Sometimes the stress of meeting a deadline can really get to you yet without the deadline some work will just never get done. The deadline is a necessary evil, especially in comics with monthly circulation schedules.
Back in the earlier days of comics one artist may have to hack out several comics in a month. Sometimes pools of artists would gather in a hotel room and jam to get an entire story done overnight. Guys like Joe Kubert can tell you stories like these all day long.
The worst part was that the pay was not so great considering all the work and talent that was necessary. This is why comics had long been considered the ghetto of the creative world.
Fans of CO2 Comics that have bought our first book David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW: The Complete Collection Volume 1 get a great inside look at what the industry looked like prior to the early 1980’s through interviews with many artists that had been there from the beginning of the comic book industry.
At times pivotal moments will pop up that retrospectively changed the course of comics and continue to effect the industry today.
One of those moments is described by Joe Rosen who had been a letterer in the industry since 1940 and during the eighties was still a go-to guy in the Marvel Bullpen.
He explains how his perspective was that creators generally used comics as a stepping stone to hone their skills, make a couple of bucks then move into a more rewarding career in advertising.
Joe credits Marvel with creating an environment with enough successful product, reasonable pay and benefits associated with contracts that creators could finally want to make a career out of making comics.
When you consider the great talents of the Silver Age, however, you still see a significant turnover with only a handful of guys and gals that are staples.
During the eighties, when the Direct Market begins to dominate distribution of comics, another shift occurs.
Dick Giordano, in his interview, describes an industry that was in danger of running out of talent as the older creators were getting set to retire and so few were being prepared to rise up the ranks.
Joe Kubert who tells about his comic arts school in COMICS INTERVIEW, along with some classes by Burne Hogarth at the School of Visual Arts in New York were about the only places that even taught comics at the time.
Dick, while he was running the show at DC, instituted a workshop for young talent that he hoped would help fill the impending void.
The educational efforts of these gentlemen and others that followed, the implementation of the Creators Bill of Rights and the success of the Direct Market and the diversity of product inspired by Independent publishers created a fertile environment that began to make comics an attractive career choice.
Today the numbers of talented people that describe themselves as comic professionals is astounding compared to the expectations of Dick Giordano in 1983.
Though the Comics Industry can still be a difficult place to forge a career full of financial gain it provides an opportunity for success that was unheard of just thirty years ago.
Comics have gained a respect in the artistic community and can no longer be described as a creative ghetto.
Most importantly creators now make comics because they want to, not because it is a humbling stepping stone to a greater career.
I enjoy finding these paradigm shifts as I read through COMICS INTERVIEW. The eighties was such a period of transformation for the industry as a whole and COMICS INTERVIEW was able to look at the whole era from inside out while giving us a clear view of the past through the eyes of the creators that had been there since the forties.
One thing that will never go away, however, is the dreaded DEADLINE and I think I just barely met this one. (Sorry, Bill)
Making Comics Because I Want to!
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