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Thread: Industry Reacts To Scott Shaw! Over Page Rates

  1. #1
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    Default Industry Reacts To Scott Shaw! Over Page Rates

    Yesterday, I reposted a Facebook post from cartoonist Scott Shaw! in which he railed against page rates and practices at Boom!, specifically over Adventure Time and their collection of covers in one book.

    Jamie S Rich wrote;
    A lot of great people will be in this book. I hope some cash is going to end up in their pockets, but consider whether or not its really worth you giving the company yours if that isn't the case. And don't just answer "But I like ADVENTURE TIME, I think it's cool!" Particular people make this stuff cool, and when the work they did becomes a success, other people want to hoard the rewards.
    Steve Bissette wrote;
    Creators Non-Rights Dept: We're in a non-glorious new era of crap treatment of creators, for sure.
    Ex-Boom employye Aaron Sparrow wrote in the comments;
    When I was an editor at BOOM and a freelancer would ask for a raise, the mantra from the top was "They should just be glad to be working in comics." That's a direct quote. That, and "The only people crazy enough to think you can earn a living as a comic artist are comic artists."
    But ex-EIC Mark Waid added
    Why be mad? It's not like the rates are a surprise. You either agree to do the job for the money offered or you pass. When I was EIC there, I was apologetic about the (even lower) rates and understood when creators passed, but the economic realities of print publishing and comics circulation in 2013 are such that those numbers you quoted, Scott, are "fair." Sorry. I do agree that a nominal reprint fee for covers would be justified--they should exist--but they'd be tiny. Non-Big-Two publishers aren't making near enough off any of these books to enable DC/Marvel payouts. Also, why on Earth would any professional willingly produce work without knowing in advance whether or not it's WFH? How could any professional take a gig on a licensed book and think for one second that it somehow magically WOULDN'T be WFH?"
    And while Bongo's deal is an attractive one, one industry figure pointed out that Bongo's rates include owning the original artwork boards as well as the right to publish it, so the creator isn't able to sell the art which can often fetch as much as the rights to publish it cost, or more. Such as this Adventure Time cover, selling for over $600.

    Much of the value of the piece includes the fact that it was officially published. I'm told of one inordinately highly valued creator who sold a cover to a publisher for two dollars, but only if was published on one of their franchise books. Once published, he was then able to sell the original art for $40,000.

    This doesn't apply to most people, of course, but it does demonstrate that the market may be a little more complex and there are other factors to consider in how a creator makes a living.

  2. #2
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    I'm with Waid - seems common sense / economic reality often has a hard time finding a foothold in the minds of many artists. Move along, folks, when you decided to become an artist, no one promised you a living.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jroug View Post
    I'm with Waid - seems common sense / economic reality often has a hard time finding a foothold in the minds of many artists. Move along, folks, when you decided to become an artist, no one promised you a living.
    True, but if you become a Professional artist, in an industry that calls itself "Professional" there should be a certain expectation. He didn't have to take the job, true, but don't fault him for wanting better conditions.

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    Waid said basically what I almost wrote in the other thread. Being a creator in the industry, you do the job or you don't for what's offered. And the reality is simply that that's what the market allows. Pay a creator more just for the sake of it and not because of the economic reality of sales and these books don't exist. You can scream unfair all you want at the company, but it's not much different than blaming yourself for not buying these books. Neither is sane. I've worked (writer) for all kinds of rates. The only thing I ever got mad at was NONPAYMENT as BS excuses, not a company abiding by agreed upon terms.

  5. #5
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    $100 a page really isn't that bad. Especially if you're any kind of decent (re: fast) artist. If you can only do a page a day, that's $100 a day! Awesome! I could squeeze out 2 a day, and I tell ya, I (and my wife) would be pretty happy if I earned $200 a day.

    Admittedly, artists should be making FAR more than that, it's a highly refined skill after all, but instead of calling for a boycott, why not call for more people to buy this stuff so that one day it will sell better than Batman and the page rates can go up? Surely, the only way smaller companies can give out Marvel and DC page rates is by selling as much, or more, than them.

    As an illustrator, though, I once did about 1,000 pics for a kids educational book that was resold to another publisher in Canada for which they gave me an extra fee as part of the sale, so they definitely should be giving the creators something for republishing their covers as it's a different use than what they were originally commissioned for. Unless there's something in the contract that states they can re-use the art however they please, in which case... Eyes open for next time.
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    he could still sell cover art under different name on ebay...

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    FYI: The article shifts from using "Boom!" to, in closing, discussing "Bongo." Bongo would probably like to stay out of this.

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    King of Cool Joe Kalicki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulpfriction View Post
    FYI: The article shifts from using "Boom!" to, in closing, discussing "Bongo." Bongo would probably like to stay out of this.
    What do you care?

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    Bleeding Cool Matt Spatola's Avatar
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    To me the pay rate is the pay rate; you either agree to it or not. But not knowing the details of if it is WFH or not seems odd.

    Another example of creators needing to know what they are signing or read what they are signing or agreeing to before they agree to it.
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    As is often the case, some combination of reactions seems to be the best idea. In this specific case, I'd say combining the first four comments best sums it up. No, there is absolutely nothing wrong with speaking out for more fair treatment, but it's not fair to call what the market will support unfair, if "what the market will support" is a true statement. You have to take everything into account, and it's always best to know your deal before you do the work.

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