by BK Munn
Happy May Day, everybody!
This is the day we celebrate all the workers and since this is a comics blog, here’s to the comics workers of the world!
Things are tough for comics workers, these days. Everybody loves comics, but not enough people want to pay for them. I’m glad when comics workers stick together to fight the new status quo and unite against unfair practices and ripoffs. It makes my heart fairly glow!
Just the other day a cartoonist acquaintance of mine mentioned online how he lost a job with a major book publisher because he “thought author/artists should be paid royalties for original work that may be reprinted and resold in perpetuity. They strongly disagreed, and offered a one-time payout.” Whatever happened to royalties??? It seems like traditional book publishing is going the way of traditional comics publishing, just as some comics publishers have begun to behave like traditional publishers, offering equitable deals, royalties, and far-seeing transmedia options. But maybe we’ve been living in a bubble? Regardless, stay strong and vigilant, comics workers!
On the other side of the coin, the few people who write ABOUT comics as journalists and critics suffered a blow this past weekend when AOL shuttered its Comics Alliance news site, thus eliminating another scarce source of paying work for writers. With the ongoing death of print and the work for free mantra of the web, comics workers and their livelihoods are being hemmed in on all sides. Solidarity, brothers and sisters!
On this day, let’s take a moment to consider ways we can work together to make the travails of our fellows in the art form and industry of comics easier, more fulfilling, and sustaining.
Happy May Day from Sluggo and Fredric Wertham
May Day: The Progressive Cartoon Tradition in Canada
So Who Needs A Union? Notes on Comic Book Industry Unionization
Class War Comix by Skip Williamson (1969)