Home Culture Cartoonists Meredith Gran on paying freelancers

Meredith Gran on paying freelancers


Over on Google+, Meredith Gran, creator of OCTOPUS PIE, somewhat reluctantly weighs in on the women in comics thing:

So that said, here it is. My sincere thoughts on how to promote the presence of women in comics:

Pay them. No, seriously. Pay them with money.

Gran talks about getting her first paying gig and how it emboldened her. And then adds some advice:

But awareness only goes so far. Tons of young women already want to – and are good enough – to work in comics. Tons of them are already doing their own thing in the self-publishing world. Many of my friends are releasing graphic novels to rave reviews and impressive sales. Conventions are jam-packed with women. It’s not a question of awareness. It’s a question of who’s getting paid.

A lot of what I’m saying needn’t be applied to women exclusively, and is more broadly about the entertainment industry. But for the sake of the subject at hand, here’s what I’ve found is good:

Some awesome ways to support female cartoonists that really have an impact:
-If you want to commission or hire them for projects, pay them fairly.
-If they do a webcomic or self-published comic, buy their books, merch, or donate through their website.
-If they release a graphic novel or comic book, buy it. If they offer it directly, buy it from them. Or order it from your local comic shop. Be a part of their sales figures. Encourage future books.
-If they do a signing or convention in your town, come out and support them.

(Again, these tips are strikingly similar to what I’d suggest for supporting male cartoonists. In fact, they’re identical.)

We’ve pointed out several times that rather than being a someday future thing, tons of women are making and selling comics right this minute. RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE! If we may be allowed to quote ourselves:

Far from being a risky, trailblazing move, women making comics is a proven quantity, sales and quality-wise.

For instance, not to hammer home a point just to hammer home a point, David Brothers has an excellent piece on what a good artist Sara Pichelli is, and why she’s a great choice for the ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN relaunch.

Pichelli’s iconic drawing of Miles Morales unmasking has become one of the most viewed pieces of comics art of the year. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — everyone who has been vocal about the diversity issue needs to go out and buy this comic. Since Marvel doesn’t send out comps, it should be pretty easy. The way to show that hiring talented artists doesn’t hurt sales is by backing that up with your dollars.

  1. Great post by Meredith, I appreciated how she made the issue of getting paid as a cartoonist an issue that affects all of us regardless of gender. As cartoonists, this is something we have to bring up more often.

    Was also curious if this was a veiled shot at the very successful (and perhaps – expoloitative?) Womanthology kickstarter project.

    Also, curious what kind of payment cartoonists receive for contributions to things like Mome, Flight, Popgun, etc. I imagine it’s pretty close to working for free…

  2. Such a great post. Meredith is one of the all-around best, and so well put. This is also a great answer to the, erm, somewhat harshly voiced “SO WHO SHOULD WE HAVE HIRED, YOU TELL ME” Dan Didio question. Too many artists are happy to work for next to nothing, but of course that means they can’t devote real time to projects or improving because they’re having to day-job it doing something else. If you want more women creators in comics, pay them. If you want more black creators, pay them. Etc.

  3. I can guarantee that the artists involved with my books have all made more money than I have. Artists and printers (and advertisers) get paid first. I get paid…sometime…

    But yeah, pay your freelancers. Common sense.

  4. “If you want more women creators in comics, pay them. If you want more black creators, pay them. Etc.”

    Blatantly self-serving addition to the list: If you want more gay creators, pay them.

    I enjoy doing it has a hobby, but I’d be able to do it so much better – make that much more of a difference – if I could make it a job.

  5. I cannot bring myself to think of “buying a Brian Michael Bendis comic” as an act of “supporting diversity”. How about I buy the X-Men book with Storm and Cyclops indulging in interracial necking, written by Korean-American Greg Pak? Yeah, that’s the ticket.

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