Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Supporting The Artist

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the way art intersects with commerce.  I guess that's not surprising, as I'm mostly writing and selling my books these days, as compared to earlier periods where I was working full-time or doing Math tutoring.  Now I'm more likely to think of myself as an artist who is - or isn't - making a living off my art.

Anyway, one of the recent trends I've seen in my spending habits is that I'm more inclined to support activities or products that give more of their proceeds back to the artist.  As musicians and writers, in particular, have discovered new and exciting ways to get their output directly into the hands of their fans, I've begun to feel better and better about laying down my hard-earned cash for such work.  Another example would be the Fringe festivals that Vicki and I have started going to, where 100% of the money taken in at the box office goes to the performer(s).  I find that I love the feeling that comes with that kind of a purchase.

Today, a new comic series, Velvet, is coming out from Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting, the creative team responsible for the greatest run on Captain America.  I was sold on Velvet from the day it was announced, purely on the strength of the creative team, and everything I've seen about it since just increased my confidence about its quality.  However, one aspect of its publication appeals to me for reasons more in line with the rest of this post: Velvet is a creator-owned title, published by Image Comics.  I didn't use to think about such things much, but now it's a huge deal that Brubaker and Epting will own the characters and stories of this great female-spy title.  After all, there's never been a better time for comic properties to break into movies or TV than right now, which means those two gents could reap huge financial rewards for their work if they were picked up by Hollywood. One need look no further than Robert Kirkman and The Walking Dead (also an Image title) to see what I'm talking about.  Even if that doesn't happen, though, there's the usual revenue from merchandising in addition to all of the monthly sales profit, the entirety of which will go back to them.

And as I look at my comic buying habits right now, I notice that four of the most exciting titles I'm buying are creator-owned: Fatale, Lazarus, Saga and now Velvet (all published by Image).  All of them are doing well, both commercially and critically, and each one is a joy to read.  They represent about one-quarter of my monthly purchases, with the rest being a mix of DC and Marvel titles.  At this point, I'd actually be quite happy to see that balance swing more to the creator-owned side, as I'm well and truly sick of the corporate greed that's begun to dominate both of those long-established companies (thanks to owners, Warners and Disney, respectively).

In the meantime, though, I'm just excited to have four such entertaining comics to read each month, with the profit going where it belongs.

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