Tattooed§ Hope Larson has a new website up for her more adult art: Personal Ho. (left)

§ We totally forgot that the Pittsburgh Comicon was held this weekend, but it is now apparently dubbed “Murder con.” Someone wrote about it to the Comics Reporter and from the sound of it, it was pretty desolate.

§ Laura Hudson suggests that the comics industry’s press relations in general could use a review:

Before I really get into this, it’s important to keep in mind here that approaching a publisher as a member of the press who wants to give them coverage or reviews is very different from poking around for stories and quotes that don’t necessarily point towards a positive angle on their product. Unsurprisingly, the latter is going to get fewer welcoming responses.

To a certain degree, that’s just how it works, and I don’t see anything particularly insidious in it. I would add, though, that because the comics press is less established (or respected) than press is in certain other fields, I think a lot of people in the industry are not as accustomed to the poking and prodding Tom describes, and consequently can get touchier in the course of journalistic inquiries. But really, I don’t see this as the primary problem. While it may not be optimal, I’m not surprised by this unresponsiveness to certain lines of inquiry.

What I don’t understand–what really blows my mind is that some companies can be just as unresponsive and unhelpful to people who want to give their books positive coverage, review them, or generally make them more visible. That’s what really resonated with me about Tom’s post, because I’ve seen it happen more than a few times and it never ceases to amaze me with its pointlessness.

§ Mark Evanier went to the LA Times Book fest.

§ Shaenon on The Boys of Shojo Manga :

The Tortured Genius
The heroine’s parents approve of this one. He’s a high-IQ achiever on the fast track to Tokyo University, and is often a Wealthy Playboy to boot. But his heart is as tiny as his brain is huge. An arrogant smartass, he delights in making the heroine feel stupid and insignificant. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to date her, of course; his strategy is to belittle, manipulate, and intellectually bulldoze her into falling in love with him. And it works, especially once the heroine realizes that he’s hurting inside and Just Needs Someone To Love Him. Extremely common in the works of Miki Aihara.
Signature Romantic Gestures: Intellectually abusing the heroine; emotionally abusing the heroine; physically abusing the heroine; helping her study.
In Real Life He’d Be: Exactly the same, but in his forties.

§ Catch-up 1: Indie Jones blogs the ICv2 conference.

§ Catch-up 2: Jeff Trexler on “How Siegel and Shuster created our world”:

This tension between past and present is equally evident in the Siegel case. On the one hand, for many within the comics community the ruling was a symbolic victory in the struggle for creators rights, vindicating not just Siegel and Shuster, but legions of comic book artists and writers whose genius was exploited by corporate greed.

Yet much to the surprise of longtime industry watchers, the judgment also provoked a strong negative response. Some critics focused on the fact that the winner was not Siegel himself but his heirs, who were said to have gained an unearned windfall. Other observers went a step further, questioning the wisdom of a law that voids otherwise valid contracts, and accusing the Siegels themselves of exploiting Superman for their own financial gain.

§ Jim Steranko copies himself

§ When we saw the headline “Comic Genius” in our RSS feed, we wondered “Who could it be this time???”

Surprise! It’s artist John Cassaday:

These days, Cassaday finds himself in the enviable position of being able to pick and choose which assignments he takes. “I’ve got specific goals in mind and don’t want to deviate just for a few bucks if I’m not interested,” he says. “The story must come first.” Though he won’t reveal what he makes, his page rate—the amount an artist charges per page drawn—is among the highest in the business. Given that an elite illustrator can command up to $1,000 a page for a 22-page comic book and that most popular titles are monthlies, a top talent like Cassaday can comfortably clear six figures annually. And that’s not counting potential back-end royalties for merchandise, trade paperbacks, and spin-offs, which are negotiated separately.


  1. “Given that an elite illustrator can command up to $1,000 a page for a 22-page comic book …”

    Is that true?!?!? If Cassaday (or whoever) were able to do a monthly comic, and earn that much, they’d be getting more than $250K a year. If this figure is accurate, no wonder a lot of the big names don’t hold to a monthly schedule – they have no reason to. Even if they only do 5-6 issue a year, they still clear $100K.

  2. I think that’s a highly inflated number. The only artist I know that made a $1000 per page was John Byrne on FX, but that was an unusual deal that he struck with a fan/aspiring pro. Last I heard, the standard rate for the top artists at Marvel & DC was around $400 to $500 per page, and there weren’t that many artists who got that rate.

    Granted my info may be a few years out of date, but someone getting $1,000 per page at Marvel or DC is not very likely…

  3. I didn’t have as bad an experience as Tom did–it was more mixed–but there were definitely some booths where there didn’t seem to be much interest in talking to me (someone who both buys for an academic audience and also writes about comics). The HarperCollins booth guy was not only not that interested in talking but didn’t quite seem to understand what my interests were at all–he kept pushing children’s books at me.

    Stark contrast to First Second or Image, where the staff were welcoming, really interested in the nature of my collection, full of suggestions, etc.

  4. $100K sounds nice to me, but don’t you think many or most artists would want to increase their output if their income could double that amount?

    I’m not sure the economics of the situation would work that way, though. Can you produce $1000 per page quality work consistently on a monthly basis? And would producing that many pages per year ultimately decrease the deminad for your work (and, in turn, your page rate)?

    I’d love to read more about this sort of thing (it’s obviously none of my business, the inner working of the industry can be pretty fascinating).

  5. $1000 is what a great cover artist gets for a minimum.
    for a page of interior work? Never. That means 22k for art alone and with a a-list writer and colorist add another $400 per page making a grand total of $30k on production for one comic alone. Add overhead, printing and advertising and you’re looking at least $50.000 costs to make one comic.

    Now, selling an original Cassady page/cover will get him to $1000 surely

  6. I went to the LA Times Festival of Books last Saturday, as I’ve been going ever since it’s inception to pick up free crap. The number of booths featuring graphic novels is growing at a steady pace. I was surprised to even see Image had a booth there this year. I hung out with George Clayton Johnson for a bit and stopped to say hello to Jim Pascoe. I got shanghaied by the El Rons in filling out a survey for a free paperback and then I went to my office to Westwood to do some work.

    But it wasn’t unbearable weather like Evanier made it out to be.



  7. I seen pages of his original artwork being sold at cons for that price range – maybe that’s what they meant to reference?

  8. Regarding the Pittsburgh Comicon: While the crowds WERE small, I had the best show ever at my EJ Graphics small press booth – making more money than I did at all my 2007 shows combined. A decrease in the number of dealers was the most noticable thing, but the guest list was essentially the same as last years (pre-arrest) show while
    adding Michael Golden as this years big gun. Turner and Kaluta cancelled due to illness, and Palmiotti and Conner both cancelled last year as well. Also keep in mind that the New York Comicon jumped to the weekend before Pittsburgh this year. Lastly, I never heard ANYONE at the show refer to it as “Murder Con.”

  9. Regarding Pitt-Con

    I just wanted to post this comment from me from another discussion elsewhere…

    (Really nice people are really)…the main reason I’ve gone to Pitt-Con for 14 years. The people. It’s the best family-friendly, fan-friendly convention around. Everyone for the most part is great, and it seems like every year we meet someone new, and establish a friendship. And most of those friendships, last for years.

    My buddy Jay…met him at our booth one year and talked, saw him at the bar and talked, remembered him when we saw him the following year, and have always looked forward to hanging out now, every year since.

    Same goes for creators Al Dorantes, Mike Wood, Russ McIntosh, Kristin Blank & Steve Foland, Chris Yambar, Tommy Castillo, Nigel Sade, Jason Yungbluth, and so many others we go out to dinner with, and drink with, and call our friends.

    And now this year, my daughter Bethany and 11 year old creator Layne Toth have become good friends. Last year, they met at the casino night. They talked throughout the con, and hung out a bit. We bought Layne’s comics for Beth, and she got a sketch. This year, they get together, and were almost inseperable. Beth got more books & sketches, and walked around with Layne, and had a great time with her firend. At the end of the con, they exchanged addresses and phone numbers, and Beth is even more into comics now, wanting to produce some like Layne does.

    If Pitt-Con fades, I know the friendships won’t…but I’ll be at a loss for getting to see those friends there every year…and making even more new ones. And that’s the saddest part.

    This is my favorite picture from Pitt-Con 2008, of the 120 or so I took, and I think it speaks for itself…My daughter Bethany with Layne Toth

    Not to mention the fund raising Pitt-Con does. This year, $19,300 for Make-A-Wish. Over $3000 for the CBLDF. Every year for 15 years, they’ve held events that raised thousands of dollars for special causes. One Quarter of a million dollars have been raised by Pitt-Con for Make-a-Wish alone. And if Pitt-Con fades, so do those donations.

    Whatever is going on in the background, has no effect on my enjoyment of the Pittsburgh Comicon. And yes, it was a bit slow this year, but my family enjoyed it even more than last year. I factor the smaller crowds to the NYCC being the week before, the economy, and yes, even the bad press from the murder trial.

    I really hope Renee George or their children continue the convention. If someone else would buy it, I don’t think it would have the same feel to it. As long as they run the show, I will support them. I don’t deal with their personal lives. That’s their business.

  10. Look at Cassaday, dayum. I ain’t gay or nothing but come on, I’m only human!

    plus his rate might have something to do with teh fact that he inks himself.

  11. Ernie, I don’t think the suggestion was that people in attendance were calling it the Murder Con…but that those staying away, those who are uncomfortable, or just those who never had an interest to begin with but just like piling on are calling it that.

  12. “Given that an elite illustrator can command up to $1,000 a page for a 22-page comic book …”

    Wow is that right? No wonder they take so long to do a comic. They really dont need to work that hard. Even if they got half that that would still be a great salary.

  13. Not to get overly snarky on this, but even at $1K/pg Cassaday would be hard pressed to his six figures because he simply can’t produce 100 pages/year. Okay, he might be able to hit that number, but it’s close.

    I love his work and will buy anything he does (hell, I bought the Neiber Captain America), but his output drops every year. In 2007 he gave us 3 or 4 issues of Astonishing, a couple of variant covers, and a Planetary. 2008? One Astonishing, and the year is 1/3 over.

    Cassaday, Quitely, Lee, and Co. are all great and probably worth the high rate, whatever it is, but their glacier-like output drive fans like me up the wall. Perhaps a little market disciple in the form of lower page rates for slow output would get these guys to sit down at their tables and give us some damned pages.

Comments are closed.