Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Shades of Greys: The Higher Cost of Comic Art

An early pencilled page from Great Moves’ title story.  
Art Copyright © by Geof Isherwood.

“Double your fees—starting tomorrow.  You’ll be shocked to find that the majority of prospects will pay your new rates without blinking.  Reason: 90 percent of writers charge too little—and you may be one of them.”   Robert W. Bly, “Earn More, Do Less”

“Critic or reviewer—a thankless job on most occasions since it is inclined towards finding fault.”  Carolle Bourne, “The Non-Role of the Critic”


Geof Isherwood was going to a comic show, and he was taking along some original art to sell.  Among them were finished pages from our joint NBM effort, my third graphic novel, Great Moves.  He was wondering if I wanted first dibs.

 I did.  But I didn’t have the money right then.  

"I'm in no hurry to sell these pages, so no rush," he wrote back via email.  "It's just so I know not to take them with me to the NJ convention."  

His asking price per page wasn’t high—to me; that may have been because I had a rough idea of what Geof charged for such work over the years—even to friends and colleagues like myself.  Plus, he’s a reasonable kind of guy: no nonsense when it comes to his business, yet not looking to jook out your eye, as Bajans would say, in sealing the deal. 

I

Life’s hilarious.  And not often without its thoughtful coincidences.  While Geof was bundling his pages and emailing me, a mutual friend was WhatsApping me about an ongoing online debate he was having and seemingly losing about the pricing of comic art. 

Michael “Mike” Bunn, a high school teacher, is a comic collector and aficionado of 40-plus years, and a regular convention goer for almost as long. Although he remembers the days when full-body sketches were free, and no one ever paid for an autograph in a comic, he’s not grumpy about there being a price tag on certain things these days.  He has paid for art at conventions and online; he respects and values the artists’ time and talent.  What’s been bothering him is the rapid and, to him, unaccountable hefty increase in prices over the last two to five years.

That’s it—in part.  To Mike, there’s more to this situation than having to pay higher prices for illustrations of comics characters whose stories inspired him as a boy (and still do).  He’s been worried that what he interprets as the overpricing of comic art is hurting collectors by making it difficult for the average convention goer, for instance, to acquire art.  Recalling the 1990’s black-and-white comics speculation and ensuing glut, he contends there’s an even higher price to be paid here.  He foresees a similar bubble bursting with comic art prices, resulting in a crash that may damage the future of comic collecting, hence comic publishing. 

Neither speculator nor rich, Mike’s just a guy who gets a kick out of getting art from pencillers and inkers whose work he admires and respects, whether he has to pay for it or not.  Yet many on the forum to which he often posts his views on this topic think he’s either crying down the artists’ right to make a decent living or complaining about what he wished he could afford but can’t.  There seems little interest in engaging his larger concerns about how the rise he’s seen in comic art prices may be affecting the North American comic industry beyond any single convention or commission.  And that’s got me a little concerned. 

Whether Mike’s right or wrong (he and I differ somewhat on what may constitute fair pricing), this apparent unwillingness by a number of those who post to have a dialogue or conversation with him, no matter how courteous he is, no matter how often he says he’s not about being contentious, rather enquiring, is somewhat baffling, though maybe not so unexpected. 

I welcome and appreciate healthy and open debate, especially on matters that are uncomfortable to us all.  Yet there’s a growing need in our times for respectful discussion: discussion that rises above personal border skirmishes that employ bullying, hate-mongering and misinformation as common tactics.  There seems to be a proportional relationship between our lack of interest in what others truly think and our ability to access their thoughts and ideas—and I mean on a range of topics. 

Contrary to what some may believe, I haven’t written the comics I have because of a love of erotica.  I have written the comics I have because of what erotica in this medium permits me to exchange with others about the human condition.  Comics have long had their own way of influencing people’s behaviour for the better, be it their level of tolerance or acceptance, but also their curiosity and understanding of the ways of men and women and how we interact, how we honestly communicate.

II

Back to this whole issue of the current cost of comic art: it’s a subject I also relate to as writer and editor.  A freelancer since I was 19, I still consult rate schedules set by The Writers’ Union of Canada (of which I’m a member), by Writer’s Digest’s annual Writer’s Market, by other seasoned and established colleagues in the publishing industry whatever their jurisdiction….  I’d like to learn more than I have so far from comic artists about how they calculate their own rates for commissions, particularly at conventions.  I’ve never left a client wondering how I arrived at a rate I was charging.  And if the client couldn’t pay what I was asking—or I couldn’t accept what the client was offering—at least we both knew why.

Even if it’s generally understood (though not always respected by those who would hire me) that I, as a freelance writer or editor, seek to make a decent wage, and that I trained (or have serious talent or skill or experience) in the service I’m offering, this can’t be the totality of my justification for my rates.  What constitutes a decent wage for the kind of work I’m expected to do is the real issue.  Next is what my time is worth, according to the market and my own measured estimation.
 
These are not issues either comic fan or comic artist should avoid discussing, client to contractor.  High or low, an artist should be able to reasonably demonstrate how he or she arrived at his or her rates, even if they are non-negotiable.  Non-negotiable is one’s prerogative, of course; unaccountable or arbitrary simply leads to a disgruntled and disaffected public.  Not to mention a confused one.

Does the reticence or inability exhibited by some fans to question critically the pricing of some comic art produced for conventions or commissions stem from fear?  If so, fear of what?  Their true ignorance of rates?  Of appearing to be against genuinely long-suffering and exploited comic artists, or of being blacklisted by artists they might commission?  And if—if—this pricing issue is or may be in some way affecting or lessening people’s enjoyment of comics or collecting or conventions, then what’s wrong with bringing the conversation a little more into the light?  Has any industry survey been conducted, of both comic artists and fans, asking them if comic art prices have been too high, too low, just right or reasonable, in their opinion?  Is it possible to separate the price of a piece from the personality, the “big-name artist,” that produced it?  Who or what is really driving demand in today’s comic art market?  Are these forces beneficial or inimical to the industry’s survival?

I’ve collected comics for 40 years as well; I still read them, reference them, occasionally write them.  I care deeply about the medium, as an art form and a business with multiple spinoffs.  Whatever the answers, it’s worthwhile to consider the questions. 

· Robert is the critically acclaimed author of the NBM Amerotica titles Great Moves, Attractive Forces and Stray Moonbeams.  His other books include the novel And Sometimes They Fly; the story collections Fairfield: The Last Sad Stories of G. Brandon SisnettIntimacy 101: Rooms & SuitesThe Tree of Youth, and Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall; and the memoir Sand for Snow: A Caribbean-Canadian Chronicle.

All of his graphic novels are now available as e-books from NBM. 




Friday, June 23, 2017

Erotic Art — “All Right Violet...”

“All Right Violet…”
by Cornnell Clarke

I’m Leaving You in Charge…

If everything goes well tonight, I’ll bring home some guys with Big Black Cocks for you and I to share…!


Here is a more subtle parody of Mrs. Incredible about to go on the prowl for some Big Black Cock! Bidding on the final art for this illustration All Right Violet… ends Monday 6/26/2017 3:05:35 PM CST (Central Standard Time). 

More to cum tomorrow, in the meantime, check out my recent illustration of Jessica Rabbit and more in my Patreon!

More to cum soon!

PS     Join my  for more!



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Urban Jointz Vol. 1 FREE!


Urban Jointz Vol. 1
© 2017 Cornnell Clarke

Join by May 31st Get it FREE!

A very Graphic Novella by yours truly...


Urban Jointz Vol. 1 is a collection of five short erotic stories told in the form of a graphic novel. Pick up your copy here or join my Patreon by MAY 31st and get it for FREE!!!

In the meantime, bidding on OK, You Naughty SuperVillains… starring my parody of Violet from The Incredibles, ends TODAY 5/30/2017 3:19:19 PM CST (Central Standard Time). Good luck!

PS     Voting for the Full-Color Pinup of the Month starts tomorrow!

More to cum soon!



Thursday, May 25, 2017

Graphic Novella — Urban Jointz Vol. 1


Urban Jointz Vol. 1
© 2017 Cornnell Clarke

For Your Pleasure...

Five short adults only erotic stories that you can’t find in any of my books!


I've already sent this out but, just in case, I'm sending all my wonderful patrons the downloadable link for Urban Jointz Vol. 1 .

New Patrons will get the link the first week of June once payment clears. Not a member of my Patreon? No problem, join by May 31st to get your free copy or you can purchase your copy here.

In other news, I'm working on the final art for “Are You Sure About This?” starring my voluptuous parody of Miss Martian. Bidding on the final art Ends TODAY (apologies for the late notice) 5/25/2017 3:16:42 PM CST (Central Standard Time). 

Plus, coming up next is Elastigirl!

Plus, voting for this months Full-Color Pinup is coming soon! Join my Patreon to get in on the fun!

Check out my Patreon and get up to 35% OFF my graphic novels and auctions plus, get exclusive access to upcoming final artwork and get a FREE copy of Urban Jointz Vol. 1 ! Also, take a look at all my original pieces that are up for auction here.

More to cum soon!



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Emotions & Claims


Illustration Copyright © 2017 by Lamair Nash    

Fiction File Entry #87 (Sexy bits and naughty thoughts that may yet become full-blown comics…or something.)

“God.  I hope I didn’t sound obvious when I asked you over to see my books.”

“I thought it was intentional.”

“What?  No!  I mean, I wouldn’t....”

“Why not?”

“What?  Because...weren’t you...?  I mean...you’re….”

Sanjit just kept staring at her, smiling, slowly drinking.  The air around her and between them grew sticky and warm. 

Badra took the glass out of his hand.  “Come.  Come with me.”  She pulled him into her room lined with books, with titles and names and emotions and claims.  She stared at him at first, as if silently asking him, “See?  You understand, now?”  Head up, scanning the shelves from top to bottom, the piles upon piles below, he was swaying, his hands reaching out to steady himself in the candlelit purple darkness.

She seized his hands, lacing his long, thin fingers with hers before he could fall.

She looked him in the eyes.  She had to step on a leather-bound volume of five illustrated classics to kiss him, hesitated when she got there, when he leaned in.

Forehead to forehead, now unable to look him in the eyes, she said: “If you want to…I have...in my drawer….”

“That’s good to know.”

“I want you to know.  I’ve never done anything like this, with—”

“I believe you.”

“OK,” she said.  She exhaled.

“OK,” he said, nuzzling her nose.

· Robert is the critically acclaimed author of the NBM Amerotica titles Great Moves, Attractive Forces and Stray Moonbeams.  His other books include the novel And Sometimes They Fly; the story collections Fairfield: The Last Sad Stories of G. Brandon SisnettIntimacy 101: Rooms & SuitesThe Tree of Youth and Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall; and the memoir Sand for Snow: A Caribbean-Canadian Chronicle.

All of his graphic novels are now available as e-books from NBM. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Erotic Art — Velma Dinkley “Oh! Um… Sorry, Guys...”

“Oh! Um… Sorry, Guys...”
by Cornnell

I Was Um… Getting Myself Prepared…

You know… for all those big, nasty, Monsters… You know how they like to stretch all my holes and fill me with cum…!


Here is a look at the final art of a piece I recently completed, starring Velma Dinkley. Check out the uncensored version of “Oh! Um… Sorry, Guys...” and more at my Patreon!

Check out my Patreon and get up to 35% OFF my graphic novels and auctions plus, get exclusive access to upcoming final artworkAlso, take a look at all my original pieces that are up for auction here.

More to cum soon!