Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

May 28, 2014

Bruno Maïorana Takes Considered Look At Comics-Making, Says, "Yeah, This Doesn't Seem To Work"

imageI'm not familiar enough with the issue, the creator or the publication to make a strong declaration as to what it means when a cartoonist like Bruno Maïorana offers up a summary declaration that making comics isn't viable, but I wanted to drive attention to it for a few reasons.

First, I don't know Maïorana's work at all, but it looks he has been part of two successful series over the last 20 years, and is in the midst of creating one right now. This isn't someone quitting on an art form a decade after it has quit on them. Second, this is kind of darkly humorous in its straight-forward engagement of what doesn't get talked about a whole lot -- just how hard it is to make a career in comics. Third, it's a sentiment that a lot of people in North America share and that you occasionally see someone express. Fourth, he cites a number of things we hear about the French-language market in particular, such as the explosion of works available right now and the effect that seems to have had on sales, both book to book and series to series.

We don't pay as much attention as we should to the idea of an art form being viable for as long as it's able to support people that are accomplished in its creation. There's a number of reasons why we rarely talks about this, and it's not all about manipulating people to do work past the point they should perhaps not be spending their time that way. Some of it is culture, some of it is privacy. Still, I hope that we can make artists making a worthwhile living a value going forward, and nudge more and more of the industry in the direction of living up to that value.

Update: This article on the ripple effect caused by the Maïorana announcement gets into the issues a bit more, in particular the strain of certain required payments by the cartoonists that don't make much money. There's also a general figure tossed out there of a lot of cartooning making about 1000 euros a month or less, which would be a little over $16K a year USD.
posted 10:55 am PST | Permalink

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