Creator-Owned in 2015

Just posted a comment on Heidi MacDonald’s new article about Image creator-owned financials in 2012 VS 2015:

Once I get the financial breakdown for Wayward #5 I’ll post a comparison of Wayward #1-5 + Skullkickers #1-5. The short version: Five years has changed a LOT.

Image is in a completely different place with a much bigger market share and footprint in comic shops, book stores, and digital sales. The audience for new creator-owned series has expanded thanks to the Walking Dead, Saga, Sex Criminals and a host of other Image hits. On top of that, my own career/visibility has grown along with my retailer and press contacts, making it easier to get the word out.

Put that all together and Wayward is much, much more financially viable/stable than Skullkickers has ever been. That’s not a knock on SK. Skullkickers is the bedrock of my comic writing career and established the path I’m now on. It’s O.Z. (Original Zub).

Wayward is not making dump trucks of money but it’s financially viable right from the get-go and hopefully grows from there with TPB/digital. Steve Cummings gets to make Wayward his day job and we build on strong reviews and retailer support hoping to find Chew-like stability.

100% control, 100% ownership + the best possible pay day if a series succeeds.
Image has the creator-owned deal to beat, especially in 2015.

When some people read my original financial article they get the misinformed idea I don’t like the Image deal. Not true at all. I say it right in there:
“Writing/Creating Skullkickers and being published by Image Comics is a thrill and an honor.”

I entered the market in 2010 as a virtual unknown with a sword & sorcery-comedy in a market that was playing grim, serious, and superhero-y. Even against those odds we garnered good buzz and have slowly built a following, especially in long tail digital and TPB sales.

Skullkickers was/is an investment in myself and the incredible opportunities that have come from doing it have been overwhelmingly positive. Those charts/figures don’t translate that. They don’t tell the story of establishing writing credibility and owning something I’m proud of. Legends of the Dark Knight, Samurai Jack, Pathfinder, Dungeons & Dragons, Figment, and a bunch more all because that ball started at Image.

But even if those work-for-hire opportunities didn’t come along, it was (and is) still worth it because it’s my story brought to life. When someone says Skullkickers or Wayward is great I know they wouldn’t exist at all without our team’s dedication. It’s hard for me to express how proud that makes me.

I post about the financial realities and difficulties because I don’t want creators to go in starry-eyed and expecting insta-riches.

Be informed, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Make something you’re proud of and learn from each new project, successful or not.

Okay, went a bit buck there., Thanks for listening.
Also, pre-order Wayward Vol. 1 so I can keep on keeping on. 😛

  1. Does pre-ordering on a digital distributor like Comixology help the independent comic creator like it would by pre-ordering through a comic book store?

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