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

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.

imageI 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 | Permalink

Daily Blog Archives
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
Full Archives