A tiny bit of justice at last. A ton of people this week commented that writing about how hard it is to make a living doing comics while simultaneously not paying your cartoonists is a seriously dick move. And Village Voice editor Tony Ortega has decided to scramble up all that egg on his face and give everyone some breakfast:
I wanted to have a big special comics issue, but I had a limited budget. So in a well-meaning effort to make this work, I asked some cartoonists to provide work without compensation. In the last couple of days, it’s been pointed out to me quite clearly that this was not the best way to help out the cartooning industry. The thing is, we’re not a company that expects people to work for free for the exposure. And I’m making this right: I’m paying all of the artists in the special issue.
And hopefully buying them beers and working with them again soon.
The Village Voice
RELATED: Cartoonist Tim Krieder also writes on the matter of the day:
The night before this depressing gathering I’d attended a reading by the Pizza Island studio, also known (among me) as the Pretty Girl Cartoonist Club (P.G.G.C.). This event filled the big back room of a bar in Brooklyn, a space generally used for live music performances. I had to sit on a railing, and still people crowded in front of and behind me, and it got claustrophobic and hot and carbon dioxidey. I felt certain that fire codes were being violated. All these people had come out to see internet microstars like Kate Beaton, whose erudite and silly webcomic Hark! A Vagrant has an unheard-of 25,000 followers on Twitter. Afterwards, at the bar, I talked to Aaron Diaz, another web cartoonist, who’s made a living for the last few years from online donations and merchandise sales. On an unworthy personal level this made me feel sorry for myself and superannuated and old, as I never understood how to make any money from the internet until it was too late. But, on a less selfish level, it reminds me that cartooning is hardly moribund; it’s just thriving in different niches.
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.