Colourist-Owned Comics? Letterer-Owned Comics? Is This The New Creator-Owned War Waiting To Happen?


There has been a small comics creator war brewing under the surface, specifically over creator owned books, between those writers who split the rights to the comic between the writer and the penciller/inker and those who pay the artist under work-for-hire terms, and continue to hold the full rights to the comic. Occasionally, it breaks for cover.





It all depends on who you deem the creator – the person who came up with the initial idea or if that is shared with the person who created the visual look – which often feeds back into the continuing concept as well. And, as with The Walking Dead, when money gets thrown around, it can end up in court.

But Ales Kot, creator of Zero and more, is carrying that one step further. Yesterday, he posted on Facebook,

It's colorist appreciation day? Cool. I appreciate my colorists so much they get percentage of media rights. Your turn, rest of the industry.

The conversation continued,

Andy Grossberg Do you do that for your letterers as well?

Ales Kot Yes. Everyone gets a share. I have the full ability to sign things and decide what happens with each property. The money goes to everyone involved.

Peter Doherty Mike gives Dave Stewart a percentage.

That'll be Mike Mignola on Hellboy.

Peter Doherty And I think Ed and Sean give a cut to their colourists.

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips of Criminal, Incognito, Fatale and the like.

Ales Kot Again, wouldn't be surprised. I like Ed and Sean lots. Maybe it's simply time to get more vocal about this so people understand this is an option and potentially a great way forward.

Peter Doherty Well colourists are a bit invisible in some ways unless you get some sort of profile for yourself. The odd thing is, and this maybe just my limited perspective, but unless your name is on the cover as a colourist (and mine isn't) the critics don't notice the job you do. Actually I don't mind NOT being on the cover. I don't mind my work being "invisible' in some ways if it's added to the experience of the reader in a way that draws them into the final book. But it is nice to have some acknowledgement and these days in the 21st century corporate world that usually takes the form of big credits or money!

David Gallaher I do the same for my letterers! Been doing it since 2007! When everyone feels like part of the team, I've noticed that they all work much harder.

Justin Jordan We do this (as well as name on the cover).

It may be a younger person's game, though older folk can learn, it seems.

Joe Pruett I can't believe I haven't done this in the past. Now that I'm heading back into writing creator-owned comics I think I'll adapt this policy. Good idea whose time has come

And Pete Doherty wanted to correct one possible misapprehension

Peter Doherty And just to correct one misapprehension, the cases I've sited the colourists get a profit share not a share of ownership—as far as I'm aware. These things seem to be tangled up in a lot people's heads. You can share the spoils without there being an ownership share.

So.. what say you?







About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.