Because I Didn’t Have Enough To Do Already…
I’ve decided to make a concerted effort to post a weekly column on my blog called The Weekly Business. These columns will address myths, falsehoods, half-truths and boldfaced lies surrounding the wacky world of freelance writing. Each week I’ll present a brass tacks, take no prisoners look into the hard realities of being a freelance writer.
Then again, I may just address something in the biz that’s irked me recently.
Like this week.
I decided to address this topic after reading many “outraged” comments about this particular writer’s workshop.
Comic Book Sell-Outs
I’m sure you’ve heard or read where certain creators (and aspiring creators) have disingenuously chastised other creators who make graphic novels for the purpose of using them as “sell sheets” to be shopped around Hollywood. These cartoon crusaders pound their chests, rent their clothing and unleash venomous attacks on creators who would dare besmirch their Holy Medium!
Yeah, you’ve seen ’em.
I say disingenuous because more than one of these creators have optioned a property–or several properties–for film or television adaptation after condemning other creators as “comic book sell-outs.” Did you ever hear them retract their statements?
No, of course not.
Listen, outraged creator, if you truly are a comic book purist and make comics for the sole reason that you love the medium, I applaud you. But don’t you dare accept a lucrative Hollywood deal if it comes. That would make you a “comic book sell-out” and a total hypocrite.
See how bloody ridiculous this argument is?
No? Then how about a reality check?
Freelance comic creators see little–if any–income from their published work. It’s a fact. Not many creators have the guts to admit it, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Sure, there are some “big-name” freelancers who see a considerable amount of income from comic sales, but the majority of us haven’t seen one thin dime from the books we create after the exorbitant printing fees, “use of publisher’s logo fees,” office fees, and yada yada fees. It is truly an effort of love for the medium that drives us to tell our stories in a comic book format.
Having said that, I will not turn down a film option that puts food on my table and improves the quality of life for my family. I will not turn down a wonderful opportunity to bring my stories to a much broader audience. I love the comic book medium, but I’d have to be a fool to turn down that offer!
And so would you.
So whether you’re making comic books because you love the medium, or because you intend to use it to shop to Hollywood, what does it really matter? Graphic novels are an excellent medium to shop to Hollywood–regardless of your motivations for making ’em. And making comics is never a bad thing.
Wrapping It Up
You know… this looks like a fantastic lecture. Perhaps, if you are in the area, you could attend and learn something. Something that would allow you to use a medium you love to create something much, much bigger. Something that puts food in your bellies and hot coals in your furnace.
Something that isn’t hate.