dc

Moolah

For those wondering about Money and Comics, this is a pretty good guide:

http://www.ehow.com/info_8068093_much-artist-make-per-project.html

The gist of it:

(caveat: the rates I think can go up much higher for the really big names :p)

1. Mainstream comics (Marvel, DC, Darkhorse)

Pencil Page Rates: US$ 100-250
Inking Page Rates: US $ 75-200
Painted Art: US$300-400
Cover Art: +20%

eg: “A pencil artist would earn from $2,400 to $6,250 for a 24-page issue of a comic book.”

Note that the rates are cumulative, so if an artist both pencilled and inked a comic, he/she would recieve, say, US$200 (pencils) plus US$150 (inks)  for a total of US$350 per page.

2. Independent Comics (Fantagraphics, Top Shelf Productions)

Book Publishing Model, Advance against royalites.

Typical rates:
8 percent of the cover price up to 5,000 units sold
10 percent of the cover price paid for sales above 5,000.
eg: 24-page comic book retailing for $3 with sales of 10,000, the artist would earn $3,000.

3. Freelance Comics Illustration

Advertising and editorial comic illustration earn top project rates.

eg: “Comic book artists such as Robert Crumb and Bill Griffith earn from $1,000 to $1,700 to create a page of comics for the New Yorker magazine. Top comic strip artist Lloyd Dangle earned $4,000 for a two-page project advertising a shaving product.”

4. Self-Publishers

Self-publishers shoulder the risks of publishing, but may do well if their book sells.”

From cover price, deduct printing costs. Distributor typically pays 40% of cover price. (Other sources indicate that 60% of Cover Price goes to Distributors and Book Stores (typically 20-25 % for Distributors, 35-40% for Bookstores)

eg: With a  $10 cover price book that $2 per book to print “… With sales of 1,000 books, the artist would make $2,000.”

The Image Comics publishing model is close to the Self-Publishing one; Image stumps up the cash for printing and marketing/promotion, but the creators don’t recieve income till those costs are covered, along with a flat fee of about US$2500. An upside is leveraging on Image’s reputation and distribution network, and of course creators get to retain all the rights.

Closer to home, rates at Malaysia’s Gempak Starz are as follows:

The page rate for new artists is RM70 per page. This may increase according to the level of skill involved and the comic’s popularity (we will pay more if a new contributor’s comic quality is really good) For color pages, new artists are paid RM120 per page.

For more info on Gempak’s submission policy etc (provided by Saulim)

http://sonnyliew.com/blog/GEMPAK STARZ FAQ Eng.rtf

Another useful reference:

http://www.chrisharden.com/TheFinancialAspectsofComicBookSelfPublishing-ChrisHarden.pdf

Minxed

Learnt last night that the DC Minx line got cancelled; there’re a whole bunch of blogs speculating about the why and how of it, of which these are a few:

http://pwbeat.publishersweekly.com/blog/2008/09/25/breaking-news-minx-line-cancelled/

http://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/cbr_dc_comics_ends_minx_imprint/

steverolston.livejournal.com/89645.html

Some of the reports argue that it was a placement issue, the books ending up in the comics/graphic novel section rather than the YA  or manga ones. That was certainly true here in Singapore, and maybe it was an unfortunate result of the hybrid nature of the line.

Personally of course the worry is that, whatever the marketing or placement issues, some of it comes down to the quality of the stories themselves, in this case the art – would Regifters have done better with better drawings? Or if it had been done in a different style?

There’ve certainly been some who thought that different creators might have fared better – getting more  YA authors involved for example, or having more female creators.

I’m sure though that Shelly must have thought all these things through, and my sense is that any set of decisions would have been criticised at some level – if they had gone with more YA authors, there might have been complaints about not making more use of actual comics creators who understood the craft better; if there were no male creators involved they might have been accused of a sort of reductive reasoning that you could only create comics for your own gender; and I’m pretty sure any name other than ‘Minx’ would have ended up with problematic connotations at some level or another; and so on and on.

Having said that, I think the debates over the reasons for the demise of the line  is interesting – leastwise in helping everyone figure out what exactly makes Manga and YA  fiction so successful in the first place. How much is down to marketing,  to the quality of the stories, to that ineffable thing that helps a Viz, TMNT or Harry Potter catch fire like its nobody else’s  business?

And maybe some of it really is a mystery – how on earth did [insert name of your most-hated movie/singer/band/book/comic] end up making millions whilst [that excellent movie etc you really liked] ended up sinking without a trace? As comics creators i guess all we can really do is try and tell the stories we think are worth telling and hope that the jungle of the marketplace out there somehow thinks they’re worth reading too.