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

January 31, 2007

There's No Money In Comic Books... Or Less Than There Should Be

I come to comics through a portion of funnybook culture grounded in a deeply-rooted cynicism reinforced by a reality of years and years of austere circumstance, so it's surprising that there are apparently people out there who see comic books as a likely path to financial glory. Slave Labor's Jennifer de Guzman begins a two-part column designed to beat on this notion like Foreman beat on Frazier, pointing out that the vast number of cartoonists, even "successful" ones, bring in a very modest income from comics sources.

I agree with the veracity of this observation. And it brings to mind a related concern.

When people that talk about comics talk about comics doing well right now, they tend to look at the bottom line -- a statement from a company or an industry analyst or an individual artist. This is important, but there need to be other measures along with that bottom line by which we judge comics' flush periods. How many people are allowed to participate? What kind of art do they do? Is there an ethical return of profit to creators? Bigger isn't automatically better, and building a better industry -- more diverse, more opportunities, more ethical, more attentive to its great artists -- shouldn't take a back seat to celebrating a bigger one.
posted 11:02 am PST | Permalink

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