Monday, April 8, 2013

The cost of comic books

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)

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