A Facebook post inspired this. Some amateur writers were talking about hiring artists and how they have "too much power." They should not be paid up front - not even a deposit - and eventually someone chimed in with "you should only work on properties that you will get a piece of, and not expect to be paid up front."
Other artists know what this is: the desperate plea of a writer with the NEXT BIG THING!!! And all he or she needs is you to MAKE THEIR IDEAS COME TO LIFE!!! And the thing will hit and be the next Ninja Turtles or Spongebob or whatever else.
Illustrators get these "offers" all the time from would-be writers. (Most of the emails are, ironically, terribly written.) The writer has what they are convinced is a brilliant idea, and if you are just willing to put in hours of work FOR FREE, they will compensate you with some portion of the rights to their intellectual property. So once the movie comes out, you'll stand to make a fortune!
Protip: it never happens. And when it does happen, the hired artist almost never gets a piece of it. Which is why I do not do free work. Ever. Even my friends pay me (because what kind of friend wants you to do stuff for 'em for free??). Drawing takes too much time - MUCH more time than writing (yeah, I said it - drawing is more labor intensive than writing) - and the comics industry, especially on the indie side, is notorious for weird deals, or misunderstood agreements, or just plain non-payment.
Now, artists have to assume some blame, thanks to a few bad apples who have taken money up front for commissions and then never done the commission. Those guys are bastards. But as a working artist, I will not and cannot work on your intellectual property for free. I have my own (which is probably how you found this blog) and that's where all my free work goes. I have hired artists (like Cam who colored the cover to #4) and paid them for their work outright. I expect the same with my clients - they pay for the work, and they own all the rights. Sure, there's a chance I just missed out on being a billionaire... But for every guy who painted a mural for Facebook and got rich a few years later, there are thousands of us who just got stiffed by some guy with stupid ideas that he was convinced were pure gold.
RANT OVER! Check out this piece of art that made it on the Toaster Guy Facebook page when we crossed the 50 likes threshold! (Now we're at a BIG 54!!)
Monday, May 13, 2013
Saturday, May 4, 2013
I had a blast at Free Comic Book Day today! I was selling comics at Black Hive Comics here in Jacksonville, Florida all morning, sandwiched between Josh Rudloff of Dan In Space fame and professor of comics James Greene. I spent the afternoon with James at the Neptune Beach Public Library, selling more comics and doing sketches for kids (and a few adults). A great time! And I went out dressed... like... THIS!
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Superman is 75 years old! At least, this is the 75th anniversary of him appearing in comics. Any creative guy or gal knows that there's a long lead time between creation and publication. Heck, Toaster Guy had been in my head (and in my sketchbooks) for 20 years before his first comic book.
Can you imagine? Being a teenager, and coming up with Superman? Before there were pulp heroes, and Flash Gordon and characters like that. These two guys, out of thin air, created a genre. All the tropes of the super hero start here. Even non-archetypal superheroes are defined by how they differ from Superman.
Nowadays, writers don't seem to know what to do with him. I think it's because after 75 years of telling stories about a super-powered guy, it's hard to come up with something he hasn't done before (that numerous other superhero stories haven't already covered). I think with Superman - and Batman and other long-running popular superheroes - it makes more sense to write shorter stories, designed to be told in miniseries or trade paperbacks. Don't try so hard to connect them in some long continuity. Keep a status quo, because if there's no status quo to deviate from then nothing you do with the characters will have any weight. Tell relatively short, interesting stories.
I think instead of the "New 52" junk, DC should have sunset all their characters and titles. Bring them back in short form stories, or one ongoing title per character.
But all that is a different conversation, and maybe I'm not the best guy to start it since I'm far from a writer.
ANYWAY - Happy Birthday, Superman!
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
I took a break from TG #4 to knock out a design for the Threadless TMNT T-shirt contest. I think it turned out pretty good - check it out! And check out the site itself, and vote for me if you're so inclined!
Monday, April 8, 2013
Toaster Guy offers commentary on the cost of comics
I just read an article on the cost of comic books from the Big Two - DC and Marvel, naturally - and I wanted to offer my commentary (which nobody has asked for). Four bucks for twenty pages of story, from some giant corporation? And not a complete story, either, but part of a seventy-four part epic?? SIGN ME UP!! No, honestly, don't sign me up, because that's absurd. But, knowing what printing and shipping costs nowadays, I can't totally blame them for charging that much. I just can't justify SPENDING that much. Not on a comic produced by a team of professional superhero comics artists, fulfilling an editorial dictate, working on some version of a childhood favorite character that I no longer recognize.
When it comes to self-publishing, the costs are pretty straightforward: I have the cost of printing, the cost of shipping the comics to me, and the cost to ship them out to the readers. (I don't consider my time as part of the cost equation.) So for Toaster Guy comics, it's something like $1.35 per issue to have them printed, and maybe 50 cents an issue for shipping (unless I need them sooner than a month from now). Then to ship them out to readers, it's three or four bucks to ship them in the US, if I don't want 'em folded in half by an uncaring mailman, and overseas? Forget it - costs just went up, so it's over twelve bucks to ship a single issue of Toaster Guy to the UK or Ireland or someplace. So there's no way to make any money where I'm at, unless I either sell the comics for five bucks each plus shipping, or I sell enough copies that it makes sense to have a thousand at a time printed in China for forty or fifty cents a copy.
These big companies, they're paying a writer; a penciler; an inker; a letterer; a colorist; an editor; a senior editor; a publisher; etc etc. PLUS printing costs, shipping costs, advertising, etc. So I can see why they charge what they charge. I just don't think it's worth it when there are guys (like me maybe) telling maybe more interesting stories with non-mainstream art and doing it all themselves.
So I guess my point is, support independent comics! Especially Toaster Guy!
(By the way, how's that art look? I just discovered Manga Studio and oh my god, what a friggin' amazing piece of software)
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Who's on Facebook? Have you seen the "support gay marriage by changing my icon to an equal sign" thing? So all your friends can show off how progressive and trendy they are. Toaster Guy ain't having it! ...Though he's a little confused, I think, over what the point is...
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Check it out - I got a fantastic artist by the name of Cam Kendell (http://www.camkendell.com/) to handle the coloring on Toaster Guy #4, the final issue of the miniseries - and man, did he ever knock it out of the park!
Great job, right?! The senses-shattering conclusion to the Toaster Guy saga is on the way! Reserve your copy now!