these little companies are paying the same shitty prices for work that can be, arguably, some of the most difficult work in comics (in terms of getting the approval of the well-paid license holders!) I hope that none of the cover artists are holding their breath waiting for royalty checks.
    Scott Shaw! has drawn a cover for Garfield for Boom! but not for Adventure Time. He was lined up to draw an entire issue of Garfield at one point, but that clearly didn't happen - the above may indicate why. Certainly talking with creators working on such books, they all seem aware that the comics are work-for-hire, and the page rates he quotes are definitely not out-of-the-ordinary for the smaller publishers in the comics industry, who have to deal with smaller sales than the big guys, and for the more successful books such as Adventure Time, larger licensing deals on top.

    And while signing a work for hire contract after the work has been completed may be legally dubious, this has not been common with people I've spoken to (for that exact reasons) and certainly creators seem to be aware of the deals they are entering.

    This website seems to become a magnet for people who have problems with their piublishers. Often you don't see the evidence of that because I often work behind the scenes to get the creators paid or the shitty contract renegotiated, with Bleeding Cool publication as a sword of Damocles that can help resolve the situation. This has not been the case with Boom, Dynamite, IDW, Action Lab or other similarly licensed title publishers of late.

    Scott cites that Bongo Comics pay much better rates for his Simpsons work. Simpsons is a worldwide comics success however, selling hundred of thousands of copies in France alone. Maybe, if sales of these other licensed titles pick up worldwide as well, that the creators will equally benefit.

    And if they don't, then yes, this may be worth revisiting. But right now, I don't think anyone is getting that rich from these comics.

    But if I'm wrong, and you feel you are being ripped off, get in touch. If there's a moral to this story... go work for Bongo.

  2. #2
    Captain Cool Jason A. Quest's Avatar
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    News flash: Comics that aren't owned by the creators are produced as Work For Hire, and generally don't pay very well. Video at 11.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason A. Quest View Post
    News flash: Comics that aren't owned by the creators are produced as Work For Hire, and generally don't pay very well. Video at 11.
    Agreed. It's quite simple. Somebody offers you $100 a page and tells you they won't send you a contract until after the work is done, you say "no". Problem solved. If the reality is that there are too many artists and competent ones have to take jobs like these, then that's just the nature of supply and demand.

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    Wrote the Book on Cool
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    Garfield drawn by Scott Adams would be the perfect storm of not funny. Garfield by Scott Shaw would be better at least.

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    Wrote the Book on Cool papabear's Avatar
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    I would have to be homeless to take a job, work that job, and finish that job before finding out how much that job was paying me.

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    Scott cites that Bongo Comics pay much better rates for his Simpsons work. Simpsons is a worldwide comics success however, selling hundred of thousands of copies in France alone. Maybe, if sales of these other licensed titles pick up worldwide as well, that the creators will equally benefit.
    Yes, a corporation that has the worker over a barrel and already gets them to agree to such shitty pay is sure to increase its costs and decrease its profits - sure to.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Johnston View Post
    Scott Adams has drawn a cover for Garfield for Boom!
    The Dilbert money must have dried up.
    ShadowMax: Has anyone actually verified this is the real Steve Wacker?

    Me: Quick Steve, tell us something only Steve Wacker would know.

    Steve Wacker: [The Marvel relaunch] secretly is a reboot.

    Me: If you mean the continuity won't match up with any of the preceding issues, anyone could have predicted that.

  8. #8
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    I forget who it was (though I think it was Jamal) but didn't we just recently have a conversation with a working professional who stated quite categorically that $100/page was, in fact, a rather high rate, under some circumstances? It led to a lot of jokes about Brazilians, but the serious part was about the going page rate (not top, obviously, but something closer to average) was well below $100. Or was that just for barebones starting rates, and I'm misremembering?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comicsfan101 View Post
    I forget who it was (though I think it was Jamal) but didn't we just recently have a conversation with a working professional who stated quite categorically that $100/page was, in fact, a rather high rate, under some circumstances? It led to a lot of jokes about Brazilians, but the serious part was about the going page rate (not top, obviously, but something closer to average) was well below $100. Or was that just for barebones starting rates, and I'm misremembering?
    Misremembering. The Booms & XXX pay around $100 a page for finished art. Dark Horse, Valiant, Marvel, & DC pay significantly more, over $100 for the pencils alone. Their rates have dropped considerably over the last few years.

    And, yes, they do seem to be seeking out more foreign artists to pay less in production.

    ~R
    CORRECTION


    Hey guys -- when I'm wrong I'm wrong. Just got a friendly note telling me IDW is decidedly NOT in the $100 club and they pay significantly better than that. I thought it would be rude to ask specifics , but the implication is they're market competitive. Looks like I got some faulty info along the way.
    Last edited by Richard Pace; 01-07-2013 at 09:18 PM. Reason: fact checked

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Pace View Post
    Misremembering. The Booms & IDWs pay around $100 a page for finished art. Dark Horse, Valiant, Marvel, & DC pay significantly more, over $100 for the pencils alone. Their rates have dropped considerably over the last few years.

    And, yes, they do seem to be seeking out more foreign artists to pay less in production.

    ~R
    Okay. I know we were talking about foreign artists and new artists, so that might have been where it came from. Having said that, where does kaboom! fall in this scale? Are they on the IDW/Boom side, or the significantly more side?

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