August 5, 2014
You Should Catch Up With That Mike Dawson Piece If You Haven't Yet
The cartoonist Mike Dawson wrote a short essay
yesterday about his frustrations as a mid-career, mid-list cartoonist. It drove a bunch of reaction in e-mail inboxes and occasionally out in the open, such as this post from writer and critic Abhay Khosla
. If you're interested in the business of comics as it relates to the art- or alt-comics world, I hope you'll read both.
I was on the industry journalism panel at San Diego this year and one of the questions we were asked was about an under-reported story. I didn't get to answer, but I was hoping to say that there are signs we may be ready for a more serious dialogue on the actual financial rewards and lack of same available to the bulk of people making comics. I still hope that's true. Dawson's post is a good sign because he actually talks about his numbers, figures that might be astonishing to people that look at Dawson wining awards and being interviewed and assume he has a functional career that includes healthy returns on his investment of time and skill. I think Khosla's post is also a good sign because it's not worried about affirming Dawson. I do agree with some of those that found some of Khosla's argumentation slightly off-kilter -- for instance, he seems to be indicting Dawson for some things that are likely out of his control -- but the important thing is that he engaged.
I think the art of comics is in a fine state right now: there's a significant amount of good to very good work, and more than a few works better than that. I'm not sure that we're matching this on the business side of things, and being honest about the frustrations of this might start us down a road to providing greater, more significant opportunities. Comics is such an unlikely story, period, that shrugging one's shoulder over the state of the audience seems to me a bit of a rush to a conclusion that may or may not be etched in stone.
posted 8:15 am PST
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