trashed

Just as a feel good end to the week, cartoonist John “Derf’ Backderf posted on his FB some thoughts about how Trumpcare/ACHA, which the Senate is trying to pass, might affect cartoonists. A disproportionate number of people making comics don’t make a lot of money (The Beat included) and having access to affordable healthcare via Obamacare/ACA is a key part of their economic situation. While the CBO hasn’t scored Trumpcare yet, it’s believed that it will become more expensive for poor and middle class people to buy insurance even for basic care.

Posted with permission.

One more thing on this Trumpcare clusterfuck and then I’ll move on. It’s a done deal, and something we’ll be cursed with for the rest of my lifetime anyways. The ground is opening up and America is plummeting into the Banana Republic Kleptocracy we richly deserve.

The impact across society will be profound, but here in the comics world, it will be devastating. For the past decade, comics creators have been able to buy at least minimal healthcare and have protection against total financial catastrophe.

It’s no coincidence, I believe, that this coincided with the golden era of comics we’re currently enjoying. Creators could take a chance on a comics career without dooming themselves to a life as a debt slave if they contracted a serious illness. That’s over.

The choice now is find a shitty cubicle job, if you can, and make comics on the side, also if you can. I suspect most will just give up on the comics thing. We’re going to see a huge drop off in American comics, I predict. Creators in Canada or Europe, civilized countries with single-payer healthcare for all, those comics scenes will continue to flourish as the US scene wanes.

Naturally, the GOP couldn’t care less, or give a rat’s ass about the arts in general. We’re a country run by accountants and toadies who genuflect before mountains of corporate profit from which we peasants will never benefit.

58 COMMENTS

  1. As someone with a “shitty cubicle job,” please don’t apply to join. We don’t need anymore applicants who come in bitter, who think themselves above the work and who don’t want to be there.

    Perhaps something like getting a CDL and working in the energy sector would be more your speed? I hear they need help and the pay is good.

  2. Poor guy. Having to get a job and work for a living instead of drawing comics no one wants to read enough to pay him. Maybe even a job in a shitty cubicle! As a fellow shitty cubicle dweller, I’ll let him borrow my stapler if he needs it.

  3. Just to clarify, the House version of Trumpcare has already been scored. About 23 million people who currently have health care will lose it base on that bill, in part to the increased expense.

    But rich people are getting tax cuts on their earned income AND their capital gains, so it balances out, I suppose.

  4. “But think of the poor cartoonists!”

    Look, I’m no Trump supporter and I believe that America’s healthcare system is beyond flawed, but I’m really tired of hearing how hard financial truths impact the poor, suffering indie cartoonists.

    What we need to be asking ourselves is WHY do comics careers need to be subsidized by government healthcare, grants, and online tip jars?

    Could it be that maybe, just maybe… making a living as an indie cartoonist is not a truly viable career choice for most people?

    And the mainstream publishers aren’t much better. Ghetto page rates, late payments, job instability. The entire industry built on the backs of all-too-willing freelancers with stars in their eyes.

    Even if you hit the “big time” with a reputable publisher, you’re talking a $10-15K advance for 2 years worth of labor. (Minus a few grand for the agent that hooked you up, of course.)

    I do agree that we’ll see a dropoff in indie cartoonists in the coming years, as the hard financial realities make it very hard for aspiring creators to choose comics over gaming, movies and well, even Walmart.

    That being said, I don’t believe it’s up to everyone else to subsidize career paths that will likely never become truly self-sustaining. It’s not just about healthcare, but a lack of money in the biz overall.

    You should be so lucky to get a cubicle job in this economy. At least then you’ll know where your next paycheck is coming from, you’ll likely have nights and weekends and maybe even a social life. And maybe if you’re really lucky, some kind of health coverage.

    The truth is, choosing to work in comics comes with risks that have been spelled out very, VERY clearly over the years. It’s not for the squeamish, and it’s honestly not something I’d ever want my kid to do.

    But yeah, the health insurance debacle sucks for everyone. Not just cartoonists.

  5. ‘Republican’ or ‘Democrat’ or any other person / company ‘in power’, we do not matter. It is more imporatant for us to be ‘entitled’ to be ‘upset’ mean, alienating hateful bigots tracking brand identity and being pretentious about whatever our “niche” / style / way / ethnicity / look is than to have anything do with improving cooperation and livability.

    We do NOT matter. Republican or Democrat or any other party, sphalt matter, and getting cancer, and and being pretentous matters, outsourcing jobs matters, and grueling traffic matters…

  6. The answer, I guess, is to be a smart businessman like Will Eisner or Todd McFarlane (or Robert Crumb, though he’d probably deny being a businessman). Then you won’t have to worry about where your next paycheck or meal is coming from.

  7. I agree 100% with George.

    To survive, comics needs more Will Eisners… skilled AND business savvy.

    There would be significantly less hand-wringing.

    And far fewer stories about aging creators in poverty.

  8. Unfortunately, most people who are artistically inclined are not savvy business people. This field has attracted far more Jack Kirbys, Steve Ditkos and Bill Fingers than Will Eisners and Bob Kanes.

    Eisner’s business savvy meant he could work on the comics he wanted to do for most of his career (from about 1940 on) AND own the copyrights. He didn’t have to spend his twilight years cranking out superhero comics for a page rate — as, sadly, the great Gene Colan and John Buscema (among too many others) had to.

    Eisner was also fortunate to have Quality Comics boss E.M. “Busy” Arnold as a partner. Arnold paid good rates for good work (a big reason why he drew talents like Jack Cole, Lou Fine and Reed Crandall). And he allowed Eisner’s eventual ownership of The Spirit. If Eisner had been in business with Jack Liebowitz or Martin Goodman, that probably wouldn’t have happened.

  9. Amidst everything else, it should be pointed out that there are serious ongoing problems with Obamacare. Skyrocketing premiums. Insurers abandoning the exchanges. Which doesn’t mean the GOP plan is any good, of course.

    And frankly, if you can’t make a living at something, it’s better to understand that as soon as possible. It’s a heck of a lot better than waking up when you’re 45 and suddenly realize you’ve got nothing in the bank and are going to be working sucky jobs until you die.

    Mike

  10. From what I’m hearing, trumpcare will devistate employer offered plans as well. You won’t be safe with any old cubicle job. Decent Health plans will become a weaponzed benefit in corporate America.

  11. I gotta say, comics people need to check themselves with the “day job” snobbery. Another persons salaried profession/trade that requires a degree, experience and skills is not some survival gig you can just slide into when times get tough. Just because it’s not as sexy as drawing comics doesn’t mean it’s not a competitive industry with professional standards.

    Most comics creators have close to zero employable skills for corporate America. You’re not getting healthcare as a table server or at a call center. Unless you plan on working in an oil sands field in some northern tundra, your options are just as limited. just check the attitude and be realistic about the world you live in and please stop talking down everyone else.

  12. “From what I’m hearing, trumpcare will devistate employer offered plans as well. You won’t be safe with any old cubicle job. Decent Health plans will become a weaponzed benefit in corporate America.”

    Yes, under the GOP plan, large companies will no longer be required to offer health insurance plans. I guess that will allow the executives to award themselves even more lavish bonuses.

  13. “Some minor attention” aka his graphic novel was turned into a feature length film being released this Fall.

    I wish we could all get such minor attention.

  14. Some of the posts on here are quite horrifying. Artists of all stripes, not just cartoonists, work without a financial safety net in many cases. The ACA allowed these people to, you know, not worry about getting a life-threatening illness to quite the degree they once did.

    This new health “care” programme is a tax break for the rich in disguise as a bill that will decimate the lives of millions.

    As for the “snobbery”, well if you have your chosen career and have to take a day job, you might feel a bit resentful.

  15. Brim WHO???

    Not a fan of Derf and his snark-for-snark’s sake but at least he is in comics, not someone buying a table to claim themselves as a celebrity… wow.

  16. Those of you saying “Derf who?” and blasting him for his supposed snobbery toward cubicle dwellers have no idea what you’re talking about. Derf is a successful cartoonist, creator of two very popular graphic memoirs (My Friend Dahmer, which is now a highly-anticipated movie, and Trashed) and knows what he’s talking about. If he’s worried about the impact of Trumpcare on the cartooning community, everyone should be worried. Very worried.

  17. “As for the “snobbery”, well if you have your chosen career and have to take a day job, you might feel a bit resentful.”

    You missed the point entirely. The idea that other people’s careers are just disposable “day jobs” is obnoxious elitism that permeates the comics industry. This author was referring to cubicle jobs which offer benefits which are corporate careers. You’re just gonna jump from comic creator to mid level sales rep, marketing director, engineer, paralegal, CPA, business analyst, office manager, etc etc? Ooohh kaaaay.

    We’re getting more and more to the point where making a living from comics is not really possible. When you hear about successful creators living at the poverty level, earning minimum wage in their peak earning years and panhandling (patreon/gofundme), just to pay basic bills, you have to wonder if comics can be a primary career choice, or just the creative side-gig/hobby?

    The world isn’t fair, and you might not be able to make a solid living from your creative passion. That’s life.

  18. Joe:
    “We’re getting more and more to the point where making a living from comics is not really possible. When you hear about successful creators living at the poverty level, earning minimum wage in their peak earning years and panhandling (patreon/gofundme), just to pay basic bills, you have to wonder if comics can be a primary career choice, or just the creative side-gig/hobby?”

    This is what I was trying to say. It’s not just comics, but many comics people have this notion that they must do comics come hell or high water even if their comics careers aren’t financially viable. Then we have to read story after story about the hard knocks life many of these creators are enduring.

    Supply and demand. There are WAAAAAY more people wanting to make comics than the industry can realistically support. Some can make a living. A lucky few can make decent money. Fewer still can make what we’d call “good” money and maybe a handful can be called “financially successful.”

    And yeah, it sucks. And readers will miss on on what “could have been” should these creators look elsewhere to make careers.

    But placing all the blame on Trumpcare (which I agree is going to cause a lot of damage to EVERYONE, not just cartoonists) is an oversimplification. It’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    There are way more reasons why everyone who wants to do comics for a living can’t make a go of it.

  19. “you have to wonder if comics can be a primary career choice, or just the creative side-gig/hobby?”

    During the late ’60s/early ’70s, Neal Adams and Jim Steranko essentially did comics as a hobby. They had successful careers in commercial and advertising art, and in Steranko’s case, paperback cover illustration. So they were able to walk away from comics when they’d had their fill.

    During other rocky times for the industry (such as the late ’50s and late ’70s), comics people took side jobs — and sometimes full-time jobs — in commercial art and animation. You do what you have to do, to put food on the table.

  20. It should be noted that the comic-book field has never been terribly secure (for anyone but the publishers, I guess). The industry has ALWAYS gone through boom and bust cycles. That’s why Stan Lee, when he became publisher, tried to diversify by getting Marvel characters into movies and TV shows. That way the company might survive even if the comics industry went under — which seemed a real possibility in the ’70s.

    Boom decades for comic books: 1940s, ’60s, ’80s, 2000s.

    Bust decades: 1950s, ’70s, ’90s, 2010s.

  21. “The world isn’t fair, and you might not be able to make a solid living from your creative passion. That’s life.” —Joe

    You heard it here first folks! Life isn’t fair, and you might as well go fuck yourself rather than suggest that there might be ways to avoid making it worse on the people unfortunate enough to not be Joe.

  22. Also in most major industrialized countires, it’s considered fair that everyone has healthcare. The US is the outlier on that.

    Having been married to a European and knowing many Canadians, they do not have the low level anxiety about every little ache and pain that we Americans have. Because we’re “Self sufficient” while watching ads for every drug on earth every night during whatever program we happen to be watching.

    Follow the money!

  23. Bravo to Derf, one of North America’s best and most biting cartoonists, for speaking out on this, and to The Beat for running the story. I wish media outlets with far greater profiles would be as honest and upfront about what is going on. Millions are going to die so people that are obscenely wealthy can add more obscenity to their resumes.

  24. “You heard it here first folks! Life isn’t fair, and you might as well go fuck yourself rather than suggest that there might be ways to avoid making it worse on the people unfortunate enough to not be Joe.”

    What are the solutions then? What are the ways to avoid making it worse? What salaried jobs with full health benefits can a comics creator go out and get tomorrow? It’s just a “day job” no big deal. No requirements, experience, education or resume needed down at the job store, just pick up the highest paying one!

    Just saw a well known young creator talk about how he makes $12k per year from comics. Living on the federal poverty line by choice, as a professional career…that’s kinda crazy. I mean if you’re happy ok, but the financial situation in the industry isn’t changing. Only getting worse. Make your own bed.

    we can all agree, Trumpcare is garbage. The GOP are trying to kill millions for profit, so you gotta assess your life choices and ask if working in an industry that pays hobbyist money is the career you want for yourself. That’s all. You can still make comics and have another career.

  25. And because I’m not a nice person, I ran an audit on his twitter followers. He claims over 100,000. According to twitter, only 21% are real. Over 80,000 are fake.

  26. “You can still make comics and have another career.”

    Even if it were possible, and I don’t think it is over the long haul, it shouldn’t be mandatory. We’re the USA; shouldn’t that mean something more than Life-Isn’t-Fair? Why should we satisfied with that situation when we have the resources to improve the situation?

    The fact that healthcare isn’t the ONLY problem facing comics creators is beside the point—it is definitely one of the problems, and one that is being deliberately made worse in order to further enrich multi-millionaires. Our idiotic employer-based health insurance system is a byproduct of market regulations during WWII, and has nothing to do with what works best or what is least expensive.

    The CBO says 22 million Americans will lose their health insurance under Trumpcare. Did all those people “make their own bed”?

    And still, all of that aside, why come onto a comics news site to lecture comic book artists who find themselves in desperate straights that they’d “made their own bed”? Unless you’re walking in their shoes you don’t know the first thing about it.

  27. You’re assuming that those of us saying that creators shouldn’t make comics if they can’t afford to aren’t creators or don’t have ties to the industry? That we’re here to beat down those poor artists out of sheer malice or a right-wing political agenda? (Psst – I supported Bernie!)

    Cool, since I’ve been on both sides of the cubicle wall, I’ll jump back in here.

    I’ve been working in comics for over 15 years in different capacities.

    I’ve even worked on some (GASP) Eisner-nominated books.

    I’ve also worked as a corporate marketing flack and social media manager, making significantly more more doing the latter. As such, comics work has tapered off in favor of the stuff that pays the bills.

    When I was a full-time comics freelancer, we almost lost our house. TWICE. This thanks to spotty work, late payments, etc. even from established, “reputable” publishers.

    It was balls, and I did what any responsible adult would do when the chips were down — moved on to greener (MUCH greener) pastures.

    And can you believe I got shit from other comics people for that decision? Apparently I was an awful person because I chose to have a family and realized that my family can’t get by on less than $30K annually.

    (Side note: Some of my most productive years were when I juggled comics freelancing with a day job. The day job made it possible for me to be able to survive even if the comics checks were late, take lower paying gigs to establish myself a little, and breathe easy knowing we had healthcare and the bills were paid. I went into comics full-time due to an unexpected layoff, and muddled through a comics freelancing career for years. But we were always waiting for the other shoe to drop. It was pretty damn awful.)

    I love comics and comic book people — many of my best friends still work in comics — but the industry is rubbish. As another freelancer who transitioned out of it said a few years back, “comics will never love you back.”

    Yet the one-sided devotion to this business is borderline cult-like. Creators eat, sleep, breathe comics day in and day out. When not making comics, they’re talking about making comics with other creators. Weekends are for conventions. Every other day on Twitter there’s another comic book related cause to rally around, because you know, Go Team Comics.

    It is absolutely a lifestyle choice.

    As such, those wonderful comic book creators can become very myopic. Everything is about comics. Everything affects comics. Even when it’s not directly about comics, it’s somehow about comics.

    And if you dare suggest to many that maybe, just maybe, they should LEAVE the industry for their own good?

    Well, you might as well have insulted their religion or kicked their dog.

    Because it’s their manifest destiny to make comics.

    Unless it ISN’T. And it becomes dreadfully clear after years of poverty and suffering for “the craft” that this is probably it. But they still cling to the hope of… hell, I don’t know what. A movie or TV option? Who the hell knows. (Been there, done that… doesn’t pay what you think!)

    There are exceptions, of course. But not everyone is going to be a Robert Kirkman or a Raina Telgemeirer or a Derf.

    While I think Trumpcare (which I do NOT support) is going to push many people out sooner than they’d like, the underlying problem is the poverty that permeates the creative side of the industry.

    THAT’S the bigger issue, in my mind.

    So maybe being forced to exit comics is… well… not a terribly bad thing.

    You do whatcha gotta do until you can afford to do what you want to do.

  28. Yes agreed, the US healthcare system is beyond stupid and I envy the rest of the civilized world who takes care of their citizens as the default.

    if you can’t make a decent living at your career choice, then do something about it. Yes i know i sound like grandpa. America’s obsession with capitalism above all kinda works against chasing passions a lot of times. The comics industry isn’t unlocking a giant vault to start paying living wages anytime soon. Its turning into a side-gig industry.

    I don’t know what resources we have to change this disaster from happening. Moral victories aside we can’t even be bothered to show up and vote when it matters. That’s why this is getting steamrolled through congress. No voter consequences. Believe it or not even people with “day jobs” have just as much to lose from Trumpcare. Benefits can be changed or eliminated at any time and they will be. The projections say everyone is at risk. I’ve worked long term as an independent contractor/freelance creative. I’m very aware of the climate.

  29. If this is how grown men react when someone makes a slightly unkind remark about “day jobs,” it’s no wonder we’re all fucked.

  30. “Well, of course, this is just the sort of blinkered philistine pig-ignorance I’ve come to expect from you non-creative garbage. You sit there on your loathsome spotty behinds squeezing blackheads, not caring a tinker’s cuss for the struggling artist. You excrement, you whining hypocritical toadies with your color TV sets and your Tony Jacklin golf clubs and your bleeding masonic secret handshakes. You wouldn’t let me join, would you, you blackballing bastards. Well, I wouldn’t become a Freemason now if you went down on your lousy stinking knees and begged me.”

  31. “I think there has been some really good points but about the ‘it’s going to be impossible to make a living as a cartoonist’ surely we can’t blame all of that on what’s going on with Trump, can we??? Do you really think the comics industry hasn’t been a self-inflicted wound for years now? No one could hurt comics more than comics has willingly hurt itself!”

    Somehow indie cartoonists and webcomics artists eked by before the ACA was passed. I paid out of pocket for my insurance when I freelanced. Granted… premiums have gone WAY up since then.

    If you can find a way to make it in comics, good on you. But it’s hard and it’s only going to get harder. The downward spiral started years before Trump was sworn in. Trumpcare will just hasten the inevitable.

  32. Wow! Checking the comments here. So much gaslighting hate! LoL :D Why would anyone bother to read a professional comic blog just to slag off comic creators? I wonder if all these commentators will be slagging off comic creators when they are too busy selling them medical insurance to make comics? LoL :D

  33. I’ve had day jobs and I’ve been freelance. I’ve worked white-collar publishing jobs and retail too (Woolworth’s Quaker Bridge Mall YO!). I’m smart and I’ve been lucky, and I respect anyone who works hard for a living.

    The entertainment industry, which includes comics, is brutal and wholly dependent on the good will of the audience. That’s as it should be; no part of that industry OWES any of us a living. But the richest country in the history of the world should be able to provide all its citizens with minimal health care without constantly skyrocketing premiums, deductibles that make it impossible to use the insurance in the first place, or the fear that that insurance will be yanked away at any time. None of that is true now, and the situation will be much worse if the Senate bill passes.

    It helps if you stop looking at social programs in terms of punishment. Sure, under a humane health-care program, one or two people might be able to game the system and get benefits they don’t deserve. But think how many would be helped. We’re talking actual lives saved, people rescued from bankruptcy and chronic lifelong pain. Probably even people you know. Isn’t that a tradeoff worth considering?

  34. As someone who lives in the UK, I’m begining to understand how America elected Trump.

    Reading these comments makes me realise how so few of you have any real compassion for the people who make comics.

    And you’re on a comics site.

    If this is a microcosm of America you are truly fucked.

    Anyone who commented ‘who is this guy’ after reading the post, commented without knowing who they were talking about, meaning the urge to talk overrode the urge to know who and what they were talking about.

    Thanks to Will Pfeifer and Jim for being a couple of the few the voices of reason on this thread , but this is a a sad indictment of the comics ‘community’.

  35. Derf is a talented creator. This conversation has nothing to do with him or his work.

    End of the day, if the comics industry paid living wages or if creators took the time to stand up for themselves and organized into a formal professional association (not a union) like other creative industries have, they could get group health plans and take care of each other without depending on the whims of politicians who come and go. A few creators have tried over the years to organize and never get the support from other creators to make it happen. Help each other out.

  36. I’m beginning to think many people in this thread aren’t really reading the other people’s posts. If they were, they’d realize that many of us are actually on *the same side* just differing in our proposed solutions to the problem.

    I said I *am* a comic book creator, transitioned into doing *other* projects to make ends meet, and spent a good many years working in comics full-time while raising a family and paying a mortgage. We almost LOST OUR HOUSE, so I completely have compassion for comics creators because I AM ONE.

    But I also know when enough is enough.

    I don’t recall anybody except for Brimstone calling Derf’s credentials into question.

    Many of us have said we don’t agree with Trumpcare, but we think that the bigger issue may be comic’s ghetto pay and the best solution longterm for creators may be a day job or another career path.

    @joe – Yeah, ideally there would be something BEFORE it gets bad enough to call on the Hero’s Initiative. Maybe even throw in a little retraining and job placement assistance for older creators who haven’t kept up with technology. I have a feeling there will be a lot of displaced creators soon…

    “…if the comics industry paid living wages or if creators took the time to stand up for themselves…”

    It’s been my observation that comics people have notoriously low-esteem compared to other professionals.

    Look, the comic book industry can be a one-sided, abusive relationship. No matter how badly creators get beaten, they don’t leave because “they LOVE comics.”

    Standing up for yourself means being willing to walk away when it’s clearly not good for you. I don’t think most creators are, so they put up with deplorable pay (or far, far worse) for fear of being kicked off of Team Comics.

    But that’s really veering off topic…

  37. Brimstone—Stan Lee has heard of Peter F. Paul too, so what does that prove?

    Trump is leading this crusade to deny 22 million Americans access to health care. Are we supposed to treat him like Voldemort and not mention his name because it might upset some touchy mouth-breathers in MAGA hats?

    Comic Cons may be part of the cultural landscape, and comics may seem “hotter than ever”, but none of it is translating into comics sales. The numbers bear that out. Most of the highest selling comics right now fall below what would have been the cancel point for the Big 2 back in the 1970s.

    Creating good comics—actually physically drawing them—is a crushingly hard job that requires many years of commitment to master, and not everyone who has spent decades of their life learning how to do it well is able to just pack up and go get a different job.

  38. You audit twitter followers, by going to twitteraudit.com

    If someone is getting mostly bots and buying their followers to look more popular then they are, you can find out.

    Someone who has 80% fake followers is buying followers.

    Major entertainment industry figures do not need to buy twitter followers.

    A name-dropping blowhard who’s trying to get publicity would.

  39. I’ve been watching this for awhile and I have to agree with Brimstone, TP and Joe.

    I think a lot of people are going to lose health insurance. It doesn’t matter if you are a “creator” or not. This bill will open the door to remove insurance, and allow employers to remove insurance, from a lot of people. I’ve been around comics for years and, until a few years ago, we didn’t have insurance. Books still got done, creation still happened, comics still continued. Will the repeal of the ACA make it harder? Yes. I’m sure it will, but it effects a lot of people in a lot of different industries, not just comics.

    I read the comments. No one is anti-creator on here, All I’m seeing is people stating that perhaps, if a creator is not making enough money, they should get a job to subsidize their work or do something else. Creative industries are hard. That is a fact. But there are many people working 2-3 jobs to get by that aren’t creatives. It’s just the world we live in. Being a “creator” entitles you to no more assurance than anyone else. I think the way it comes off sounds very “entitled” and that is what is setting people off.

    As for “Creating good comics—actually physically drawing them—is a crushingly hard job that requires many years of commitment to master, and not everyone who has spent decades of their life learning how to do it well is able to just pack up and go get a different job.”

    Yes…yes it is. As is creating music, being an electrician, being a teacher, being a coal miner, being a (insert job here) A lot of industries have stagnated and a lot of people lost their jobs with decades of experience in their field and had to find other jobs. I think being someone who creates actually has an advantage in finding other jobs. I know many that took their computer skills, networking skills, social media skills, drawing skills, design skills, etc and found a good job –non retail job. It might take working as an assistant at first or taking a couple of classes, but it’s not impossible at all. You can take care of yourself and do comics. Before someone says “but you can’t do both and create” I know for a fact you can. I know several people who do, and some have publishing deals or work for big companies.

    I agree it’s ridiculous that art is so undervalued and that needs to change. But I agree that artists put themselves there by being willing to work for dirt in the first place. To be completely honest, of all the people who call themselves “creators” maybe 1 in 100 actually get somewhere and fewer still actually make a reasonable living at it. It isn’t just about being “good” either. There are amazing artists and writers who never go anywhere. There are so many variables. I’m not saying give up. Not at all. I’m saying create, but be smart about it. Suffering for your “craft” makes you no greater or worthy a creator than someone doing a job and creating comics. Creating with a job or without is still creation.

  40. Wrestling is one of the professions MOST in need of health care. I don’t understand how more people aren’t up in arms over the generally brutal working conditions for workers, who have to pay for their own health insurance last I heard, and live in constant pain and injury. And don’t get me started about substance abuse, which for many, is/was the only way they could even function.

  41. A lot of you seem to have trouble understanding that this is a comics website and not a website for electricians, teachers, or coal miners. No one is saying those jobs aren’t hard. No one is saying anything about those jobs at all. Apparently, pointing out that comics artists will be negatively affected by Trumpcare isn’t possible unless we first acknowledge and genuflect to every other possible profession, while imagining strawmen artists who don’t work hard enough and think the world owes them a living.

    Everyone on here seems to agree that Trumpcare is going to be a shit sandwich, but god help us if a comics artist on a comics website dares to talk about how that situation might affect people in his profession. There’s something seriously wrong when people accuse comics artists as being somehow overly entitled, but think billionaires are working for the common good of regular guys.

  42. Wow Jim.
    No one on this thread said “billionaires are working for the common good. ” So no idea where you pulled that one from. It seems like you are just looking for reasons to keep this going.

    You want to talk about creators. OK

    Repealing the ACA will suck for creators. BUT they were creating before the ACA so I’m sure they can still create without health care. Comics will go on.

    If a creator needs more money to survive they can go get a job and still create and do comics work. people do it all the time. It isn’t ideal, but it is what it is.

    Not sure what else there is to talk about. ACA repeal sucks (sucks for a lot of people) and some times you need to do things you don’t really want to do so you can continue to follow your passion.

  43. Yes, Cam, comics existed before the ACA. A lot of things existed before the ACA. But I’m gonna guess that you’ve never faced a situation where you needed medical attention but were denied it because of a pre-existing condition and weren’t able to buy insurance at any price. Before the ACA a lot of people died because they couldn’t get treatment and Trump wants to send us back to those good ol’ days, and some of us will go to our graves as a result. Comics may go on, but the people creating them may not. It’s a little hard to get a second job when you’re dead.

    Why did you keep putting the word “creators” in quotes like that?

    As far as billionaires go, no one on this thread said anything about electricians, teachers, or coal miners either until you decided to bring them into the discussion. You seemed to be offended that anyone on a comics website should want to talk SPECIFICALLY about comics creators rather than electricians, teachers, or coal miners.

  44. ‘Anyone who commented ‘who is this guy’ after reading the post, commented without knowing who they were talking about, meaning the urge to talk overrode the urge to know who and what they were talking about.’

    I’ve bought and read comics for 30 years and never heard of this guy, Derf. Even if he is famous – his work doesn’t pay him enough to live on. He shouldn’t insult the people that work in cubicles and could buy his work or pay for his healthcare. I hope he gets a shitty cubicle job. He will find it satisfying to work for a living and be paid for it. Welcome to the real world, no one owes you a living. Even if you are an artist.

  45. Well Jim. Actually I had to buy my own insurance before the ACA. It was expensive and it did not cover maternity care and guess what?! I almost died from having kids and my insurance didn’t cover it. So yeah, I do know a thing or two about having issues and not having coverage. You just assume I don’t. As a woman..I’m way more screwed than a man under the proposed health care changes–plus I have things that constitute “pre-existing conditions” on top of it. So yeah, I do completely understand.

    You complained that it’s a comic blog and should only be about comics…so I made it ONLY about creators and you still are complaining. Frankly, anything other than what you think, even when applied only to comics, is still “wrong”. If you can’t argue that you find some, out of left field thing, that no one ever said to complain about. I’m tired of talking in circles.

    I stand by everything I said..it applies to comics as well as other industries. It is what it is like it or not.

  46. Reading for comprehension is not a strnegth these days is it?

    At the top of this post is a BIG BIG image of the graphic novel trached, which says “by the best selling author of My Friend Dahmer” Derf’s name is on the book, so…he’s a best selling author.

    Derf wrote:

    >>>>>It’s no coincidence, I believe, that this coincided with the golden era of comics we’re currently enjoying. Creators could take a chance on a comics career without dooming themselves to a life as a debt slave if they contracted a serious illness. That’s over.

    >>>The choice now is find a shitty cubicle job, if you can, and make comics on the side, also if you can. I suspect most will just give up on the comics thing. We’re going to see a huge drop off in American comics, I predict. Creators in Canada or Europe, civilized countries with single-payer healthcare for all, those comics scenes will continue to flourish as the US scene wanes.

    Of course people didn’t used to have health care. *I*didn’t have health care for a decade. I barely have it now. I can barely lift my arm over head now because of an injury I suffered when I didn’t have insurance, that just gets worse and worse.

    Derf’s point is that HAVING AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE allows

    MORE PEOPLE

    to make

    MORE COMICS.

    And that is good. Jim’s “Let them get cubicle jobs” means

    FEWER PEOPLE

    making

    FEWER COMICS

    and that’s a bad thing.

    Got it?

  47. Nobody here doubts how catastrophic Trumpcare could potentially be.

    But it’s still coming, like it or not.

    The government is not going to help comics creators.

    The publishers are not going to help comics creators.

    So it’s going to be up to the comics creators themselves to try and minimize the damage in their own lives and the community.

    Creators? Consider this the starting gun.

    Time to run harder than you ever have before if you want to keep doing this for a living.

    It won’t be easy. And I’m sorry.

    I’ve said my piece.

    Good luck.

  48. Heidi – not sure what my stregnths are, but I’ll repeat what I have said elsewhere – if writing comics is only economically viable through taxpayer funding – you’ve got yourself an expensive hobby. Those of us who like comics as an art form, cannot expect the rest of society to subsidise us to create them or read them. Doing that and then insulting taxpayers with productive jobs as working in shitty cubicles is not right. Derf may be best selling, but that is not enough to pay his bills. We have seen the sales charts – only a very few are making enough money to support themselves. Derf clearly is not up to that standard. A shame, but there it is. Blaming Trump is nonsensical as the Obamacare period has coincided with an almost complete reduction in sales, outlets and quality of comic output.

    That is not Obama’s fault (although I’d posit his enormous debt hikes has resulted in consumers having less money to spend on comics). Likewise Trump is not going to kill the comic industry.

    Sites like this should be giving creators the hard wake up calls, not letting them insult the remaining audience for their work.

  49. Heidi everyone is in agreement that we must have more humane benefits like other societies.

    That being said, that alone is not going to solve the problem. The problem is much bigger than that.

    .
    You can have the Cadillac of insurance policies and still end up with something bad that wipes you out. WE all agree that should NOT be the issue in our country.

    Again, I 100% agree with Brimstone that it was delivery not what was said. Everyone agrees about health care. The point people have issue with is the comments about having to take a cubicle job. Because yes. No matter how “good” you are. If you aren’t making enough money to survive, sometimes you need to take a job.

    So if the ACA stays, it is not going to change the declining industry ,the low pay or free work, the fact that the majority still need to find a job on top of it. THAT is the point most of us are trying to make. If effects a lot of us not just Derf.

    Brimstone “This is all common sense! But so much of it became a pity party for the poor underappreciated artists. I don’t deny artists have been treated badly but my mindset is, if you dont like it, change it! Waiting for handouts aint gonna fix nothing. Not for our economy, not for creators trying to make it!”
    YES this! Change it!

    I can’t tell you all the stuff we do. We do a lot (and all of it creative and not a crappy cubicle job) and comics pays the least. We didn’t like it so we found a way to change it and still create! I honestly think serious creators will do what they can to continue.

    In the meantime make calls and do what you can to stop Trump Care. I know a bunch of creators who aren’t on here posting, they are out there doing what they can to stop it. Action not whining is what makes change.

  50. Heidi wrote: “Jim’s “Let them get cubicle jobs” means…”

    I love your post, but… what the fuck? I’m sure this was just a typo, but just in case, Heidi, I’m NOT the person who thinks cubicle jobs for artists is a good idea. Every post I’ve made has been 100% foursquare behind Derf, the ACA, and more people making more comics. Period.

  51. Let’s be very straight here. The problems of comics have deep roots in the incestuous, self-inflicted wound that the comics industry enabled on itself. There’s a reason so many people go to McDonald’s. Because it’s cheap and it’s accessible. Are comics? No. And why not? Because for too long, comic professionals have suffered from the validation and acceptance of the elusive ‘mainstream’ culture. This is misguided and backwards and it’s because of this, combined with a spectator mentality, that comics are in the position they’re in in 2017.

    I’m sorry that people don’t see comic books as Art the way the French do. However, jacking up costs for “superstar” names and glossy paper and computer coloring that looks like mud are not going to make them any more “artistic”. Comics are a fraud. If USA Today can use more ink on more paper and only charge $1,50, it tells you something about a Marvel Comic costing $4,99.

    This is the chickens coming home to roost. This was set in the nineteen eighties and fostered throughout the nineties and now creators want to react. Get comics in more places. ‘Can’t have that’. Go back to newsprint. ‘Can’t have that’. Lower prices. ‘Can’t have that.’ Stop preaching to the converted. ‘Can’t have that.’

    Comics were a terrible career option before Obama was in office. It says something when the head of a comic convention who doesn’t even read comics is more secure than an industry professional. But you know what? Creators enabled that. All so that could get justification for a career they were always slightly embarrassed about. It’s a real shame.

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