"If I Hadn't Already Quit Marvel And DC Years Ago, I'd Quit Again" – Kyle Baker And More Respond To Mark Waid

mark waidIt keeps on rolling, The original blog post by Mark Waid about the way young freelancers in comics are treated – and what they should do about it – keeps getting reaction. From Twitter, comments, and Facebook, here are a few more pertinent responses…

If I hadn't already quit Marvel and DC years ago, I'd quit again. There are so many other, better opportunities for creative people out here today. There are literally hundreds of TV channels, game companies, streaming media, digital media, and other great outlets for creative writers, artists, animators, and musicians. In my opinion, it's better than ever. Why waste your time at a place that treats you poorly? Once art ceases to be fun, it's like a REAL job. If I wanted a real job, I wouldn't be a cartoonist. I work now for clients who APPRECIATE me. I love working in games and animation because nobody complains when I use a computer. I'm very busy with more work than I can handle, and one client even asked me to recommend some friends to help with the added workload. I was able to connect them with a talented well-known DC/Marvel artist who was unappreciated, and underused by the comics biz. Fuck the comics biz. – Kyle Baker

This is unfortunate, but it has a lot of truth. Recently, I was told to take project A over B because.. " It would be good for me and everybody around me", and I picked B the stronger project. I have had an editor comment publicly about my brother's death assuming it was a suicide, which it wasn't…to have to clarify the painful details to set the record straight. That was nobody's business to begin with. Every creator will have horror stories. Getting into this business, a creator once said" I've got stories but not gonna tell ya for your own sake". I have found that there are some people ( as you may know yourself) that take advantage of people's life situations for their own gain. I have had editors take parts of emails out of context to use against me. In a professional business transaction it takes two professional parties, not one. These rules apply everywhere I feel.

I have also have had great editors, period. Some days I have an inbox of emails from 3 comic companies about the work I'm turning in. I have had days where one email I'm being bullied and treated like scum, and 2 other editors thanking me for the work I've done and if I can do more. This offered me a bit of clarity in this matter. I have had an editor at one company tell me to pay attention to paperwork, I have people at another thank me for my efforts and work and help with transactions. Everything is a case by case scenario. – Shane Davis

Mark is right on everything he lays out. Remember, when I left DC, I was on good terms and in good standing. Think of that. Digest that. I had 3 books, had already watched 14 comics featuring my art get published on a monthly deadline. Never missed, no fill-ins… I performed. The crazy way that stories were handled was driving me nuts and I kept thinking that "I'm on their good side, what happens when it turns?" So, bottom line, I can't imagine how rough it is as a rookie or on the fence with these guys. Waid is right, compromise but be wary.. And don't let them bully you. Lots and lots of options out there for talented folks. My whole reason for leaving and leaving abruptly was to communicate that this is not how you treat the creative community. Requires respect. – Rob Liefeld.

Thank you, Mark. – Dean Haspiel

Good advice but what can anyone expect when some seasoned writers and artists themselves don't unite and instead give a hand in helping perpetuate the unfair principles that have guided the comics industry from day one. "Before Watchmen" anyone … ?

Let's not forget the "fans" too, who basically don't give a damn about these issues and just want their regular fix every month or drool to the latest Avengers/ CaptainAmerica/ Thor/ IronMan/ Whatever movie adaptation regardless of how Jack Kirby or his family got/get treated by Marvel comics.

Face it, when it comes to the real world comics industry, the bad guys have won, are in charge and have the "fans" and quite a few "pros" backing them up. – Anonymous Young Freelancer

This is great. Nuff' said. – Joe Illidge


But, now that we have identified all the things I've done wrong over that last 2 decades.. How do I fix it?!?

Great blog, Mark. Great, great blog.

Spot-on advice–some of which I'd been given over the years and I wish I'd followed more closely. It can be tough to see you're being taken advantage of and treated unprofessionally while you're in the midst of trying to be reasonable and helpful and collaborative and building your career, but it's always perfectly clear once it's well in the rear view. – Sean McKeever

we need a follow up for the old timers please. – Howard Porter

Well said. Excellent advice.

We should also remember that nothing is more powerful than the willingness to say "no" and walk away. – Christy Marx

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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