Just to stay on this cheerful topic while everyone is so happy to be back at work after the holiday, Maggie Umber, cartoonist and co-founder of 2dcloud has a very honest post called Getting Divorced in Comics which explains how the financial stress of running a small, art comix publisher helped break up her marriage with Raighne Hogan, the other co-founder. Umber and Hogan were partners in life and comics for 10 years. It’s everything we were just talking about, from no vacations to constantly scrimping, moving back into a parent’s basement to keep the company going and more.
I held a variety of titles at 2dcloud. The majority of the time I worked with no title at all. I’ve been a Co-Founder, Associate Publisher, Editor. For the first several years, I managed the online shop and wrote all of our blog posts, contacted all of the reviewers, sent out review copies. I saved up money for our honeymoon and then I used it to pay off debts for the printing costs of 2dcloud’s first graphic novel “Yearbooks” instead. I took out a loan on my retirement to help keep the company going. I accepted moving into my Mom’s house when our company debts grew too large and we could no longer afford to pay rent. I did three years worth of bookkeeping for two companies (2dcloud and Autoptic Festival) in one year so we could file our taxes that had been neglected when I wasn’t as involved. I gave money out of every paycheck. I went without vacations for many years so all of our time could be spent traveling to comic conventions. I lived without savings. I kept a day job, worked 20–80 hours a week at 2dcloud while I ran my own freelance art business.
The “constant low-level anxiety over money” that characterizes the comics life has many real life consequences, and money woes are a common theme in unsuccessful marriages. In my prevous post I mentioned that a partner with a non-comics job that pays seems like the perfect companion; two indie comics incomes in one household is tough to manage.
The story has a kind of happy ending – although divorced, Umber and Hogan remain best friends, and Umber praises his support of her own cartooning career.
In recent years, 2dcloud has gotten more stable with a new crowdfunding financing system, a distribution deal with Consortium, and new associate publisher Kim Jooha.
And Umber is still cartooning. Her Sound of Snow Falling debuted at TCAF and she’s currently on tour with the book.
Life goes on.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.