Sunday, June 24, 2012

—not sketches of bongs

Despite my wordy announcement last week, there were some glaring omissions. I also wanted to respond to some of the comments (and commentary) on the end of my exclusive contract. While it's all been overwhelmingly supportive, I would like to clarify a few points.

First of all, (this is the most embarrassing) I should have thanked Ellie Pyle for making my job possible,  Joe Caramagna for lettering Daredevil (as well as the majority of my work), and Javier Rodriguez for coloring the entire run. Not only does this team do an amazing job, they do it under enormous pressure with the little time I leave them. They are at the end of the assembly line, and so face "deader" deadlines than I do.

Also absent from my ravings was the issue of time. Aside from ownership, what I really want is a larger degree of freedom with my professional schedule and a chance to concentrate on my oft-neglected personal life. I am a slow artist by nature, therefore every project tends to dominate my life until completion. I simply want a more balanced approach.

As for my creator-owned project, it's terribly far away—I'm probably more than 3 years from coloring the last page, let alone lettering, so I beg for your patience. I've never written anything this big before, so I will probably be honing the script until the end of the year. I won't concern myself with publishers until I have something worthy of print. In the meantime, I will try to keep new work on the stands.

As for crowd-sourcing, I plan to use Kickstarter (or its equivalent) for 2 smaller projects that are more art instruction than comics, and tailor made for digital distribution. They are experiments, but ones that have evolved organically out of my creative process. They save me time, and I hope they can do the same for others.

Finally, without going into too much detail, I wanted to address my remuneration. I may have roughly the same page rate as when I started, but my annual income is 4 times (!) what I made those first few years. My productivity has increased, as well as demand for my original art (a third of my total income), and I have been compensated accordingly. Marvel did not take my copyrights, I sold them, and I continue to receive incentives for reprints of my work.

In other words, my "departure" is in no way a commentary on Marvel's (or any publisher's) business practices. The truth is that less comics are sold today than when I started. Couple that with a "Great Recession," increased commodity prices, inflation, and rising transportation costs—and one might expect to see a reflection in annual income. Yet I've done better every year for a decade. My choice is a personal one and shouldn't be construed as anything else. After all, this may turn out to be a cautionary tale.

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