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For anyone checking out this Journal, I have an interesting idea. Most of you are probably involved in the comics industry or looking to get into it if you are checking out my site. What are your thoughts for this coming year and beyond when it comes to our industry? Do we think that the direct sales market, as it exists is going to sustain the ones of us looking to produce these work for hire jobs or these creator owned properties or are we looking to the future and how to get through the changes while earning a living for our families while we are doing so.

So far I have not seen even the free web comics as a way of earning substantial money at this time. Are there ways that this can become a substantial way to bring in money to do what we do? I was even thinking about the video game industry an would love to share my thoughts on that if anyone seems to even be interested in adding to this discussion.

Point is, I am working for and have worked with the larger companies in this industry having drawn X-Men, Hulk, Batman, Green Lantern, JLA, etc..etc..and I have been seeing what seems to be a declining market for what should be very stable properties.

What are your thoughts everyone? Put away the artist in you for a moment and think business. The days of comics being at every corner convenience store accross the country are long gone and that is where we NEED to be. People ran into comics every day when buying gas, milk or going to the local drug store to pick up a perscription. Not any more. Even if it is an internet comic, the person that finds you has to type in a search for"COMICS" in order to even have a chance of your property popping up.

Most Americans remember that Batman and Spiderman used to be a comic that they would pick up every now and then when their dad would take them to the grocery store.Now they are just movies and video games. They wonder whatever happened to comics. Why are they not being made anymore? That is, if they wonder at all.

Thoughts?
  • Listening to: coldplay
  • Reading: great scripts to draw
  • Watching: this screen
  • Eating: too much
  • Drinking: coffee, lots of it.
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:iconstevescott:
stevescott Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Well, to add to all of this little bit of info, I did some more research and found a site that links to 15,200 plus web comics out there. Inquisitively, I start clicking away to check some out. Just doing what others would do trying to find some "quality" entertainment.

I would love to say that all of what I found was on a standard of quality that measured up, but I can't. I would love to say that I was excited enough to keep browsing, but I wasn't. Lots and lots of sites to go through to have to, hopefully, find a competent production.

When I was twelve years old and drawing comics with my friends, it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot from it. Now, what reason was it not on the comics spinner rack with Marvel, DC, Charlton, Archie and others.....OH, because there needed to be some kind of quality managing going on. Argh!!!!!
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:iconfindingox:
FindingOx Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2010
this is an amazing thread, Steve, I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for starting it, and thanks to all who posted -- I really learned a lot (have been thinking a lot about this recently... artists' and creators' futures...)

awesome :thumbsup:
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:iconstevescott:
stevescott Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Well, it does not have to be rim in any way. The point is that we have to figure a business plan that works. Also, there should be a consistency of quality to be offered out there. All will work out fine. :)
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:iconstevescott:
stevescott Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Found this for all those interested.

[link]

The link is of sales charts, Market shares and the like for the month of December. Really gives the number figures on where our publishers rank in the market and these numbers are very important to advertisers. They are very relevant to us as well for various reasons.

The numbers are really low, overall.
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:iconneoking07:
NeoKing07 Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2010
Very disturbing.... I'm think maybe I'll heading over to Steven McCalls to help him with the face-book apps game he is working on.
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:iconstevescott:
stevescott Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
You hit on a key point. "where the public goes". Hell, I love the idea of the restaurant bathroom urinal wall, but, unfortunately, in today's economy, most of those places may go under soon. Most everyone, no matter the state of economy will have to walk into a grocery store or a Wal-Mart super store (groceries). Also, your gas stations and truck stops.

The idea is get however million people who have never picked up a comic before, to see and purchase your product. Top selling comic in America for the month of December sold just over 100,000.

Now, if digital is the way to go, for instance, no one has showed me how, exactly, do you get the general consumer to your site to begin with. Is there a digital version of a spinner rack that would work on the web to alert someone just shopping for some head ache medicine that they can also pick up an exciting new issue of Daredevil or Veronica or Mighty Mouse.
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:iconvilesithknight:
VileSithKnight Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2010  Professional General Artist
Marvel and DC appear to be changing rapidly, and are becoming more of jack of all trade companies that deal in all of pop culture. Comics is just one piece of the much larger puzzle. I fear Image and Dark Horse and the like will follow. Their main focus is no longer comics, and therefor quality suffers, people stop buying them, they stop distributing them at as many places, the whole downward spiral effect. But it's okay, because latest superhero movie made a killjillion dollars. There is no incentive for executives to improve the product. The people who work on comics care deeply about them, but the people above their heads view it as just another product. For all intents and purposes the comic book era that we so fondly remember is dead. We can long for the good old days but it's over.

Thanks to Maus and pretty much Alan Moore's entire body of work, graphic novels have been legitimized as literature. I see a future where creators as we know them create and publish their books in much the same way as traditional authors. I see graphic novels on the shelves in bookstores alongside other fiction and whatnot. No longer a special section for graphic art. If you want to be an old school penciler, inker, writer, etc, I believe this is the future to embrace.
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:iconstevescott:
stevescott Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
I agree with the Graphic novel being the future printed format. What you have to understand, though, is that how it normally works, say, in Europe, the writer/artist submits to a publisher seven to eight pages of the book and springboard or plot. Publisher agrees to publish it and owns publishing rights to it for whatever period is agreed upon. The publisher then pays the creator half up front to produce the full graphic novel with the remaining half paid on completion. Now remember, we are not talking about some tossed together low quality stuff here but rather some very high quality story and art.

I thank Wil Eisner for the success of the graphic novel.

As for American comics having a suffering quality, I haven't really seen that. I have, however, seen a suffering marketing of the product. There are probably some of the best written and illustrated comics being produced right now then have been produced in years. Also, right now, the publishers are producing these for an audience of an average age of say, thirty years old, where for decades the age would have been, say, nine. Nothing wrong either way, for me. I love a good story no matter the target age.

Now, the difference I would see concerning our creating the comics like traditional authors, for me at least, is that a graphic novel would take nearly a year, working full time, to produce. Writing, penciling, inking, colors, letters, production work...etc.. To do it all with attention paid to quality, at least a year. In todays economy, quality will be all that makes it. So, how does one take a year to do all that? Good idea, I'm just still getting back to my main point. Show me the numbers. The business plan. Thats what we get away from in all of this. It has to be a business in order for us to be able to do it. Hobby comics is just a lot of work and quality can diminish as well.
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:iconmichaelwatkins:
MichaelWatkins Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2010  Professional Artist
Oh I meant back issue bin not BEEN. Sorry
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:iconmichaelwatkins:
MichaelWatkins Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2010  Professional Artist
Well DelHewitt, not to break your stride, but the MAJORITY of comic professionals work day jobs. If we didn't we'd be broke. I work a day job and then some and still have deadlines to meet when I get home. Comics have become more of a labor of love for us than a steady job. Sad as it may be. Will that stop me...no, I've worked with some industry greats, some industry legends, and most of the main publishers in this industry.

The days of the spinner rack are gone. Really the day of the "superstar" artist is now much like a shooting star. You can see them once in awhile, but they burn out fast and disappear. Comics, have made the unfortunate decision to become a niche market commodity. So unless you seek out comics, you will not find them. Do I agree that we need cheaper comics back out on spinner racks...yes. Wal-Mart, Target, any place where the public goes...hell I'd settle for the urinal wall at a Taco Bell. People are now geared towared a want it now, want it fast, in your face mentality. So if you are out of sight or out of mind you are forgotten. Marylin Manson had a great line with "They love you when you are on all of the covers when you are not, they love another." This holds true for artists, markets,comics, even video games. Internet adds are great but why don't publishers use them to the effect movie studios do? I'd love to see some great art on myyahootwitterspacebook page.

As for the retcons...you know most writers, artists, and editors grew up on the stories of the 70's and 80's...they take us back to a simpler time, or a great memory, so we hold on to it, recycle it and try to feed it to the new generation. Sadly the new generation can get the old stories from a back issue been, so WHY BUY THE RECYCLED STORY? Anyone? Companies use the tired cliche that they are re-imagining it for a new audience, or a jump on point for new followers. That's crap, it's really just a lack of imagination or maybe just a lack of caring. Comics once did a retelling of an origin every 50 issues or so for readers to catch on, otherwise we would be on Spider-man 1 every two years.

Can we fix comics..yes, but it will be a bitter pill to swallow for everyone. In a crumbling economy people are going to want quality over quantity. Yes I know recylcing is in, and going green is trendy...but not when it comes to the ART of story telling. I think most of us have lost touch with the ART of comics.
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:icondelhewittjr:
DelHewittJr Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
wow what a thread great stuff guys! my opinion is if your good you will do great if given the chance. Steve your a great example your work is awesome but if no one see's it no one will support or even hire you. If you are given a chance like many others before you. Success will come. These days because money is tight and people are spending less on comics you have find other avenues like video games movies ect. The reality is you have to feed your family and you as an individual have to find ways to make that happen! I have my 9-5 and do comics on the side that works for me. Until i can break into the main stream like you I have to feed my family. If you are wise enough or lucky enough to blow up like mike of hellboy fame or jim lee a legend in the game, you have to find your place.
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:iconstevescott:
stevescott Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Del, thank you for that my friend. Even some of the big hitters in our industry have been crunched in the last few years. Success, in this, comes and goes. It's those of us working towards being in for the long hall that have to figure out the ins and outs of subsidizing what we love to do.

As most of you know, I had my 9to5, well, my 24/48 (fire service) and it was great to have but.....but....there were so many projects I lost or was never considered for during those years that I would have had. I have had some amazing gigs since resigning from that job, most of which, I would have not been able to do (deadlines).

Del, I have to confess, making it into the mainstream does not insure continued work. Mike and Jim are secure for now but look at publishing numbers of several other 90's legends and you will see that it can go away within a decade.
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:icondelhewittjr:
DelHewittJr Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Very true steve nothing is a guarantee.
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:iconstevescott:
stevescott Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Wow!!!! I opened up a very interesting box on this topic. I love it.

Remember, it's not so much a rant but rather a think tank. There are answers to be had and we are empowered to find those answers and apply them.

FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION!!! :)
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:icondropeye:
dropeye Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
i think games is also a hard market to get in i mean a look at conceptart.org all those people would like to draw for games en stuff
but i feel a buzz in comic world in my country then anyway its more active .. so im trying to finnish art school and i will see wat the future brings
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:iconstevescott:
stevescott Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Not talking about concept art, though. What I am referring to is something different that you can offer them, the video game publishers. I guess, I am looking at creating a market to cater to a thriving market. I have my agent putting it all together right now and once it's in place, I will share with all.

Yes, comics are thriving differently in different countries across the world. France, for instance seems to have a good market while Spain, not so much. Very talented creators in both countries but declining market in one.
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:icondropeye:
dropeye Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
ohh oke now i get it
must be hard to find something new

the netherlands realy is quite low on comic authors
it was almost dead but last year they seem to started a education for comics but the fist thing they published was realy bad sow...
and in spain is everything translated:S i was in Barcelona a while ago and
went to visit a big comic store
and there were like 10 english books the rest all in spanish realy weird...
but in the netherlands if you draw comics your like the lozer who doesn't have a job
in france its like ohh my godd your are that comic artist man,...
so i will wait for your nice whole in the market:d
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:iconstevescott:
stevescott Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Well, here in the states it is not so much that we are considered losers as much a look of shock by most that comics are still being produced. I did notice that in France, it is very much an honored profession. Same for Belgium and we were quite well received, as well you remember, in Breda. That was so much fun.

For those of you that may not know, the comic shop we signed at there was located next to a....I do not know the word for it...but, it was a place you could buy marijuana, mushrooms and the like. Right next to the comic shop. I thought that was just amazing.

Anyway, back to Europe, I found that the fans were very different there as well. What I mean is this, where here in the States, the fans ask questions about the plans for their favorite characters that you are working on (writer, artist, etc..), In Europe, the fans actually ask very intellectual questions regarding the creator of the work. Not the property. Here, it all tends to revolve around the property. People wanting to know the inside scoop on next months story.
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:iconshameous:
shameous Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2010
When we were kids, we would see comics every where...so we bought them. When they hyped the collectability of comics, we bought more. When we grew up, comics grew up with us. The industry forgot about the next generation coming up and only focused on us. Who could blame them? Hell, we grew up and got jobs. No more begging mom at the grocery store for the latest issue of spider man. When we were buying multiple copies of #1 issues in the 90's, the industries greed grew to a point where they didnt care about anything else but sells. And let's face it, the older kids/adults were the only ones buying. I would be afraid to let my kids get hooked on a title these days with all the "adult content" the comics code allows now that it wouldn't when I was a kid.

The Industry has left out my kids' generation for a profit...and now THEY'RE paying for it.

Also, dont get me started on TV
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:iconstevescott:
stevescott Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
You know, this is exactly how I feel and yet, getting to ask questions, outside of looking at this as a fan (which I am or else I wouldn't be doing this) I found that there was so much that played into the events. At times we see an event from the point of perspective of where we are standing. It takes research into all view points to figure out, quite often, what the heck took place.

If you asked any one of these people; writer, artist, editor, publisher, printer, distributor, retail store manager, comic shop owner, comics fan.....they could all offer their own take on what has happened and every one of them are right. You just have to combine them all.
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:iconshameous:
shameous Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2010
Sorry, something happened mid sentence....

Why does every Spiderman, Batman, Superman, and so on cartoon/movie series' rehash the same stories over and over? It's not for continuity. They have figured out what will maximize their profits and stuck with it over and over and over. It's so played out that I only want to read creator owned books anymore.

I hear people say comics will come back. They say the industry is like a rollercoaster ride..A few years on top..Afew on the bottom. Personally I think printed comics is going the way of the 8 track tape.
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:iconstevescott:
stevescott Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
You know, many of us working in the industry do see a trend towards what neoking mentioned earlier. Comics can be mad available as a weekly or revolving daily installment on the web and later collected as a paperback. It's being done now and looks to be the way of things.
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:iconneoking07:
NeoKing07 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2010
The problem isnít any one thing. Lets look at the average comic specialty store. As much fun as they are you basically add another dolor on too comics prices because they exist. So sometime in the 80ís we create a market that helps pull comic off the drugstore racks. The comics used to be used as an advertising tool for kids and they didnít have too make a ton of money. Following the comics as a collectable trend you take the audience you picked up at a young age growing up and demanding a more adult comic. Now Blackist night is a great example. I freaking love what they are doing with the corps but as a child my Mom would have not liked the blood and gore. The writing in my opinion is better today than ever. I know many golden age fans will disagree and thatís ok, I feel no need too argue an opinion. But what the more adult storylines are doing cuts off the new younger audients that is needed too sustain any industry. The work you did with the adventures series I.E. Iron-Man, is exactly what we need more of. Disney needs too focus a ton of new Marvel Books on a younger audience. Go too any comic store on new comic day and start an under 18 and over 18 tally. Heck when we went too watch the nearly sold out TMNT movie you could count the kids on one hand in the audience. Now enter modern day entertainment. Video games are the new pop art form. Why read a story when you can live it. Why read about saving the world when you can do it one shot at a time. Not to mention that fact that instead of seeing it drawn we can watch our superheroes on the screen and they look 100% believableÖ.. Well most of the time. Heaven help us the Wolverine movie sold well. So whatís the right course for us creative types. Braking into the mainstream can be hard and even when you are in it doesnít always mean steady work. I have a hard time thinking about going the Marvel DC route when people I see as art Gods arenít working steady. So there are web comics. I truly feel the web comic market is going too keep growing. I am about too finish over 3 years of hard work and print the first Neo-Earth web comic. Jenny from The Zombie hunters stated that it takes about 4 years of not missing updates too see a return on a web comic. I believe Jenny is dead on. I havenít made my 4 years yet but within the last year I have went from a few hundred hitís a day to recently 4 to 8 K unique viewsÖ Donít be happy for me though it takes about 30,000 sustained daily views to quite your day job. I may be their in another year or two but even if Iím not I do like my day job most of the time. I am an art teacher witch gives me wonderful kids too work with and a built in study group. You see where we are leaving kids behind the Japanese with small collected affordable kid friendlyÖ.well sometimes kid friendly books, are glad to grab them. In 10 years of teaching I see Manga almost daily where as I have never, not once seen a traditional comic. How sad is that. I have once in a blue moon seen a trade however so there is hope. Also every class has a few kids that read their weekly web comic/cartoon. Penny-Arcade without a doubt reigns on high. Wow I never type this much. I went the day job till I make it route because I felt the alternative would be many years of ramen noodle and too tell the truth I love my new house on the lake ďSteve you have too come visit this summer, my art room is set up for drawing comics and the guest room sleeps two.Ē I know many people out their canít spend 4 years on a web comic that will only drain income but I feel more and more that will be a strong market. Thatís my two cents. Steve I would like too post this rant on my blog with a link back too your Dev if thatís ok. I am dying too see more replies, especially with the caliber of people you run with. Just let me know if you are ok with that.

Later my friend,
Bryan King
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:iconstevescott:
stevescott Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
You are right my friend. I will add to your very first statement by instead of saying,"lets take your average comic specialty store", I will say, "lets find it".

It comes back to a point I brought up earlier of the Mobs involvement of skimming product. Although it was skimmed, the overall stability of this market was still very solid and advertisement space sold within the pages accounted for much of that.

You are so dead on about your take on video games as the current pop culture item. I couldn't agree more and I am guilty of enjoying them as well (as you, more then anyone would know. "Hail to the King, baby")...er...uh, that was a Duke Nukum line for anyone out there that....well, you know. Anyway,with that being said, I feel no reason to fight that in any way but to embrace it. Just as tv, movies, toys, etc....are merchendizing that ties in together to promote the intellectual property. Comics can be utilized to do the same. From web comic to the printed version.

Here is a perfect example of a linking intellectual property, Jim Butcher's Dresden series. Now, this was a series of books that I find enjoyable. I would have never known about it if it wasn't for the SYFY series , Dresden files. I loved that show. From that, an inker in this biz and friend introduced me to the audio books of the book series read by James Marsters. As I work all the time I have little time to read and miss it very much. The audio book saved the day. To add to all this, I have picked up the Dresden comic. If a video game were made, I would snag it up as well. We all tie in and it does amount to making profits in any way we can from our intellectual properties or, as I have and still do, make money from contributing to the intellectual properties.

This being said, I would agree that the best use of the big publishers is to acquire name recognition through the more substantial printing numbers that exist there (well, that did exist there). Many of us knew who Mike Mignola was long before Hellboy. Todd toys may never have existed if he had not used Spiderman to open doors for him. The list goes on. It is one avenue to take, but only one.

I love the work you have put into your web comic Bryan and I feel you have also learned a lot from keeping the deadlines going on this. So much of what we do is learned from these pressures. Also, it has worked to building a a finished product for you to publish.

On this, I am still very curious as to what the numbers are. I hate to think that way. The creative sole in me says, "just feed me bread and let me draw!! Money? Who needs money?". The 41 year old self employed individual in me says, "Show me how I can have this cover expenses of production while building towards business profit?". In short, I have to write a paycheck to cover the space of production, at least. From there it is typical for most new businesses to not see profit for a period of a few years. Sustaining the business, yes. Cost need to be covered such as rent, employee salaries and such. Again, I wonder what the numbers are? What does 30 thousand views on a web site generate in advertisement sales when comics publications were selling in the millions when advertisements were the focal point on profits? I am actually asking as I really do not know what the difference in the numbers mean when it relates to the sales of viable advertising space. I feel this is really worth looking into. Anyone out there have access to advertising costs out there?

You mention day job. I always told you Bryan, I was very happy for what you were doing and felt it was very worth while. If only one of your high school students a year really wanted to be an artist as there lifes career, you will be an inspiration to them forever. Not to mention, you get health insurance. ;)

On the Manga end, I feel it is awesome that these kids are picking that up and, hopefully reading them. Also, with that, more girls are taking interest to what was almost an all boys club of comics for many years (this was not always true in the 30's to the 50's as comics were very diverse then). Much of the success, I feel, has come from the marketing of the Anime and quality video games coming out of Japan. No one can deny the influence of both of these.

Now, being self employed and reliant on that as my only form of income, I pay close attention to market predictions. Not that of our little industry but of world and local trends, in general. One thing being mentioned over and over again for the year 2010 is a trend or battle cry, if you will, to buy local. In America that would be "Buy American", France, "Buy French" (they have some really great talent there and in Spain). Reason for this is that the economic collapse taking place is happening world wide. Future trends are going to be reflective of this.I can go into so much more of this but, check it out. Anyone reading this can learn so much more then I could remember to share by just a little research.

Here is a place to start

[link]

Bryan, please feel free to pick up on this on your page. Lets not look at it as a rant but more a board of directors think tank. Ranting is when it's not in our power to find a solution. I am empowered and so are you. And, my friend, you are the caliber of people that I am fortunate to run with. For that I will always be blessed.
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:iconsam-v3:
Sam-V3 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2010
Steve, I don't think comics are going away but I do think the business model is changing significantly. I like to compare it to the movie business because there are many similarities. Movies get distributed in the theaters and then go on to be released on demand, dvd, and then released overseas. Comics are released in individual issues, then collected in various trade paperbacks and special editions (with a much longer shelf life), and in the instance of Marvel, made available online through a subscription service. This does not factor in money made from liscensing and tv/movie tie ins. Unfortunately, the artists and other contributors do not always get to enjoy all the benefits of this continual income.

For the artist in a work for hire situation, you get paid to complete the art. Depending on your deal, you may get royalties on your book. On reprints, in most cases you get either a small fee or royalties. You also have the opportunity to sell your original art. It is a challenging environment and very difficult to make a good living at it (especially supporting a family).

That being said, my recommendation for anyone in any situation would be to keep all options available. Someone of your caliber should be able to secure advertising, book covers and editorial illustrations (Atlantic, New Yorker, Playboy) that pay more. I am not saying give up on comics, which you and I both love dearly, but don't limit yourself to them.

www.sfvarney.com
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:iconstevescott:
stevescott Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Sam, I agree my friend. The only difference that I would place here is that the marketing and advertisement is not the same. Otherwise, much can be compared.

I will give you an example. Last week, I couldn't go to youtube without seeing a great big ad for the book of Eli movie. Glad it was brought to my attention because it looks good. I no longer need cable tv as I get anything I want from internet anyway but I would be willing to bet that there are tv ads for this movie placed on syfy channel and more. Also, you can drive through any large city and see billboard advertisements for these same movies. Key is that there is no where you can go without knowing that the product is out there.

You are so very dead on my friend on what you brought to attention here. This is exactly where my thoughts are right now. Looking at the big picture of it all, the entertainment industry in general is taking a hit right now, to some degree. We could look at the movie Avitar and disagree with this, but, from at least one television actor I know, he confirmed with me that hollywood is hurting a bit as the economy is in this state of decline. This being said, people are still spending hard earned money for the top quality entertainment experiences. Movies video games, etc. Just like the depression of the 1920's quality will be king during this time. That and growing our own food. ;)
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:iconfultonionbrandon:
FultonionBrandon Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2010
I'm thinking the declining market is due to lack of options. Where some stores use to hold more titles they now only sell a select few and update very rarely. Intrest s Also being turned away do to television. Crap tv series mean a different type of watcher, movies only generate the collecter to think "Hey I sould buy up the old versions of this comic, and resell it at a higher price" and really don't alow any new readers. Movies are one of the only reason that you can get some new readers. But they are only into what title is on the big screen. Adverts turn readers away. Not enough comic, too many ads. Comics are also located below eye level. Placement sucks, not enough comicbook stores. No major story arcs is yet another issue. Civil War had readers interested as well as new readers. Where Secret invasion only had interest is current readers. I agree with CBartguy , need to get new generation into reading.
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:iconstevescott:
stevescott Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Well declining market.......OK, here is an idea. Lets not go so far back as to when comics were on news stands at every corner of a big city or at every convenient store (these would be today your gas stations. Yes they had spinner racks) but lets, instead, count the Walmarts and Targets in your State. Find the numbers on line somewhere. Now, find the numbers on comics outlets in your state. Granted, I have seen X-Men and Spiderman available at Kroger grocery stores but that is very inconsistent.

The story arcs mentioned is also a major part of what would kill comics if they would finally be made available to general public. I have to pick up ten comics to get one story and I would probably not get hooked at say,...age nine. Great for we adults with an unlimited budget,,,...oh, well, that no longer exists either.

As for movies, right now, it has not shown to spark any change in sales of the titles connected to the movie. I used to think it would but was shown the numbers and it still remains that people, outside of those that go to the comics shop anyway, no longer think that comics are being made any more. Why should they?

Lets say, for example, that for years as a kid, you remembered how fun it was to go to the local convenient store to buy a Coke and a Milkyway bar. It was tradition and it brought you back to a fun time in your life. Skip to today. What if you go to every convenient store (gas station) and no where to be found was a milkyway bar or a coke. Wouldn't the average person assume that if the product is no longer where it is suppose to be that it must no longer exist. I would. Most would.

Just a thought. No better way to kill a market then to not make it known to the masses.
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:iconrolandparis:
RolandParis Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2010  Professional General Artist
Scott, I TOTALLY agree with you on your point about accessibility of comics. I truly think that companies should print some books(like Marvel Adventures) comics on the old school newsprint, drop the prices down and start distributing them back in the corner stores, grocery stores, etc. This will grab the kids again just as it grabbed us as kids.
That doesnt mean that the books that are being printed on quality paper and sold for almost 4 bucks should stop being printed.... this should continue and be accessible to direct markets and higher end book stores.
I see more and more the age of readers getting older and older... if we dont reach the kids, this WILL be a dead industry in a decade or so....
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:iconstevescott:
stevescott Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
That is so very much what I would want to see but it will not happen my friend. Last year I had a pretty open conversation about this with several friends in an office at DC comics. The editor is no longer with DC but still would rather not mention his name. Will say that he had been in the business from all kinds of angles of the business for decades and he mentioned that it is a widely known fact that the end of our seeing returnable comics (news stand, etc...) was caused bu the mobs involvement with skimming the til. Yes, the Mob. Remember, as some of us were picking up our comics at our local drug store in Mississippi or Georgia, they were being produced in New York. Anyway, in a nut shell, the return market was not protected from theft and once these things became possible collectors items, well. Believe it or not, he mentioned a story that began in the 70's that started with DC comics Shazam number one. Started at least that early that he knew of.

Now, that being said, reaching the kids can be achieved outside of a hidden away comic shop, two or three available in each state. I love my local comic shops, let me make this clear. But, I feel that even they would benefit from comics being made available in "standard" shopping settings. Where someone just happens to drug along with their mom to grocery shop at the Super Walmart and this brightly colored comic pops out and hits their eyes square in the face (remember when bright colors were used on the covers?). Oh, if that could just happen. Well, this purchase would lead to wanting the issue before or even wanting to ind the first issue and that would lead them to.....a comics shop. We have to through the bait on a line and toss it into the ocean for the fish to see. They will not just jump in the boat.
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:iconstevescott:
stevescott Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
that would be....throw the bait.....mind cramp from all the typing this morning. My excuse anyway.
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:iconvonfrankenstuff:
VonFrankenstuff Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2010
i think there is a growing sense of "why bother?" among a lot of artists trying to get in with the big 3 these days. they sem to keep a group of artists that draw a certain way and most of them seem to be very similar in style. therefore, others that dont draw in that style *such as myself* are essentially cut out of the prospect and are forced to go to doing underground comics, going to the DIY route or using the print on demand services.
then there are those that decide to go the web comic route. there are ways of making that pay. it just takes a while to get enough interest generated in what you are doing in order to make it worth while to make products that people would want. guys like scott kurtz that do collections of their works in book form or sell prints of their daily strips seem to do pretty well for themselves. He produced a book with a few other guys detailing how to get in to the web comic arena and making it pay.
I think the thing to remember in that arena is much the same as getting in to the industry and making a name for yourself: be patient and persistent.
I have also thought about venturing in to the video game arena and having it tie in to different story ideas i have. it's just a matter of keeping my ducks in a row because i have waaaayyy too many ideas and i tend to get sidetracked by the next idea that comes along.
There is room for us. There always will be. Everything comes around full circle. We are just on the downside of the loop right now. stick with it Steve. your success didnt come overnight. our time will come back around.
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:iconstevescott:
stevescott Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Now, the first part of this I would say to look at the success of Kyle Baker or Darwyn Cooke. Their work has brought them much critical acclaim and like you, their work is very unique and amazing. I say this, not with intent that anyone needs to be working for the top three to have success but rather to point out that given the right editorial decision, even they have seen the light of diversity and they found it to be financially successful.

Now, on the web comics end, I just checked out this guy Scott Kurtz you mentioned. Wow!!! I am not sure how far you may tend to look in comics history but this guys work looks like that from many of the legends from days past. He is bringing back what has not been seen since the 50's and it looks so very nice. Thanks for the intro to this guy. Now, I can see that he should be a success. I would like to talk with him business man to business man and see what the numbers are. I say this because the appearance of success and true financial stability can be different. It is our job to put up the front of success if you want to get there.

Anyway, back to Scott's work, without doing an exact search for his work on the internet after his being mentioned, I would have never seen it. I would have had to look for it with intention. Here, I am going to bring up a name of another great artist named Jack Davis. I mention him as an example because the placement of his work vital to what I am referring to. In addition to the many comics of his career that could be found at every street corner vendor, his work was also seen on movie posters, magazine adds, etc...etc..Your interest did not have to be comics to run into his work (have to meet his agent...just joking Renee. You are doing fine). Currently, Paul Pope would fall into this or Tim Sale (heroes). Paul's work can be found in video game and other pop culture advertisements not related to comics.

Also mentioned are patients and persistence. I agree my friend.I agree my friend. I spent tree years sending in samples of my work to publishers before one considered me ready to use (and I really wasn't). I spent several years learning by working until I could reach whatever level I may be at today. Still trying to grow. But, the point would be, right now is once you have entered this as your method of sustaining your rent, food, utilities, you have to work out what methods are needed to sustain existence. Just like a board meeting for a major company needs to check market trends in order to maintain profits for the next fiscal year, I am....we are our own corporations now. Numbers do count. Profit margins,....etc.

Awesome reply on this Spookyco...thanks for that. Keep it coming my friend.
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:iconvonfrankenstuff:
VonFrankenstuff Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010
You are right about the correct pairing making all the difference in the world. I can only imagine that Claremont, Byrne and Austin doing the xmen so long ago only served to really secure their names on the map of who's who in the industry.

Now as for Jack Davis: THAT man is an institution unto himself! You are so right about that. He certainly did not limit his creations just to the pages of comics by any stretch of the imagination. But, if you have the talent and the drive, I can certainly see where it would be a good endeavor to hit as many outlets as possible to get your work out there.

Following along that track you could also include Bruce Timm and Shane Glines. Those two are guys I would love to spend an hour over lunch with and just pick their brains.

As far as I have seen in commentary from Scott Kurtz, the way you present yourself and the level of success that chose to show the world directly reflects on what you are doing. If you step up to the plate looking like you have it all sussed out, then people will tend to think that you are successful at what you are doing and you are more likely to be successful. But, yes, it is important to actually be making a living off of what you are doing and not just appearing to be so.

I hope to run in to you at some cons this year brother! It's been too long since I ran in to you at Oxford that afternoon
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:iconstevescott:
stevescott Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
I hope we run into each other again too my friend. Your work is amazing and so are you. I hope that all of you reading this thread are clicking on each others deviation links. There is some great talent here.
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