Posts Tagged ‘Michael Jackson’

How to Get Rich Making Comics

Monday, February 6th, 2012

First and foremost, if your reason for making comics is to get rich quick, get prepared for a big disappointment! Making comics is an art and, like most art forms, there is a long line of practitioners aspiring to emulate the success of a limited few. Those that have attained riches from making comics are a rare breed and thanks to unscrupulous publishing practices that have been the norm of the industry for decades many deserving comic artist have been deprived of fame and fortune.

I remember reading a list of the top ten grossing entertainers in the world sometime during the 1980’s. Two on the list were comic artists, PEANUTS creator Charles Schulz and GARLIELD creator, Jim Davis. They were right up there with entertainment titans, Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby! That was when I first realized the full fiscal potential of making comics. Schulz and Davis were both syndicated comic strip artists proving that there was commercial power to mixing words and pictures on the page.

This type of economic success was not available to comic book creators at the time for one key reason, Work for Hire. Most comic strip artists maintained ownership of their characters but in the comic book industry the publishers owned the characters and creators only received a page rate for their services with no ability to share in the success of the work through royalties.

This all began to change in the 80’s as the industry pushed for creator’s rights and independent publishers sprang up, willing to publish creator owned work. The newly devised Direct Market made it possible for these new publishers to explore the potential of sharing profits with creators. It also made it possible for creators to self publish their work.

1st five Comico Covers

Comico's 1st Color Books

This was our motivation when we created Comico. We knew that the best option for profiting from comics was to work for ourselves rather than be just another cog in the works of industry giants. As this same notion began to proliferate throughout the industry, comic artists did begin to realize the wealth that was possible. Two major examples of the earning potential of comics can be attributed TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird and SPAWN creator Todd McFarlane who all made millions from their creations.

So, if you want to get rich making comics there are a few things to know.

Creating a successful comic or character is like winning the lottery. The odds are so great. It gets even more depressing when you see the long list of incredible talent that are the competition but no one can guess what will strike the nerve of the market. Like the lottery, you cannot win if you do not play, so jump in and create!

Do what you love and love what you do! Many will tell you this is the key to success. Bullshit!

But this will make the struggles a hell of a lot more bearable. Creating comics needs to be your passion. Make them because you want to and love doing it. Create characters that you know and love and need to share with the reader. Your ability to bring those characters to life is what will make them desirable to readers. Passion is infectious when it is executed with skill.

NEVER GIVE  UP THE RIGHTS TO YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY!!! Own your characters, never sell them unless the price is so unimaginably mind-boggling that you can’t say, ” no”. If you do sell your characters, don’t look back, it is time to reap what you have sown.

YOU WILL NEVER GET RICH JUST BY MAKING COMICS! This could change if the digital market takes off but there is just not a big enough comic reading market today to make you filthy, stinking rich. You may get pretty comfortable but not uber-loaded. Creators make the big bucks through licensing and merchandising. The comics are the launch pad for your property, where the character comes to life and proves it has legs but from there it is time to go to market and make movies, toys, pop tarts, you name it. That is where the money is.

What’s that? Your a comic artist not a salesperson? Then get a publisher that will do the work for you or get yourself an agent or a marketing agency. Go find Jerry Maguire and start yelling, “SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!” Video game developer, David Perry, does a great job explaining the need to merchandise here in one of his lectures.

It’s an awesome read and though it’s about licensing video games, you can easily see how it relates to comics because his point is that characters drive licensing and merchandising more than anything else.

Now you know that, yes, it is possible to get rich making comics but it requires a lot of love, a lot of work, a lot of luck and a lot of wheeling dealing. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

See you at the bank!

Celebrating Thirty Years of Comics History!

Gerry Giovinco

The Gutter:
Land of the Free

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

The debate over free content on the internet is heating up to a fever pitch and it is getting ugly. Discussions about piracy and devalued intellectual property with regards to comics, fueled by a terrible economic climate and rapidly changing technology is generating hysteria among comic creators and those of us who love the medium.



At the heart of it is free content on the web of which I am a strong supporter.

This does not mean that I do not respect the value of the work! If anything, I appreciate its value more.

Comics as a medium has a power that few mediums have. It has the ability to connect with the masses in a genuine way. The creator can convey their concepts through words and pictures and deliver it directly to the reader with a minimal amount of production in between. This can be a photocopy, a printed page, a jpeg or a web site.

Creators have the opportunity, now more than ever, to reach the largest possible audience, unencumbered. More importantly, they have control of their work. The creative opportunities are endless but shouldn’t there be some compensation for all the hard work that goes into making those comics? Absolutely.

Then why do I, Bill and the rest of the fine creators here at CO2 Comics, give our work away for free?

We know that good comics attract readers like a light bulb attracts moths.

This is no secret!


Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst knew it in the 1880’s when they put a free comic supplement in their newspapers to sell more copies and attract more advertisers.

The first American comic book Funnies on Parade was given away as a promotional tool by Proctor and Gamble in 1933.

Bazooka Joe comics have been given away free with bubblegum since 1953.

Free comics are nothing new. They have launched the industry and made money for publishers, promoters and packagers for over a century! In the process many creators worked for peanuts and others made tons of money.

For the record, I consider comics in newspapers and magazines to be free content the same way I consider the prize in a Cracker Jack box or the Happy Meal toy to be free. We all know that we are somehow paying for that little premium but it just seems like an added bonus and that’s what makes it special.

I remember reading the top ten grossing entertainers list in the 1980’s and being surprised to find Charles Schultz and Jim Davis up there with Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby. Those comics that I perceived as free content in the newspaper sure made a lot of money.

Excuse me while I venture out to my mailbox. Let’s see what is in here today. More catalogs. Who sends this crap to me? I don’t ask for this stuff! Full-color, well produced magazines with nothing but ads in them from every company imaginable.

These things are produced better that almost any comic on the market and I get them for free.

What a waste of content and paper. Do you think? This stuff would not be in my mailbox if the sender did not know that if they sent out enough of them they would make a lot of money. I sure wish they were comic books.

In 1987 Comico made a sixteen-page fashion catalog for Jordan Marsh that was bulk-mailed to households in New England. It was a comic book that featured the characters wearing the clothes that the department store was selling that fall. I wrote the story and Mitch O’Connell did the art. It was selected as one of the best direct mail ads that year by Advertising Age Magazine. I’m sure it sold a lot of clothes.

Comics are powerful marketing tools folks! Do not kid yourself! There is a reason that Mickey Mouse built Disney and Superman built Warner Brothers.

Free content on the internet is not much different than free content in my mailbox except that it can reach a larger audience with minimal expense. If my free content is comics, I believe that I will attract more people to my site where those visitors will be exposed to product and advertisers that will generate revenue to support the creators that make the comics.

If you are enjoying free content on the internet; if you are especially enjoying the free content here at CO2 Comics, do yourself and us all a favor. Share the comics with your friends! Allow the free comics on the internet to reach the widest audience possible!

Support the creators by buying product that they may have for sale: original art, graphic novels, related merchandise. Support the advertisers that chose to promote on our sites.

Enjoy the free comics product as much as possible and the comic creators will enjoy success and creative freedom that they have never known in this field.

This is not revolutionary stuff. It has worked in newspapers, television, radio and sports forever. Don’t let an old-school, failed system of distribution and marketing of comics suffocate this medium. Now is the greatest time to be a comics creator. Now is the best time to be a comics reader. Now is the time to build the profitable and prolific future that the comics medium should enjoy!



Making comics because I want to

Gerry Giovinco

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