New page of RIBIT!
by Frank Thorne, now available.
Click here to read this comic NOW!
What a wonderful time to be a comics creator!
More options exist than ever before to create original works, have them published in multiple formats, reach a worldwide audience, retain ownership and have a sense of control over what happens with our intellectual properties.
All we have to do is figure out how to make some money while we’re at it!
It is this sense of monetary entitlement that seems to be frustrating creators the most and it is justifiable, especially in this awful economy. We all want to be paid for our hard work.
How do we define our value? What is appropriate compensation for what we do as comic creators? When do we realize we are being screwed and by who?
This isn’t an issue unique to comic creators. Ever apply for a job? Any job? The trickiest blank to fill on the application is “desired salary.” With few exceptions, the more labor intensive the job is, the less we can expect to be paid.
The arts, regardless of the discipline, always seem to leave a trail of under appreciated and undervalued yet talented creative types groveling in the wake of employers who have benefited immensely from the revenues generated by the exploitation of the works created by the artists that they have dealt with.
We all know the exceptions. The stars in the arts and entertainment world shine bright and are showered with wealth, adding to the frustration of those that toil diligently at their craft for limited compensation. These are the artists that either know how to manage and promote themselves or are able to surround themselves with people they trust to handle these duties.
I have always believed that if you want to earn what you feel you deserve as a creator, you should work for yourself. Why make someone else rich at the expense of your talent? This, of course takes time, requires investment, commitment and risk, most of the elements that the publisher assumes when publishing a work and why they expect to retain so much of the revenue generated by sales.
If there was ever a time to take on those daunting responsibilities, NOW is the time to take charge of your talents as comic creators. There is no need to sell out your skills or your creative ideas to publishers who are unwilling to value your work respectfully.
The internet provides so many opportunities for creators that did not exist just ten years ago. Comic creators now have tremendous resources available for everything from learning the techniques of the medium to the publication, marketing and distribution of the final work. All of these assets are available for free or at minimal cost compared to anything that was ever available before.
As a community of comic creators, we need to come together and champion each other. Now is the time to redefine the market, recondition the consumers, and reinvent the product. Now is the time to take control of our creations and be the beneficiaries of our own talent.
Will 2011 will be the year that comic creators finally recognize the significance of their independence? We are off to a good start. In the first few weeks of the new year discussion on this topic has already stirred the pot. Mark Millar, Dean Haspiel, Joe Casey, Warren Ellis and myself have all made a point to instill this dynamic into the mindset of comic creators, many of which are diving into the digital distribution arena possibly a bit to hastily with a Gold Rush mentality.
It is time that we all become as creative and aggressive marketing our comics as we are when creating them. We can charge in alone or we can rally together by supporting and sharing each other’s endeavors and ideas, encouraging an evolution that will redefine the course of comics as an industry and a medium.
Evolution at the hands of the creator…what a novel concept. Maybe we can make a Big Bang in how comics are perceived by the masses or maybe we can at least put the Pop back in our favorite Pop Art by insuring that comics are the popular reading material of the widest audience possible.
Bill Cucinotta and I are committed to exploring the possibilities that are available to the comic creators that are part of our cooperative community here at CO2 Comics. We also recognize that we are part of the greater community of comics professionals. We intend to be part of the dialog that empowers this new trend of Creationism.
Our think tank is more than a canister of of carbon dioxide.
We have been challenging the boundaries of convention in the comics field since the early eighties with Comico, our former creator owned publishing house that found ways to publish other creators while paying highly competitive page rates and a generous royalty on sales. From modest beginnings we found creative ways to compete directly with Marvel and DC in the fledgeling Direct Market. We made inroads in licensing and merchandising that opened the doors for others. We set standards for production and quality with innovation and hard work. We made mistakes and we learned from them.
We proved that it is possible to build a dream with perseverance, enthusiasm and creativity. CO2 Comics is our opportunity to do that again in this new digital era. As always our focus is on the success of the creators. We know that the success of the creators that we have relationships with translates into success for us. It is a simple formula and it works.
Creationism can be the new evolution of comics if you let it.
Our message to all creators: “This is your time. This is your opportunity. Take advantage of it. We plan to!”
Making comics because I want to.
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