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!!)