Can you make a living in comics?

Short answer: Yes

Long answer: Yes, but…

Graphic by Nate (The Goon) Powell

From Mike Cavallaro:

“I don’t normally post about this stuff but I find that people who don’t do this for a living or are engaged in more practical modes of employment are genuinely surprised by this information. For the rest of us, this is our normal reality. Let me assure anyone reading this that this isn’t a complaint. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel genuinely blessed to do what I do and to work alongside so many talented people, some of whom have been my personal heroes going back as far as when I was in high school. I consider myself lucky.

But as artists I think we internalize our difficulties and tend to chalk them up to some personal failure or shortcoming. Periodically, information like this comes along that at least shows “it’s not just me,” for whatever that’s worth.

Recently, the NYT reported:
“…the median pay for full-time writers was $20,300 in 2017, and that number decreased to $6,080 when part-time writers were considered.”

In response, bestselling graphic novelist Nate Powell, winner of the Ignatz, Eisner, Coretta Scott King, and National Book Awards, posted the graphic I’ve shared here.

The revelation for me was how concisely this all fits with my personal experience in publishing.

I think this is also useful reading for anyone interested in entering the graphic novel field. I don’t think it should be a deterrent. In fact, I don’t think it COULD deter anyone who has the drive necessary to make a 200-page book anyway. However, forewarned is forearmed.”

What to do while you’re working towards a career in comics, i.e. “how to break into comics”:

(Hint: make comics. Make A LOT of comics.)


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