Kirkman and Bendis battle for the very soul of comics

twitter Kirkman and Bendis battle for the very soul of comics0facebook Kirkman and Bendis battle for the very soul of comics0google Kirkman and Bendis battle for the very soul of comics0pinterest Kirkman and Bendis battle for the very soul of comics0tumblr Kirkman and Bendis battle for the very soul of comicsreddit Kirkman and Bendis battle for the very soul of comics0stumbleupon Kirkman and Bendis battle for the very soul of comics0email Kirkman and Bendis battle for the very soul of comics

 Kirkman and Bendis battle for the very soul of comics
So anyway, the Kirkman/Bendis debate thingie. Perhaps it was just because everyone was still amped about the previous night’s Obama/McCain matchup, but everyone came expecting a real debate. What they got was Bendis and Kirkman sticking to their talking points. ComicMix has a near transcript, but Vaneta Rogers’s report at Newsarama has a more accurate take on the vibe of the room. While this particular exchange may not have reached soaring rhetorical heights, it was still a high-profile airing of the central matter of the creator’s life: making a living from your work. Via Rogers:

Bendis said he hopes “everyone in this room sits down and tries to make a comic. That would be amazing. But know that there’s an opportunity for it not to be seen.” He said that Torso, his early creator-owned work, never sold more than 2,200 copies, “which meant it sold 100 copies more than it needed to make a profit. Thankfully years later, the book has found an audience. But it didn’t look like it was ever going to find an audience.”

The writer said it’s a huge struggle to try to do creator-owned comics. “I just eeked out a living. And I just don’t care because I have mental problems,” he said to laughs. “You can’t live on it at all. I lived as a character artist,” he said, emphasizing that even when he thought he’d made it, he still needed another job.

“I remember very, very clearly winning an Eisner and leaving San Diego that night because I had to get to a gig doing a Bat Mitzvah that night.”


It’s hard not to sympathize with Bendis’s view here. As he’s said in interviews, when he wrote and drew his own comics, he struggled like this constantly; as a writer, he’s feted from coast to coast.

I’m naturally more sympathetic to Kirkman’s view, however; his appeal to creator ownership is aimed more at specifically bringing folks to Image Comics as opposed to the larger view of how bringing the publishing industry’s “partnership” model of royalties and copyrights into the picture is affecting creators.

About 2/3 of the way through, Kirkman brought out a series of slides. I asked if The Beat could get a copy to post, but in the meantime, I took some pictures. Unfortunately, we missed the one that graphed WALKING DEAD sales against MARVEL ZOMBIES sales. Here’s one comparing WALKING DEAD and INVINCIBLE.

 Kirkman and Bendis battle for the very soul of comics

And one graphing POWERS against Bendis’s Marvel work.

 Kirkman and Bendis battle for the very soul of comics

And the one that caused the most stir, a chart comparing Kirkman’s ACTUAL sales to the online numbers:

 Kirkman and Bendis battle for the very soul of comics
As you can see, the lines are very parallel. Bendis was adamant that the online numbers were wrong, while Kirkman argued that the trends were accurate. I think you can gauge that for yourselves. Where Bendis got a bit wonky was in stating that the trade numbers need to be added in to get an accurate picture. He’s halfway right, but trade sales have nothing to do with periodical sales, and have to be judged on a different scale. One would have to be a fool not to see that both Bendis and Kirkman can significantly add to their savings from the sales of trades — whether it’s royalties from MARVEL ZOMBIES and SECRET INVASION or profits from POWERS and WALKING DEAD. It will be interesting to see how POWERS sales are impacted by the upcoming TV show.

After the debate, I had a chance to talk to Bendis and at least point out that I never say anyone should take the numbers as accurate — rather, it’s the trends that can be analyzed. Bendis acknowledged that I was being responsible in my own comments, but as he’s posted many times at his own board, I don’t think he’s a fan of any of the sales chart obsessions out there.

While it’s hard not to argue that for top-level creators — Jeff Smith, Mike Mignola, Jim Davis — owning and promoting your creations is ultimately the way to build an empire, small or large, it’s not an easy road. That’s the “rarefied air” everyone was talking about. In a thread discussing the debate at the Bendis board Tom Beland (TRUE STORY SWEAR TO GOD) makes this poignantly clear:

Now, having said that, I have to say THIS. I work a LOT on my book. It takes me forever to get the thing the way I want it to be. And after all those months and days and hours I pour into TSSTG… I’ve yet to be able to pay a bill from it.

That’s where Marvel saves me. They’ll contact me and ask me if I want to write a Spidey book about Valentine’s Day or a Fantastic Four book about family. I’ll work at it and, since it’s super-heroes and nothing based in reality and they’re not my characters, I can just chill for a couple of days and write a script that’s fun and I’ll get a check for three grand. Three grand to hand to my wife and pay bills with.

Which brings me to another point. As much as I love doing TSSTG, as an independent creator, I pay for everything. I pay for the printing, the pre-press, the shipping, the storage, I even pay for that great ad placement. Image doesn’t do it for free. So when I make a book, there’s that much pressure to make it as good as the last issue. Six Eisner nominations haven’t yet allowed me to cash-in on TSSTG, although that was never my goal.


There’s much more in Beland’s post worth reading.

Is Image the way? It’s one way, and with the new realignment at Image — Kirkman as partner and Eric Stephenson as publisher — there’s definitely a move underway to make Image even more vital to the industry than it is now. The panel ended with Bendis urging creators to go to their rooms and make comics. While he’s grimly aware of how hard that road is to travel along, no one is saying it isn’t a road more people need to take.

Comments

  1. The underlying result should be: make good comics. Tom Beland knocked my socks off with the first volume of “True Story Swear to God”. Then I read “Web of Romance”, and he entered the pantheon of writers of which I will read ANYTHING they write (Gaiman, Dorkin, Moore…) That Spider-Man story is one of the best, perhaps second in heartfelt emotion to “The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man”.

  2. I haven’t read the transcript yet but it seems to me something being left out of the discussion, although it’s been touched on around the edges, is, well, what do comics _readers_ care about?

    I almost typed “buyers” above instead of readers, because back in the heyday of independent comics, there was a co-hort of “investors” who would buy up copies of every indie comic out there, regardless of quality, hoping to pick up on the next TMNT phenomenon. Those people have mostly exited the scene now — there are likely still a small number of them around, but nowadays I think the overwhelming majority of the people who buy comics are those who read them or at least care about them as something more than or in addition to their collectability.

    And as has been pointed out before, readers care a great deal more about their favorite characters than they do about the writers and artists who make them real. Yes, there are fan-favorites, but a Warren Ellis X-MEN book sells a lot more than a Warren Ellis ANNA MERCURY or FELL.

    The big publishers, with their ownership of these characters, have an effective lock on the loyalty of current readers. And I don’t see how this can be changed.

    If there’s a hope for creators wanting to own their works, it must be in expanding the market and bringing in a new cohort of readers, who will see comics as literature rather than as a window to their favorite imaginary friends of childhood.

    And how to accomplish _that_ is the $64,000 question.

  3. Comics just need to find a better market is all.

  4. Torsten, I totally agree with you about Beland. Based on his Spider-Man story he should have gotten the Spidey Loves MJ gig.

  5. Mark Coale says:

    Whenever I read now about how “vehement” Kirkman seems to be about this subject, it makes me wonder what kind of falling-out (if any) he had with Marvel to become so zealous about creator-owned stuff.

    I’ve always subscribed to the theory that if work-for-hire helps a creator pay the bills and afford the ability to creator-ownded stuff, that’s the best possible scenario.

  6. michael says:

    Good, entertaining debate. Now let’s get out there and buy some comics! ;)

  7. jimmy palmiotti says:

    I think indy comics need to cross many lines and do what mainstream comics cant.

  8. ejulp says:

    Bendis was right about the trade sales being an issue, when Kirkman argued that his Walking Dead numbers went down a little when Marvel Zombies came out. Most people, when coming to the attention of Kirkman through Marvel work, wouldn’t start out on the series on issue 32 or whatever, but would go to the trades first, untill they caught up to the monthlies through the trades (I did this, as well as several friends who I didn’t even know read MZ, that is untill I got bored with both Walking Dead and MZ2).

    The point is, to prove that Marvel Zombies didn’t help Walking Dead, you’d have to argue against the WD periodicals NOT having a delayed sales increase. I believe the interested-new readers would catch up to the monthly, but first through the trades.

  9. In principle that’s right, ejulp, but as I understood the panel reports, Kirkman DID make that argument, and Image publisher Eric Stephenson popped up to confirm that the trade paperback sales would not have altered the pattern.

    This all seems pretty plausible to me; history shows that the mainstream superhero audience tends not to follow favourite creators to self-published or creator-owned work in other genres, even when the book in question is a reasonably well-publicised new launch. Some of them do, of course, but the conversion rate isn’t great. So it would make sense that readers would be even less inclined to follow Kirkman to a series already in progress.

  10. One way for creators to make a living with their creator-owned work is to not set the comic book audiece as their primary market. Because, as was mentioned by the others, the comic buying audience isn’t generally swayed by creators, but by properties.

    Let’s make graphic novels, but let’s not pitch to comic book companies which are property-driven.

  11. Steven R. Stahl says:

    How many self-published comics, I wonder, are done by people who are writer-artists? If someone has writing skills and decides he wants to write original fiction, his first thought, I wouldn’t think, would be to script a comic. Whether he tried to write the “Great American Novel,” a less ambitious novel, a novella, a novelette, or a short story — most would-be professional fiction writers, I’d think, would try writing prose first.

    There’s also the matter of having a story to tell. If he’s been inspired by stories about superheroes, he’d naturally want to write about them, and would naturally be attracted to existing characters.

    If someone wants to make money off his writing skills, work for hire seems to be a much more sensible route to take than self-publishing would be, just as most prose writers submit material to commercial publishers instead of trying to publish books themselves.

    I suppose that there are writer-artist teams who have self-published, but I’d guess that there are few of them.

    I digress, for one paragraph: And Bendis? He’s both an animated ad for work for hire, and an ongoing example of people being attracted to characters involved in a “big” story, rather than the quality of the story. The plot material in “Secret Invasion” is so fragmentary, contradictory, and incoherent that it doesn’t even amount to an outline. It looks like the personnel involved decided to go with sleeper agents in the storyline, a la “Captain Marvel,” then abandoned that approach when they realized that they couldn’t do the background tie-in issues using sleepers. And they should have known that DNA wasn’t discovered a few years ago.

    There seems to be a respectability to self-publishing comics that isn’t attached to self-publishing prose. Would that be because attractive art, in and of itself, deserves to be complimented? Unless a prose self-publisher is remarkably successful, the endeavor is generally regarded as a waste of time and money.

    SRS

  12. Whos Looking For More Myspace-Friends FAST?
    here: http://tinyurl.com/58nsa3

  13. asg43 says:

    I don’t think Balance is done yet by any stretch, but I don’t

    hesitate to go Balance in a dungeon or raid now wow gold

    http://www.iwowleveling.com,

  14. Just a trivial point here: The phrase “character artist” stuck out, I wondered what exactly that meant. then I realized when he was working a Bat Mitzvah later that night, what he probably actually said was he was a “caricature artist”. (I was credited as a “Big Background Artist” at one point, so always on the lookout for other odd aratist titles.)

Trackbacks

  1. […] Meneame Cerrar Re: Kirkman quiere salvar a los comics! acá hay un análisis desde lo economico de lo que dice Kirkman y el debate con Bendis. basicamente dice que para que el modelo que propone Kirkman funcione, tenes que ser el mismo Kirkma, la mayoria de los autores no consigue lo que él: The Kirkman/Bendis Debates: Let’s Do the Math This story originally appeared in PW Comics Week on November 25, 2008 Sign up now! by Todd Allen — Publishers Weekly, 11/24/2008 4:19:00 PM Over the summer you might have stumbled onto Robert Kirkman’s plea for comics creators to leave DC and Marvel behind for independent publishing (or to come to Image, if you read it with a cynical view). You may also have heard that Brian Bendis attempted to call BS on Kirkman’s plea and debated him on the topic. While the debate didn’t have a clear winner, the stances were clear: Kirkman wishes more creators at DC and Marvel realized how much money they could make by going independent. Bendis thinks Kirkman’s sales are too high to be a reasonable example, finds his Marvel deal (including a page rate, royalties and placing Powers at Icon) preferable and kept talking about the value of trade paperback reprints. Unfortunately, nobody really got into the numbers of the situation, despite reports of Kirkman having some charts on hand. Fortunately for you, I don’t fear math, so let’s find out what you could reasonably expect to make as a comic creator under the Image deal. Note there are many kinds of deals in independent comics—for creator-owned books under the Image and Icon deals the creator pays a "production" fee up front, but collects the majority of the profits. A handful of self-publishers who take all the risk and all the profits, such as Terry Moore’s ABS and Jeff Smith’s Cartoon Books. There’s also "creator participation" (common at IDW, Boom, Dark Horse, Oni and most other publishers) where the publishers pays creators a something up front or on the backend and all profits are shared down the line. Creators make much more on the first two kinds of publishing models, but for the purposes of argument well look at the metrics of many kinds of indies. (And note none of this has anything to do with the publisher deals at companies like Fantagraphics, D&Q and so on, where a more traditional royalty system is in effect.) The direct market isn’t very complicated. You’re selling to the distributor at approximately a 60% discount. For our purposes, we’re going to call it 61% for a little bit of hidden costs fudge factor. So the amount of money a publisher gets to keep from a $2.99 cover price is $1.1661. A $3.99 comic gives you $1.5561 from the distributor. Morgan Printing was kind enough to provide me with some rough estimates on printing costs, so we can see some ballpark figures on what we’re dealing with in terms of price per issue and net profit if selling out the print run: For Black & White Comics Quantity Price Price/Issue Net @ $2.99 Net @ $3.99 1,000 $1402 $1.402 -$235.90 $154.10 3,000 $1797 $0.599 $1,701.30 $2,871.30 5,000 $2129 $0.4258 $3,701.50 $5,651.50 10,000 $3373 $0.3373 $8,288 $12,188 For Color Comics Quantity Price Price/Issue Net @ $2.99 Net @ $3.99 1,000 $2522 $2.522 $-1355.9 -$1000.97 3,000 $2917 $0.9723 $671.40 $1,751.40 5,000 $3279 $0.6558 $2,551.50 $4,501.50 10,000 $4548 $0.4548 $7,113 $11,013 Now who actually sells in these ranges, in terms of Independent/Creator-Owned comics? According to ICV2’s September charts: 0-3000 (Breaking Even) Pax Romana (Image) 2889 Golly (Image) 2896 Godland (Image) 2930 Roberts (Image) 2958 Perhapanauts (Image) 2964 3000 – 5000 (Beer Money) Zombie Tales (Boom) 3074 Necronomicon (Boom) 3197 I Kill Giants (Image) 3251 PVP (Image) 3408 Spooks: Omega Team (Devil’s Due) 3893 Knights of the Dinner Table 4262 Dead Space (Image) 4331 Tank Girl (IDW) 4515 Atomic Robo (Red 5) 4925 5000 – 10000 (Starting to Get Paid) Dynamo 5 (Image) 5014 Youngblood (Image) 5328 Usagi Yojimbo (Dark Horse) 5471 Glamourpuss (A-V) 5642 Dead, She Said (IDW) 5963 Armory Wars II (Image) 6414 Gravel (Avatar) 7138 Savage Dragon (Image) 7937 Astounding Wolf-Man (Image) 8716 Sword (Image) 8887 Over 10000 (The Money Makers) End League (Dark Horse) 10649 Echo (ABS) 13033 Fathom (Aspen) 13811 Darkness (Image) 14228 Back to Brooklyn (Image) 14474 Invincible (Image) 14904 Witchblade 15086 Criminal (Marvel Icon) 15615 Powers (Marvel Icon) 17985 Spawn (Image) 19078 War Heroes (Image) 22411 Walking Dead (Image) 23627 Hellboy: Crooked Man (Dark Horse) 24419 The Boys (Dynamite) 27104 Project Superpowers 29153 Bendis is right about one thing: Kirkman is abnormally successful in independent comics. The only other person with a similar success is Garth Ennis, and The Boys got a head start under DC’s Wildstorm imprint. Kirkman has two books selling well over 10K copies and another selling not too far under 10K. He’s done this with artists that weren’t necessarily “names” when they came on board, in comparison to the DC and Marvel folks he’s courting. While Top Cow’s Fathom/Witchblade/Darkness are pushing the definition of a licensed comic these days, what Kirkman is probably trying to bring to Image, err, creator-owned comics are more projects teaming writers and artists with DC/Marvel exposure like Back to Brooklyn (Garth Ennis/Jimmy Palmiotti) and War Heroes (Mark Millar/Tony Harris). If you look at ex-DC/Marvel writers paired with artists without many Big Two credits you get Joe Casey on Godland, Joe Kelly on I Kill Giants, Todd DeZago on Perhapanauts, or Larry Hama on Spooks: Omega Team. That is to say, the street cred may be there, but the sales are so low as to make you wonder if anybody’s making money off those books. Especially when Image is charging a $2500 listing/production fee off the top, which would suggest a color comic doesn’t start to put a dime in the creator’s pockets until the sales start climbing to the 4-5K range. Bendis is correct in saying that the trade paperbacks are an important part of the formula, and this is much harder to estimate for two reasons. First, a non-publisher really only has access to estimates for the top 100 tpb’s each month and virtually no access to reorder information past when the book debuts (with a few exceptions like Walking Dead by Kirkman, which regularly has reorders on multiple volumes crack the top 100). The data available suggests it’s unusual for an independent book not by Kirkman to hit the Top 100 list, and when it does, they tend to top out around 3,000. Secondly, a lot of publishers will print these books in China. This can save up to 40-50% of your printing bill I’m told, but the time table for getting the books to the shops means you have place your order before the Diamond numbers arrive, which means you’re guessing at your numbers and looking to err on the high side. It also means you’re talking about carrying inventory which is normally less of an issue with the direct market. The numbers below are U.S. printing estimates, so if you want to adjust the numbers for China, figure a bit less than double the net revenues. With the 61% discount + fudge factor to Diamond, you’d get $5.8461 back from a cover price of $14.99 and $7.7961 back from a cover price of $19.99 192 pages – Black & White Quantity Price Price/Copy Net @ $14.99 Net @ $19.99 1000 $4,651.00 $4.651 $1195.19 $3145.10 2000 $6,300.00 $3.15 $5392.20 $9292.20 3000 $7,953.00 $2.651 $9585.30 $15435.30 192 pages – Color Quantity Price Price/Copy Net @ $14.99 Net @ $19.99 1000 $9,151.00 $9.151 -$3.304.90 -$1354.90 2000 $11,550.00 $5.775 $142.20 $4042.20 3000 $13,953.00 $4.651 $3585.30 $9435.3 As a side benefit, this chart gives you a little insight into the economics of graphic novels. Depending on the amount of extras, 192 pages is the equivalent of around 8 issues, so selling out a color run of 3000 copies with a $19.99 cover is about the same net income as 8 issues with a cover price of $3.99 and a circulation in the neighborhood of 2500 copies each. Remember to knock 20% off the net income if you’re with Image (and that 2500 issue floppy probably wouldn’t be making back your $2500 fee, either, were you with Image). Absolute pricing aside, you’re not going to get the printing down to where you’re closer to 8 issues worth of income out of the collected edition until you’re selling much higher than seems like a reasonable short-term goal from the available data. It makes more sense in the independent market to serial and collect, than to do an original graphic novel (and it makes sense that when people do, they like to do a hardcover edition first). Kirkman likes to throw in the media licensing rights at this point. I don’t personally find that to be a realistically predictable revenue stream. The odds may be slightly better than the lottery, but it isn’t like the creator has a lot of control over this, so in terms of knowing there will be food on your plate, movie money can’t factor into this decision. The other thing to realize here, and nobody likes to mention it, is that it will take you several months to get paid. Quite likely 3-4 months with a monthly comic, since this is largely back-end royalties. Thus a month will pass after the book has shipped and we like to think work has at least started on a given issue before it’s solicited. Writers find it a whole lot easier to kick out an extra script each month than artists do fitting in another book, so your pencillers and inkers will need deep pockets or somebody arranging for an advance before they step into the creator owned world. If you’re waiting to see your profits come in from the trade edition, that could easily be a 9-12 month wait depending on how many issues you’re collecting and how long you wait between the last monthly issue and the collected edition… and how much inventory you’re holding that needs to be sold before you see a profit… and add 6 months if you’re selling through any returnable, “traditional” bookstore markets. So who wins the Kirkman/Bendis debate? I really wish I could say Kirkman wins, as a healthy Image economy is good for everyone, but that simply isn’t the case barring special circumstances. Marvel declined to officially comment, but their “normal” creative budget for a comic used to be about $15K. I have reason to believe that’s gone up a bit. Since Image is usually in the habit of pricing their books individually, instead of pooling resources for a bulk rate, it looks like you’re probably going to start sniffing at the Marvel creative budget around 15K copies, depending on what cover price the book in question is (and obviously, this is a lower number if you’re doing a black & white book). I talked to a fellow, let’s call him “Westby,” who is very familiar with Image, Marvel and even DC numbers. Westby thought 15K was roughly a “break-even” number with Image, whereas you really started making money at Image when you cracked the 20K circulation barrier. Westby emphasized an often ignored fact: that Image is a much better deal if you do the entire book yourself, that is to say, you aren’t paying a colorist or letter out of your own pocket. Westby further opined that Image’s system only really worked well for Top 40 creators. Let’s go back and look at that sales chart again for names of Image creators selling in the neighborhood of 20K+ In September, that would be Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard on Walking Dead, Kirkman being reigning King of Independents; Mark Millar and Tony Harris on War Heroes, Millar being a top 2 Marvel writer and Harris currently doing the quasi-indie Ex Machina for Wildstorm and more famous for his Starman run at DC; Spawn by David Hine and Brian Haberline, an exception to the rule, but Spawn is a brand at this point. That’s it. Hitting right around 15K, are Witchblade and The Darkness, two more Image “brand” books where the original creators haven’t touched the book on a regular basis for years and are effectively work for hire books inside a creator-owned structure, and Back to Brooklyn by Garth Ennis and Jimmy Palmiotti. Ennis being most famous for Preacher from Vertigo and Punisher for Marvel, and whose indie book from Dynamite, The Boys, outsells anything from Image. Palmiotti spends most of his time with DC, still will ink a bit for Marvel and his name comes up whenever executive positions are discussed. Both are likely Top 40 creators. Looking down that list, the only other Top 40 names I see are Alex Ross at the top with a creator participation deal on Project Superpowers and Warren Ellis on Gravel, where he has a co-writing role; in other months Ellis would appear slightly under that 15K line with other work from Avatar. Maybe more Top 40 talent would cause an increase in indie books selling over 15K. There really aren’t a lot of data points. What I can tell you is the evidence suggests that unless you’ve got a team of writer and artist both with reasonably high profile mainstream work and you jump into an independent book, the 5K-10K range is where you’ll mostly likely aspire to, if you can debut that high. That’s what the numbers say, and that’s where even Kirkman’s Astounding Wolf-Man book is crawling from. You’re not even nearing DC or Marvel page rate money in that range, especially if Image is taking the first $2500. You’re making some money, but not the big league rate. The collected edition money can help make this up, except for two things: outside of The Walking Dead, we don’t have clear evidence how well the trades sell; and this is money you won’t see for a year, so it won’t pay your bills. The biggest barrier to entry in the independent market is you’re working on speculation for delayed income. Walking Dead is a good example of delayed income. Kirkman could afford to stick to that book while it grew an audience. Tech Jacket didn’t work, you may recall. Invincible appeared to be close to not making it. But every time a new collected edition came out, everything grew for both Walking Dead and Invincible. This doesn’t happen to every book. The big plusses with Image are that they front the money for printing. They get you in the front of the Diamond catalog. They manage your book distribution with bookstores (with the specter of returnability and longer payment delays hanging over your short-term head) and are more experienced with the China advance order process. If you get movie option money, you keep it. Icon from Marvel is a better deal, if you’re one of the extremely few who can get it. You’re in the catalog with your Marvel titles, which will be your best selling material, right where the retailers can’t help but see the connection. According to a source familiar with Icon, whom we’ll call "Smiley" Icon does charge a fee, it’s less than what Image charges. In addition, Marvel prints so much more, your cost per issue will be lower than at Image. If true, 15K sales at Icon could be equivalent to 20K at Image, but consider that speculative until somebody throws down hard data. If you can be like Kirkman and build up your sales over a few years, if you can build a library of popular trade editions, if you can sell the media rights to your comic, then Image can make you more money than DC or Marvel. On the other hand, if you’re selling 3K-5K copies of an Image book—and some people are—I hope you have alternate income sources, because I don’t see how you’re making a living. Some sources I spoke with while working on this article suggested my numbers were on the conservative side, but I’d rather err on the side of caution when talking about income. If you’re interested in independent comics publishing, take a look at cost and revenue estimates and take a look at the sales charts for a few months. That’s a tight market, particularly if you live in an area with high cost of living. You’re not paying rent in Manhattan with most independent comics, if you get my drift. People talk about the price of comics going up. Take a look at the charts, there’s economic justification, given the circulations we’re talking about. I don’t know that the consumer will be willing to spend freely or buy as many titles at that price point, but the publisher justification is there, unfortunately. And if you can make a compelling black & white comic, by all means, the finances work a lot smoother. [Todd Allen is a technology consultant and adjunct professor with Columbia College Chicago’s Arts, Entertainment & Media Management department. Allen’s book, The Economics of Web Comics, is taught at the college level. His further comics industry commentary is available at Indignant Online. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of PW Comics Week.]   […]

Speak Your Mind

*