Salaries of Comic Book Writers/Pencillers/Inkers/Colorists

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Salaries of Comic Book Writers/Pencillers/Inkers/Colorists

Postby docfalken on Thu Aug 04, 2005 3:17 am

It seems that a huge amount of work is done for each panel. What does the average joe at the two major comic companies make a year?
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Postby The Garbage Man on Thu Aug 04, 2005 3:23 pm

I have no idea, but I kinda hope the artists make more than the writers, since I've heard many writers say they crank out a script in a day or two and many write a few books a month, whereas it can take weeks for an artist to finish one book.
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Postby MasterWhedon on Thu Aug 04, 2005 3:38 pm

The Garbage Man wrote:but I kinda hope the artists make more than the writers, since I've heard many writers say they crank out a script in a day or two and many write a few books a month, whereas it can take weeks for an artist to finish one book.


Just because a writer is more prolific and can work on multiple projects at once doesn't mean they aren't working just as hard, if not harder.

It's nice that an artist can focus on one issue at a time and really hone it in, but the writer is equally in control, no matter how many projects they have cooking.

Hell, BMB has six books or so and he's got one of the best work ethics out there. Guy writes himself ahead six months on each book, then jumps to whatever's drawing him for two weeks at a time. He turns out quality scripts on time. And if the guy finishes an issue in a day, it means things were clicking that day.

I love artists, but I have a writer's bias.
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Postby DennisMM on Thu Aug 04, 2005 4:36 pm

MasterWhedon wrote:
The Garbage Man wrote:but I kinda hope the artists make more than the writers, since I've heard many writers say they crank out a script in a day or two and many write a few books a month, whereas it can take weeks for an artist to finish one book.


Just because a writer is more prolific and can work on multiple projects at once doesn't mean they aren't working just as hard, if not harder.


Writers are paid significantly less per page than artists, and work-for-hire still pays by the page, to my knowledge.

Exactly how creator-owned work is paid out, I don't know. The majority of the money is back end, but I'm not sure if a token payment is made from the publisher upon delivery of the finished book.
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Postby The Garbage Man on Thu Aug 04, 2005 11:20 pm

MasterWhedon wrote:
The Garbage Man wrote:but I kinda hope the artists make more than the writers, since I've heard many writers say they crank out a script in a day or two and many write a few books a month, whereas it can take weeks for an artist to finish one book.


Just because a writer is more prolific and can work on multiple projects at once doesn't mean they aren't working just as hard, if not harder.


I'm not saying writers don't work as hard as artists - Lord knows conquering a blank page is hard no matter what you plan to do with it - but it just seems more fair for the artists to make more since most of them they can't have multiple books going at once.

Then again, if it were up to me everyone producing great books would be raking in the money and Paris Hilton would be lying penniless in a ditch.

And thanks for the info Dennis.
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Postby bluebottle on Thu Aug 04, 2005 11:36 pm

I'm a (paid) writer (not for comic books, mind you) and I can't concentrate on more than one project at a time.

Don't get "having a few different things on the burner" confused with "working on several projects at once".

I always need to have a bunch of different "pet" projects going so I can go to them when I'm stuck on the project I'm being paid for.

Writers who 'crank it out' are cranking out shit (IMO) and the same could be said of artists... I would assume that artists can have several things on the go, but their work would suffer.

That being said, I don't think any of them, artists or writers, get paid that much.
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Postby docfalken on Fri Aug 05, 2005 12:01 am

$50,000?
$100,000?
$250,000?
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Fri Aug 05, 2005 8:45 am

49¢
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Postby MasterWhedon on Fri Aug 05, 2005 12:17 pm

docfalken wrote:$50,000?
$100,000?
$250,000?


I've always gotten the impression that it's closer to 50. I've heard Bendis say that Marvel can be a bit cheap at times, but he writes 57 books for them, so he makes due.

I wonder though if they're upping the price point for these new exclusive contracts their signing.
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Postby Adam Balm on Sat Aug 06, 2005 12:18 am

The short answer is very, very little. The long answer is that it depends on where you're working.

Image pays nothing except the profits you make on the book after their flat fee is taken out.

Vertigo pays shit, but you get mad cred. IDW pays fairly well, as do Dark Horse. I had an artist who kept wanting to pitch our series to them as for independents, it's a damn fine paycheck.

If you work for an even smaller publisher, like Fantagraphics or D&W, forget about it. Take Adrian Tomine, he has to pay the bills as an illustrator.

Marvel and DC don't pay that well unless you're a name. A friend of mine who just had two minis come out from Marvel (and one coming out from Image) still has to keep his day job. And movie options are a couple thousand, unless you're unusually lucky. Basically the strategy is if you keep working, the royalties on past work build up so that eventually you can support yourself.

It's interesting. Comic creators have always been screwed by the companies, the only difference is that everything is freelance now, so the work is less steady. It's one thing to get fucked in the ass every night, it's another thing worrying if money will be left on the night table the next morning.
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Postby The Ginger Man on Sun Aug 07, 2005 7:43 pm

That's really sad to hear. I remember last month, when Alan Moore was interviewed about having his name removed from adaptations of his work. He said something along the lines of "I had to take my name off these projects, even though I really needed the money." Made me think that if someone like Moore is in need of cash, something's not right. Then again, he could have a nasty coke habit I don't know about...but I digress.

Point being, while most writers make little to nothing, it seems a company like Marvel or DC would be more rewarding to people who churn out monthly product for them. Especially since its hard to get on their payrolls unless you're somewhat established in comics, film, or tv.
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Postby Adam Balm on Sun Aug 07, 2005 7:58 pm

BTW, although Moore doesn't make nearly what he should, the main reason he's hurting right now is because of a problem with his taxes. He just found out he owes a shitload more than he thought he did.


But yeah, unless you're doing a monthly that's a top seller or if you just got a studly exclusive contract, I wouldn't count on comics for steady work, because it's anything but.
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Postby Shane on Wed Dec 21, 2005 2:10 am

You're doing good at $100 per page alot of times.

not many make the big bucks unless you're like Alex Ross or a comic superstar.
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Postby Chilli on Tue Nov 21, 2006 6:54 am

From my experience I can 'write' a comic-book script in a few hours, but that's merely typing/writing it. The thought process behind it can sometimes take months, and then just be spilled out in a matter of hours. I always equate writing like being a lawyer, in that the background work usually takes as long as, if not more than, the actual in court/in front of computer part.

Pay wise, I'm probably not at liberty to go into the exact details... but its based on the profits of the issues I work on. I'd imagine the established names would probably get a flat rate per year (if they had an exclusive contract) with profits.
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