I spent some time in LA over 4th of July weekend getting my west coast on. I came back to the world on Monday after a great weekend, only to find that the comics internet had melted down over an ill-conceived hashtag and was busy stomping up and down on the heads of people who were no threat to them.
This isn’t about that, or the hashtag. It’s about all the other times comics has faced controversy and replied with scorn.
The short version is “you don’t have to like it, but please respect it.” The long version is through the link. Comments are off until I get back from lunch, but hopefully you get something out of this.
As a former DC editor, I’m well aware of the equity process. In the course of my job at the company, I was involved with sending the equity paperwork to creators, letting them know the guidelines, and occasionally submitting related paperwork to the proper department within DC to ensure the creators were taken care of. There were some characters from comics I worked on where creators requested equity and were turned down based on the above criteria, and Brennert is one of many such creators. There are lots of creators who have been granted equity when their characters do meet those qualifications.
Based on my experience, my reading of the situation is this: Brennert’s creation of Barbara Kean Gordon is not only “close” to her sometimes-daughter in the DCU, Barbara Gordon; it fits all of DC’s stated criteria for being officially derivative. She looks the same, has the same name – she’s even at a library after hours, implying that she, like Barbara Not-Kean Gordon, is a librarian.
“Artists are not helper monkeys; they’re not in it to visualize ‘your’ story, because it stopped being ‘your’ story the moment you engaged in a collaborative medium. From here on in, it’s also the artist’s story, and if you’re working with an illustrator who’s any good at all, you as a writer have to tamp down any control-freak tendencies you suffer under and relax into the process.”—Mark Waid (via comicquotations)
Divine Right: The Adventures of Max Faraday… This was Jim Lee’s big return to comics after WildCATS and I want to say just before the big sale to DC. I want to say this was something about a pizza delivery boy who in his spare time is having a long-distance AOL chat-room-based relationship with some girl that he’d never met. Except then the pizza boy ends up getting superpowers … from the internet…?
Sometimes, comic critics, you hear us say, “Well, I’d rather see that guy do more of his own work.”
We don’t really ever say that about Jim Lee, though.
“Regarding single issue sales: they are incredibly important to a lot of Image creators. On Rocket Girl, it’s by far the biggest chunk (of course, we don’t have a tpb yet). And every reader counts. A few thousand copies can make or break a series. If Rocket Girl dips into the 8000s, we’ll start thinking about when to wrap it up. If it stays above 12,000 we can do it forever. At 12,000 copies I can make as much writing Rocket Girl as Hulk; Amy Reeder can make as much penciling/inking/coloring as she would on Batwoman. 8000 vs 12,000 is a significant difference in percentage, but it’s not a huge amount of readers. A lot of Image creators are in the same boat, albeit their individual line might be a bit higher or lower. Certainly collected editions and digital and ancillary media/merchandise contribute as well. But a lot of making creator-owned work is down to financing: and single issues have the biggest impact on cash flow–and the only impact on cash flow for almost a full year when you take into account early production to ‘get ahead’ as well as solicitation. Also: your comment forgets artists, who are forgotten way to much nowadays. A writer can maybe juggle 4 simultaneous projects, but an artist can do just one book at a time. It is much harder for an artist to make the plunge into creator-owned–so consider that when choosing what to support.”—
Reblogging because the economics of creator-owned comics are of interest to me, and because this is the kind of thing I should probably take into account when it comes to who gets their comic pre-ordered, who gets shelf picked, and who gets trade-waited.